Three quick observations: One. Jesus said the whole Torah was fulfilled in learning to love God and to love our neighbors. I call this the Jesus Creed, others call this the Great Commandments. Two. Jesus illustrated love of neighbors with the Good Samaritan, who had the wrong answers (theologically) but the right kind of love. He was the foil for the priest and levite, who had the right answers but the wrong kind of love. Three. Jesus said our enemies are to become our neighbors in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:43-48).
We don’t need the scribe’s question (Who’s my neighbor?). We need another question: What is the art of neighboring?
Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon have answered that question because they’ve devoted themselves to studying and practicing the art of neighboring, and the’ve done this in a new book called The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door. I can’t recommend this book enough as a concrete manifestation of what the Jesus Creed entails for us — where we live.
What if Jesus meant our literal, next door neighbors? Did he? Of course, and more, but at least our next door neighbors.
Dave gathered some pastors to hear a local mayor, Bob Frie, and Frie listed the problems in the communities — drugs, housing, at-risk kids etc.. But then the mayor said the big need was if people could figure out how to become a community of neighbors because relationships resolve problems better than programs. [Underline that.]
Then he talked to Vicky Reier (whom Kris and I were privileged recently to meet during our trip to Denver) who said in Arvada there is no distinguishable difference between how Christians and non-Christians “neighbor.”
So Jay and Dave have this book about how to neighbor. It begins with learning names and it means having block parties and learning how to help one another — to love one another.
For more (and we’ll do more posts), see this site: