Mark 12:9

What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and put the tenants to death, and he will let the vineyard to others.


it’s always easiest
if I can set myself up
with a ready response
to any open-ended question

what to do about
greedy intolerance
be greedy and intolerant

an eye for an eye
re-escalates any problem

kill kill kill


And we come to what the landowner will ultimately do—collect what is due, plus additional pounds of flesh and redistribute the land to tenants more likely to pay their tribute without a hassle.

The presumption is that the landowner, now out of servants and sons will, like Job, miraculously get more. Of course there is an ever present caveat that this is not an analogy and can’t be take too literally.

It must be asked about the violence here. Is this a part of a model of suffering, death, and resurrection (restoration) or is it suffering, death, and more death. Is there any redemption going on here? If so, for whom?—the religious leaders of our day who co-opted the roles of the religious leaders after the destruction of the Temple?

Of major interest is how a hoped-for story of good news keeps running into repetitive cycles of history that seem to show no learning of how to live partnered lives. It seems we are so tied to a top-down model of relationship that there is no room for very long at any inn for a weak G*D. [You might be interested in the work of John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God, The Insistence of God, The Folly of God.]

One of the thought experiments that might go on here is to wonder about those to whom the vineyard is next offered. Suppose, for a moment, that you are the recipient of this fine position of tenant. What do you know about yourself that would lead you to repeat an eventual desire to have more control over your circumstance. Will it be enough to be at a table where what percentage of the crop will be fair to both landowner and tenant is decided? Is there really a “fair” position in a situation of unequal power? How long do you think you would hold out before needing to bring some direct action against the landowner for what is becoming an ever-more tenuous situation with your costs versus return? Is there anything you have at your disposal other than what has been ineffectual thoughts and prayers?

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