Jesus and the Disinherited, Part 5, February 22, 1959


Part 5 of Jesus and the Disinherited. Again reads from Clive Benson, "Martha of Bethany," and "The Rich Young Ruler." Remember that Jesus was a poor Jew, and not just economically poor but a member of a marginal community which tends to give to the individual a low estimate of themselves. Story of the untouchable Indian boy who came to Thurman during his trip to India and asked, "Is there anything that you can say that would help a nobody?" When you are outside the mainstream of society, you are a disinherited and you feel that there is nothing you can do or become that would impact society.

Thurman argues that the Essenes did somewhat answer this problem by sharing all things and building common community, but it is useless if one must disassociate from the larger world. The one place Jesus found where a person could live a redemptive life was in the family. We think that if we are not prosperous then God has not blessed us, and that means that God has taken "the same attitude towards you that society has." A person's meaning has nothing to do with classification. What Jesus did was take the discovery of how a family loves all its members (strong and weak), and then project that onto the whole human race as the family of God. This works against fear and hate. Thurman says he had heard plenty of sermons on how to treat and aid people "with their backs against the wall," but not until he was 25 did he hear a sermon to the "people with their backs against the wall." What would happen if we believed that the poor would inherit the earth?

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