Countless hospitals across the nation bear the name “Good Samaritan,” all a tribute to Jesus’ masterful parable about the injured traveler. So ubiquitous is this story that it has become a cliché to call someone who helps another “a good Samaritan.” Yet, as with so many sayings of Jesus, the more popular it became, the more it was domesticated and dulled so as to no longer present a challenge. Like cereal left sitting in milk too long, the good Samaritan today communicates the soggy, tepid truth that we should occasionally help the needy if it is not too much trouble. Furthermore, the command of Jesus to love ones’ neighbor as oneself remains divorced from the story, as if the two were unrelated. We forget that Jesus’ little story is intended to illustrate and set a standard for how his followers neighbor others. In what follows, we will make our way through the parable, paying careful attention to the historical context in order to recalibrate our senses and learn how best to live this out today.
Archive for the 'Ethics' Category
This article is helpful and insightful. Has some good wisdom that our blog could gain from. Here’s a highlight:
Sometimes, lives are wrecked by “Business Traveler Mentality.” This is the belief that “the rules of home don’t apply when I’m on business trips.” People make really horrible decisions on the road they’d never make at home because, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Often, we Christians suffer from that same line of thinking when we get online. We’ll tweet things we’d never say to someone’s face. We’ll comment on Facebook statuses in ways we’d never do in “real life.” We’ll push buttons and pick fights on comment threads and message boards. We’ll gossip and tear down people as if maybe “Love your neighbor” actually says, “Love your neighbor, except if you’re online.”
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one
another John 13:34 & 35(NASB)
The words of Jesus are very explicit in John chapter 13 so we must ask ourselves some big questions.
1) How did Jesus Love?
2) Did Jesus show his Love to his followers?
3) Did he restrict his Love simply to his follows?
4) When we see the Cross do we see LOVE?
Question one How did Jesus Love?
As I was going through my mail the other day, or should I say “junk” mail since that seems to be all that ever comes besides bills, I noticed a little community newspaper. It was one of those small papers that are 80% ads (how they get sent out to every resident for free) and is mass produced by a local publishing company that markets it to local businesses (or as they term it – “customizing community news”) as a way to reach potential consumers.
I came across the following quotation in the reading for my ethics class. Most of us probably think abortion is a new ethical question brought on by the advent of modern science and technology. In fact, the early Christians were already wrestling with this question. The following is from Tertullian of Carthage (north Africa), a late second century teacher and defender of the faith. Here is what he writes to the Romans who were persecuting the Christians in his book Apology chapter 9:
A big problem with the “hot button” social issues that get debated endlessly is that you often have people on both sides of the debate who misunderstand, oversimplify, or in some cases even misrepresent the opposing view. The video I have linked here (I couldn’t get it to embed) gives a good, common sense, look at the abortion issue.
Probably the best line in it was, “If your views on abortion can fit on a bumper sticker, you haven’t thought it through hard enough.” I think this can also be said for all of the “hot button” social issues. When I took a course on Ethics in college, the biggest thing I learned was that there are no simple answers.
1Thes 5.22 [KJV]
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
It is amazing how one little word can change a meaning so much. I bet a lot of puritanical church rules were generated by a concern to avoid even the “appearance” of evil. Matthew Henry’s commentary (from 1706) says:
We should therefore abstain from evil, and all appearances of evil, from sin, and that which looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of sin, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to sin, will not long abstain from the actual commission of sin.
When we first started kingdomready.org we developed a static website which combined ministry related content with web resources primarily focused on evangelism. Our motto was and continue to be “helping people to get ready for the kingdom.” However, once people had sufficiently explored the website (usually after about a week) we noticed that for many there was not a need or desire to continue visiting the site (other than once a week to download the Sunday sermon or watch the web-cast). At this point I asked JohnnyO what we could do to increase traffic and bring more people in. He suggested that what people are looking for is not merely static content but a changing website where people could interact through conversation. We discussed the various ways that this was done (message boards, guest books, blogs, podcasts, etc.) and decided that the mechanism that best suited our needs was to have a blog. The original conception was simple: we wanted to have a section of kingdomready that was alive and changing on a regular basis. It was (and still is) our desire to have a new blog post every other day. Beyond this, we did not really have guidelines in place for what the blog posts should contain.
eschatology = related to the end of the age (i.e. kingdom of God, return of Christ, resurrection, etc.)
I thought the following quote summarized a good way of thinking about ethics in light of the kingdom.
Yet the existence of this strong tradition of intensified Jewish ethics may indicate the preresurrection source of a realized eschatology in Jesus’ own preaching. Why would Jesus make such demands of his followers? Why would they listen to him? Because, as authoritative spokesman of the Kingdom, Jesus created around himself a community of those who would live, prolepticly, according to the “new” Torah written upon their hearts. the Torah according to which Israel would live when the Kingdom came: [Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000)]
I recently received a link to a video (see it here) in which a “Reverend” spouted off about how evil President Obama is, and saying that “white folks are going to rise up” the way black folks did in reaction to the Rodney King incident – and this was from a black minister. Moreover, this man practically foamed at the mouth with his hatred for Obama, repeatedly calling him a “long-legged Mac-daddy” (whatever that means) and worse. No matter what you may think of the president’s politics and policies, we are told to honor and pray for our governmental leaders, not spout off such strife-gendering rhetoric.