On Saturday, December 6, 2014, we continued our third of five years in diaconate formation as a part of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton class.
This week we discussed what ordinary 21st century images and experiences would Jesus use if he was teaching in parables today? How might they vary when used in different cultures, generations and socioeconomic classes? Below are some of the responses we heard and discussed in class about this topic.
Unlike in the time of Jesus, there were limited job types and experiences, today we can see not only a myriad of these locally, but those all over the world. There are still common jobs that seem to transcend most cultures: Teacher, Country Leader (President, Queen or King, etc.), Spiritual Leader (Priest, Rabbi, Shaman, Imam, etc.), Businessperson, Firefighter, Police Officer, and Astronaut, Pilot / Engineer (Airplane, Spacecraft, Boat, Train, etc.) to list a few. You could also list a few specific individuals: Pope Francis, Mother Theresa, Putin of Russia and Kim in North Korea.
Images could include travel: everything from walking or by bike to car, train, jet or even rocket, homelessness and all those associated with it, Medicine: everything from cures to Ebola, Grocery Shopping, Vacations, and Watching TV.
In terms of experiences, we could see the following as possibilities: bullying, On-line Communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), Racial Tensions, Terrorists, Immigration, and Health Care.
When it comes to different cultures, generations and socioeconomic classes, there are very few parables that would reach everyone today. Usage of technology would appeal to a primarily younger audience but could be lost on older members of society as well as those less “techno savvy”. A parable about someone who was homeless and hungry may be understood by everyone (in the mind) while it misses in the heart for those who have not experienced it or had any contact with that socioeconomic group. Cultural aspects, at a basic level, could be met, to some degree. Parables about rich and poor, helping others, and the love of a parent could cross cultural boundaries. There are, however, distinct aspects in most cultures. An example may be very suitable for one group while almost considered profane with another group.
With the Internet there is such a wide variety of platforms, we believe Jesus would use all media to get his message out. While still using parables, they would be in current images and context. He would use the image of the poor to help all to understand that hardship exists all over the world, that with all of us there is hope and love that can be eased with the help of all those who inhabit our society. With the lightning speed of Twitter and Instagram, Jesus could reach millions of followers, taking his story of a woman with a medical condition and his healing touch would spread like wildfire. For those places in the world that do not have access to technology word of mouth would be the only way to reach out to these individuals, however with the ease of travel and the work of missionaries all over the world, the stories of Jesus and his healing, grace and love would reach all corners of the planet.
We continue to be grateful for your support and prayers as we continue this amazing journey.
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If you have any questions about what we have experienced in the diaconate (aka “that deacon thing”), please ask us or send us an e-mail to email@example.com.
If you are interested in becoming a Deacon or a Deacon Couple for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, please contact:
Diaconate Formation Office
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Or, Attend an information day:
Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. John Chrysostom Parish, 546 E. Florence Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301.
Candy & Jay Krueger,
Candidacy Year II, Diaconate Formation,
Holy Family Church, South Pasadena, CA