Saturday, February 25, 2012

Luke, Chapter 16: Laws of convenience

A rich man hears that his steward has been fiddling the accounts. He calls the steward in to ask him to explain himself, then fires him. The steward panics, thinking about how he's too weak to dig and too proud to beg. He decides that the best way to get people to welcome them into their homes is to REALLY fiddle the accounts and starts knocking zeros off their debts. For some reason, this pleases his master. Lesson learned: use your worldly wealth to make friends with people now and they'll be nice to you when you have nothing. Nice thought, but it's the total opposite of how people have treated their 'friends' since the beginning of time. We also learn that people are faithful or dishonest regardless of circumstances. Clearly none of Jesus' girlfriends ever asked him if they looked fat in their jeans.

Then we get what is quite possibly my very favourite verse in the entire bible so far, verse 13: No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Oddly, in 20 Republican primary debates so far in the 2012 campaign season, not once has this verse come up, for all every one of them claims to have a non-gay hard-on for Christ.

The Pharisees are listening, and they immediately start mocking. Jesus retorts with possibly my second-favourite verse in the entire bible: that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (v. 15). Not that it has stopped many of us from pursuing shiny trinkets.

Then he says something contradictory and confusing: first, the Old Testament law applied up until John the Baptist's time, but has now been replaced by the Good News. Then, the law can never be changed. So apparently this is why Christians can eat shellfish, but hate gays? Also, no divorce.

Now he has a story about Lazarus: A rich man who happened to like purple and fine dining, passes Lazarus, a beggar with open sores, outside his gate every day. But weren't Mary and Martha from a few chapters ago Lazarus' sisters? They had a pretty nice set-up, why are they letting their brother hang out with seeping wounds and beg for money? So confusing! Anyway, both men die. The rich man goes to hell and Lazarus to heaven. The rich man calls up to Abraham to relieve him of all his suffering. Abraham's response? Tough titties. Also, there's a rule that people can't travel back and forth between heaven and hell. So the guy asks him to at least send Lazarus to his father's house to warn his brothers not to be such shitty human beings. Abraham: No. They can read. The guy starts to whine but Abraham insists they won't listen.

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