God’s Story and Our Story

I wrote a few posts ago about God’s time and our time. Yesterday, I was reminded of a story that Tex Sample, a retired seminary professor, told about God's story and our story. Let me say that I don’t always agree with Prof. Sample, but there’s no mistaking the truth of justice in this story.

Prof. Sample has a friend named Jimmy Hope Smith who was born and raised in Alabama and talks with an exaggerated drawl. He has a Ph.D in aesthetics, but still talks the same way he always has. I’ll let Tex tell the rest of the story:

Now Jimmy Hope's got a daddy. He loves his daddy a whole lot. But his daddy is unredeemed in some serious ways. Well, he likes to go visit his daddy. In the morning in his daddy's house the first one up hits the button on the TV set and it goes on. Last one to bed at night hits the button and the TV set goes off. All day long you sit there and just watch that TV set. You eat breakfast and lunch and supper in front of it. You have conversation in front of it. You entertain company in front of it. I mean - it's just there. There is a sacred hour when "As the World Turns" comes on. Silence is stringently observed.

Well, they were sitting there one day having a conversation while the TV was going. Jimmy Hope's just having a wonderful time talking with his daddy about things. He learned a long time ago that when he argues with his daddy he better not argue with his daddy the way he learned to argue when he was at the university. Well, they're watching TV and suddenly the picture of Jesse Jackson comes on the screen and his daddy says, "Somebody ought to shoot that SOB!…They just oughta shoot him."

"Well, daddy, do you really believe someone ought to shoot Jesse Jackson?"

"I do! They just oughta shoot him."

"Well, daddy, if you really believe that I think you ought to go to church Sunday and I think you ought to pray for somebody to shoot Jesse Jackson."

"What's the matter with you, boy, are you crazy?"

“No sir, I just think that if you really believe that you ought to go to church and pray for it."

"Boy, you know good and well that Jesus ain't gonna put up with that sh--."

- from “Justice in the World: Getting the Story and the Practices Right.”

If we try to make our story fit into God’s story, we’ll fail every time. Jesus won’t put up with that. And if you don’t think Jesus occasionally got perturbed, maybe you need to reread the Cleansing of the Temple.

Now that was a house cleaning.



John said…
I like that story. The rhetorical technique displayed is brilliant.