Once there was a parablist named Joshua and at times his fresh new parables were received with open minds by reviewers (Joshua in the Holy Land, 1992) as Joshua brought peace to the strife-torn Middle East. Yet in still later sheaves, as Joshua set about reforming sin-laden New York City, reviewers felt an encroaching blandness wash over them (Joshua and the City, 1995).
Clearly one cannot read all of Joshua’s parables at one sitting, particularly when one may not share Joshua’s views that God awaits all at journey’s end and will judge the righteous and the unrighteous and that heaven is a shining city to be sought under the guidance of the church while God counts (and recounts) votes for or against us with His mind as open as a left-wing liberal’s while perhaps weighing our interest in the social security of our offspring and the need for enforcing or cutting the death tax and measuring our decision to back or not back legal executions for capital offenses. Why not, a Republican might ask, embrace the wealthy just as warmly as we do the poor and spiritually disenfranchised? But Joshua’s latest parables fearlessly take on the hardhearted businessman, obsessed by the ever-rising value of his stocks, and in no way support Big Money. He takes on moviemakers focused on massacres. He dispenses wisdom about marriage in the parable in which Satan seduces the devoted wife, and in the parable of the ants shows how the peaceful and cooperative ant builds a healthy home life that husbands and wives should look to—though he fails to note the rages between rival ant colonies. To one synagogue he describes God as a Supreme Artist whose masterpiece includes the most far-flung matter in the Universe and whose Artistic Genius is not to be understood quickly, although He has a tender heart, witness our taste buds and eyes and ears for experiencing the ecstasy of His creation.
What curmudgeon would argue?