Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Parable of a Fruit Inspector and a Fruit Promoter

Jesus said, "If your brother sins against you seven times a day,
and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him" (Luke 17:4).

In a beautiful village with a bustling town square, Mr. Fruit Promoter sat at his fruit stand and promoted his assorted fruits to all who walked through the market.

Periodically, Mr. Fruit Inspector would come to Mr. Fruit Promoter's stand and stop for a close inspection.

Never a dark spot would he miss. Never a crushed fruit would he overlook. Never a stain would he ignore.

"Get that fruit out of here! Don't you know that one bad apple can spoil the entire stand!"

Mr. Fruit Promoter calmly responded, "Sir, I see the dark spots on my bad apples better than you. I know the oranges that have been crushed and have dried out, and I'm not blind to the stains on my other fruits. However, I can't throw my bad fruit out."

"But you are promoting rotten fruit?"

"All fruit by nature is rotting. Because I'm a Fruit Promoter, I use even my rotten fruit."

Mr. Fruit Inspector argued back, "But rotten fruit is useless!"

"No sir, it's not. You speak as a Fruit Inspector. I'm a Fruit Promoter. Every rotten fruit has seeds within that spring into something new. Every tainted and stained skin on rotten fruit can be used to enrich an entire field of new fruit, creating life out of decay. Because of my love for fruit in general, I can see good in all fruit, regardless of rottenness."

Mr. Fruit Inspector objected, "But you have an obligation to the public to display a perfect fruit stand. You have an obligation to sell only perfect fruit!"

Mr. Fruit Promoter points to the sign in front of his stand which said:
Come, all you who are hungry, come to the stand. If you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy fruit and wine without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1)
"I'm not in the fruit business to make money or impress people. I'm in the fruit business because I love fruit and want to share that love with others. It's a calling."

Mr. Fruit Inspector made one final argument. "If you promote rotten fruit, you will give people the wrong impression about fruit in general."

"Sir," said Mr. Fruit Promoter, "I still don't think you understand. I promote fruit. You inspect fruit. You are the one calling my fruit rotten. I see the same dark spots that you see, I see the same crushed and bruised skins. I see the same stains. I too am fighting fruit disease. However, I see potential in the future of all my fruit."

Mr. Fruit Inspector walked away in a huff, but turned back and yelled, "You love fruit too much! You are going to ruin the reputation of fruit in general."

To which Mr. Fruit Promoter replied, "Thank you for acknowledging my love for fruit. I'm Mr. Fruit Promoter. I love fruit."


Bob Cleveland said...

Interesting story with the obvious overtones.

If the promoter was interested in seeing the "bad fruit" achieve its potential, he'd have to acknowledge it must be handled differently from the rest of the (healthy) fruit. Doing so would likely impress he clients, too; telling them how they can get the most benefit from their purchases.

Wade Burleson said...

Great analogy, Bob.

Rex Ray said...


I try to eat fruit that doesn’t need to be forgiven. :)

I’m on the Fruit Inspectors side to prevent people from eating bad fruit. The Fruit Promoter should separate fruit to be eaten, fertilizer, or for seed.

Yea, I know; I’m missing your point.

God loves all sinners but it’s their actions he hates. You quote Luke 17: 4 about forgiving but verse 2 states: “It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to…”

The newspaper today said a gay pastor asked Whole Foods Market to make a cake that had “Love Wins”. He sued for an alleged anti-gay slur on the cake. They filed a counter lawsuit.

What’s this world coming to? I’m reminded of that song, “Stop the world and let me off.” :)

Wade Burleson said...


You make a good point. In the verse I quote above, the sinner SAYS "I repent." You don't even get on God's fruit stand until you recognize there is a God to whom you are accountable.

The point I'm making is only God can determine "the fruit of repentance." We must accept the simple words "I repent."


Chris said...

Being rejected, by inspectors, for having bad spots for years only led to further decay. However, once I personally was loved from promoters, over time the bad spots are healing and disappearing. I would venture to say that most inspectors have baskets full of shiny fruit, at least on the surface, but their seeds are non-bearing or non-existent. Thank you Wade for being a fruit promoter! In this analogy I would rather think that one Good Apple (Jesus) heals the whole bunch.

Aussie John said...


The old adage comes to mind: "When we point a finger at others, we need to be mindful that there are three pointing back at ourselves".

What do you think? As bad as the actions are, sin doesn't always result in actions, the intent of the heart is where sin sits, as Jesus showed the Pharisees in Matt.5:21ff.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

I never liked ‘one finger vs. three fingers’ even though scripture speaks of ‘speck vs. log” because there was not fingers pointing at Jesus telling the Pharisees: “Snakes! Sons of vipers!” (Matthew 23:33)

Of course we’re not Jesus, but he is our example to live by.

Yes, we’re guilty of our thoughts as you pointed out with scripture, but I’d rather someone think about killing me than doing it.

Pege' said...

Wade, THANK YOU!! I get it.

Gordon said...

At one of the big stores in the UK you can buy fresh fruit which has some slight blemishes but is perfectly safe to eat. It comes in at half the price in an attempt to prevent wastage of good food . As I always grate my apples this makes for a good buy for me.

I am reminded that in God's economy the first shall be last and the last first. God looks at the heart and not on outward appearances. Hallelujah for that !

Paul Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Burleson said...

I've always thought a "Gathered Group of Believers" [church] would probably best be described as something of a "hospital" or even something like a "school" as well. So to be dismayed or downhearted that one would find a bit of "sickness" or "ignorance" within it would be kind of foolish it seems to me. For me to point out that sickness or ignorance may NOT be the point after all.

Now I will add a "fruit market" to my thinking.

AND, since the "Church" is NOT in the "consummation" stage but still in the "construction" stage, some blood, sweat, and sore thumbs [sickness, ignorance, bruised fruit] might even be expected. Love not only covers a multitude of sins but maybe covers a bunch of the other stuff as well.

Christiane said...

you wrote: "I've always thought a "Gathered Group of Believers" [church] would probably best be described as something of a "hospital" or even something like a "school" as well."

if you remember, in the 'dark' ages and the Middle Ages, the first hospitals and the first schools were in Churches, mostly in the Abbeys where clergy taught and nursed people . . . at the time of the plague, known as the Black Death, it is estimated that 90% of the clergy perished from caring for the afflicted.

strangely, it was the Church that offered 'sanctuary' as a place to escape the judgement of authorities that wanted to harm those seeking the Church's protection . . . sadly, these days, too many 'churches' judge and label and send away wounded people back into a world where there is no safe harbor for them, and that breaks my heart

I think your comment was beautiful. And inspired.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: To get a glimpse into 12th century Church life in England and for satisfying murder mysteries ...

The Cadfael Chronicles is a series of historical murder mysteries written by the linguist-scholar Edith Pargeter under the name "Ellis Peters".

Ramesh said...

Christiane: your comment reminded me of Cadfael mystery book series. :)

Christiane said...

yes, that is a series I should like very much to read as I have seen the television series which is well done, as most British productions are well done.

I think about the Church in the West and how the plague hit Europe and brought it to its knees . . . most of the clergy did die because they were often the only ones who would or could take care of the poor individuals who were dying.

A person similar to the fictional character of the good Brother Cadfael would have likely been among the caregivers in those dreadful days.
Great show. I look forward to reading that book series. Glad you still post comments here, Ramesh. (I will probably always think of you as 'Thy Peace')

Ramesh said...

My sincere wish is for Christ followers to jump in to science/philosophy and engage honestly even if they are unable to explain events in the bible.

Lately I have been exploring modern linguistics as pioneered by Chomsky. The startling thing I found was Chomsky got interested in linguistics mainly because he noticed via his Hebrew teacher that the first words in the bible have been mistranslated and misinterpreted for more than thousand years. Here is an agnostic who got propelled in this field by his realization things and meaning are not what they seem. And the ODD thing is he has been made a prophet as in the old testament times though we claim after Christ there is no need for prophets. Chomsky will deny he is one but he is one.

An exploding fact which is only logically deduced but could be called a fairy tale but whose origins and their presence can not be denied by artificats is the origin of thought and then language which is mostly internal and then communication. These ideas conflict with faith but profoundly parallel this fruit story of equality of language capacity that has minor group differences.

There is more here. Even though it appears to conflict with the symbols of the bible when accepted as facts.

BTW science is as dogmatic and ruled with dogmas as religion.

Just watch the first 5 minutes of this ...

Watch "Noam Chomsky: "After 60+ Years of Generative Grammar: A Personal Perspective

Ramesh said...

Chomsky begins by describing a formative experience in his early linguistics career. In 1946 he realized that The Bible was mistranslated. The Bible begins “In the beginning god created...“ That’s a mistranslation due to grammatical errors by Masoretic scholars who put the vowels in around the 8th century. Young Noam at 18 years old figured that if the first couple of words in The Bible can be wrong in the authoritative text, and wrong in translation, and nobody noticed it for 1000 years, there’s got to be something interesting to learn about language. He goes on to say that “the more you look the more you find everything is misunderstood. And when you think about it a little more, that’s not terribly that surprising. That’s the way the history of sciences work.”

In this lecture and discussion Chomsky reviews the state of understanding of language at the origins of generative grammar, the ways questions were reformulated and new ones devised, what progress has been made and what new problems and difficulties have arisen, and what seems within reach in Linguistics.

Ramesh said...

Correction: not a Hebrew teacher but Arabic ...

So I proofread the galleys for him. I think it’s probably mentioned in the acknowledgements,2 but that was my introduction to the field. This was different. I was studying Arabic; that was one of the few fields that I was interested in, and the professor was a very distinguished Arabist and also a wonderful human being. He was an Italian, Giorgio Levi de la Vida, he was an anti-Fascist émigré.3 We got to know each other pretty well later, but he pointed out to me something, just in conversation, something about Hebrew—I knew Hebrew reasonably well, and knew the Bible, he pointed out to me—I forget the context—that the first few words of the Bible were misvocalized, you know, they were—the original text of the Bible, or the texts, came down without [vowels], it had just consonants. Hebrew, you know, and Arabic, you know, are missing the vowels; they’re extra. The vowels were put in about the eighth century by the Masoretes,4 and they just made a mistake in putting in the vowels. And the phrase that appears is completely ungrammatical. And the translations are wrong.

Is the meaning also—

The meaning, too—I mean, it doesn’t mean anything, literally, but it’s kind of been reinterpreted so that it means something. And it’s not—if you get it correct, it doesn’t change the meaning enormously, but I was struck by the fact that for twelve centuries at that point, the first words of something that everybody knows were mistranslated and misvocalized, and nobody had noticed it! And that struck me as meaning: Well, maybe there is something interesting in this field that you want to figure out! [Laughs.]

Ramesh said...

Source: The Interesting Part Is What Is Not Conscious: An Interview with Noam Chomsky [PDF]

Ramesh said...

Chomsky: "He goes on to say that “the more you look the more you find everything is misunderstood. And when you think about it a little more, that’s not terribly that surprising. That’s the way the history of sciences work."

Appears to apply to theology too.

You will appreciate the above when listening to Wade's Wed Eve podcasts.


Ramesh said...

Sorry for too many comments. I finally found the correct translation of the beginning words of the bible from another interview Chomsky gave. To me I find this very interesting.

I was informed of this. I was studying Arabic in college. I was a sixteen-year-old freshman and I was taking Arabic courses with a great scholar. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was a leading scholar, Giorgio Levi Della Vida, an Italian antifascist émigré. We became good friends later.

This was in Pennsylvania?

Yes. He just mentioned to me once that the first sentence of the Bible was misvocalized. In the Hebrew script, you have consonants but no vowels. Around the eighth to tenth centuries, there were scribes, Masoretes, who put in the vowels. And they made a mistake in the first two words of the Bible. He said they were always mistranslated. By now, some of them are translated correctly, but the standard translations keep to the Hebrew vocalization, which is a mistranslation because the phrase doesn’t mean anything. What it says is Bereshit bara, and it’s translated, “In the beginning God created.” But it should be translated as, “At the outset of the creation there was chaos” and so on, which is more or less the same sense but different. It had gone for a thousand years, with nobody noticing that the first two words of the Bible were mistranslated and misvocalized in the original, which struck me as kind of striking.

Gordon said...

Ramesh has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of the meaning and interpretation of words and language.
Anyone interested in the subject of linguistics should also become acquainted with the differences of approach between Noam Chomsky and Jean Piaget.

Christiane said...

if you have a strong interest in the unsolved mysteries of the creative power of language, you may find this quote meaningful:

"The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature."
(St. Hildegard of Bingen, a Doctor of the Church)

Ramesh said...

Christiane: Here is a more recent talk or mini interview of Chomsky that is very accessible to all of us. More philosophy and in my view ends in theology!

The Philosopher's Zone > Noam Chomsky on the hard stuff

(Mp3 audio only, link on top left hand of the page)

Ramesh said...

I wanted to make a simple observation that thought/language being innate genetically and which operates on its own like a plant or flower growing, to me lot of Christ's basic sayings correlate with this. On faith, on worry, on day to day, on growth, innateness, born with creativity for thought and intellect without any intentional effort ... And this fits with fruit promoters above ... Some might see differently but I see lot of overlap and parallels!

Rex Ray said...


I hope you noticed my question to you on your post “People or Steeple”. Thanks

Christiane said...

to come back on track with WADE's beautiful post about God's loving care for imperfect people:
the following excerpt helped give me more insight into the mystery of the God Who embraces us with His compassion, not 'in spite of', but because of our painful bruises and our stains:

Ramesh said...

Christiane: I still remember in 2008 Fall when you and I started commenting on Wade's blog! I am pleasantly surprised you still have the fortitude to also engage in other blogs. :)

I simply gave up after a while.

I remember Rex Ray was here before our time. I think he was from 2005 - 2006 when this blog started.

I also remember lots of people needling you about your faith. I got my fair share too. Lot of them dropped off here but are active in SBC Voices or some other blogs.

Cheers good friend to your tenacity in being active in memory of your SBC grand mother.

Christiane said...

coming to Wade's blog was a blessing and still is . . . I blog in several other sites also on a regular basis, some of them are places where I have a difficult time understanding but I don't mind trying anyway

I finally did get banned at SBCvoices, but I think that was something the blog administrator felt he had to do and I don't have hard feelings about it, especially as Debbie still blogs there and brings her energy and light there in abundance when the topics get too dark. Debbie is one of my heroines.

Rex Ray is one of my favorite people here, and always will be. His stories! So special. This blog is filled with good will in so many ways. I am grateful for having been directed here by Providence. I am glad for your contribution to the good will of the work here. There is a wholesomeness at Enid Emmanuel that blesses and shares its blessings, and that is so needed among the whole Church these days.

Ramesh said...

Thank you Christiane. You are more balanced and hopeful than most of your detractors in the past took you for. I just notice lot of angst in society at large and around the world, mainly due to economic stresses that also reverb off of others grievances. I am happy to see your positive outlook in a world going bonkers. :)

Ramesh said...

Christiane: Thank you for the book excerpt of Nadia. After reading it, I did not find any wrong people in it.


On the surface the world/society/expectations think they are the wrong people but to me they are and were perfectly OK.

Yes, suicide and depression are tragic, not just for the one who has suffered and could not take it anymore and had to leave. But also the grief that visits acquaintances, friends and family and for lot of these tragic deaths no one to mourn them by.

The contrast of birth with holding ashes of the dead ...

Eternal cycle - life - death. One can become a Hindu or Buddhist this way.

I am teasing.


One important discovery I have made and I am convinced it is true is ... In reality depressed people ARE the normal people but for them the world has gone screwy and that they are unable to adapt to the fuc*ed up world. And the normal people who are really messed up and they can easily adapt to the screwed up world/society/family/friends/groups/relationships ...

I know I will have to check myself into a lunatic asylum.

But then I am beginning to realize I am already in one.


Thank you and Nadia. I liked the earthy language in that chapter.

Peace friend.

Ramesh said...

I would like to leave an excerpt of Joseph Campbell "Myths To Live By". I understand many of you may not like Campbell but there it is.

BTW this explains most of the maladies afflicting us.

However, today such claims can no longer be taken seriously by anyone with even a kindergarten education. And in this there is serious danger. For not only has it always been the way of multitudes to interpret their own symbols literally, but such literally read symbolic forms have always been -- and still are, in fact -- the supports of their civilizations, the supports of their moral orders, their cohesion, vitality, and creative powers. With the loss of them there follows uncertainty, and with uncertainty, disequilibrium, since life, as both Nietzsche and Ibsen knew, requires life-supporting illusions; and where these have been dispelled, there is nothing secure to hold on to, no moral law, nothing firm. We have seen what has happened, for example, to primitive communities unsettled by the white man's civilization. With their old taboos discredited, they immediately go to pieces, disintegrate, and become resorts of vice and disease.

            Today the same thing is happening to us.

Ramesh said...

But there is something secure to hold on ... to rest in ... to be at peace.


Chris Riley said...

This would be an interesting discussion in light of Ephesians 4 job description of a minister. Equipping the "bruised" for service.

Darrin said...

Nice! Many miss your obvious point "all fruit is rotting," moreover, rotten period. No perfect fruit, no not one (none even less rotten than). Fruit is a brilliant metaphor! The seed inside is all that is eternal and perfect and made so by the Creator. Also, fruit inspectors? No such thing save The Fruit Maker, Himself. He alone is qualified to inspect. Fruit inspecting fruit is hilarious to imagine (new Veggie Tales episode perhaps?). Thanks be to Him that upon inspection He finds this fruit acceptable dare I say perfect since He is its Maker, Redeemer and Friend!