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Old 11-04-2007, 09:15 PM   #1
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Sd.364

Sunday Dispatch .364


Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus.

"Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?"
He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?"

He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself."

"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?"

Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I'll pay you on my way back.'

"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?"

"The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, "Go and do the same."



~Luke 10:25-37 (The Message)
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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It's that simple!
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Old 11-04-2007, 10:13 PM   #3
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This is Christianity. I'm always amazed at how we as the church have let ourselves be blinded to that truth.
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:09 PM   #4
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Re: Sd.364

Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
"Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?"
He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?"

He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself."

"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?"
That passage has always reminded me of a story from the Talmud illustrating the difference between the philosophies of the two predominant Pharisaic schools of thought in Jesus' day--the Hillelites (founder Rabbi Hillel, ca. 70 BC-10 AD) and the Shammaites (founder Rabbi Shammai, 50 BC-30 AD):

"A heathen came before Shammai and said to him, 'I will become your proselyte if you teach me the entire Torah while standing on one foot.' In response, Shammai struck him with a builders' cubit. When the heathen came before Hillel with the same request, Hillel replied: 'What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the entire Torah; all the rest is commentary. Now go and practice it.' " [tractate Shabbat, folio 31a]

Luke's "religion scholar" sounds rather like a Shammaite--the 'no-pearls-for-swine' philosophy, so to speak. He was, of course, quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18; Hillel also cited the latter (the Golden Rule), though not the former, which would've been irrelevant given the "heathen's" manifest lack of serious interest in Judaism. Instead, Hillel offered what he saw as the critical moral tenet of the Torah (keep in mind, while the Pharisees believed in an afterlife, they didn't believe you needed to practice Judaism to get there).
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:57 PM   #5
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It's also really similar to that parable about the man and his wife who invite the homeless man in for dinner and he says something profound, the message of which we all naturally forget beyond it being love your fellow man, follow Jesus, feed homeless people, or something.
...Or maybe that was another email forward from diamondbruno.
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:36 AM   #6
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The Good Samaritan

this is one of the Bible stories that I was taught in Sunday School when I was a child

I didn't like it then
and I still think
it is in serious need of a rewrite.
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
The Good Samaritan

this is one of the Bible stories that I was taught in Sunday School when I was a child

I didn't like it then
and I still think
it is in serious need of a rewrite.
Why?

Isn't it just about caring for your fellow human?
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:20 AM   #8
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the important part of the story is that the passerby that helps the Jew

is a Samaritan.

and because he did help -
he is known as the The Good Samaritan

the way the story was told to me
Samaritans were not typically good people

I was a kid growing up in the 60s and I got to see enough prejudice

having it reinforced in Sunday School was disappointing
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Old 11-05-2007, 02:50 AM   #9
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The Greek text actually just calls the mugged traveler anthropos, but given the location, I suppose it's reasonable enough to assume he was a Jew. I don't know when exactly the phrase "good Samaritan" came to be attached to the story, but the text says nothing about that either.

Assuming the traveler was a Jew, I guess personally I'd tend to locate the relevance of his rescuer being Samaritan not in that the reader/listener is thus meant to expect him to have a sinister and disagreeable character, but rather that Samaritans and Jews at the time tended to see themselves as mutual enemies (this is alluded to elsewhere in the Gospels, and also by the 1st-century historian Josephus, who implies that different collective responses to first the Persianization, then later the Hellenization, of Judaea was the crux of the distrust). Therefore, the fact that someone the reader/listener might reasonably expect to despise Jews (a Samaritan) was in fact kinder to the victim than his own fellow Jews (who you'd expect to help him out) underlines just how high the bar for 'love your neighbor' is being set by the parable. In other words, it's not "See, even Samaritans are capable of kindness, surely you can do better than them!" but rather "This is how boundless your understanding of 'neighbor' should be--extending without hesitation even to your presumed mutual enemies." Just how I took it.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
the important part of the story is that the passerby that helps the Jew

is a Samaritan.

and because he did help -
he is known as the The Good Samaritan

the way the story was told to me
Samaritans were not typically good people

I was a kid growing up in the 60s and I got to see enough prejudice

having it reinforced in Sunday School was disappointing
The way I understood it, there was widespread prejudice against the Samaritans (and vice versa) and so the shocker for the audience was that the good guy was the one they would have assumed would be the bad guy. They were primed to say that my neighbor--who I am supposed to love and who would love me--are people like me, when in fact the message is that whoever shows--even someone perceived to be an enemy--kindness to a person in need is the one who is a neighbor.

I'm not sure how this reinforces prejudice any more than a story about a black man helping a white woman would be reinforcing prejudice to racist white audience.
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean


The way I understood it
This is one of the earliest Sunday School stories I remember.

I was probably 5 or 6.

And I could relate to Jesus, I identified with him.
Jews, back then - they were like me they believed in God and he loved them the best.
I knew what it was to be hurt.
I knew what it was to see hurt people and not help them.

But the Samaritan? Who or what was that?
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