Matthew 25 (FOMO Edition)

Matthew 25 (FOMO Edition) November 13, 2017

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten teenagers who took their phones and waited for something to happen. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their phones but did not take their charging cables with them. The wise ones, however, took their chargers along with their phones. It was a long time before something interesting happened, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight the alert sound was heard and a text appeared: ‘Hey, party at my place!’

Then all the teenagers woke up and grabbed their phones. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Lend us your chargers, our batteries are almost dead.’

‘No,’ they replied, ‘we need to charge our phones now just like you. Instead, go to those who sell charging cables and buy some for yourselves.’

But while they were on their way to buy the chargers, all the fun stuff happened. The teens who were ready went to the party. Later the others also came. ‘Hey,’ they said, ‘let’s party!’

But the host of the party replied, ‘Sorry, too late, you missed it.’

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour when something cool will happen.

(Based on Matthew 25)

The idea for this occurred to me in church yesterday, when the story of the wise and foolish virgins was read. There have been a lot of debates about the parable’s meaning and its cultural background. Some attempt to allegorize it. Surely even those who think that the oil for the lamps represents the Holy Spirit will think that recharging batteries with electricity can substitute? In fact, before my mind moved to a version involving phones, the first place my thoughts went was to the possibility that one could substitute taking extra batteries for one’s flashlight (in the UK one can simply use “torch” and not need to update the language quite as much) to make the parable more readily intelligible for today’s audience.

But what do you think of my FOMO version?

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  • John MacDonald

    I think the meaning of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is to show how selfish the wise virgins were for not sharing their oil (the ones with oil should have given up their oil and their chance to meet the bridegroom – if they were moral), and how unfairly judgmental the bridegroom was for rejecting the virgins without oil merely because they were foolish. Was it their fault they were foolish?

    The difference between the FOMO version and the original seems to be that in the original the bridegroom seems to be portrayed as rejecting the foolish virgins, while in the FOMO version they just happened to miss the party without being explicitly rejected. The bridegroom in the original is more of a immoral monster.

    • Gary

      As Bart Ehrman said in his book, “Jesus Before the Gospels”,

      “The key to interpreting the parable is to realize that the bridegroom has been delayed in coming. This is a parable that was told in a context in which Jesus had been expected to return right away but it hadn’t happened.”

      This is obviously a parable written after the fact by Apple, to undercut Samsung.

      “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour when something cool will happen to non-Apple users.”
      Your Samsung Lithium Ion Battery will ignite!

      • John MacDonald

        I am a firm believer in Socrates’ point that people don’t knowingly do the wrong thing. We do what we think it makes sense for us to do at the time, no matter how drunk we are. In practical terms, don’t judge someone, because you haven’t lived their life – you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. As the saying goes, but for the grace of God any of us could be lying on the lethal injection table. When you judge people or point your finger at them, there are three fingers pointing back at you. In a saying of Jesus that may have been an interpolation, but still may have reflected the teaching of the historical Jesus, Jesus says “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Judge not lest ye be judged!

        • John MacDonald

          Jesus was an example of “There but for the grace of God” that I mentioned above. There was Jesus, with his “holier than thou” attitude and righteous indignation, overturning the tables in the corrupt, Roman loving temple, only to find himself a short while later as the victim of judgment up on the cross.