Sunday, May 27, 2007

Parable of the Lawsuit

To what shall I compare this generation?

It is like unto the law court where a certain man sought relief. This man had an adversary who persecuted him day and night. So the man went to court to obtain the court's protection.

When the man first arrived in the courtroom, he thought he had taken a wrong turn. Instead of rows of seats facing a high bench, the room held a circle of folding chairs. Instead of suits, robes, and horsehair wigs, the man saw chinos, polo shirts, sandals and, in some cases, ankle socks. There was no gavel, no flag, no bailiff ordering the people to rise, not even a stenographer taking notes. Everyone seemed to be on a first-name basis. No one seemed to be in charge, until one man said, "Now, friends, let's talk one at a time."

The plaintiff's confusion only grew as the trial proceeded. There was no established order as to who was allowed to speak, what they were allowed to say, or what questions they could and could not ask. When an objection was raised, the "moderator" settled it by having the opponents play "rock-scissors-paper." There was a lot of talk about "settling differences" and none about actually determining what was right. Every so often, the assembly broke up into random, small groups that discussed nothing but broad generalities without any sense of purpose. After each of these "breakout" sessions, the "moderator" always seemed pleased that "progress" had been made.

The plaintiff became scared when he realized that he didn't know who was on his side or who spoke for his adversary. He did not know what this "court" was handing out, but he felt a growing certainty that it wasn't justice. As soon as there was a recess, the man fled. It seemed to be less trouble to put up with his adversary's hostility, even if it ruined him.

Let him hear who has ears.

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