Sunday, September 11th, 2011 :: 9:34 AM
The parable of the workers in the vineyard:
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same.
And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.
And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
Part of William Barclay's commentary:
This parable may sound to us as if it described a purely imaginary situation, but that is far from being the case. Apart from the method of payment, the parable describes the kind of thing that frequently happened at certain times in Palestine. The grape harvest ripened towards the end of September, and then close on its heels the rains came. If the harvest was not ingathered before the rains broke, then it was ruined; and so to get the harvest in was a frantic race against time. Any worker was welcome, even if he could give only an hour to the work.
The pay was perfectly normal; a denarius or a drachma was the normal day's wage for a working man; and, even allowing for the difference in modern standards and in purchasing power, 4 pence a day was not a wage which left any margin.
The men who were standing in the market-place were not street-corner idlers, lazing away their time. The market-place was the equivalent of the labour exchange. A man came there first thing in the morning, carrying his tools, and waited until someone hired him. The men who stood in the market-place were waiting for work, and the fact that some of them stood on until even five o'clock in the evening is the proof of how desperately they wanted it.
These men were hired labourers; they were the lowest class of workers, and life for them was always desperately precarious. Slaves and servants were regarded as being at least to some extent attached to the family; they were within the group; their fortunes would vary with the fortunes of the family, but they would never be in any imminent danger of starvation in normal times. It was very different with the hired day-labourers. They were not attached to any group; they were entirely at the mercy of chance employment; they were always living on the semi-starvation line. As we have seen, the pay was 4 pence a day; and, if they were unemployed for one day, the children would go hungry at home, for no man ever saved much out of 4 pence a day. With them, to be unemployed for a day was disaster.
The hours in the parable were the normal Jewish hours. The Jewish day began at sunrise, 6 a.m., and the hours were counted from then until 6 p.m., when officially the next day began. Counting from 6 a.m. therefore, the third hour is 9 a.m., the sixth hour is twelve midday, and the eleventh hour is 5 p.m.
This parable gives a vivid picture of the kind of thing which could happen in the market-place of any Jewish village or town any day, when the grape harvest was being rushed in to beat the rains.
Fairness should always be used to ensure that people get what they earned, but never to prevent people from getting what they need. Generosity trumps fairness.
Monday, June 22nd, 2009 :: 11:15 AM
Lost Cause Radio – Episode 1
Monday, October 27th, 2008 :: 5:33 PM
Maybe that part of you dies. The part that was deeper than work and laundry and oil changes; the part that felt like there was something more, and that it was right there, just out of reach. Maybe it dies a little every time another soul subtly begs you to show it to them, and, fearing rejection, you suppress it. Tell a lie. Make small talk. Maybe it dies, or maybe it just lies dormant. Waiting for you to realize and loathe the shallow, malfunctioning person you've become; to miss it. And maybe then it comes back to you on a lonely, quiet night when you've finally stopped, or been forced to stop, for long enough to notice. And it gives you one last chance, and you can either give up everything and embrace it completely and start living for the first time, and finally reach that which you've been desperately pining for your entire life; or, again out of fear, you can quietly reject it one last time, even lying to yourself about the significance of what you're doing, and pass a point where you can no longer go back, where the only path left is a meaningless, vacant existence spent in bars talking about nothing to people who've made the same decisions you have, or in cubicles doing empty work in order to pay for a lifestyle designed to distract you from what you've lost.
I don't think my problem is that I don't know what I want or how to get it. I don't know what I want or how to get it, but that's not my problem. There's something stopping me before I even get that far. I think my problem is that I'm afraid of… I don't even know. I'm afraid of trying; of moving; of asserting my desire for greatness. I want to hide. I want safety…
Sunday, December 16th, 2007 :: 8:41 PM
Coming Out of the Closet
Tonight, I bought a full-length mirror for the house.
It's official. Mom… Dad… I'm a metrosexual.
Monday, December 3rd, 2007 :: 2:44 AM
The Music or the Misery
So say you're feeling kind of sad and anxious, missing some girl or whatever, but you're not totally depressed. You could go either way. It's two in the fucking morning and you have to wake up in four hours, but you can't sleep. Obviously you're going to put on a record–or open up a playlist, you damn whippersnappers… but what do you choose?
You could listen to a sad song, something old and smooth and emotionally self-destructive, something by Otis Redding or Patsy Cline. That would be true to your feelings and comforting in a familiar but unhealthy way, like that bad relationship you kept going back to until your soul resembled Leonardo DiCaprio in the subway bathroom scene from Basketball Diaries.
Or, you could put on something new and fast and irrelevant, something with clever production and loud guitars. Something to numb your heart and distract your mind, like when Americans see pictures of genocide on the news and flip over to Desperate Housewives or ESPN. Motion City Soundtrack or maybe some Hot Hot Heat.
Because these choices are important. "Which came first, the music or the misery," you know? Wallowing in beautifully harmonized self-pity starts to get a little pathetic by the time you reach your mid-twenties. But is it healthy to manipulate your feelings in order to be, well… healthy?
Maybe there's a reason all those shallow preppy kids are so happy driving around in the BMW convertibles their parents buy them, listening to Britney Spears or N*Sync or whatever the hell the music industry is shitting out these days. But do you really want to live like that? I mean, those people acquire our contempt for good reason.
So, what do you do? Hunch down in the closet with Otis and a bottle of red, waiting for the voices to tire themselves out, or play Solitaire on your laptop with Britney until she bores the hell out of you and you can go back to sleep?
Or maybe you just make up a mix of both, sort it randomly and write something slightly neurotic for your blog.
Monday, October 29th, 2007 :: 9:52 AM
First hint that the woman in charge of the property management firm at your building might be a passive-aggressive misandrist: You can't tell if the new wallpaper in the men's bathroom is tan or pink.
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007 :: 3:56 PM
"So, Ian, you have any big plans for Valentine's Day?"
"Oh, yes, big plans. Big, big plans. Very b… no."
"I'll probably just do the same thing I do every year."
"You know, put on some Hank Williams, drink myself into a coma…"
"But, actually, I figured this year I might try something different."
"Oh yeah? That's great! What are you going to do this year?"
"Well, I figure if I start drinking the day before, then I can just sleep through the whole contrived farce altogether."
"Oh. That's, uh, very… creative."
"Thanks, I like to consider myself a free-thinker."
Friday, December 8th, 2006 :: 10:05 AM
Dear Property Management Firm,
A suggestion: Instead of spending $6.99 on that tacky, holiday-neutral faux-plant you left in my office in a cynically pretentious, uninvited and insincere attempt to make me think well of you, perhaps you could instead direct those funds towards turning the heat up past the constant 65 degrees that you no doubt believe constitutes 'properly sufficient and legal working conditions.' As the self-congratulatory pre-printed sticker you left on the notecard attached to the plant in place of a hand-written message states, you have 45 years of making 'great places,' so I am confident that by now you have acquired the necessary skills to perform such a task.
the grumpy old man in #1425
Thursday, February 16th, 2006 :: 1:38 PM
I just decided that the naming scheme for the UPS's I'm installing at my church is going to be the first names of the original members of the Ramones. You can't imagine how happy this makes me.
Tuesday, February 14th, 2006 :: 10:48 PM
Raise a Glass to Saint Valentine
The great thing about buying alcohol on Valentine's Day is that, upon seeing the contents on your shopping cart — Pop Tarts, Rolos and the latest issue of the National Inquirer wherein they divulge that baseball great Babe Ruth was, in fact, a communist lesbian from Planet X — seeing the contents sprawled out on the conveyor belt like the confessions of some trashy 'tell all' celebrity biography, testifying to your utterly pathetic state of being — not unlike the e-mail your high school girlfriend sent to all of her friends detailing your failings as a lover — the great thing is that Cute Checkout Girl doesn't even bother to ask for your I.D., but just gives you an odd look of pity mixed with something you can't quite place (contempt?) and scans the bottle, leaving you to wonder what the hell you're going to do after the Rolos are gone and do you think she'd go out with me if I just cleaned up a bit?
Tuesday, March 29th, 2005 :: 9:26 PM
Hershey's Ad Campaign
HERSHEY, Pa., March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Hershey Foods Corporation (NYSE: HSY) today announced the launching of a new ad campaign targeted at the growing number of Christian youths abstaining from sexual activity until marriage. The campaign, entitled "Chocolate: It's not sex, but it'll do", will include television spots, radio ads and a special website: www.AlmostAsGoodAsSex.com. Judy Hogarth in Hershey's Public Relations Department said that although HFC is the number one manufacturer of chocolate-related items in America, it is eagerly seeking new markets for its products.
The corporation is hoping it can capitalize on the growing success of choose to wait programs among young evangelicals. "It is our sincere hope that we can help these courageous young men and women in their struggle for purity by alleviating the frustration caused by not getting any," Hogarth commented. To avoid any misleading messages, the ubiquitous Kiss has been renamed the Hug. One youth pastor, who asked to remain anonymous, was skeptical about the campaign's effectiveness, but remarked, "What the hell? We've tried everything else, why not chocolate?"
Monday, February 14th, 2005 :: 7:05 PM
I'm Not Bitter Anymore
So, I bet you're thinking, "Ian's gonna post some bitter, depressing, hateful diatrab about Valentine's day." Admit it, you know it crossed your mind once or twice. It's ok, I don't really blame you. I did help plan an entire party dedicated to defying everything the "holiday" stands for last year. And the year before that, I wrote a slightly bitter rant about it here on Daily Random. So I can't really blame you for expecting something similar this year. Perhaps, if you're so inclined, you've even been waiting in eager anticipation.
But you won't read anything like that this year. No, I've grown. I've matured. I'm ok with my "singleness." I'm not lonely, or bitter. I don't miss her at all. I don't dream about kissing. And I definitely don't dream about cuddling. Those dreams where it's so real you remember exactly how it felt when you wake up? Not once.
I won't be making any depressing/hopeful/love-her/hate-her mix CDs this year. I'm not stewing in dejection, regretting all the mistakes I made–besides, that takes at least a long weekend spent driving around in my car listening to depressing music, and I just don't have that kind of time these days, what, with my new-found sense of hope and all.
No, I've moved on. I've realized that all those authors and single's-Bible-study leaders were right all along. God is all I need. Really, I can't even relate anymore to all those immature Christians who think they need a "significant other" to be happy. God is so much more "significant" than some silly girl could be. If they would just realize that the huge, gaping, bloody hole in their hearts is nothing compared to the glorious riches of God's love revealed in His one and only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ then they'd be happy. Just like me.
There's just no comparison. I mean, just because she made you feel alive; just because all you ever needed was to hold her and when you finally could, there was nothing that could pull you away; just because… well, you see where I'm going with this. None of that means there's any reason to be sad. Jesus loves me, what do I care about the fickle love of a woman? I just can't believe how shallow I was before.
So, you won't hear any of that silly whining this year. Nope. I've grown. I've matured.
Happy Valentine's Day
Saturday, October 23rd, 2004 :: 1:21 PM
It's not the song you listen to in the car on the way to work, or the one you play in your head while pretending to listen to the pointless conversations that surround you. It's the song you put on repeat in the middle of the night when you've run out of distractions.
This time be different
You lie down on the floor, in the dark, and let it haunt you.
It lures the memories out of the recess of your soul, gently, slowly. The warmth she gave. The warmth you ached for. The warmth she stole.
The song keeps playing, but you're not tired. This song will never end.
Tuesday, May 27th, 2003 :: 12:49 AM
"Don't Wanna be Known as a Punk in First Class"
Well, it seems that a lot of people missed the point of my DC rant. That's probably my fault for not re-reading and editing the post after I initially got the emotion down on paper. So, I'll try to clarify.
This is one of the fundamental parts of my "personal philosophy," or whatever you want to call it. It's the same reason I take the stairs instead of the elevator. It's the same reason I stand there and hold the gas pump handle instead of pushing the little lever that will hold it for me–even when it's cold and snowing. It's the same reason my computer is about 4 years old, even though I'm a "computer geek" and, if I really wanted to, could afford to buy a really fast new one. It's the same reason I never want an $80,000 a year job in business, a big house and a BMW.
I heard that line from a PAX217 song, maybe six months ago, and it's been stuck in my head ever since. "Don't wanna be known as a punk in first class." That's the best way I can describe it. Who am I? I'm not cool, or rich or smooth. I'm not. I never have been, and I've lost that stupid middle school desire to be. I struggle with pride, but I don't have a big enough ego to actually think I deserve those things. It just doesn't fit. All those people who think they look elegant, smart, sexy, successful or whatever…don't. They look like fools. They look like they don't know who they really are. Or they know, and they're trying to cover it up.
I still don't think I've really articulated this very well, but hopefully you can figure out what I'm trying to say.
"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (>>)
"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun." (>>)
"And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (>>)
"Better one handful with tranquillity
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind." (>>)
"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." (>>)
"Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world." (>>)
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!" (>>)
"Rip the tags off mattresses,
you'll buy more anyway.
Is the paint on that SUV
some brand new type of gray?
Believe in anything,
you're so hollow." (>>)