Pentecost +20 - Year C
2 Timothy 2:3-15
"Good soldier" imagery poses some problems.
No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs [military contract bribes].
The soldier's aim is to please the enlisting officer [fragging].
No athlete is crowned without competing according to the rules [steroids].
The farmer who does the work ought to have the first share of the crop [migrants].
Church people are to avoid wrangling over words ["self-avowed practicing homosexuals"]
There are none of these fine-sounding sayings from the Farmer's Almanac that can't be subverted. Simply stating them, doesn't make them real. They are utopian dreams. Staking an argument on them doesn't get very far and eventually leads us to our present bumper-sticker politics, dividing us from one another.
Finally this whole passages comes down to simply the 15th verse:
Do your best to present yourself to G*D, an unashamed advocate of telling the truth you know and honoring the truth others tell.
More than that brings us to verses 16-17a from The Message: "Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they are not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul." Pious talk, aphoristic talk, either/or talk is an easy way to speak, but, if the only way to talk, turns into simplistic, unrealistic, dreamistic poison talk.