SHOCK VALUE ~ 11/22/11

was reading today about how so much of the original power and shock value has been lost in our understanding of the Biblical parables. The author compared it to a joke that loses its humor when you have to explain why it’s funny.  We're just so distant from the cultures and contexts of so much in the Bible that without a lot of hand-holding, we simply don't get the joke. Or at least, not at the gut-wrenching level that was intended.
To make his case, the author then retold a very well known parable with modern points of reference. Read the Biblical set-up, followed by the re-telling, and then see how you feel; if you finish the story with a knot in your stomach, you've proved his point!

'And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' 
He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? How do you read it?'
And he answered, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.' 
And he said to him, 'You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.'
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'
Jesus replied,” (Luke 10:25-30a)

"A family of disheveled, unkempt individuals was stranded by the side of a major road on a Sunday morning. They were in obvious distress. The mother was sitting on a tattered suitcase, hair uncombed, clothes in disarray, with a glazed look to her eyes, holding a smelly, poorly clad, crying baby. The father was unshaved, dressed in coveralls, a look of despair on his face as he tried to corral two other youngsters. Beside them was a run-down old car that had obviously just given up the ghost.

Down the road came a car driven by the local bishop; he was on his way to church. And though the father of the family waved frantically, the bishop could not hold up his parishioners, so he acted as though he didn't see them. 

Soon came another car, and again the father waved furiously. But the car was driven by the president of the Kiwanis Club, and he was late for a statewide meeting of Kiwanis presidents in a nearby city. He, too, acted as though he did not see them and kept his eyes straight on the road ahead of him.

The next car that came by was driven by an outspoken atheist, who had never been to church in his life. When he saw the family's distress, he took them into his own car. After inquiring as to their need, he took them to a local motel, where he paid for a week's lodging while the father found work. He also paid for the father to rent a car so he could look for work and gave the mother cash for food and new clothes."
-- Gordon Fee & Douglas Stewart

'Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor...?'

OUCH, Jesus; play nice.

Surrounded By Grace,
*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~