I’ve been back from sabbatical now almost 2 months and continue to be thankful for the rest I enjoyed this summer and the honor it is to serve you as Priest.
Our sermon from last Sunday was a well known, but often misunderstood, passage: Luke 16:1-13 (The Parable of the Dishonest Manager). I encourage you to listen to it if you missed it or need a refresher.
The interpretation I offered on Sunday is a novel one; I don’t think any one source or scholar puts it together quite like I did. But, parts of my exegesis were present in three different resources I’d like to recommend for further study and reflection if you so choose:
- For more on the social situation of poverty and destitution by the vast majority of Jews in Jesus’ day: The Politics of Jesus by Obery Hendricks, Jr.
- For more on the role of the trickster and how the powerless in scripture use the power of the powerful to undermine and subvert their evil: Abuelita Faith: What Women on the Margins Teach Us about Wisdom, Persistence, and Strength by Kat Armas.
- For more on the Manager using Mammon to undermine the evil of Mammon and how Mammon works as a counter-god in Scripture: Jesus and the Politics of Mammon by Hollis Phelps.
This parable is one reason why it’s so important to learn how to see power and how it works. God’s love always reckons with power, and wealth/money is power in our world. If we can learn to see how Mammon works, we can begin to develop an imagination for how God’s love and justice want to work in places of oppression and marginalization.
I look forward to discerning more as a community how we can “make use of dishonest wealth (i.e. mammon)” like the dishonest manager does: to undermine the ways in which Mammon keeps us in bondage and participate in the Kingdom of God.
Praying for our church collectively that we may become delighted in God to the degree that we are incapable of injustice. May we, too, know the things that make for peace in our world.
Your servant for Christ’s sake,