Economic justice and the true meaning of the parable of the talents

I have, of late, been attending Sunday services at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tucson. What that might say about my views on religion is something I’ll save for a later time, but among the things that have drawn me to involve myself with that place are, first of all, its declared mission of caring, openness, social action and inclusion, and secondly, the deep insights into Biblical and related scriptures of its rector, Rev. Steve Keplinger.

In his sermon of November 19, 2017, Rev. Steve Keplinger explains the meaning of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Looking at it in the context of the prevailing culture at the time of Jesus, and the audience he was addressing, Steve’s interpretation will surprise you, as it did me. It makes a great deal more sense than the interpretations I (and probably, you) heard in your earlier religious education.

The first part of the audio recording is a clip from the soundtrack of the movie, Jaws, in which two of the characters compare their scars from wounds suffered in previous encounters. That sets the stage for Steve to describe his spiritual scars that remain from his earlier encounters with incorrect interpretations of that parable. You can listen to it here or on the Grace St. Paul’s website, or you can read the transcript here.

One response to “Economic justice and the true meaning of the parable of the talents

  1. Tom, the sermon was excellent. How many were able to comprehend it, and then – how to change oneself in light of that knowledge?

    This is in context with a set of new paradigm-shifting insights that have been interacting with each other within nuet, as Larry declines. This is pointing to a major epistemic shift, in the making. I don’t know how to share this.

    A narrow interpretation is that all tales about humans have no objectivity in material reality – that is: the human meanings we give to stories are purely “subjective”. On deep analysis this is good, not bad. The epistemology useful for tribal times becomes very dangerous in high societal times.

    I won’t go on here, but what the sermon hinted to was the intrinsic relativity of human thought, with their empirical foundation in text patterns (before interpretation), and not in the material world. There are fundamental realities in human systems, but they follow different laws than the laws of material reality. Being subjective and relative doesn’t necessarily mean “it is all up to chance”. Human Reality (HR) is very REAL, but our belief/demand that it maps onto Material reality (MR) is one of the systemic sources of our Crisis-of-Crises.

    The current discourse about “fake” is very telling. But, it is all “fake”, even our own stories. Fake, in the sense of not mapping to patterns in material reality. The material (molecular) reality behind our body movements has no human meaning. We add it, we don’t find it. Debate about truth and fake, in terms of one being more objective than the other, is meaningless.


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