Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jesus' teachings are vivid and personal

Remember when Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son? How about the lost sheep, or the lost coin? How about the Good Samaritan? The Pharisee and the Publican? The sheep and the goats? The king and the wedding banquet? People who have heard Jesus' teachings tend to remember them.

Jesus' teachings are exceptionally vivid. Some of that is from the use of parables -- where morality is more than a set of laws or principles; it is the motive behind every good action. That desire for good, and the character who perseveres in good, is the cause of the good that comes to others in the parables.

Jesus' parables are more than simple figures of speech or comparisons; they are stories. We find ourselves caught up in the action; they light up our imagination. Somebody's life or happiness often hangs in the balance of whether another person is going to be good to them.

Jesus' approach is more realistic than discussing morality as some sort of abstract principle. In daily life, someone's happiness often depends on whether or not other people are going to be just or kind toward them. In Jesus' teachings, we see how much goodness matters to us and to those around us. We see its power to change everyday life.


Martin LaBar said...

In other words, virtue ethics.

Weekend Fisher said...

Sort of -- though with a deliberate corrective against the spiritual narcissism that is a risk of virtue ethics. "Virtue is as virtue does", to alter a familiar phrase.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF