The site calls the manager “dishonest” but I prefer “shrewd” because the master commends the manager for his shrewdness and I think that’s the whole friggin’ point of the parable. The wealthy man/master represents God and the manager/servant represents the individual, I guess, and it seems really weird because it seems like Jesus is telling us to fudge the books and that doesn’t seem like something He would say. But the thing centers on someone forgiving debts and that is very much something Jesus talked about. And there’s a whole lotta talk in the NT about the OT’s Laws and how they were intended to bring people closer to God, not create unbearable burdens that would ultimately drive people away from God. So I’m thinking that what Jesus meant was that the Laws should be dropped in cases where they impede a person’s ability to engage in a relationship with God.
I’m in the ELCA – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We’re evangelical – though there has been some talk that we should drop that word because it’s associated with bigots and shitheads, which I think is kowtowing and we should double down instead of ceding a perfectly good word. Doubling down is my default setting. Anyhoo, we’re evangelical and we’re different from the other flavors of Lutheran in that we ordain LGBTQ+ folks and don’t put restrictions on them beyond the restrictions on straight clergy, and that we recognize and perform same-sex weddings. The other Lutherans are all agitated about it because gay is bad and all that noise. I guess they think the solution to the problem of sin is to prevent people from going to church until they aren’t sinners which is about as boneheaded as you could ask for. The ELCA position is that we’re all sinners and therefore no one is more sinny than anybody else and we’re all in the same boat. Sinners should be in church. The evangelist’s job is to get them there. So if someone’s LGBTQ+ status prevents them from attending church, I’ma tell them that don’t mean a thing and welcome them to sit in a pew with me. Being clear – I’m not saying that being of the LGBTQ+ is a sin. I am not qualified to make that call. I’m saying that if it is a sin I am going to use the power given to me by John 20:23 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A23&version=NRSV and forgive them, as I understand I should do according to the parable of the Shrewd/Dishonest Manager. Boom. Dispute that Bible cherry-pickin’, why don’tcha.
‘Cause here’s the thing – the Holy Spirit is still doing stuff. You get some freaky sinner showin’ up in church, partaking of the Lord’s Meal, praying, remembering their baptism and all that jazz and they will figure things out. They will, if they are sincerely trying to do what God would have them do, have realizations about their own behavior. They may come to the conclusion that being a practicing LGBTQ+ is compatible with being a Christian or not, as the Spirit communicates with them. I’ve heard of it happening both ways and there are plenty of examples of Jesus giving different directions to different people so I don’t see a contradiction. Remember – I’m always saying that God wants individual relationships with individuals. S/He may have different plans for different LGBTQ+ individuals and I aint gonna second guess Him/Her. What concerns me more is that a person who does feel a contradiction between being Christian and LGBTQ+ would choose to leave the church. That is something I think we should take pains to avoid. As evangelists, we can get people into church, but that’s all. We’re like first responders to an accident – we can stabilize people and get them medical attention and then we gotta let Someone more qualified take over.
In summary, I’ma try to get LGBTQ+s into church. And I’ma stand hard by the ELCA’s commitment to same.
Also, I did another picture. It needs to be cropped, but this program won’t let me do that now.