Thursday, April 14, 2011

another emergent parable, and one of my own

Emergents love stories. They must work as a substitute for thinking.

Here, for example, at Emergent Village (yes, the name of this blog is similar, and that's intentional) has come up with a story he thinks is a response to the biblical idea of Hell.

Here's a summation (read the whole thing, it's...interesting). A woman has five kids, and the youngest four run away. One finally returns, and she sends the eldest to find the others, but he can't find one of them, and those he does find will not return.

Years passed, and finally she sets out to find the missing ones, and eventually does. She brings them home, has some hired hands put them in a barn, and sets the barn on fire with them in it, while she and the eldest son and the child who returned on his own have a feast.

I'll give the author's closing remarks here.

And, if you’ll excuse me, I need to throw up and hug my kids; as a father of three kids, I feel sick and suddenly have a restless desire to love-on ‘em).

So, in response, I want to try my hand at this parable-making business. It looks like fun.

A man has a large house. It's a good house, with lots of rooms and a full pantry. He decides to have a party, and invites some people. In the invitations, he sets some rules of how they are to behave, not to restrict their enjoyment but to enhance it, because he knows that, for example, beer and wine are best enjoyed when they are not drunk too much, and that hangovers are not good things.

The party begins, but it quickly goes sideways. The guests just won't behave themselves. For example, the host provided some very fine wine, which was meant to be enjoyed in a responsible way, but he sees guests drinking far too much and encouraging others to do so. He has provided places for married couples to stay, places that are private so that they could do what married couples do, but he sees people not married to each other flirting with each other, entering rooms with each other, and even commiting sexual acts out in the open for all to see. There are murders, rapes, thefts. People say that another man, a figment of their own imaginations, has thrown the party for them, and that this person they've created is ok with their actions.

Some remember the rules, but they mock the rules, saying they no longer apply, that they are old rules and that the people at the party are not really expected to act that way anyway.

As you can image, the man's home is soon a mess. Even the best of the guests make a mess of things.

Finally, the man has had enough. He calls the law, who come and arrest the people, taking them off the jail.

The guests are surprised, and even angry. "Were we not invited to your house to enjoy your feast and your wine?" They cried against the man who owned the home. "Are we not your guest? Is it not your responsibility that we acted this way? You are not fair, you are not just, to have us put in jail and imprisoned! You are a bad person, you are evil!"

The man said nothing more than that these enemies of his should be taken away.

And so, my little parable end.

You see, the EV parable is a lie. It's aim is to portray us as pitiful little victims, a classic ploy among such people. In the story, we are all God's children.

Neither of these is true. We are not victims. The Bible's language about those who do not have faith in Christ is rather different--workers of iniquity, children of wrath, enemies of God.

Also, not ever person alive or who has lived is a child of God. Those who do not have faith in Christ are children of the devil, slaves of sin, enemies of God.

This is a hard truth. It is unpleasant. But it is true, nonetheless. Our attempts at righteousness on our own are like filthy rags, we can do no good, none of us does what is right.

The same Bible that tells us that God is loving and just also tells us, quite plainly, that this just and loving God will throw those not found in the Book of Life into the Lake of Fire. To take what we like while discarding what we don't makes God to be like a cosmic grandfather, and rather unreal.

This Emergent Village author has had the arrogance to put God on trial, and to find Him to be unjust. I think God knows far more about justice than the whole human race combined, let alone one Emergent Village writer.

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