The Parables We Need: Hypocrites, Racism, Church Size, and Penis Size
From Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being, Page 215,
“I wish I could have been a fly on the wall that moment when Papaw was recovering there in Clark County Hospital. He had worked there as a maintenance man for years. Now he was the one needing repair, a repair that he would outlive for a while until it would finally catch him ten or so years after. But at the moment his heart was older than his body. It was tired and wanted to quit early on him. When Papaw saw the man who lived across the street, you remember, he saw only a preacher, a hypocrite. When Papaw saw dark-skinnned men, he saw only “niggers,” good ones and bad ones. That’s why it must have been something for Papaw that day when a stranger came to visit him amid the tubes and monitors that were chained to his arms. That someone? A black chaplain. Who knew, deep into his middle years, that such a man would sit with Papaw and ask him about Jesus? Oh, the marvelous return to old and ancient things, to those Eden things, that Jesus intends to see us into again. What a shrewd move on Jesus’ part to see men so differently from Papaw and to put in front of Papaw this different vision. It is like the kind of parable Jesus told in which a Samaritan is the good rescuer of a Jew in need. Jesus rementors our sight. Scales fall from our eyes. Human, we see and are known.
Eyes with scales left on cause men to see in comparisons. We compare biceps and bulges, paychecks and professional titles, and we tally points scored whether with siblings, sport, business, or our prowess with women. Some men compare penis size, other men compare church size — there is little difference between these games. Both are false measures and are of the same genre of self-misdirection. So Jesus calls men to places where glad-handing does not work and advancement in the company has no merit. Jesus looks grown men in the eye and tells them that caring for children and those equally dependent and overlooked will make us great (Luke 9:46-48).”