Living Parable
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John Daniel told us all how we could be free
John Daniel taught us all a better way for you and me
He came to us in our own way so we'd be sure to see
He had the light and essence of the man from Galilee

(from) John Daniel Dolly Parton

Basic Information

Some Holy Men teach in parables. Then there's that special type of Holy Man who goes the extra step and doesn't just tell his parable, he actually acts it out; so that his everyday life becomes an object lesson and he himself becomes a Living Parable.

This type of thing is sometimes found among the prophets of the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah wore a yoke on his shoulders to symbolize the yoke of slavery Babylon was going to impose upon the people of Judah. In his relationship with his unfaithful wife, Hosea found himself acting out the relationship between God and his people. And on numerous occasions the prophet Ezekiel was commanded by God to perform peculiar actions that would illustrate God's message.

In a famous passage from the Gospels, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in order to impress on them the lesson that they were to be serve others and not seek status for themselves.

Such actions are not found only in the Bible. It's said that the Greek philosopher Diogenes used to go around the city carrying a lantern. When asked why he was carrying a lantern in the middle of the day, he'd reply: "I'm searching for an honest man."

Gandhi once led a march to the sea where he scooped up a handful of water in a pan and let it evaporate to leave a salt residue; a simple act by which he protested the British tax on salt.

Arguably figures like Cincinnatus … and real life versions of Titus Andronicus would also qualify.

Many religions have rituals that re-enact important moments of their faith, such as the Sacrament of Holy Communion in Christian churches or the Catholic tradition of the Stations of the Cross.

See Also:

Sources

Bibliography
1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • A holy man performing a peculiar action as a symbolic way of conveying his message might make a picturesque NPC to encounter.
    • Especially if his message has some bearing on the PC's in some way.
  • A PC might take on a holy vow to perform certain actions to symbolize his faith or his dedication to his deity.
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