Feb. 2, 2005, on this blog: I Got You Babe
And because it is a parable none of those folks attempting to summarize its meaning or its purported spiritual message are quite convincing. That’s the thing about parables, they’re irreducible — the meaning of the story can’t be separated from the story itself. Whenever you hear the preacher say, “What this parable means is …” you know he’s got it wrong, or at least incomplete. They’re not fables that can be summed up in a tidy, didactic “moral of the story.”
I’m worried that, like Buncombe’s religious experts, I’m starting to sound like I’m giving far too much weight to this breezy little story. But keep in mind that most of Jesus’ parables are, more or less, structured like jokes. “A priest, a Levite and a Samaritan walk into a bar …” They might have a punchline (or two or three), but that’s different from the moral of the story.