White Dives and Poor Old Lazarus

Jeff Carter shared the following reworking of a parable of Jesus on his blog:

White Dives and Poor Old Lazarus

There was a rich white man named Dives who used to dress in fine linen suits and who feasted every day on tasty victuals and wines. At his gate there used to be a poor black man named Lazarus, covered with sores (he did not have health insurance, of course). He longed to fill his belly with even the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. And dogs came to lick at Lazarus’ sores. (Did we mention that he had no health insurance?)

Now it happened that the two men died on the same day. Lazarus was carried away by the angels into the Bosom of Abraham, the rich white man was buried in the family plot and descended into the underworld.

Tormented in Hades, he looked up and saw Father Abraham a long way off with old Lazarus in his embrace. He cried out, “Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his littlest pinky finger in water to cool y parched tongue. I am in agony here in these flames.”

And Father Abraham said, “My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things – you lived a life of privilege, white privilege But Lazarus lived a difficult life; now he is being comforted while you are in agony.”

So Dives said, “Father Abraham, send someone, I beg you. Send someone to speak to my five brothers. Send someone to warn them about this white privilege so they won’t end up here in torment.”

But Father Abraham said again, “They have James H. Cone, Howard Thurman, and Cornel West; let your brothers listen to them.” The rich white man said, “No, Father Abraham. But perhaps if someone came back from the dead they’d listen…”

Father Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Cone, Thurman, and West, they will not be convinced even if Martin Luther King Jr. came back from the dead.”

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  • histrogeek

    Fun fact: Dives and Lazarus was Dr. King’s go-to sermon topic (at least according to Taylor Branch).