April 24, 2008

Parable of the River

This is the first time this has happened to me: I had a rather long post written out and it disappeared into the internet ether. In the tradition of all lost work, it was a sparkling bit of brilliance which would have rocked your world, made you rich and mopped your floors. True story.

So instead I will share the parable that inspired it. Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll recreate how it helped me sort out some thoughts about Firefly's adoption. I heard it from someone who heard it from someone who read a version of it in a piece by Brian McLaren.
There once was a wide, rushing river with steep banks. Sometimes there would be people floating down the river who were unable to get out on their own. The folks who lived by the river noticed the people floating by and one day decided to form a human chain to pull them from the water. For every person they pulled out, two others floated down and so they rescued them, too. Eventually more river-dwelling folks came down to the water to help, setting up shelters and bringing food and dry clothing.

All the while more and more people kept floating by in the river. Those on the banks rescued those they could reach and mourned those they couldn't. But in all that time no one ever thought to go upstream to find out why those people were falling into the river in the first place.

That is the difference between compassion and justice.


Anonymous said...

ahhhhhh, very good.

GLouise said...

Ahh, very good. I had to read it twice to get it.

kate said...

Hmm. Interesting parable.

I definitely know what it's like to lose pearls of wisdom (in my case, strung 18 feet long, because I just cannot be brief!) to the Blogger machine. It just SUCKS!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I love it when new people leave comments, because then I get to click over and discover a brand new blog!

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