Diana, I got to this "musing" late....I LOVED YOUR TAKE on it.. I've never liked this parable....there are no (for lack of a better way of saying it) winners. Everyone in the parable gets to deal with bad -- that's life -- karma.

Thanks for another "reading" of the story.

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Finally, this story makes sense.

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I don’t know if Jesus’s hearers were necessarily laughing. I can imagine a lot of “huh?” or maybe “come again?”, “say what, Jesus?”, maybe even the occasional “wtf?”

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Nov 13, 2023Liked by Diana Butler Bass

You know I’m not a Christian....yet, I'm 64 years old. I could give a history about me but it's of little use. It's now water over the dam. Only now counts. I've never been able to be a convert to truly any religion or practicing faith. I'm not an atheist. Had a kind of spirituality once but it's been elusive to me somehow. I feel astrained

from it now for sometime. Not centered like I once was. Loved your take on the parable of the bridesmaids. I've never heard it spoken of in this way. The only way I've ever heard was in a cruel and horrible way or ending. Ty :)

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I "heard" your call about sharing your recent sermon, and at I didn't know how to share it on Twitter. Maybe you could help with a link. I did hit your share button and was able to post it to my FB page, but didn't see how to share it on Twitter, where I have many more followers than on my new FB account. Thanks, Diana and The Cottage.

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Please do.

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Loved your take on this parable. In our little Lectio Diviana last week, our group also asked “who sells oil at 12:00 midnight two thousand years ago?” Our message was, of course, to stay aware, stay awake.....but, really, not everyone has the capacity to do that.....so, be kind, be loving, be understanding. Also, I’m with you....be glad not receive invitations such as that!

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I have so very much struggled with this parable, and I absolutely adore this interpretation! Thank you for making me think and to remember that our God absolultey has a sense of humor - wouldn't it be so very true that some of his storytelling would have been intended to make us laugh and in that to make us think! Love it.

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Wisdom, one way or another . . . Phew!

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Lots there to think about! Thanks! I'd like to make one simple comment. Jesus had other parables about being prepared, such as the servants who were left in charge, but weren't prepared when the master returned. Jesus taught about a coming judgment more than once, such as his parable of the sheep and goats and those who ministered to the poor and strangers, and those who failed to do so. Paul spoke about a judgment day for Christians, which will not lead to death, but at which the works of Christians will be tried by fire, possibly with great discomfort. 1Corinthians 3:11-15

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For the first time this story makes sense. Thank you

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Thanks for distinguishing phronimos and sophia, a helpful distinction. According to the internets: "Plato defined [phronesis] as the disposition of mind which enables us to judge what things are to be done and what things are not to be done." Sounds like discernment, which is related to wisdom but different. So discernment is useful but not sufficient. Makes sense in the context of this parable, and one could see why Paul would harp on the distinction.

I do appreciate the ambiguous nature of many of Jesus's parables, and the potential for multiple interpretations, but this one seems pretty straightforward, no?

This bit from John Piper is useful:

"Five of them did not take seriously their calling to give light, and they neglected the only means by which they could do what they were called to do. They took no oil. They only had lamps. Their job was to provide light, and they had lamps without oil. Candles without wicks. Torches without fire. Light bulbs without electricity. The outward form of religion and no internal power. They liked their position, otherwise they would have left. But they did not have a passion to use the necessary means to fulfill the point of their position. Light! Their foolishness was to think that the mere form of a religious lamp would be sufficient. Or, perhaps, that the power to light a lamp could simply be borrowed at the last minute. In fact, it can’t be borrowed at all. "

Even Eckhart Tolle seems to agree:

“…Jesus speaks of five careless (unconscious) women who do not have enough oil (consciousness) to keep their lamps burning (stay present) and so miss the bridegroom (the Now) and don’t get to the wedding feast (enlightenment). These five stand in contrast to the five wise women who have enough oil (stay conscious)…[These parables] point to the transcendence of the egoic mind and the possibility of living in an entirely new state of consciousness.”

In sum, just having the oil, or access to the oil, is also not sufficient. We must keep the lamp burning. As the Buddha says, we must be "ardent and alert." Indeed, the Buddha's delineation of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment shows that discernment is not in the top spot (nor central, nor at the root):

1. mindfulness

2. discernment

3. determination

4. joy

5. tranquility

6. concentration

7. equanimity.

Bottom line: Are we ready for the banquet in the land of god? Sounds like a 50-50 chance at best!

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Nov 12, 2023·edited Nov 12, 2023

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning.

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

The time is drawing nigh.

I love this spiritual.

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I have a few instances of closing doors turned to opportunity growth but one that stand out now is when a massogonistic, intillectial minister who headed the Education Committee of the United Chruch of Canada decided I could not enter the lay ministry because program because I only went to College and didn't have a degree (2 years in Community college vs. a 3 year degree program in a University at the time). He also didn't like women ministers much and regarded my home grown variety of theological training to be lacking.

His stated reason for my denial was that the Seminary had suggested that to support me as I moved ahead with my ministry that I should have a spiritual director. He saw needing a spiritual director as a flaw in my personality and was sure that the trauma in my life would provide no more than "twoor good sermons" and then I would be out of material.

I left the course deflated and angry but I did take the advice of my teachers and seek out a spiritual director. That was almost 20 years ago.

Since then I have sought out coaching and then spiritual direction training and licensing as a minister in the Canadian Internation Metaphysical Ministry . It has taken me to a place of discovery I never would have found within the confines of organized religion. It broadened my view to include the ancient and modern mystics and on a path of forgiveness and healing marked particularly by "A Course in Miracle" and on to the thinking of people like Richard Rohr and Diana Butler Bass.

I never would have found this exciting an mind blowing options for thought if I had continued on that path to ministry.

Now I am building my spiritual direction/companioning work and I teach/preach often as pulpit supply in many Untied Churches, where they are now so short of ministers that they can't fill their pulpits with the "ordained".

It was a rocky path to this point of thanksgiving but it ws one illumited with the light of Christ.

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I had a friend say to me once, "You are the dumbest smart person I know", meaning that I was full of factual knowledge, but totally lacking in what she thought of as "common sense". Years later my daughter told our therapist "she doesn't have good sense". Same report, separated by 40 years. So I spent a lot of time learning to exhibit "common sense"---the kind the world understands and appreciates. I never get completely "got the hang of it". But as I look at my life now at 86, it seems to me that I feel happier and more stable mentally and emotionally than my more "worldly" friends. If I seem "strange" to others because they see me as not having "common sense", I no longer care. And I am able to "let it [myself] be" and to "let them be" however they are without judgement or blame. Never have been able to party with the crowd, and never have knocked down any doors trying to get in with them. Maybe Jesus was just trying to same something about temperamental differences and how we all belong at the heavenly banquet regardless.

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My youngest son (who calls me every day as I live alone and am now 91) was let go from his job, which he had been complaining about, a few months ago. At that time I told him "this may be a blessing in disguise". The same employer has now called him back to a different department and a different shift. It will be a change, but somehow we will manage it. I am grateful for all of this and my life.

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