Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who is My Neighbor?

I read a wonderful story on Scottie's blog about a gentleman who performed a socio-cultural experiment in which he "went gay" to generally see how the 'other half' lived.

  What struck me about the story was how he suddenly lost his "family", his "friends".  It was heartbreaking, and likely the only way he maintained his sanity was that he had some who knew the truth of his orientation.  And yet, I have to ask, why is it that his orientation was such an issue all of sudden?

  While I was at work, I began to think on the parable of "the Good Samaritan", and how it has seemed to lose its meaning in today's culture.

  If you may recall, while out in the streets, a lawyer asked Jesus how to go to heaven.  Now, remember, a lawyer is one who was an expert in the Judaic law.  Jesus told the man it was written, inviting him to answer his own question - in which the lawyer quoted Deuteronomy and Leviticus - saying 'love your God' and 'love your neighbor'.  The lawyer went further though and asked Jesus - who is my neighbor?
  Now, from my readings, lawyers of Jesus era and those of our own have one thing in common: they seem to often debate the law looking for loopholes that excuse less than honorable behaviour, thereby making it acceptable. 

  It is at this that Jesus speaks the parable of "The Good Samaritan". 

  So, first, understand that Samaritans were considered the unclean, despised and hated.  They were an Abrahamic religion, similar to Judaism.  In a way, one might think of them as Lutherans and Catholics, having a common philosophical ancestry.  In another, one might see them similar to Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims - again, having a common ancestry of philosophy but now - often - quite violently opposed.
  I'm going to assume most know the parable of the good samaritan to save space.  But, there were two other main characters in the story: the Priest and the Levite.  I'm not positive of the roles each played, though I know Levites cared for the religious articles and temples.  In essence, these were so called 'holy men'.  Holy men who found reason to leave a man beaten, robbed, alone and unable to care for himself.  Holy men who found excuse to not help another. Men who used "God's Word" to ignore "God's Word".

Now, who was this Samaritan?  Who was this man who stopped to help a stranger on the road?  Who was this "unclean" individual who gave his time, his safety, his physical strength and his money to one who was beaten?  Was he one who thought himself so righteous as to actually speak for God?  So worthy as to care for God's house?  Nope, and yet Jesus spoke very highly of him. 

                  This is who I see as fulfilling God's word:
Love, protection, wanting the best for another....

I tell you all of this to come to my point:  The most frightening thing in this world to me is a man who would disrespect, disenfranchise and disavow another because "God said".

  I've spoken of many of these things before, and I likely will again.
  I am angry with the so called leaders who preach hate, I am disappointed with those who would place themselves above others yet sip at the sewer.
   I am unimpressed with those who are so impressed with themselves for no reason other than their attraction to the opposite sex.
    Frankly the anti-ethics of a loud minority who seem to have the podiums, the pac's, the radio and news shows scare the living lights out of me.  They seem so intent upon their irrationality!
  What brought all of this on, you may ask.  Well, I had another strikeout with another church.  At a certain level, I could care less - knock the dust from my boots and move on.  Still, rejection hurts a bit, especially being told that one is fundamentally unacceptable.
But, although I have felt alone, rejected and unloved at times, I've also found those who have loved me, picked me up and put me back on my feet.  Great people who tell me I'm a good man, who by their example encourage me to be a better man.  Who knows what's on the horizon, maybe a lover of my own?  Whatever, today is a good day, because no matter what some will say, I'm loved.