“We live in a culture that has replaced soul with self. This reduction turns people into either problems or consumers. Insofar as we acquiesce in that replacement, we gradually but surely regress in our identity, for we end up thinking of ourselves and dealing with others in marketplace terms: everyone we meet is either a potential recruit to join our enterprise or a potential consumer for what we are selling; or we ourselves are the potential recruits and consumers. Neither we or our friends have any dignity just as we are, only in terms of how we or they can be used” (Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: 38).
We also live in a culture addicted to fame. Everyone we meet is a potential victim to help monetize our cause. Everyone we meet is a commodity to viralize our movement.
News stations flit to the next “Breaking News!” The Internet (as if a person) scrolls quickly to the next hashtag. Politicians scramble to the next open mic for a free campaign ad. Religious leaders even parrot the same “Let me first say” disclaimers to retain donorship.
All leaving in their wake those to whom they promised #justice. The crimeless victim.
Exploitation by any other name still smells rotten.
Meanwhile, as everyone postures for Sabbath piety, Jesus is at the pool of Siloam helping an atrophied paralytic dance (Jn 5.1-9). He finally got off his pallet and rested for the first time in four decades. The Sabbath was made for man.
While the crowd snaps selfies #withJesus, Jesus is healing a woman who suffered 12 years’ worth of menstrual hemorrhaging (Lk 8.43-48). “She had not escaped notice” (v47).
While the crowd stepped over and shushed Bartimaeus, Jesus stopped to open his eyes (Mk 10.46-52). Bartimaeus wasn’t the blind one after all.
As all Jerichoians clamored to city center, Jesus invited himself to dinner with the local vertically-challenged mob boss (Lk 19.1-10). The new son of Abraham stood tall (v9).
For every #movement we find our selves tempted to join, let’s be sure we’re not tripping over a soul to get there. If we look closer, we’ll see it was the Stone of Stumbling all along (Is 8.14; 1 Pt 2.8).