(In our discussions this week, Paul Mayers posted this parable in a comment. I couldn't resist and have re-posted it here in full, under his name - Jason)
Maybe it would seem we need to rediscover the wonder of parables, those stories that take our everyday encounters and transmutes them somehow. If we can hear them in the first place.
The third space one would be a great example, I can almost hear Jesus saying…
‘a man and women walk into starbucks, pay £8 to sip their skinny latte and chi tea. They leave feeling less thirsty and more virtuous having discussed their spiritual journies and resolve that in this space they can be truly free. Before parting they agree to meet back there at the same time next week where they will this time discuss how to resolve world hunger over a chocolate muffin and a piece of blueberry cheesecake. Who do you think is richer for this experience, the economy of God or the economy of the market?’
At once Peter spoke up, ‘Guru, you have made me think that if we offer free muffins and better coffee we will be able to attract more followers, for as you have said man and women need more than just Dunkin Donuts alone.'
'No, no,' said Judas, who managed the on-line bank account and charitable donations, 'we should buy shares in this starbucks. It would seem its business model is most profitable.'
The disciples began to bicker amongst themselves, one saying for the coffee plan and another for the investments, still a third argued that they should set up their own coffee shop chain and a fourth that maybe it would be better and edgier to run a pub or a tattoo parlour. Each one saying that their idea was more radical and counter cultral than the last.
Finally Jesus spoke again, 'oh you and your consumer ways, do you not realise that you seek to take on the forms of this world rather than embody the values of my Father? For it is not about the coffee blend or the pastries that you consume but rather what it is that consumes you and gives your identity. Broad is the market and many who find it easy to be sold their identity from amongst its counter cultural niches. Morons! You are being consumer sheep not radical rebels. But I tell you, narrow is the way of true self formation, denying your right to your rights and instead following me.'
The disciples wondered at his words as they entered into the McD’s drive through…