December 12, 2011

Luke 11.42-44

"But alas for you Pharisees!-- for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but neglect justice and the Reign of God. You could have practiced those, without neglecting the other things.

"Alas for you! For you love the best seats in synagogues, and salutations in the market places.

"Woe! For you are like hidden graves; men walk over you [and become unclean] without knowing it."

4 Comments:

At 3:17 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Again, these are those generic Pharisees we always have with us, like everyone having Jewish mothers (but needing comedians to point them out to us.)

But that last accusation is pretty serious. No doubt we're getting an historical allusion to a city built over a graveyard in Galilee, where anyone who lived there was automatically non-kosher. But there also seems to be something specifically about religious institutions, that when people start trying to be ohso good they make themselves prey to self-righteousness, substitution of appearances for substance, even mutual cruelty in the name of mutual safety.

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Random Arrow said...

Uh oh. More Pharisees. I thought I just dispatched them in the previous posts - two posts ago. It’s like the definition of recursion - see recursion. I don’t even tithe my junior mints nor my chocolate mints from Trader Joe’s. I eat ‘em. It’s my tribute to justice – culinary justice. I wouldn’t trade this version of Jesus for another. Imagine what he’d say to German Christians carrying flags with swastikas alongside the Christian cross on parade before Hitler as the ovens heat up in the background. It takes an attitude of readerly generosity (in contrast to parsimony) to imagine that the targets are deserving. I don’t get the feeling that Jesus is using a shotgun blast approach and hoping that a few word-pellets stick somewhere. These words seem like directed arrows.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Yes, these "Pharisees" are like the straight man in some vast comedy routine. And we can't get the joke until seeing where we fit in.

These are the "good people" of his day. They intend this with utter sincerity!

& they've been co-opted into supporting this oppressive state religion. Which they can afford to practice, but which in its Hellenist setting is crushing their impoverished fellow Israelites. "Justice" simply isn't available, any more than you could have sent your vegetables to those starving Chinese children your mother may have told you about. Trying to get "justice" out of this system is like trying to put another Thomas Jefferson in the White House. But they keep doing the best they can and hoping the sausage machine will somehow produce a pine tree...

I'm reminded of someone's son in a certain Quaker Meeting a few years back, who wanted to go work for the IMF so he could have a career 'helping people.'

 
At 10:47 PM, Blogger Random Arrow said...

Hehehe. Well, it certainly would help some people. Maybe I need to look into it.

 

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