Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Parable: by an Orthodox Christian priest who has just returned from an ecumenical gathering of largely Evangelical clergy

Once there was a starving man who found a field of potatoes, and finding the potatoes, he found life.  Potatoes alone were enough to keep him alive.
One day a family took a drive out into the countryside for a picnic and happened across the man saved by potatoes.  He was a gaunt and sickly man with little strength, but he was alive and thanked God for his potatoes.
“What are all of those things you are eating?” the skinny potato man asked.
“Apples and corn and potatoes and ham and cake for dessert,” they replied.
“Cake for dessert? the man inquired.
“Yes, cake for dessert.  Would you like some?”
“Certainly not," said the potato man. "You don’t need cake and ham and corn and apples to stay alive.  Potatoes are enough.  Look at me.  I was dying of starvation and potatoes saved me.  Everything I needed was in potatoes.”
The family was shocked.  “You mean you only eat potatoes?
“Of course.  Don’t you know: God gave us potatoes to eat so that we could stay alive.  Potatoes are all we need to eat.  Everything else just gets in the way and detracts from what's really important: Potatoes.  Potatoes will give you life.  'If it’s not in the potato, then you don’t need it and shouldn't waste your time on it'--that’s my motto.”
Not knowing how to respond to this, the family sat in silence for a while.  Then one them said, “We know that God gave us potatoes, but God gave us other food too.  Potatoes by themselves are not enough.
“You’re wrong there,” said the potato man.  “Potatoes were enough for me.  I was dying and potatoes saved me.”
“Yes,” said one slightly overweight but otherwise healthy family member, “I understand that potatoes alone, by God’s grace, may keep a starving man alive for a long time, but God has also given us many other foods that are meant to be eaten along side potatoes.  These other foods supply what is lacking in potatoes.”
“Nothing is lacking in potatoes,” insisted the man.  “Everything you need is there.  Potatoes are God’s gift, and if you don’t eat potatoes you will not find life.”
Stunned into silence, the family could say nothing more.  Soon the potato man turned and made his way back into his potato field.  The family began to look a each other and eventually shared a nervous giggle.  Perplexed and a little saddened they returned to their meal and finished off all of the apples and corn and bread and ham and cake...and potatoes.


Barbara said...

Ahh...that explains the 10 pounds I put on after I became Orthodox!

A brilliant parable, Fr. Michael!

Fr. Michael said...

In a culture that worships skinny, a little round is good.

Michelle said...

This is a fantastic and hilarious way of showing the problem with "sola scriptura."

Thankful to be in a family, eating stuff along with my potatoes.

Pippi said...

Wow. I'm not sure if I'm more amused or saddened by this. It's so accurate to the way I was raised, it's depressing. Very well expressed though.