The part of the parable "Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them." makes more sense to me since it is harder to separate the good and evil in an individual than to separate good and evil people.
This also fits better with my last posting of striving for greater civility. Rather than identifying people or groups as "wheat or tares", we can identify the good in all people and ideas.
This also fits better with my recent reading on Lawrence Kohlberg's "Six Stages of Moral Development" and Fowler's "Six Stages of Faith". The early stages start with simple, idealistic definitions of right and wrong.
The sixth stage for both seems a bit hard to reach. For Kohlgerg, the sixth stage is based on universal ethical principles. For Fowler, the sixth stage is a universal inclusion of all beings.
I found this statement from Fowler particularly interesting:
[Person in the sixth stage] are "contagious" in the sense that they create zones of liberation from the social, political, economic and ideological shackles we place and endure on human futurity. Living with felt participation in a power that unifies and transforms the world, Universalizers are often experienced as subversive of the structures (including religious structures) by which we sustain our individual and corporate survival, security and significance. Many persons in this stage die at the hands of those whom they hope to change. Universalizers are often more honored and revered after death than during their lives. The rare persons who may be described by this stage have a special grace that makes them seem more lucid, more simple, and yet somehow more fully human than the rest of us.
Do you know any historical figures that fit this description?