I just want to warn that this post talks (briefly) about clergy sexual abuse.
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Maybe one way you can tell Jesus was really a construction worker is that he apparently made a joke about an industrial accident: You’re worried because you think your neighbour has a splinter in their eye, but you’ve got a construction beam coming out of your head! Who’s got the real problem?
We were talking about this confronting parable on Saturday at a meeting about how people of faith can promote the ‘yes’ vote in Australia’s upcoming survey on marriage equality. The parable is a darkly humorous way of talking about the hypocrisy of deeply immoral people attempting to ‘correct’ others.
I think what is really tragic is that many Christians don’t realise that in our wider society we have lost all credibility on morality – particularly with regards to sexual ethics. Christian clergy in Australia have sexually abused children and the church institution has tried to cover up the abuse. This leaves us with no credibility in the wider community if we try to say that two adults in an equal and loving relationship shouldn’t be able to get married.
At Easter I published a post where I said that we should treat the story of Jesus as mythology. Some folks said they were interested in what I mean by that. I started wondering what I really mean by that.
Dominic Crossan says that myths are stories that try to explain everything, make us at ease, close all the gaps, show us that everything makes sense and everything is as it should be. Myths explain everything. Myths don’t leave space for more speculation or conversation.
Parables, on the other hand, challenge mythology. Parables, disrupt, question and transform. Historically Christians have often read the parables of Jesus as though they answered questions and summed up reality, but in their original context they often challenged people’s assumptions.
Given Crossan’s definitions, would you say that the story of Jesus’ resurrection is mythology or parable?
Today I’ve been at home, cleaning and fixing things, and as I was cleaning the washing machine I found something unexpected:
A clove of garlic was growing in the rubber lining of the washing machine.
It struck me that this was a kind of parable. I don’t mean that there was somekind of magical or supernatural message to be read out of it, but that it might be worth reflecting on.
A lot of the parables that we might be familiar with are about ordinary everyday things like cleaning, farming, processing food. In a sense there is nothing magical or supernatural about these things, but reflcting on them can be transformative.
When I found some garlic growing in the washing machine I was amazed that something could be alive and growing in such a place.
Have you ever come across something growing in a strange place?