Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Deviant (Luke 16:1-8)

            BY THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING             

   Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a wealthy landowner who, having received reports of a steward mismanaging the property, summoned the steward and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Give me an account of your service, for it’s about to come to an end.’ The steward thought, ‘What will I do next? My employer is going to fire me. I can’t dig ditches. I’m ashamed to go begging. I have it! Here’s a way to make sure that people will take me into their homes when I’m let go.’
                “So the steward called in each of the landowner’s debtors. The steward said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my employer?’ The debtors replied, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Take you invoice sit down quickly and make it fifty.’ To another the steward said, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer came, ‘A hundred measures of wheat,’ and the steward said, ‘Take you invoice and make it eighty.’
                “Upon hearing this, the owner gave this devious worker credit for being enterprising! Why? Because the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind then are the children of light.”                                              
                Luke 16:1-8

The steward of this parable is queer. Not that we are given any indication of the steward’s sexual orientation. Rather the steward is queer for here is one preparing for the coming judgment and taking steps to secure a better future. This strikes me as a queer dynamic. At some point all queer people, and even our allies, must prepare for judgmental attitudes of cultures wearing herteronormative lenses. From behind such lenses we are often perceived as the steward in this parable – dishonest, selfish, ego-centric, and crafty as a fox.

It causes pain among prim and proper commentators to hear Jesus praising this steward. Yet, this is the genius of the parable – the one who should be condemned is instead condoned. What is being lifted up is the sheer shrewdness of the steward to prepare for the awaiting judgment of the landowner and in that preparation to secure a future beyond employment with the landowner.

As queer rights make significant gains, it is easy for us to think that our future and the future of the next generation of rainbow youth are secure. I think we need to pause and reflect on lessons learned from the Civil Rights movement of African-Americans. Voting rights were secured. Equal employment opportunities were secured. Open housing was secured. Marriage rights for bi-racial couples were secured. Yet, in the USA we’ve seen an onslaught against these so called securities. Unfortunately, while public policy worked to dismantle racism, private thoughts and inward attitudes nurtured and pursued bigotry with a vengeance.
It would do us well to acknowledge that while public policy is opening toward queer friendly attitudes, private thoughts and inward attitudes still harbor darker and less accepting beliefs.

At this juncture we need to pay attention to the actions of the steward who secured a future by becoming ingratiated to others. The steward didn’t chase after changing the public policy of the landowner. Instead the steward chased after the private thoughts and inward attitudes of business associates and colleagues. Ironically, this ingratiated the steward with the landowner as well.

No doubt we should work to change public policy. For the good of our generation and the next we must dismantle laws which criminalize and punish same-sex desire. And we must also win over the private thoughts and inward attitudes of our neighbors, our co-workers, our landlords, and so on. Ironically, we may also need to win over our fellow queers as we become jealous of the lying, cheating, and sheer shrewdness of each other as we seek to secure our futures.

No comments:

Post a Comment