Parables That Have Lasted the Ages, Issue 116
August 15, 2017 by Presbyterian Foundation
Søren Kierkegaard used literary “indirection” as a theological stratagem. He regularly employed pseudonyms, irony, misdirection, and parables to engage his readers. The following parables (think “church,” not “state” or “philosopher”) are as timely today as they were 165 years ago.
A revolutionary age is an age of action; ours is an age of advertisement and publicity. Nothing ever happens but there is immediate publicity everywhere. In the present age, a rebellion is, of all things, the most unthinkable. Such an expression of strength would seem ridiculous to the calculating intelligence of our times. On the other hand, a political virtuoso might bring off a feat almost as remarkable. He might write a manifesto suggesting a general assembly at which people should decide upon a rebellion, and it would be so carefully worded that even the censor would let it pass. At the meeting itself, he would be able to create the impression that his audience had rebelled, after which they would all go quietly home – having spent a very pleasant evening.
When Philip threatened to lay siege to the city of Corinth, and all its inhabitants hastily bestirred themselves in defense, some polishing weapons, some gathering stones, some repairing the walls, Diogenes seeing all this hurriedly folded his mantle about him and began to roll his tub zealously back and forth through the streets. When he was asked why he did this he replied that he wished to be busy like all the rest, and rolled his tub lest he should be the only idler among so many industrious citizens.
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