Column: Praying for parables

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I have a not-always-appreciated-by-others gift for sarcastic retort, penchant for sardonic response, talent for nimble-minded quips, and unrepentant respect for a well-turned phrase.

But like many a confessing Christian recently, my rhetorical savoir-faire has been more than a bit flummoxed as Indiana’s originally unremarkable, copycat RFRA law tipped over into the brightly lit, nationally tumultuous ditch of unrelentingly politically correct and factually preposterous assault and over-reaction.

What began as a wise, future-looking legal hedge against as yet unexperienced discrimination became an intellectually D-Day-esque battle royale of hysterical, accusational, Bible-warping, religion bashing histrionics of exactly the kind the law was meant to thwart.  Ironically, the assault was mounted on behalf of LGBT and presumably other groups that are currently among the most civil-rights protected and socially normative minorities in American culture.

Never mind that over the past 50 years virtually every vestige of Christian moral instruction has been tossed out of public schools, higher academia, and the political marketplace of common-sense good advice.  It is not fair, the whining chorus shouts, to reaffirm America’s existing First Amendment right to religious freedom.

So, companies that happily do global business with nations routinely killing, maiming, enslaving, and silencing public sinners and religious dissenters declare open disdain for unfriendly Indiana, where we Hoosiers are a bunch of bigots and homophobes, and I guess worst of all, Christians.

“But hey – why don’t you visit our new store in Riyadh? Or Beijing?”

At an honest loss for loving, effective rebuttal, I have found myself praying to receive the spiritual gift of parables Jesus so elegantly exhibited when confronted with the Pharisees of His day.  Jesus, un-flummoxed, repeatedly saved his life by telling brilliant parables in response to the accusations of cultural leaders.  I am certain that Jesus’s priority was in revealing God’s glory, power, and truth, not just saving His life.

People today, often and mistakenly, think those parables – such as the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), and many others (read the middle chapters of Luke) – are there to instruct us in appropriate Christian living.  Not even close.  Those parables, usually in response to Pharisaical accusations, were Jesus’s clever way of “blowing up” the status quo of Jewish piety.

Jesus was a rebel, no doubt.  More importantly He was – He is – a moral, perfect and unimaginably shrewd Savior who sought out sinners not to aid and abet their sin, but to love them and teach them about the glory of God.

My parable prayer is not yet answered, but I’ve got this off my chest.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com), possibly only in his own mind, believes “sarcastic” is a falsehood that mocks a truth, and “sardonic” is a truth that mocks a falsehood.



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