‘We need a narrative capable of motivating, reformulating and regenerating social justice.’

Growing pains: Nim Njuguna on Black Lives Matter and a parable for progress

‘Using Black Lives Matter on our literature without demonstrable action is a sign of desperation.’ | Photo: Adam Niklewicz via United Nations COVID-19 Response / Unsplash.

‘Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.’

Robert Louis Stevenson

Parables were an integral element in Jesus’ teaching. They were a way of explaining abstract ideas in a relatable way. He told stories drawn from everyday life, attracting attention, arousing interest, and stimulating curiosity in his hearers. These parables illustrated profound truths for reflection and action. One of his most famous is about a farmer going to sow seeds in his field (Matthew 13:1-23). But first we should note that Jesus faced a perennial problem. Many of his hearers assumed that, since they had ears, they could actually hear. But Jesus was aware that what they were hearing was filtered and conditioned by their background, education, religious orientation, culture and life stories. So when he finished telling this parable he said, ‘He who has ears, let him hear’, challenging his hearers to discover the meaning of his words.

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