Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Luke, Chapter 14: Jesus' advice on dinner party etiquette

Jesus is invited to a Pharisee leader's house for lunch on a sabbath day. Because he can't even have one great shag meal in peace, a man with dropsy approaches him. Jesus coyly asks the Pharisees if he can cure the man's ailment. The Pharisees are silent, so he does. And because he can never let anything go, he asks them if they would ignore a cow or donkey or person who fell into a hole until it was no longer the sabbath.

They don't answer, so he starts into a parable about seating arrangements at a wedding. Lord, do not get me started on wedding seating charts. Anyway, the Israelites have not cottoned onto the idea of place cards or seating arrangements, so there's always this confusion about who should sit where. Jesus points out that if you sit in the most important place, someone more important than you could come along and your host will have to ask you to leave and you'll be embarrassed because you'll end up at the freak cousins table with Adam Sandler singing 'Love Stinks' at you. Instead, he says we should take that seat at the freaks' table and the host will eventually tell us to move. Not if he doesn't want the bride to freak out and throw the seating chart at him, he won't.

He also says that when you throw a dinner party, you shouldn't invite friends, family or neighbours, because your only reward will be a reciprocal invitation. Instead you should invite these guys. Plus, you know, the poors, the blind, the lame, etc. Then you'll get into heaven. Again, not exactly an edict you find a lot of Christians following.

The Pharisees all smile politely, which Jesus takes as a signal that they want him to launch into another parable, this time about a man who throws a dinner party, but all of his invitees make excuses including, get this, I'm going to be screwing my new wife. This pisses the guy off, so he sends his slave out to find the first group of schmucks he can round up. The slave finds a bunch of people, but the house isn't full, so the rich man sends him further afield, including into hedgerows and under bridges. When the house is finally full, the man gloats that none of his friends can even fit inside to taste his supper. Which they clearly proved that they did not care about when they refused the invitation.

Now Jesus turns back to his disciples and tells them that they can only keep being disciples if they hate their families.

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