In this play examining Jesus’ teachings about money, we once again encounter the mystery of the “impossible” commandments: commands of Jesus that, if we took them literally and at face value, we’d never be able to live up to. We deal with them in various ways:
- By spiritualizing them: “He really only meant that we shouldn’t value our possessions more than we value God.”
- By contextualizing them: “He was really only speaking to his immediate audience – or to the people of his time – or to the Church at large and not to any one individual.”
- By textualizing them: “These sayings come from the Q Source, a collection of sayings that tend to be more all-knowing and extreme than the other more narrative source texts.”
If your theological framework permits it, you can even declare a given command to be outright wrong, or at least wrongheaded.
These are all reasonable tactics, as we probably shouldn’t expect the words of any great figure, much less the Son of God, or the mechanism through which those words are transmitted down through the centuries, to be perfectly straightforward at all times. However, the mission of the Wineskin Project is to examine the stories of the Gospels in the most direct way possible, taking them at face value, taking them at their exact word. And so we have this play that throws those words in our faces over and over until it becomes a kind of joke.
How should we respond to them?
I personally plan to totally ignore them.
How about you?