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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Jesus as Mengele, Believers as Dr. Phil....

Whenever economic threads Of That Sort develop on social media, or if you are a dinosaur that insists upon in-person interaction,say, at parties or Holiday family dinners, someone MUST play the role of Brigadier Bringdown, and whinge about The Poor, and Christmas, and Guilt. (That was NOT written in the voice of Thurston Howell III.) Inevitably, the Big Guns are brought to bear, especially if there are Christians about, with turkey-stuffed mouths, gobbling about The Reason For The Season...

"So many Christians, but I don't see any of them selling what they have and giving it all to the poor, like Jesus taught!"

The inability to Read With Comprehension is a vanishing skill. With parents both working to keep up with living AND the taxes, and day-care struggling with overcrowding and staying out of the attention of regulators AND the news stations, and schools mandated to teach test-taking abilities and thus avoid the attention of regulators AND the news stations...there is little time to inculcate much beyond passing eyes over text, and defining sounding it out in one's head as "reading". Few places does this show up faster than in conversations with Biblical content. The Rich Young Ruler session that Jesus had is a case in point.

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.  Luke 18:18-23 (KJV)

The reading is precise. The questions asked are insightful. The commands are laser-sharp. and they are all for one patient. The Great Physician diagnoses the man's problem, and prescribes the solution. Sell your assets, then give to the poor. Jesus does not say "Give ALL you have to the poor in a vast bout of charity, then pick up the mendicant's bowl." Make the assets fungible, easily distributed, and give at need. Nowhere does Jesus say "Give it ALL to the poor". Jesus teaches many things, but I do not believe bad asset management is one of them. If I may say, the Poor are extras in the play. They are not the problem. The Rich Ruler and his relationship to wealth is the problem. His purse was double-knotted. Morally, he was beyond reproach. He had a desire for God's rulership in his life (The Kingdom of God =/= 'Heaven', here.). Yet, Jesus' exam finds a cyst of avarice, and He prescribes removing the unsightly thing. The Ruler apparently did not like the idea of a scar on his portfolio, and left in sorrow, perhaps to find a second opinion.

Yet, while the exchange was between Jesus and the Rich Ruler, we may certainly derive counsel from their talk. Don't let your Stuff come between you and the Kingdom of God. Christ is more important than stocks and shares and real estate, oh my. You are never as good as you think you are. AND, Jesus speaks precisely. He is the Word, the Logos made flesh, Who said "Let there be...", and there was.

He is not going to bobble a noun.

If I go to a naturopath for my cerebral chilblains, and he prescribes a tincture of goldenseal root and kerosene, and it makes me well, that does not give him, or me, or the TV talk host who interviews us, license to prescribe the vile brew to everyone, for anything. So it is with the Rich Ruler interview. Jesus prescribed what HE needed. If I have trouble with gluttony, or lust, the prescription will fit the sin.

Don't make Jesus the Spokesprophet for your political or social druthers. Instead, bow to His Lordship, and take your personally prescribed medicine. Don't walk away grieving. As the Mark account said:

21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Jesus prescribes with love.


Doom said...

Well, they know that. Their point isn't to get people to virtue signal by doing so and such and selling and giving. They just want to, in their own way, reject what Christ DOES request of them, and suggest they can through this nefarious, and false, clause. They know exactly what they are doing. It's much as sinners of all sorts look for any reason to not stop sinning. There is even an old saying, or perhaps it was a prayer, about asking the Lord to grant chastity and sobriety, just... not yet. And that from someone who did go on to become a very holy, devoted, man.

They are not debating. They are throwing a red herring your way. If you fall for it, and debate, they have their path. If you wish to deal with it, simply ask which sin they think they just can't live without. Perhaps it is the notion of doing whatever they want without having to think about it at all. I love tic-tac-sin. Hey, I start at home, with myself, then extend the olive branch club where it seems to be needed. I wish I could be sinless. Barring that I will keep an eye on where I seem to fail, dealing with it as necessary. And, at times, I will catch those who try to use tricks I have tried to use on myself. Whether to shoo off a bore or nail a deceiver, or correct a brother... and I hope they return the favor.

But... just don't think they are playing with anything but their own false intentions. Deal with it reasonably or just let it go, if you think it's not worth the effort. Christ, in truth, only came for the many. Technically, somehow, that could be all, but that isn't sure. Nor are all two-legs necessarily men... or people He came for. Believe, deny, pick, choose, but the meanings are rather clear... at least to me. And we are far from Jesus. Further, His next visit will be more "kick in the teeth", than preach, teach, and sacrifice. We will fall short of all that He asked of us. But that isn't always the point.

Michael W said...

"or if you are a dinosaur that insists upon in-person interaction,say, at parties or Holiday family dinners, someone MUST play the role of Brigadier Bringdown, and whinge about The Poor, and Christmas, and Guilt."

And now you know why I also shy away from parties. If the Ability to Read With Comprehension is a vanishing skill, then Conversation is an art which has long ago been murdered, the body left in a darkened alleyway (the police are still looking into it, but few inquiries have been made). The most meaningful conversations I've had involved groups of four (or less). In such situations the Brigadier Bringdowns can be rapidly spotted and ejected from the group.

The Aardvark said...

Doom...I see a thing, and must deal with it. Kinda like Ezekiel's watchman. If I don't say something, it's on my head. If I warn and it gets ignored, it's on THEIR heads.

It's also a fun exercise for me. I harbor few expectations of repentance-with-tears being the result. However, South Carolina, where I grew up, has the state motto "Dum Spiro Spero".

"While I breathe, I hope."

So there is that.

A blessed Christmas to you, sir. You are a valued member of this miniscule cadre.
Unca Mikey...

As to parties, I allus thought it was your natural tendency to curmudge.

I fear that there is so little left of Conversation's remains that no incarnation of Mr. Holmes would be able to solve the mystery.

A Christmas of Jollity to you and Denise, the Wolffs Yet Unmet.

I shall endeavor to increase the amplitude of my poor offerings here in 2017.

Doom said...

Dum Spiro Spero, words to live by, even when there is more.

Merry Christmas to you as well.

Blessed by the brow of the one who forgets not the first of the three, hope, and shares it. For sure, faith and charity love shall surely result. Amen.

Michael W said...

As difficult as it may be for some of you to believe, I was a wide-eyed innocent practically through high school. Experience obliged me to re-invent myself into a curmudgeon.

I don't "mingle" well. That's a large part of the problem.