A Parable

Faith and Christian were teenagers when their parents split in an acrimonious divorce. Their father had been cheating on their mother for years, and made no effort to hide it. He often bragged about it in public, and in the most inappropriate ways. He openly mocked others who were different, whether by race, gender, or size, and he generally made everyone around him uncomfortable.

Faith and Christian wondered why their mother stayed with their father. It may have been the money. Turns out she had been siphoning it for years, and so she was ready the moment her husband lost his job. She said she was leaving him, and taking the kids with her.

But Christian didn’t want to go. He couldn’t stand his father, but he trusted his mother even less. She had lied about most things, both large and small, ever since he was little. He didn’t know what was true any more, and whether he could believe her. He told his sister he was staying with dad.

Faith couldn’t believe it. “How could you? After all our dad has put our mother through? You ought to be ashamed!”

The words stung Christian and he struck back. “And how could you go with mom? You know what she is like.”

“Yeah, well dad is worse. And you’re evil for supporting him!”

“I’m not supporting him. I’m simply not going with mom. She is worse, and you’re evil for supporting her!”

The yelling soon ended, and Faith and Christian went their separate ways.

If you could talk to Faith or Christian, what would you want them to know?

Photo by Diego Cambiaso. Via Flickr. Used by permission.



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21 responses to “A Parable”

  1. Michael Gohn

    Kids in personal relationships with parents who divorce is way different that choosing between Trump and Hillary. I get the point and I appreciate the effort and work, as I do with all your work, MIke

  2. mikewittmer

    Why are you bringing up Trump and Clinton? 🙂 I realize it’s different. That’s why it’s a parable. Also, God isn’t a woman who sweeps his house looking for a lost coin. 🙂

  3. My advice? Seek emancipation. Go live with a nice uncle.

  4. Fred


  5. Michael Gohn

    It seems the point is to point out that Christians voted for both and now are split from each other accusing the other as evil. I have seen the full spectrum as to why vote for either candidate or not to vote for either candidate as Christians. Personally, we as Christians need to do a lot more listening to opposing views over cups of coffee and to start developing relationships with all walks of life so that we may better be able to share the gospel and aid in getting people to think biblically. I think a lot more prayer for our nation and leadership needs to occur on a regular basis, not just running up to election time. It is clear that there are many good people on both sides and neither can figure out why or how the other can think the way they do. Back to listening..quick to listen and slow to speak…would help a lot. As one who has 2 kids who dont have much of a relationship due to sin and divorce, I just see the nature of the comparison as differing dynamics. Many Christians are prepared to live for the Kingdom regardless of who won. At this point, I am heading down the path to pointless, so I will just hit submit and be done..Again, your work is appreciated…Your support for Lebron and OSU is not…Love, Big Brother

  6. mikewittmer

    How can you be so clueless? You write an eloquent post about humble listening and then close with a Buckeye slam?! I would have passed, but that is the one thing my team can’t do right now.

  7. Judy Stielstra

    Mr. Trump is going to do an excellent job. He is surrounding himself with fine people, many of whom are Christians and even Donald Trump attended Billy Graham Crusades with his Dad when he was a little boy where, no doubt, seeds were planted. He ran unselfishly spending his own fortune so he did not owe any lobbyists or special interest so that he could do what is right for the American people. Read his speech at Gettysburg where he outlined what he will do the first 100 days. People so misjudge him. His comments from 11 years ago which were nasty to be sure, were apologized for by Mr. Trump to his wife, his family, and the American people. But it seems there are Christians whose faith Hallmark is forgiveness, who cannot forgive something Donald Trump said 11 years. He is going to appoint conservative Justices and judges. He has an incredible agenda with which to turn America around. And, he is honest!!!!! Christians who are no Trumpers are disgracing their faith witness.

    Sent from my iPad


  8. KP

    I didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton, but am PRAISING GOD for delivering US (and Israel) from a Clinton presidency! ( I voted 3rd party for the first time in my life!)

    Now we face the uncertainty of a Trump presidency that was endorsed by the church.

    I believe Trump’s presidency will be a reflection of our prayers/lack of prayers for this man.

    I come from a broken home and am feeling “triggered” by this parable. Do I have to adult tomorrow? ; )

  9. mikewittmer

    I have a problem with sarcasm, so now you have triggered me. When will this end? 🙂

  10. KP

    Pondering a witty or spiritual response….

    I do feel the need to ask how you are creating those cute little emojis…

    I feel so 2012 with my faux emoji! Help a girl out!

  11. John West

    There once was a race of people that had enslaved people from a different continent after having conquered the indigenous people of the land they now inhabited. The enslaved cried out for justice, but were told that a Holy book authorized their enslavement, and in fidelity to the book they must remain enslaved. But eventually the cries of the enslaved reached the ears of the high King and they were emancipated. They were emancipated, but they were still a minority.

    The majority race used their Holy book to keep the minority race as domestic workers and field workers and did everything within their power to keep the minority race from being educated. The majority race hung over 3000 of the minority race from trees whenever they felt the minority race got uppity. The minority race cried to the high King for justice. Slowly but surely many hearts changed within the nation. And the government of the land declared that the schools of the land would be integrated.

    This greatly angered members of the majority race with a particular read of their holy book. One of them named Job Bones had started a school, and really, really did not want people of the minority race attending the school. The government instructed Job Bones University to integrate. Leaders of the religious community of the majority race rallied around Job Bones University.

    They rallied but they began to realize that their base was not completely charged up about fighting desegregation. It no longer felt like the moral high ground to the base. The religious leaders of the majority race looked for another issue to further their agenda, and they landed on an issue they had not shown much concern about in the past. In fact a number of them had spoken on the other side of the issue. But they decided on the issue and gave it a compelling name and declared themselves the Righteous People. Their base took greatly to this issue. They elected a new leader of the land using that issue. Under that leader the thing they decried actually increased.

    Years passed. And a miraculous thing happened in the land. A man who was similar in race to the people who had been formerly enslaved became the leader of the land. Under his leadership the thing the Righteous People decried actually decreased, even though this leader did not share the position of the Righteous People. The following election a man who was not a part of the Righteous People, but who was the same race as the Righteous People decided to seek the highest office the land. He said many racially charged things. Things that were offensive and disappointing to the formerly enslaved people. This man seeking office told the Righteous People that he was for their one grave concern, (remember the issue they had not cared about previously?, but the issue their leaders chose as a surrogate for fighting desegregation).

    The religious leaders of the Righteous People mostly – though certainly not all -eventually lined up behind this candidate, because he was for their issue, even though the thing they hated so much actually declined under the leader that belonged to the race of the formerly enslaved people. The religious base of the Righteous People voted at a 4 to 1 margin for the man who had said the racist things, but gave lip service to the issue that the religious leaders had convinced them was the most important issue. The 4 to 1 ratio of the Righteous People was a prime reason that the man who had said the racist things was elected.

    People who belonged to the previously enslaved race were shocked. They read the same holy book as the people of the majority race. They served the same high king. They had voted in an inverse way than the Righteous People. They were sad and they were scared. The man who had said the racist things had threatened mass deportations of another race of people, who also read the same holy book and served the same high king. He had said shockingly derogatory things about women. But, he was for the one issue that the Righteous People had been taught was the most important. How would you explain to people who belonged to previously enslaved race that you had to vote for the man who said racist things?

  12. Mike

    Learn your history…way to broad of strokes and generalizations.

  13. 1. It’s a parable.
    2. If it weren’t a parable what parts would be inaccurate history?
    3. What would you say to the descendants of the formerly enslaved people?

  14. mikewittmer

    Thank you for the energy you put into your parable, John. I think our two stories illustrate somewhat the divide that exists within evangelicalism. This is unfortunate though, as I was aiming for unity.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t happen to know anyone (at least to my knowledge) who opposes abortion for the reason you give. I wish you had a more charitable view of us.

  15. John West

    To be clear Mike, I don’t think you, or anyone I know either, opposes Abortion as a proxy issue for racist ideology. I also would like to see abortion end. Sorry if that was not clear.

    However, I do think that the historical record is that abortion was not an evangelical issue until 1980 – 7 years after Roe. Around 1980 the leaders of the Moral majority, who had originally organized mainly to Bob Jones University’s right to be segregated, chose abortion as the issue to rally a Moral Majority that put forward a conservative agenda. The Moral Majority was largely white- and instrumental in defeating the Born Again Christian Jimmy Carter, and putting Ronald Reagan into the oval office. Reagan in the late 1960’s had signed into law most liberal abortion law in the country to date. Reagan, however, was a proponent of “state’s rights,” which I hope you will agree was often a thinly veiled way of defending racist agendas. All that to say – I think white evangelicals got played in 1980.

    I think they may have been played again.

    I get that you were aiming for unity.

    I just wondered as I read your parable, which I think was absolutely right in laying out how really awful both candidates were this year, what the majority of African Americans would have thought? White evangelicals did vote 4 to 1 for Trump, and I think largely because of the the life issue. But, abortions had actually dropped under Obama, partially because Obamacare provides contraception coverage. I will be shocked if Trump makes any effort to overturn Roe – no Republican president has yet to do so – and as a matter of history abortions fall under democratic presidents and rise under republicans. So, I was mainly curious how the parable you told would sound to an African American or someone with family members without papers, knowing that white evangelicals had voted for a man who – as you point out – has said blatantly racist things in his campaign to be president. So I purposely told a parable. A parable that I think actually bears quite a bit of resemblance to actual history. I hoped to shed some light on the fact that for people of color it might be hard to appreciate the moral dilemma, I am sure that white evangelicals actually felt, while they broke 4 to 1 for Trump.

  16. Jeremy

    I would argue that race and sex were not the determining factor in this election, and I feel really sad that that is what the protesters are fixating on. Our country didn’t reject a woman, or a race… they rejected failed policies. I want unity, but I am also tired of being called racist because I don’t support socialized medicine and globalism. Is Trump a great man? No. I didn’t vote for Trump. I voted for religious freedom and a business man who will stop spending money we don’t have like water. It had nothing to do with race for me at all. My hope is that the protests will die down, the fear will subside, and the other half will graciously accept that they didn’t get their way, as I have for the past eight years. I also pray that the Republicans get their act together, too, as they have divisively embarrassed us in this process, too. God didn’t stop biblical prophecy, but He slowed it down here, in my opinion. I pray that we, as Christians, love and take more people with us in the time we’ve been given.

  17. Jeremy

    And, let’s be honest, minorities didn’t show up for Hillary. They didn’t like her. We voted for a candidate we didn’t like to get what we wanted! 🙂

    Doc, are you going to say anything about Kaepernick’s lack of voting? I was curious….

  18. John West

    It is not entirely true that minorities didn’t show up. Millions of non-whites did vote, and voted overwhelmingly against Trump.

    Mike has done an admirable job throughout the election pointing out Trump’s racist and misogynistic rants. It was clear that Mike was not a Trump supporter.

    I found his parable disappointing because I felt it did not account for the lived experiences of minorities in the USA and how this election might seem to them.

    I agree with you that for the vast majority of white evangelicals the vote was not about race or gender.

    I believe Mike that his desire is for unity, I was trying to point out what I felt was unhelpful in moving towards some unity.

    You said, “We voted for a candidate we didn’t like to get what we wanted!” Here is what I think could be helpful – clearly delineate what you dislike about Trump and reach out to minority communities of faith and pledge to stand in solidarity with them. Maybe something along these lines to start.

    1. We deplore the way that President Elect Trump has spoke of immigrants. We follow a Lord who was an immigrant in Egypt. We are heartbroken that people within our community are afraid. We weep with the teachers of Southwest community campus, who cried as they thought of their students whose parents are here without documentation. We pledge to oppose any effort at mass deportation. Our best lawyers are going to work in the courts to keep families together. Our homes and churches will be open and places of sanctuary.

    2. We are disgusted by how President Elect Trump has spoke of and treated women and their bodies. We also recognize the unique burden an unplanned pregnancy places on women and their bodies. We follow a Lord whose Mother was not planning to be pregnant with him. We pledge to open our checkbooks to help with the expenses that come with an unplanned pregnancy. We pledge to open our homes if that would be a help through the pregnancy and beyond. If a mother wishes to put her child up for adoption we pledge to open our homes to adopt.

    3. We are sickened by the way President Elect Trump has spoke of many minorities. Many of us in the white community have no idea what it is like to have been the victims of systemic oppression through the centuries. But, we do follow a Lord who was part of a people who were under systemic oppression.We have no idea what it is like to be in your shoes. When we think about having “the talk” with our sons or daughters we are thinking about talking about “sex” – not what our sons and daughters need to do to be safe if they are pulled over. We pledge to be better listeners, and after listening, we desire to be allies in the struggle for equal justice for all.

    I think something along these lines would provide significant points of unity. I would sign a statement like that I could give myself to something like this. I bet Mike could as well – he could probably write something way better. I think Jesse Jackson and John Piper might find points of agreement in a statement like that. Brenda Salter-McNeal and AL Mohler could both likely sign something along those lines.

    What do you think?

  19. Jeremy

    John, I’m with you on many points here. Most of all, I believe that we need to clarify what we don’t support about Trump. In my discussions with people opposed to his election, I have started out in just that fashion. It seems to be the olive branch that opens them up to listen to me.

    There is a point that is not being discussed much, and I would like to mention it for your consideration. Arizona went red; a majority of immigrants here legally WANT immigration reform. They played by the rules, and they are also seeing their health care premiums rise as a result of illegal births happening here. I don’t mean to sound like I’m stereotyping, but a large group of Hispanics are Catholic; they value life and religion. I think there is some major generalization going on by the wounded left right now. This isn’t all racism.

  20. JosephTag

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