Friday, June 01, 2012

wheat and weeds

Then Jesus told them another story:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good seed in his field. That night, when everyone was asleep, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and then left. Later, the wheat sprouted and the heads of grain grew, but the weeds also grew. Then the man's servants came to him and said, 'You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?'

The man answered, 'An enemy planted weeds.' The servants asked, 'Do you want us to pull up the weeds?' The man answered, 'No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At harvest time I will tell the workers, "First gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn." ' "
Matthew 13: 24 - 30 NCV

The pastor in this cartoon is being "inclusive" at one level, but also judgemental – he has decided who is the wheat and who are the weeds. And that is exclusionary and othering. That is tolerance of the religous sort but has nothing to do with Jesus.

In what ways do we judge who is in and who is out, whether on a social level or an eternal one? In what ways does the way we treat other people reflect the judgements we have made?

Richard Beck in a recent post says:

Should we pull out the weeds?

This question goes to the heart of one of the greatest temptations amongst religious people wanting to serve God: the impulse to sort the good people from the bad people, the saints from the sinners, the church from the world, the saved from the damned.
He then goes on to look at what the farmer says, and suggests that this parable offers two visions of what the kingdom could be like:
On the one side are the weeding Christians, those wanting to identify, sort out and burn the weeds.

And on the other side are those Christians who live alongside the weeds manifesting forgiveness and patience.
Cuz in real life, people are people.

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