Clarence Jordan was unusual. After earning a PhD in Greek from Southern Seminary in Louisville, he, his wife, and another couple left the academic world and at the height of Southern racial apartheid founded Koinonia Farm in southwest Georgia. The farm’s mission was to model a holistic community – a community dedicated to interracial fellowship, equality of all people, economic and ecological sustainability, and a rejection of violence.
Needless to say, Jordan took the message of the Gospels and the life of Jesus seriously. His life preached, but he used quite a few words as well. The following comments on from his interpretation of Luke 16:19-31, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
“This is another of those Trojan horse episodes in which Jesus conceals His truth. It’s a story – it isn’t intended to be history. it is not intended to give us a glimpse into the afterlife… Jesus had to shift the scenery to get over there on the other side of the grave so He could finish His story. Otherwise, His hearers would have been so immediately threatened by truth that they’d have lynched him on the spot.
“‘…You got the good schools. Lazarus got what was left. You got the good sections of town and the paved streets. Lazarus got what was left… You got the good things. Lazarus got the crumbs that had fallen from your table. Don’t you remember that?’
“…This is really the cutting edge of the parable, this yawning chasm…. Who dug that ditch? Who dug that chasm? The rich man knows who dug it. HE DUG IT! And why did he dig it? He dug it to break up traffic. He dug it to keep guys with sores out. He didn’t want the value of his property to go down when sore people moved into his neighborhood. You know, you’d better be careful how you dig ditches to keep people out; you might want to cross them yourself one day.”