The Difference the Point Can Make

Posted by Melvin Bray on March 17th, 2006 filed in Useful Perhaps

Anyone who has ever heard me speak knows I love stories (villagehalwit@blogspot.com). I particularly love allegories. I have grown up reading and re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia and Lewis’ space trilogy. In college I discovered Langston Hughes’ Jesse B. Simple stories, and I fell in love with the art form all over again.

Over the years I’ve read or listened to many wonderful stories, but the ones that have intrigued me the most bar none are the parables of Jesus, primarily because they have seemed so packed with a meaning whose surface I always felt I was barely scratching. What has been particularly frustrating is that it has always been said that Jesus’ parable were intentionally simple so that peasants could understand them. Now I’m no peasant (any wisdom I’ve ever stumbled into has never been as earthy or as profound), but I’ve always hoped one day to make the pieces and parts of any one of Jesus’ parables read as a cohesive whole, instead of having certain phrases in each stand conspicuously out of place with my most recent interpretation.

Today, on a friend’s blog (Ryan Sharp) I found a link to an article that was able to make sense for me of two of the most commonly invoked of Jesus’ parables. When I read it, my heart leaped for joy in my chest. For the first time stories I have heard recounted in fragments over and over finally came together as a cohesive whole. It was amazing. Check it out for yourself. I promise you will be delightfully unsettled.

For more, check out Ched Myer’s book Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.

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