The God Samaritan

Here’s a parable from unorthodoxology:

The old Baptist preacher had been around long enough to know a fraud when he saw one. And he had grown tired of listening to this one regaling audiences in the shade of a pecan grove with fanciful tales of God that lacked any proper exegesis and rational hermeneutical lens. So, he carefully picked his question and planned his attack like a biblical chessmaster.

“Teacher, I’m confused” he called out, his pleasant drawl lazily floating on the ripples of the humid, Georgia heat. “Christians can’t seem to agree on just about anything. Sometimes it seems like they are worshiping completely different gods, to say nothing of the pagans and heathens who worship false gods. So, with all these gods running around in our heads, how do we know which god is the true God?”

The teacher finished his long pull on a Mason jar of sweet tea. “Well, what does it say in the Bible? What’s your take?”

The Baptist preacher, pleased to have the stage and perhaps set some erring minds in the audience straight, cleared his throat. “‘Well, God is good, just, loving and hates evil.'”

“Exactly, my friend,” the teacher replied. “Worship this God and you will live.”

But the man wanted to prove a point, that the teacher wasn’t worshiping this God at all. “But everybody says this is the God they serve, but clearly they can’t all be right, can they? There is only one God, as the Bible says, not many.”

In reply, the teacher told another story.

“A man was going over to Atlanta from Birmingham, when he found himself in a deserted rest area on I-59. As he was getting out of his car to stretch his legs, a bunch of robbers approached him and pistol whipped him. They left him in his underwear, bloodied, bruised and unable to move. They left him half-dead, stripped of his money, credit cards and jewelry.

A few minutes later, a man arrived at the rest area and saw the poor beat up man lying in a pool of his own blood. He began to approach, but then noticed the multi-colored gay pride flag on his bumper. Instead of helping, he nodded in approval. The beaten man obviously was a heretical abomination and this beating was just, deserved punishment. So, he dragged the near-dead body into the bushes so no one else could help and continued to reign down righteous blows on him.

A little while later, another traveler stopped at the rest area and heard some rather painful moaning coming from the nearby bushes. He was shocked at the state of the beaten man, eyes swollen, blood-matted hair and the incoherent groaning in pain. He looked down in pity.

“Don’t worry,” he said to the beaten man. “You might be in excruciating pain now, but you won’t be once you get to heaven, which from the looks of your general state, won’t be too long from now. Rejoice in your suffering and count it a blessing! Soon you will be in paradise!”

On that happy note, he left, hoping the man’s suffering would purify him and joyful that another person would die on earth but live forever in heaven.

A third person arrived at the rest area. He had darker skin than the others and spoke with in heavily accented English. He too heard the moans of the beaten man.

When he saw the state of the wounded, he immediately gathered the man’s body into his arms and laid it in his back seat. After compressing the wounds, he sped to the nearby hospital where the nurse admitted the man but informed the kind traveler that without insurance they would stabilize him and send him home. The traveler pulled out a credit card and said to give the man the best care available. I’ll come back and pay anything my credit limit won’t cover.”

Which of these three do you think is God, the one who condemned and continued to torture him with hellish assaults; the one who told him to look to the world beyond; or the one who cared for him?”

The preacher replied, “The one who had unconditional mercy on him.”

“Go and serve this God, wherever you may find this God,” Jesus said.

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  • Luke

    we are either using the bible as a mirror or a portal.the mirror reflects our own prejudices back on us and we act accordingly (see the bigot and heaven-ward characters in the story).if we use it as a portal we are called to transform and leave our comfort-zone (see the Samaritan character).this is a tad simplistic, but that’s where i’m at right now 😉

  • Scott F

    You don’t take I-59 from Birmingham to Atlanta – you take I-20.Just sayin’Scott in B’ham

  • Ken Brown

    This is excellent!

  • James F. McGrath

    Ken, I just thought I’d let you know that one or more people found their way to my blog today searching for “followers of Ken Brown”! :)

  • David Henson

    Scott,Ha! Thanks for the correction. I’ve been away from the South for about five years now, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. :)

  • Ken Brown

    LOL, but which Ken Brown were they searching for? There seem to be a lot of us…BTW, the link to unorthodoxology doesn’t work. It looks like it changed to:

  • Angie Van De Merwe

    Pointed AND CORRECT! Great job!!

  • Angie Van De Merwe

    Your rendition here is according to a “revelational model” (moral modelling in mercy) and it is according to faith, not reason. But, I also believe that the order of things according to reason is according to our government’s understanding of the individual under law, which is also according to “faith” (moral order or structure of the universe), which supports “justice”. One is according to character of the individual, the other is according to natural law and reason. Therefore, reason cannot give answers to revelation of God’s grace (who can give a reason for the diversity in this universe)? But, reason can also “know” certain Laws that pertain to the physical realm that science affirms. We cannot combine these two understandings without doing disservice to the other…That is why where it pertains to the individual,acting in mercy is justice. Whereas, when it comes to community acting justly is mercy. I think today with globalization, we have complexities in solving diveristy when it comes to understandings of what is “right” culture and how that affects understandings of justice and the laws that support “justice”.