Friday, July 4, 2014

How Rainy July Fourths Lead to Comtemplating a Parable

From my Morning Pages:

It is going to be a rainy day today. Last year at this time Bob and I were in Asheville, NC. It rained heavily on and off that day too. We really like that town. The atmosphere is lively. It isn't "hipster" like the growing parts of Nashville. It seems sort of old fashioned. Maybe "retro" is a good label for it. I wonder if it would be easier to find like minded people there than it is here? The fine crafts scene is there as is fine arts. People wanting to be close to nature yet still in need of a job are there. It is a tourist destination, but it isn't chintzy. It seems authentic to me.

We keep talking about moving to someplace more affordable and where we can be with like minded souls. Will we ever? We have five years remaining on the mortgage and a few more after that I think to pay off the student loans. We should be able to finish renovating the house by then so that it can be sold easily. If that is what we choose to do. I really can't imagine staying here. There is really no good reason. But we will see when that time comes. In the meantime I need to continue to allow my roots to grow to the full extent that they are able to here. Hmm, is there any parallel meaning in the Parable of the Sower here? Could it also mean that in order to flourish in our lives (meaning to use our God-given talents and gifts) we need to be in the right environment? I would say yes, it does mean this. But what is the right environment? Do Bob and I need to move to Asheville, Abingdon or somewhere in Tennessee or Kentucky? (Or how about upstate New York?)

The parable does make it seem as though there are four fixed soil (heart) types and people fall into one of them and that is it. Jesus doesn't talk about cultivating the rocky or thorny soils. And he doesn't talk about transplanting the seedling. Are we doomed to live only the fate that has been set for us? After all, it is God who is the sower in the story. Is it a story about mental will and ability? That faith and a strong enough attempt at convincing yourself that all is good and you are in the place you are supposed to be? I think not. At least I have tried that and it hasn't worked. Where is the role of  community in this parable? Don't we need a nurturing environment? Isn't it part of our responsibility as Christians to help each other to grow and bear good fruits? Maybe this story isn't a once and for all, all encompassing summary of spiritual life. Maybe it was told to make one particular point. Are there other parables about cultivating the soil? Is it a broader metaphor for life and not just how we receive (or not) God's word? Can we go beyond what it says and apply the principles of good gardening practices to it? Or is that making it say something that it doesn't or wasn't intended to say? (On another topic I wonder: What is the correct way to read scripture? Is there a right way?) I shall look into this as well as the different spins on this parable that are undoubtedly out there. 

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