December 15, 2019

iMonk 101: The Prodigal Project

190388790_78d8ecbb94.jpgSince the post on “Dangerous Grace” is appreciated, here’s another Biblical study from my Men’s Group: The Prodigal Project. I’m sure you know the story, but have you taken a fresh look at it lately?

The key to a lot of happiness in my life is in this story. The reason for a lot of unhappiness in my life is also in this story. When I move very far away from its influence, I’m in trouble. Like now.

I need to read it again, and you can come along with me. This story isn’t what it seems. It’s an invitation to creating the very best kind of community: the Father’s “Coming Home Party” for his sons. (Yes…”sons.”)

READ: “The Prodigal Project.”

Comments

  1. Larry White says

    “Such a hearing of the parable of the prodigal son opens the door for a rich experience of discovering the depths of Jesus with others.” How true that is! I will read the Nouwen book, but meanwhile I find this very healing. And much healing is needed always. Close to home, my rural community is particularly wounded by the gang-style murder of a wealthy father, mother, and their three daughters of which the son is accused but I believe probably also the victim (of big city drug lords: “We know where your family lives!”). Here is a case where a prodigal son, robbed of his own father, mother, and sisters, must fall on the mercy of his community: its justice system, churches, and frightened individuals. The extended family and nominal community are divided over the case, in view of the horrific nature of the crime and the lack of a confession or conclusive proof of the son’s guilt. But prayers for orderly justice are offered, and the judge must render a verdict. How needful we are of the father’s Christlike transforming embraces now!

  2. I have a hard time deciding why this viewpoint isn’t going to catch on. Here are my three front-runners:

    1) You’re suggesting that we all see ourselves in the place of the prodigal son, when we all know that the character we most resemble is the father.

    2) Asking people to envision themselves as metaphorically emaciated, starving, and covered in pig slop isn’t very seeker-friendly.

    3) God doesn’t want us to spend too much time thinking of ourselves as undeserving prodigals because He wants us to have our best life now.

    Seriously, though, most of the American Christianity with which I am familiar would fit into those three categories. Either we’re forgetting that we actually needed God to save us in the first place, or we’re trying to tidy the prodigal up into the son who made a few mistakes but is basically a decent kid, or we’re focused on our own well-being as if it’s God’s top priority. An honest view of ourselves precludes all of those.

    It’s easy to try to avoid being the older brother while still trying to avoid being the prodigal. But this is really just self-deceit, pretending we’re better than we actually are (and by extension, better than the prodigals we see). Such a simple story, and so hard to live out.

  3. The part that stopped me in my tracks was the reminder that even our repentance is imperfect. We just want to grasp hold of the little crumbs we think we deserve by our own merit.

    Thanks, Michael