This is surf-themed blog. It has nothing to do with religion or politics. There’s enough ranting and foaming at the mouth. But after all the worldwide headline news of this past week cause by pronouncements coming out of the Man with the Toupee, today I’m rephrasing the famous parable of the Good Samaritan. You might know Jesus’s story, how this Jew was attacked by robbers who stole everything and left him half-dead. A Jewish priest came along and saw the victim and passed by on the other side of the road. Then appeared a Levite, a Jew who worked in the temple, and did the same. The third man who came along happened to be a Samaritan, who not only stopped but helped the guy to an inn to recover and paid the innkeeper for the man’s expenses. In 1st Century Palestine, this story Jesus told was radically subversive, because to the Jews, the Samaritans were unclean foreigners, best to just get rid of them (a Jewish scholar is recorded in the Jewish Talmud as saying, “bread given by a Samaritan is more unclean than swine’s flesh.”). To the political and religious establishment of the day, Jesus was a dangerous bleeding-heart liberal and traitor to traditional morals and values. They ended up killing him.
So I’m rephrasing this story, as Jesus might say it today if he were wandering around America, trying to preach the Good News:
On one occasion a well-known scholar in church doctrine stood up in the town hall to test Jesus, this new kid on the block preaching a suspect message.
“Preacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Bible?” Jesus replied. “What is your take?”
The scholar answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“You nailed it,” Jesus replied. “If you do this, you’ll live.”
But looking for a loophole, the scholar asked Jesus, “And just who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was driving through the Valley of the Three Church Steeples in the back country of the Bible Belt, west of Chicago. His tire went flat, and he got out to change it. As he did so, some skin-head punks cruising stopped and attacked and robbed him, stripped him and his car, and left laughing as he lay there half dead.
Five minutes later, a pastor drove by, on his way home from a men’s prayer lunch. He saw the injured man lying on the side of the road. It was dangerous to stop here in this quiet area, so quiet the cell phone signal dropped out. There’d been frequent attacks. It would more prudent to drive on until he got into range and then call 911.
A few minutes later, another man drove by, heading to a political rally. He was one of the organizers of this county rally, where they would be live-feeding to their convention screen a major policy speech by Donald Trump. He too saw the injured man on the roadside, but surely somebody else would come along and help. He didn’t have the time. He had more urgent things to do. Donald Trump was the man who was going to save America and his speech was important for the good of the country and for God.
Some time later, a third car rattled by. The man, a recent immigrant, had driven forty miles to the closest mosque in the area for Friday noon prayers and was now going home, worry for his family occupying his mind. At the last second he saw the badly injured victim and stomped on his brakes and backed up. With his car’s first aid kit, he bandaged him up and put him in his car and drove back the other way to the nearest hospital’s emergency room and stayed there until the man was seen to, giving his credit card as guarantee for the bills.
In the town hall, Jesus asked the scholar, “Who do you think was a neighbor to the man attacked by the skin-heads”
The scholar replied, “I suppose the Muslim.”
Jesus told him, “You go and do the same.”