May 30, 2021

Peter W. Marty, "Mine, Mine, Mine" Christian Century, May 19, 2021

I remember a pastor once telling me of his congregation receiving permission to park in the bank parking lot next to the church.  It was a standing agreement for all but one Sunday a year.  On that random Sunday, a rope blocked the two entrances to the bank lot.  When I asked the reason for 51 Sundays of permission instead of 52, the pastor told me that a bank officer said to him, "It's only so the church remembers that the lot belongs to the bank and not to the congregation."

...  we ought to pay closer attention to the Jewish theological concept of a clear distinction between possession and ownership.  God as the creator of the world ultimately owns all things.  God's people are to be guardians or trustees of property, not owners.
    Yet an ownership claim takes center stage in even the earliest story.  God says to Adam and Eve, "Welcome to the Garden. Make yourself at home. Everything is yours around here except that one tree in the middle. That's Mine!"  The couple's mistaken claim of ownership is what sends them packing. And we haven't learned yet. We still think the tree is ours.