The ethical demand found in the photograph "Fun for less"

"Fun for less" (click on the photo to enlarge it)
Earlier today I posted three pictures I took this morning in Cambridge. The third of them, "Fun for less", has remained with me all day and, even though I'm on sabbatical leave until September, I found myself beginning to write something akin to a Sunday address. But the truth is that I am way too tired to shape it sufficiently well to present it here. However, what I can do, alongside the provocative photo, is offer you the provocative "readings" that the picture prompted me to consider.

The first was a short extract from a book called "The Ethical Demand" (Notre Dame and London, University of Notre Dame Press 1997, p. 15) by the Danish philosopher and theologian, Knud Ejler Løgstrup (1905-1981) :

"A person never has something to do with another person without also having some degree of control over him or her. It may be a very small matter, involving only a passing mood, a dampening or quickening of spirit, a deepening or removal of some dislike. But it may also be a matter of tremendous scope, such as can determine if the life of the other flourishes or not."

The second "reading" was in two parts. The first was a straightforward translation of Matthew 25: 39-43. The second was this same passage as radically re-presented to our own age by a close friend of mine (and fellow "Winstanleyite"), Graham Driver, whose intelligent passion and commitment to democracy, peace and justice remains an inspiration to me.   

And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”  

Matthew 25: 39-43 (as recast by Graham Driver):

‘When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you advised me to join those other shirkers and scroungers in the foodbank queue, I was thirsty even while your utilities portfolio yielded lucrative dividends, I was a stranger and you said that my presence was the reason that your economy was in peril, I needed clothes and you sought to sell me branded garments made in the sweatshops of the global South, I was sick and you pronounced that treatments were no longer affordable, in prison just as you profited from the market penetration of the criminal justice system.’


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