I’m kinda not a Christian. I grew up in a good Evangelical Christian family and was on the path toward becoming a missionary or pastor or Christian Rock and Roller (Petra, Never Say Die!), but then a few bad experiences, which I’ll talk about more if you stick around, and then walked away, into a better life. That was about half my life ago. I left Christianity when I was 23 and I’m 43 now.
I still keep a few Bibles around so every now and then I’ll pick one up and thumb through it and I’m always shocked at how different the stories and writings apprear to me now. There’s a strong possibility that the Bible appears different now because I’m reading it without the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was my guide at one point in my life. He helped lead me through the difficult waters and helped reveal hidden meanings in the text. But now that I’m HolySpiritLess, I’m left to ramble through the pages on my own and try to understand their mysteries.
Like the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Let’s start with that one.
The gist of the story:
Jesus tells the story, a teenager/adult isn’t happy, asks his father for his inheritance early, takes off, parties, losses all of his money, winds up working for the pigs, decides to go back home, his father runs out to meet him, his father throws him a welcome home party, his older brother gets angry, his father tries to conjole the older brother by saying your brother was lost but now he’s found.
Some takes I got when I was HolySpiritful:
1. God loves you even if you leave him and he’ll take you back with open arms
2. The younger son shouldn’t have run off, but he did and it’s good that he came back and everyone will welcome him with open arms.
Other takes I heard seen played out based on this story.
1. Just wait out the trouble-maker, he’ll/she’ll come home just like the prodigal son.
2. It’s okay to ask for your inheritance early and some parents may even give it early so their child will learn the lesson of the prodigal son.
3. Many wonderful people whom we all know have come home.
My take now:
What a strange story. The father must have been an idiot. Here he has a rebellious son and he gives him his inheritance early even though it’s obvious that he’s going to squander it. What parent in their right mind would do that.
The only sane person in this story is the older brother and he has a right to be angry.
Why didn’t the father follow the son, like I think most father’s would do if they ran away with your money? At least he would send out some servants to find out what’s going on with him.
I suspect most loving father’s would welcome the son back, but they wouldn’t throw a party. They would start with a lecture. That makes the most sense to me.
The father’s point to the older brother would do nothing more than aggrevate him. He’s obviously the next one to leave. Plus it doesn’t make any sense. The younger son wasn’t dead and then alive again, he just left and came back. Also, the older son may not always be with his father, especially after a comment like that.
If the point of the story is that God will take you back even if you stray, then the younger brother got the best of both worlds, an early inheritance and a party when he came back. If he would’ve thought things through a little he probably could have avoided the pigs. I hate to try and twist current public opinion of the story, but Jesus’ point isn’t all that clear.
The whole story is just akward and strange. I don’t understand how anyone could make a case for someone whose strayed coming back again. I suspect the person who strayed who hears this story, would be more invorgated to make it in life, so they wouldn’t have to go back instead of squandering all of their money, but what do I know, I’m HolySpiritless.