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PHARISEE 5'2m0f The parable of the Pharisee and tax collector

ED --   And now, sit down, put your feet up, relax and listen to 
another edition of... Parables on Parade. Tonight's parable is 
from Luke chapter 18, beginning at verse 10.

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the 
other a tax collector...."

FRED -- (door opens) You know I could have given Jesus a few 
pointers on storytelling.

ED --   Why do you always interrupt?

FRED -- This parable needs something.

ED --   Be careful, you're talking about the son of God here.

FRED -- Hey, I took a creative writing class. You think Jesus 
ever took a creative writing class?

ED --   Well,...

FRED -- I think not. Now about this miserable excuse for 
literature.

ED --   The parable.

FRED -- No substance, no character development, no subplots and 
worst of all, no climax. It doesn't go anywhere! It's like a 
joke without a punch line.

ED --   Jesus was trying to make a point...

FRED -- If this was a house for sale, the real estate agent 
would call it a fixer-upper.

ED --   I can't believe you're actually thinking about ..

FRED -- That's right, a complete rewrite. Why are you hiding 
under the desk?

ED --   (afar) When God strikes you with lightning, I don't want 
to get struck by a stray bolt.

FRED -- Alright. We won't do a COMPLETE rewrite. 

ED --   (afar) Sorry, I don't want any rewrite, at all.

FRED -- Alright. We'll keep the parable intact. We'll just 
intersperse it with some literary elements.

ED --   (afar) Why am I not comforted by those words?

FRED -- What will it hurt to add a little subplot and a climax 
or two? I tell you what. You start reading the parable again, 
just the way it's written. It'll be alright. Honest.

ED --   (approaching) Why don't you move your microphone over 
there to the other side of the room?

FRED -- (approaching) Is this far enough?

ED --   Okay. Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a 
pharisee, the other a tax collector.

FRED -- The Pharisee, who looked like an innocent religious 
leader, was really the leader of an international ring of 
plutonium smugglers.

ED --   Plutonium?! They didn't have nuclear weapons in those 
days.

FRED -- See, there you go. I'm trying to give this story a 
little class and you're splitting hairs and picking nits. Where 
were we?

ED --   Smuggling plutonium.

FRED -- Oh, yes. (Clears throat) The tax collector found out 
about the smuggling plot while he was collecting taxes, so...

ED --   (pause) What does it mean when you point at me? Did I do 
something wrong?

FRED -- It means you're supposed to read more of the parable.

ED --   Oh! Ah, the Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 
'God, I thank you that I am not like other men-- robbers, 
evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast 
twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' But the tax 
collector stood at a distance...

FRED -- ...and plotted to blackmail the Pharisee.

ED --   You can't do that! In Jesus' parables, the tax collector 
was really repentant. That was the whole point of the parable.

FRED -- Okay, Okay. I've got it. But the tax collector stood at 
a distance and... was really sorry that he was going to have to 
blackmail the Pharisee.

ED --   Try again.

FRED -- I wonder if Ernest Hemingway had to put up with this 
kind of censorship.

ED --   You don't want to change the meaning of the parable do 
you? (fading) Maybe I'll just duck under this desk here.

FRED -- Alright. Alright. Let's try this. The tax collector 
stood far off and confessed what he knew to another Pharisee, 
who plotted to blackmail the other guy.

ED --   Oh, brother.

FRED -- But the other guy recognized him as a conspirator who 
would assassinate the president.

ED --   The president of first century Judea?

FRED -- ...to assassinate the king. Much better. Everybody hated 
Herod, anyway. Much better. Where was I?

ED --   You were assassinating a first century king because of 
nuclear weapons.

FRED -- Yeah, Yeah,... Meanwhile, the tax collector...

ED --   ... would not even look up to heaven, but beat his 
breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'   

FRED -- Now, we introduce the tax collector's love interest, who 
just happens to be the Pharisee's daughter. Ah, let's see...

ED --   Tune in next time for another edition of Parable on 
Parade.

FRED -- Wait a minute! We're not done yet. What about the 
ending?

ED --   The end.


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