Sunday, March 07, 2010

Parables and the Pina Colada Song (Escape)

One of my dreams is to teach a Bible as Literature class at a public high school or a junior college. I think it would be really fun, and a great opportunity to get people to appreciate God's Word that might not otherwise see its intelligence and beauty.

The other night I was working out, and listening to Escape (The Pina Colada Song) on my IPOD. I have always loved the story but felt guilty about liking it. For those of you who have not heard it, it is about two married persons seeking an affair through the personal ads. Both the woman and the man communicating anonymously want a romantic relationship with more adventure and excitment. In the end, they go to meet their potential partners, only to discover that the people they were meeting were in fact husband and wife to start with.

I don't necesarily like the adultery in the song. What I like in the song is how the story progresses and functions. The story goes along, and then it suprises you. It turns in on itself. It comes almost full circle, back close to where it started. Yet it does not take you back to where it started. The relationship you started hearing about has been renewed, but it has also been changed.

The story form of Escape, or the Pina Colada song, is a non-religious example of how a parable functions in the New Testament. We tend to think of Biblical parables as nice little stories that we have become comfortable with. As a matter of fact, the parables in the Bible often are full of surprises that bring us full circle, and yet not at the same place we were.

For example, the parable of the prodigal son. For the ancient reader, many things are shocking. The son's behavior is shocking. The fact that the son returns home even more so. The father's loving response and restoration of the son brings the story full circle, but yet not at the same place where we started. Just like the Pina Colada song.

I thought this was interesting.

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