Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
“Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
I have nothing. No words. No explanation.
Here is what I wrote in my journal:
“Well, there it is. ‘none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all of your possessions.
I have nothing to say.”
And that isn’t even the most difficult part of the passage. I literally have nothing to say. I feel like this passage says it all, and that it’s impossibly incompatible with the life that I lead and that everyone I know leads.
The good news is, the internet seems to think that Jesus’s insistence on “hating” one’s family is exaggerated language, or figurative language. They compare it to similar verses in Matthew. It’s all explained very well here. But nobody seems to adequately address verse 33. The only person I saw address it at all claimed that, based on a different translation, Jesus wasn’t even talking about material possession. But NRSV is a very literal translation, and I couldn’t find any Greek explanations for what word should be used there instead. They all just said things like “We should be willing to give up anything.” Which is just not what Jesus said. At all.
I don’t know whether to sell all my possessions and go live on a community farm in West Virginia, or just ignore it like everyone else does and go on with my life loving God the best way I know how. All I know is that I feel completely lost.