Yixing Teapots


Log in



Robert Farar Capon on Trinity 9 – Luke 16:1-9

by pastorjuhl ~ July 29th, 2010

I don’t read Robert Farar Capon as often as I should. He’s quirky, but often has a different view of the text that many of us, if not all of us, never thought. Here’s Capon up to his old tricks again from Kingdom, Grace, Judgment:
Grace works only on those it finds dead enough to raise.
The unjust steward is the Christ-figure because he is a crook, like Jesus. The unique contribution of this parable to our understanding of Jesus is its insistence that grace cannot come to the world through respectability. Respectability regards only life, success, winning; it will have no truck with the grace that works by death and losing – which is the only kind of grace there is.
Crux muscipulum diaboli, St. Augustine said: the cross is the devil’s mousetrap, baited with Jesus’ disreputable death. And it is a mousetrap for us, too. Jesus baits us criminals with his own criminality: as the shabby debtors in the parable were willing to deal only with the crooked steward and not with the upright lord, so we find ourselves drawn by the bait of a Jesus who winks at iniquity and makes friends of sinners – of us crooks, that is – and of all the losers who would never in a million years go near a God who knew what was expected of himself and insisted on what he expected of others.

You don’t like that? You think it lowers standards and threatens good order? You bet it does! And if you will cast your mind back, you will recall that is exactly why the forces of righteousness got rid of Jesus. Unfortunately, though, the church has never been able for very long to leave Jesus looking like the attractively crummy character he is: it can hardly resist the temptation to gussy him up into a respectable citizen. Even more unfortunately, it can almost never resist the temptation to gussy itself up into a bunch of supposedly perfect peaches, too good for the riffraff to sink their teeth into. But for all that, Jesus remains the only real peach – too fuzzy on the outside, nowhere near as sweet as we expected on the inside, and with the jawbreaking stone of his death right smack in the middle. And therefore he is the only mediator and advocate the likes of us will ever be able to trust, because like the unjust steward, he is no less a loser than we are – and like the steward, he is the only one who has even a chance of getting the Lord God to give us a kind word.
Lucky for us we don’t have to deal with a just steward.

Leave a Reply