The Common Good

A Man Had Two Sons — Luke 15:11

It’s one of the deepest and most enduring themes of the Bible; from Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob, and many more — the two sons, with jealousy, strife, and even murder between them, and almost always, the younger brother takes the glory – or the blame – for the acts of the older brother.

Cain and Abel depiction, claudio zaccherini / Shutterstock.com
Cain and Abel depiction, claudio zaccherini / Shutterstock.com

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We see it again in the Boston Marathon bombings – the elder brother portrayed as cynical and brutish, while the younger brother, taking the blame, is shown as charming and innocent.

In our dramas, daily and Biblical, we seem to need a conniving, tempting presence, one who corrupts and poisons our innocence.

Our perpetrators, as if on script, are sullen, dark, and mysterious.

And our victims look at us with open and welcoming eyes.

We’d like to blame the elder brother, and we usually do.

But the Bible is clear: not one of us stands clear and innocent.

And our fall, however great or small, is never at anyone’s hand but our own.

Morf Morford considers himself a free-range Christian who is convinced that God expects far more of us than we can ever imagine, but somehow thinks God knows more than we do. To pay his bills, he’s been a teacher for adults (including those in his local county jail) in a variety of setting including Tribal colleges, vocational schools, and at the university level in the People’s Republic of China. Within an academic context, he also writes an irreverent ESL blog and for the Burnside Writers Collective.

Image: Cain and Abel depiction, claudio zaccherini / Shutterstock.com

 

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