Mark 10:18

“Why do you call me good?” answered Jesus. “No one is good but God.

hmm another testing
and ain’t it the case
the bigger the good
the larger the test

makes it seem the worse
for our sense of awe
its very awesome aweness
holds its greatest danger

infatuation and intoxication
are easy addictions
changing our brain chemistry
and time between hits

we fall from an easy integrity
to an advertiser’s new New NEW
requiring ever purer awesomeness
rising from within

After a trapping question about divorce we come to a seemingly appropriate question about moral and ethical development by a seemingly regular guy. We are inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Why shouldn’t Jesus simply accept the compliment just paid to him? Malina244 suggests:

In a limited good society, compliments indicate aggression; they implicitly accuse a person of rising above the rest of one’s fellows at their expense. Compliments conceal envy, not unlike the evil eye. Jesus must fend off the aggressive accusation by denying any special quality of the sort that might give offense to others. Such a procedure is fully in line with the canons of honor. The honorable person, when challenged, pushes away the challenge and diffuses any accusation that might fuel the position of his opponents. Here the counterquestion serves to ward off the unwitting challenge, while the proverb “No one is good but God alone” wards off the envy.

In addition to this cultural aspect, on the simplest of levels a good teacher doesn’t let their student get away with extraneous details that distract from whatever issue is at hand. The matter of seeking whatever might be meant by “eternal life” or a life no longer under occupation but lived in accordance with everything wrong put right is not to be confused with some unknown quality of “goodness” or “wholeness”. The goodness of the teacher is not relevant to import of the quest anymore than the purity of a priest defines the value of any ritual in which they participate. If a search for “eternal life” has brought this person running, that is enough to go on.

In the end, none of us carry virtue by ourselves. We engage in being a partner (ally, advocate, accomplice) on a good journey.

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