Carpentry makes for lousy parables

Talking with the ministers the other day about theology and whatnot and in the course of the conversation we began to talk about the Church's mission to help people gain meaning for their lives. In that pursuit, the Church must be able to help people discover language which helps articulate a meaning for them to embody. We commented how we each felt about how the Church is doing (not too well at the moment) and then discussed the influence of scientific atheism in the culture.

In the course of the conversation something struck me about Jesus and his ability to speak to the people he was with. He never once used a parable dealing with carpentry.

Parables of coins, strangers, sheep, sons, grain, goats... sure. Parables of hammers, tables, crafting, designing... no.

The only one I could connect to carpentry was the saying where we should not talk about the splinter in our neighbors eye with a plank of wood in our own. But that is a weak connection at best.

By all accounts Jesus was a carpenter. In fact the "Passion of the Christ" has Jesus making the first table people sit down in chairs at to eat a meal. But he hung out with fishermen, farmers, and the socially estranged of society. Thus his parables and language reflect this.

Perhaps the Church could take a lesson from this and stop trying to control a conversation and force it to always be about God. Not everyone is comfortable or even knows theology or God-talk. But everyone has an area or a world which they know and can relate with and the Church could possibly connect with more people if we were only willing to stop talking about God with our own insider language and talk about God with the language of the people we are in relationship with.

Either that or Carpentry makes for lousy parables.