Sunday morning blues
I’m ever more disillusioned with the church. I realise I’m not the first person ever to feel this way, but I was really trying very hard to enjoy our church.
On this beautiful Sunday morning we have some family here. Although not conservative, they are decidedly less liberal than I am, especially when it comes to religion. The whole family is preparing for church, but I dread going.
The main break for me came about three weeks ago when we had one of our regular guest speakers. He was discussing the parable of the three servant who each received some talents, but the one with the least amount also did the least. He buried it and gave his master back the single talent he had received, only to be beaten and chased out by the master. The two other servants each doubled their talents.
My concern about this is the total lack of understanding modern people give to the context of a story like this. In my student days I did some work for the Theology Department at university, and I read a column on exactly this parable and how it could be interpreted differently.
In a consumer-driven capitalistic society the interpretation would be that a servant (slave) should extract maximum value from the talents given to him. However, in Jesus’ time their view of economics were quite different to our modern Western views.
They had a zero-sum view of economics. In other words, for me to make money I need to take it off someone else. Put another way, I can only increase my riches if I make someone else poorer. This is quite contrary to what Jesus taught, isn’t it?
Perhaps the parable should we interpreted in a different way, but we’re so caught up in our own very special (and always correct) way of interpreting it that we can’t see it any other way.
Then again, we do have enough social freedoms that we can decide what we want to say and where we want to say it. Perhaps I’m just averse to any kind of religious fervour?
Whatever the theological case, from a practical point of view I’m still anxious. Perhaps I’m merely embarrassed.