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Parables of the Kingdom

In this week’s gospel, Jesus continues to preach in parables, and to paint the counter-intuitive picture of a world in which souls are born already good or evil, already saved or lost, and his mission is not to convert any lost souls to saved ones, but to identify and enlighten the already saved ones, while purposely confusing the lost ones. (Lest they hear the truth and repent and find healing!) Last week, he stated this idea directly. In this week’s play, he expresses it through a parable in which the righteous are good seeds and the wicked are bad seeds from the start, and history functions simply to let each group grow into its avoidable fate at the harvest at the end of the age.

If you believe in one of the Christian doctrines of predestination, then you probably won’t find this picture too disturbing at all, though I suspect you have many arguments and framings that attempt to make it more palatable to common human sensibilities. If that’s the case, then I urge you to drop them, at least temporarily, and look full on at your own belief in the worst possible light, not so you’ll be persuaded to abandon your belief for emotional reasons, but so you can continue to hold your beliefs, but with a greater appreciation for the vast, dark mystery of the Kingdom.

If you don’t believe in predestination, you probably have many arguments and framings of your own that explain why this passage does not in fact teach what it seems to be teaching. If that’s the case, I urge you to also drop them, at least temporarily, for the same reason.