Love or Management?

Today's story about Jesus is about a series of traps laid to trip him up. First, some Pharisees try to entangle him in the most delicate, and most dangerous, political question of their day, relations with the imperial state that held Palestine in its control, by asking whether they should pay taxes to Caesar. He slips their grip on that one. Then the Sadducees try to entangle him and bring him down in a thick web of legal complications that arise from applying the traditional law to a hypothetical case of marriage law. Finally, today, the Pharisees come back to trap him with a more or less scholastic question about the whole of the law. They ask him to resolve it into a single all-encompassing precept.

Jesus' way out of this trap is to quote from the Law. 'Love God and love your neighbor. The rest depends on this.' Mr Slyboots Jesus strikes again! For the answer does not satisfy the question. He offers love instead of hermeneutics. They want to scrutinize, analyze, categorize, rationalize, and everything else -ize. Jesus says only 'love'. The answer does not meet the question, but neither does it evade it. Without love, none of our behavior, our relationships is worth a --- fig; with love, we don't need to get involved in categories and catalogs of the niceties of behavior and relationship.

All this is worth noticing because we all too often find ourselves in similar situations, with questions of behavior and relationship, trying to psych out or reason out what would be the best or the cleanest or the most efficient or cost-effective way of dealing. And we have whole sets of precepts and models from the past which we can apply to our current situation. We have understandings of human nature, psychologies of behavior and development and organizational behavior, to apply. These are the pagan Gods, and the Official Reality of our Pharisees, the managers and manipulators of our culture.

It is to them that Jesus answers, 'Love.' It is we, the bystanders, who hear him speak. Will we, as his listeners often did, rejoice to hear the truth spoken, or will we, as others did, if not crucify him to silence a word at once so simple and so difficult, will we stand silent by, as Love is put to death for the sake of law and order, to preserve our way of life.