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Voices from the Flats – Retired Pastor

By Retired Pastor

This retired pastor is not nearly brave enough to read Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter’s book, America by Heart. We all appreciate AK Muckraker’s noble sacrifice in plowing through the platitudes on our behalf, and commenting on whatever chunks of fertilizer the plow turns up.

Here is one such chunk of manure which caught my attention. On page 195, the ghostwriter did a cut-and-paste from George Washington’s Farewell Address and then summarized the quote:
morality itself cannot be sustained without the support of religious belief.

Fair enough. Washington said that; the ghostwriter liked it; presumably Sarah Palin endorses the idea. Her name is, after all, on the cover of the book. There’s just one little problem:

In one of his best-known parables, Jesus taught the exact opposite.

Now this old retired pastor would like to think that Christians would occasionally open a Bible (now available in print!) and read the words of Jesus, or even attend a church service and listen to someone with a bit of theological training read the words of Jesus and offer analysis, context, and guidance. If they had a basic familiarity with Jesus’ teachings, Christians might be able to spot when somebody – even George Washington capitalizing words like “Religion” and “Morality” – teaches the opposite of what Jesus taught.

But Palin seems to have skipped church the day they talked about the parable of the good Samaritan.
It’s an interesting story. Not all that long. You can read it for yourself in Luke 10:29-37. Jesus tells this story during the discussion of a verse from Leviticus: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. [Lev 19:18]. The question is put to Jesus: and who is my neighbor? By way of answer Jesus tells this story: a man is beaten by robbers and left by the side of the road close to death. The next three people who come along that road are a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan.

The key to understanding this story is the expectations in the minds of those listening to Jesus as he tells about the people coming down the road. Along comes a priest – what do you think he will he do? Along comes a Levite – what will he do? Along comes a Samaritan – what do you expect him to do?

Two thousand years of hearing this gospel story have changed our expectations about the Samaritan. We now think “Samaritans are good guys! Of course this one will stop and help!”

But the expectations of those who first heard Jesus tell this parable were far different. To them, Samaritans were bad guys. Apostates. Infidels. Betrayers. And to understand why, you have to know a bit of history. The twelve tribes of Israel had for a time lived in the land as one nation under King David and then under his son Solomon. After Solomon the twelve tribes split: Judah became its own kingdom in the south, and the ten tribes became a separate kingdom in the north, Israel.

If we are counting carefully, that’s eleven tribes. The twelfth, Levi, were the priests serving the other tribes and mixed in among them. And so part of the tribe of Levi was in Judah and the other part was in Israel. Levi will be important later in this story.

So for a long time there were two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, each claiming the tradition of Moses. If you read, say, Amos 2:4-16 about the respective merits of Israel and Judah, that’s what that is about.

In about 722 B.C.E. the armies of Assyria wiped out the northern kingdom, deported the survivors, and installed foreigners. They intermingled different religions. You can read about this in 2 Kings 17:5-41. The people in the southern kingdom, Judah, saw this as God’s judgment upon the northern kingdom for Israel’s unfaithfulness: so these nations feared the Lord and also served their graven images; their children did likewise, and their children’s children – as their fathers did, so they do to this day. [2 Kings 17:41]
Have you heard of “the ten lost tribes of Israel”? There they go into oblivion. Lost among the nations, lost to the worship of idols mixed together with the worship of the God of Moses. The people of Judah (later called “Jews”) considered this mixture of religions far worse than simply adopting a different faith. The land stopped being called Israel and came to be called Samaria. And it is one such Samaritan who in Jesus’ parable comes walking down the road and finds the man who was beaten by robbers. Heretic, infidel, pagan, apostate – whatever you want to call him, we do not expect good from this man. God’s judgment is upon his fathers and upon him. It says so right in the Bible. If George Washington is correct, that morality itself cannot be sustained without the support of religious belief, then this man cannot be moral.

So Jesus sets up his audience’s expectations: the poor man was beaten, stripped naked, bleeding, close to death. And along came a priest! A man of purest faith! Seminary degrees and all that! Good things will happen, right? Religious belief leads to morality, right?

Big letdown. The priest averts his eyes, pretends he doesn’t hear the moans, and passes by on the other side of the road. “Not my problem,” he thinks to himself.

Jesus gives it a second chance: then along came a Levite! Which is pretty much the same thing as saying “along came a priest” – the tribe of Levi, remember, served as priests to the other tribes. This man’s ancestors stayed with Judah, suffered the same hardship under the exile to Babylon, resisted the teachings of other religions, stayed loyal to the God of Moses. If you think religious belief supports and sustains morality, then surely this man will stop and help the battered man by the side of the road. There may have been an excuse for the first man to pass by without helping, but this one will help, right?

Another big letdown. The Levite also hurries by.

The point of this parable is that the priest’s religious credentials are unquestionable; but that he did not help. The Levite’s religious credentials are unquestionable, but he did not stop and help. The Samaritan – who is an apostate, heretic, worshipper of idols, with no religious credentials at all – stopped and helped.
More than that. The Samaritan bandaged the injured man’s wounds, put him on his own donkey, took him to the next town, checked him into an inn, and left his Visa card at the front desk. “Take care of this man. Anything he needs, this should cover it, and if not I will settle with you when I get back.”

Gosh, that almost sounds like providing health insurance for somebody who can’t afford it. Pre-existing conditions and all.

It almost sounds like Jesus is saying religion sometimes gets in the way of doing what is right. Maybe he has read Amos. Amos, speaking in the name of the God of Moses, declares that religion often does not lead to right action, and all too often is nothing more than hollow self-congratulations.

I hate, I despise your feasts;
I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
I will not accept them,
And the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
To the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
And righteousness like an everflowing stream. Amos 5:21-24

The priest and the Levite hurried past the injured man, quite likely on their way to celebrate some religious ritual. The hated Samaritan stopped and helped. Which one was the neighbor?



83 Responses to “Voices from the Flats – Retired Pastor”
  1. Anonymous Reader says:

    The Alternet article by “Samaritan” Sam Harris on January 5:
    reminded me of this excellent article here on Mudflats so I came back to add the link as a comment.
    Maybe some Mud Pups will enjoy it.

  2. ibwilliamsi says:

    It’s the story I learned in 1st grade Religion class. I have never been able to reconcile the “christianity” these people espouse with the Christianity I learned as a child.

  3. Village Reader says:

    Thank you for this post. It was very informative and thoughtful.

  4. JUST A THOUGHT says:










  5. JUST A THOUGHT says:

    Thank you, retired pastor! I am sick and tired of people like $arah and

    her buddy, Franklin Graham, using their “BRAND” of religion to bring

    fame and wealth to their bank accounts. The only bible they read is their

    bank statement.


  6. analaskancitizen says:

    Thank you thank you thank you

  7. beth says:

    People always look at me as if I’ve got bats flapping out of my ears when I honestly say I’ve met soooooo many Muslims who absolutely epitomize the teachings of Jesus and who are “more Christian than many ‘christians’ I know” — the Parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of this, but ‘christians’ seem to be unable to comprehend.

    Having spent my formative years (first 22 years) in countries predominantly Buddhist and Muslim, I’ve learned that Good is Good and Evil is Evil…no matter what ‘religious’ tag (or ‘lack’ of religion tag) is placed on the person performing and/or espousing such acts.

    I find the Bible full of profound, wonderful, and inspiring stories and instructions on *how* to live; I do not discount other faith’s teachings, though. As Jesus is reported to have said (John 14:2 –KJV): “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” – I, personally, ascribe to listening to ALL the voices of those mansions. Good is Good.

    Thank you, Former Pastor, for writing about the Good Samaritan. beth.

    PS – Wasn’t, when all is said and done, the Miracle at Cana, Jesus’ first miracle, the original recipe for what we today call: Stone Soup? b.

    –and I can’t find a video of it, but here are the lyrics to Pete Seeger’s “My Father’s Mansion’s Many Rooms” —

    • leenie17 says:

      I see absolutely no contradiction in saying that Muslims, Buddhists or Any-Other-ists are following Jesus’ teachings. While the many varied churches that have sprung up over the years have developed complicated sets of rules and practices, the teachings of Jesus were actually quite simple.

      I have never formally studied different religions but, just by knowing people of different faiths, have come to the conclusion that most share the same basic set of beliefs…to do good things and care for each other. It’s a moral path that I suspect is ingrained in our basic humanity. Apparently, from what I’ve recently read in the news, some of our primate cousins share those moral behaviors as well and I highly doubt they’re attending church every Sunday!

      Of course, perhaps there are bats flapping out of my ears too!

  8. lilybart says:

    Hey! I think we should all start a new religion based on the commands and stories of this Jesus guy, he was a great role model.

    What should we call it?

  9. stef g. says:

    There is a book entitled ‘Is the Homosexual My Neighbor’, by Letha Scanzoni, I recall Rev. Gary Wilson, who was MCC minister here, recommending Jerry Prevo read it, in the late 70’s. Not likely he has.

    • DF says:

      You couldn’t get the H word across his threshold. Did you know that Prevo is a farmer? He grows prejudice with all kinds of manure. While his manure is not organic, it surely smells — unfortunately, not to High Heaven where Prevo might get a message from his God. Instead, it’s a very cold environment in which an inversion occurs that pollutes the minds of his flocks, causing them to believe whatever he wants them to believe.

  10. john aronno says:

    Totally forwarded that to my mom. Thanks, and well said!

  11. Thank you – AKM and Retired Pastor
    Made me a happy day –

  12. Lee says:

    Retired minister,
    Thank you for the great post. We need many like you, who will put a little sunshine, on the little understood Bible. You are right very few take the time to read the Bible, but everyone tries to give their interpretation of what is written on those pages. The truth is always powerful, beautiful, and straight forward. I hope you will be back.

  13. Kilia says:

    Retired Pastor: If you would have been my pastor, I would still be in church today. Thank you for the insight and powerful words.

  14. Laurie says:

    Thanks for the expanded perspective on this story. Palin so wants to connect herself to the founding fathers. She has continued, since the campaign, to suggest that she is more religious than our president. But she is like most of the right wing Christians I have meet. The only way you can tell they are Christian is that they tell you or they talk about God. You certainly can’t tell by their actions.

    The picture reminds me of something you would find printed on a piece of Catholic literature or a prayer card.
    The cards or brochures usually just have Made In Italy or Franciscans of … or the Sisters of ….. printed in the corner.

  15. Gasman says:

    Gee, it’s almost like Palin is saying that Jesus wasn’t a good Christian. “Well, he WAS a Jew, wasn’t he?”

    It seems to me that Palin’s beefs really aren’t with modern liberals or the media, her beef is with Jesus Christ, since it was He who came up with so many of those silly liberal ideas.

    Jesus was a social liberal and a theological conservative. Palin is a theological liberal and a social conservative. That’s how she conveniently manages to so utterly misrepresent what is in the Bible.

    I guess she would counter with her favorite biblical quote: “God helps those who help themselves.” Truly words that she lives by.

    Which book was that from, Sarah?

    • lilybart says:

      Which is why she never mentions Jesus, just the word, God, whatever that means to her.

      And of course, you meant that that quote is from Ben Franklin, not God.

    • overthemoon says:

      Those are perfect words for someone like SP to misunderstand. She helps herself…to the money, the bright lights, everything on the plate without thinking that there might be others wanting to eat as well.

  16. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Just a point of pedantry but it might be nice to know the source of the painting. I googled it but couldn’t find any actual attribution and 68,000 hits seemed a bit too many to wade through.

    Something else, in light of the fact that the Samarians were considered apostates and heretics, I wonder why Samaritan’s Purse chose that particular name, seems a little incongruous or even contradictory unless they mean to imply that all their donations come from heretics and pagans. Or is the upshot of the story that the inn keeper tossed the victim into the street as soon as the Samaritan had departed and then maxed out his visa card?

    Though I appreciate the intent behind this post and the fact that probably more than 80% of mudflatters are religious in some sense, doesn’t it strike you that the conflation of religiosity with morality by Washington (if it is even true) is not so much the point as is the conflation of religiosity with *government*? The reason Palin, or her ghostwriter, used the quote from Washington was obviously to imply that Palin’s “godliness” is a qualification for high office. Good old George was godly. Me, Sarah Palin am godly, therefore me = George W. (was trying to simulate palinspeak there).

    Palin is known to have made claims to the effect that she has been spoken to by god. That is an extraordinary claim. It seems to me, that what we don’t know about Palin is of most concern and one of the things we don’t know is to what extent she is an independent true believer, or the alternative, to what extent her true belief is subject to manipulation and direction by religious authority to which she concedes. It might be a very bad thing to have a person such as she in a position of importance in world politics if she is only deluded and believed herself to be on a mission from god. In the last century one such politician was responsible for the deaths of some 40 to 50 million people. On the other hand, if she is just a pawn, how much worse might it become if her controllers were to have another shot at destroying government in favor of oligarchy?

    I apologize for this rant but I just can’t gloss over how repellent the notion is that this ignorant, uncouth and bigoted woman could gull anyone into thinking she is qualified for any office at all.

    • AKMuckraker says:

      I’m sorry. I really tried to find the painter, but no luck. I did decide to use it, though, because of all the images I saw… even though this was not the most artistically sophisticated, it spoke to me. The look in the eyes of the injured man, and his gratitude I thought were just wonderful – and the Samaritan, so earnest and practical.

      I hope someone knows where it came from.

      • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

        AKM, no apology necessary I just had the same desire to know who did the painting. My guess would be Delacroix or someone close to his school. Interestingly in searching I found several versions of the good samaritan by Van Gogh and they are quite good though it is a little hard to judge how good the color control was in the imaging.

    • Waay Out West says:

      “Palin is known to have made claims to the effect that she has been spoken to by god. That is an extraordinary claim.”

      It is a very common claim amongst the sort of “Christians” who travel the ‘my way or the highway’ road. The truly extraordinary part is that the voice of God is always in complete and total agreement with them.

      God does not speak to them as he did to Saul on the road to Damascus, (Acts Ch3) $arah/Dubya/Sharon Angle don’t seem to have a direct line to the same God who told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22:2) which he surely didn’t want to do, or Ananais who did not want to heal Saul and was told in no uncertain terms to get his butt in gear and do what he was told.

      Nice selection of writings by Pastor Howard Bess here:

    • bubbles says:

      Krubozumo i concur. i think i won’t call myself anything except Bubbles. the only personality who will ever name me Christian is the Christ Himself. i will leave it all to Him. all i want in this life is to love and to be loved. to feed a hungry person or do some thoughtful thing when i can;
      to listen in silence when spirit comes to teach me or correct me when i have done a wrong. (which i do almost every day ‘cept when i am asleep and even then…..
      we live now in a time when to stop to help a person leaves us open to a lawsuit. sad but true.
      i was brought up in church and left a long time ago because i don’t care to associate with many who infest the church with their brand of christianity wedded to stupidity.
      i love your rant. be safe and be well out there where you are….and keep ranting.

      • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

        bubbles – Thank you for the good wishes and the kind words.

        Life is a strange experience and the more of it you experience the stranger it becomes.

        I accept and understand that I lead a very privileged existence, particularly because of the fact that it has so often been juxtaposed against environments and societies that are so alien to the way of life in the US that – well frankly – they will never come in contact with anything that alien.

        I quess what it all boils down to is that humans are capable of doing profound things, both profoundly good and profoundly evil. Unfortunately, the way the world works, evil is often much more highly reinforced than good. People are easy to cheat, and hard to help.

    • TX SMR says:

      There is a certain group of persons in the U.S. — generally very verbal about their Christianity, without the actions to back it up — to whom alleged Christianity and attendance at a certain denomination of church is all that is necessary to lead the U.S.

      Scary. Horrifying. Depressing. The list goes on ad infinitum… But true.

      This post is a wonderful rebuttal to those types of persons without descending into the quagmire of the political aspects of it. There are thousands of books out there about that.

      I left church many years ago because of hypocritical delusional morons that not only act like SP, they also are big fans of hers. If I could find more Chrisitians like The Retired Pastor I might go back. Not likely around this part of TX. I found this a fantastic post to read, in spite of my current feelings about religion.

      Anyone around here read Anne Lamott’s books? Her journey to faith, and her life’s journey in general, are so wonderful, inspiring, hilarious, uplifting — she covers it all. Her fiction books are great too, and that’s an understatement. Traveling Mercies, her first book specifically about faith, is incredible. I have loaned it out about 5 times, gotten it back once. I just keep buying a new copy, thinking obviously they must need it!

      And on a different thread, a while back, I talked about a book titled The Beauty of Different — it also talks about faith, internal spirtuality, beauty — I highly highly recommend it.

      • Bretta says:

        Those people you mentioned in your first paragraph – reminds me of Daniel, I think? Something about those who bray on street corners juxtaposed with those who pray in a closet.

  17. Retired Pastor: Thank you for that…it was wonderful. Although I am a contented heathen, I used to be a believer long ago…..and try to remember the better angels it inspired.

  18. jojobo1 says:

    Retired Pastor Thank you so much for posting.It brings us all closer and reminds everyone that you can lead a Godly life even without attending mainstream services.I have often wondered what palin or how she agrees with Greta and her husband as they are both Scientologist and I would think that would kind of be against all she believes in.No offence to anyone who has those is just that they do not mix with what palin and her religious zealots believe.

  19. kellyofsiam says:

    I have no religion of gods. I was raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran & thought it all nonsense except for the teachings of Jesus…this story lies at the heart of his teachings. Would it be those who claim the US is a christian nation paid attention to and followed his teachings.

    • lilybart says:

      If only we WERE a Christian nation!! Jesus spoke about caring for each other and never spoke about abortion or gay people.

  20. ks sunflower says:

    Like many others here, I am not affiliated with any religion. However, I appreciate spiritual wisdom from a variety of sources that resonate truth and goodness. This particular parable is one of my favorites.

    I hope you will consider posting again, Retired Pastor. That you put the parable into historical context reminds us that the truth in whatever holy writ we may read or be taught from was first designed for a particular audience. Once we understand that, we can better appreciate, absorb and apply the lesson of the message to our own context.

    Once again, thank you, AKM, for attracting people of integrity, thoughtfulness and compassion then sharing their wisdom with us.

  21. WakeUpAmerica says:

    Sounds like Howard Bess. I could be wrong. Whoever wrote this has illustrated a very good point. Once again Sarah has no clue about that which she speaks.

    • mag the mick says:

      I also detect the voice of Reverend Bess here. If it’s not, then it’s good to know there is another of his ilk up there.

      Most of the old Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies, had nothing to do with organized religion, but realized that the words and deeds of Jesus were something that could be believed in and followed. So in Wobbly legend, Jesus is known as “Jerusalem Slim”. Slim’s story of “The Decent Bum” is a retelling of the Samaritan story. Slim sez that how we act and how we treat each other is what’s important. If your fancy religious beliefs don’t include the words “help each other out”, then they ain’t worth nothing.

      I’m still ridin’ the rods with Jerusalem Slim.

      • Valley_Independent says:

        I see I was not the only one who heard Pastor Bess’ voice in the above lesson. Pastor Bess long ago earned my respect as a faithful and thoughtful follower of Jesus.

        Be you Bess or some other enlightened soul, Retired Pastor, thank you for the above lesson. I hope you will continue to share with us.

        There are a lot of good people who aren’t Christian, and a lot of “Christians” that aren’t good people, which makes me very glad our founding fathers were so clear about their wish to keep church and state separated.

        I leave you with the following:

        “Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.”
        — G.K. Chesterton

        “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”
        — G.K. Chesterton

    • Bretta says:

      Makes me miss Chuck Eddy.

  22. jimzmum says:

    Thank you, Retired Pastor. A beautiful way to tell my favorite story.

  23. mea says:

    Retired Pastor asks “which one was the neighbor?”
    They all were, just as we all are. Just because the priest and the Levite didn’t stop doesn’t mean they weren’t also neighbors. They just weren’t right-thinking.
    I really liked thinking positively as I read this post. Thank you, Retired Pastor.

    Sarah Palin is lying in a ditch, wounded and crying for help.
    Who will be the neighbor?

    I dslike SPIFOS so so so much, but Retired Pastor reminds me of my inner goodness, and suddenly, I don’t feel as perturbed as I do normally when the Palin name comes up.

    • Bretta says:

      I understood your thinking and the good feeling and was inspired to picture $P

      as the wounded needy person in the ditch,

      then I realized she would be a snake and bite me even as I was trying to help.

      I am her neighbor in deep fear and distrust of her. (not to quench the light you brought me momentarily)

      • mea says:

        I have to admit, I’m not sure how neighborly I’d feel seeing her in that ditch. I have lived with people like her, and the best thing to do is stay back……
        still, it was nice of Retired Pastor to bring out the intellegence and goodwill of everyone here, wasn’t it?
        The light can never be quenched, even by SPIFOS.

  24. dreamgirl says:

    After reading this I’m reminded of :

    1) Stigmata ( movie 1999 ) and the saying:

    “The Kingdom of God is inside you,
    And all around you
    Not in mansions made of wood and stone.
    Split a piece of wood and I am there.
    Lift a stone and you will find me.”

    2) Bill Moyer and Joseph Campbell- The Power of Myth series.

    3) Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

    Retired Pastor, thank you for this timely parable/story. (would love to see more of your theology on the Mudflats.)

    P. S. sistah Failin… if I want to read delectable “word-salad”, I’ll always choose Francois Rabelais and his book- Gargantua and Pantagruel over your moose-innard-gruel!

  25. laceweight says:

    Thank you,Retired Pastor, for this immensely inspiring, hopeful, and gently humored start to the new year, which, if she were to encounter it, might still regretfully require some interpretation for Sarah, not to mention a considerable number of other Americans (sigh).

    But it’s obvious the rest of us get it, delicious!

  26. Moose Pucky says:

    “Let justice roll down like waters.” Now I really like that one.

    Today, however, even waters rolling down are rarer and rarer as we continue to build those big dams around the world for our ever-increasing demand for electricity for all our new toys.

    • fromthediagonal says:

      Maya Lin, the inspired creator of both the Vietnam Wall in Washington and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery used the phrase” let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” as her inspiration for the Civil Rights monument at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
      Martin Luther King used it before the march to Montgomery and in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

      Believe me, I added my tears to the waters flowing across that granite table and with my finger wrote my own pledge of tolerance and altruism into the rolling water on the wall.

      If ever words of any religion have spoken to me, they were within the running waters over the names of those who suffered for taking the pledge of non violence…

  27. Gramiam says:

    Retired Pastor, thank you for an inspired post. It is good to hear from a truly “good” Christian, rather than a person who worships at the altar of Greed and Intolerance.

  28. This is a retired pastor I could learn to like more of. I was kind of hoping the story had a “gotcha'” moment for Sarah like where she miscounted the angry mama grizzlies who wanted to eat her alive, and then I figured I don’t want to be like her that much. Since I have long parted ways with formalized religions, I must say this was entertaining and informative for me as well as others. But listen,with such a small population base,how many of you can be clergy?

    • dreamgirl says:

      I am agnostic, very spiritual and I love history! The information history provides and how people’s perceptions are changed by powerful ideas by; threats, death/mass coercion, force …is still disturbing and a bit fascinating.

      I read somewhere our human brains had stopped growing around Hippocrates time… just read our brains are now shrinking. Perhaps that is a sign that “the power” of evolution is trying to tell us something.

  29. Polarbear says:

    George Washington was very experienced in some of the worst, bloodiest, most vicious warfare ever known, from the defense of early settlements in the Shenandoah Valley, to the French and Indian War and the battles with the bloody Six Nations, to the Revolutionary War. Young Col Washington of the British army learned early on that the most trail-worn, tobacco-chewing, rum-drinking reprobate, was frequently the first man to be relied upon in the worst, most violent and tragic situations. Such men were frequently of deep but quiet and firm religious conviction, and Washington noted this many times. Washington developed a eye for recruiting such men and relied upon them, else we would not be here today. The likes of Washington, Nathaniel Greene, Mad Anthony Wayne, and George Rogers Clark would have been repelled by a twit like Palin. Thank you for your bible history and intepretation, Retired Pastor.

  30. The Rubber Room Hotel says:

    OH, Thank you! Very employable lesson.

  31. Kallie in Texas says:

    Thank you for this post. You given us a lot of thought provoking illustrations.

  32. janofdg says:

    Thanks so much for pointing out the clear differences between the actions Jesus modeled & the lessons he taught with the law of the covenant in the Old Testament (the covenant that Jesus died to fulfill). It seems to me that many “Christians” focus not on the ways of Jesus Christ, but on the ways of Jewish law written in the Old Testament/Torah. Maybe we should all consider social justice that Jesus espoused and really think about what Jesus would do.

  33. formerwriter says:

    Retired Pastor,
    I am definitely not religious, but I really enjoyed reading your post. Please keep posting! If only there were more folks like you in the world, who can see the many contradictions and then make some sense of them. Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

  34. leenie17 says:

    As a former Catholic who ceased following any formal religion many years ago, I am often offended by those righteous ‘Christians’ who judge me solely by my lack of attendance at weekly ceremonies. While I have no problem with others following a more traditional path if they so desire, I consider myself to be just as moral and worthy as those who choose to seat themselves in a wooden pew promptly at 10 am every Sunday morning. In fact, because I try to help others on a regular basis regardless of their race, religion, culture or beliefs, I believe myself to be a much more honest follower of Jesus’ teachings than those who recite all the right words on Sunday morning and then behave in exactly the opposite way the other six and a half days of the week. I believe that the more modern way of putting it (which I suspect you’ll never find in the Bible) is this: Talk is cheap!

    Thank you for your post.

    • jojobo1 says:

      Right you are.I live in a small town and saw it every week,church than a run to a bar for the rest of the day.Alot of people talkt the talk but in now way walk the walk.

      • Jen in SF says:

        A friend who is an avowed atheist is always stunned when people (finding out he follows no Faith) ask him, “then what stops you from killing people?” O_o

        I loved reading the history behind this parable. Thank you, Retired Pastor.

  35. John says:

    Thank you for this post. The world would be a much better place if people would pay attention to what Jesus actually said and did, rather than what today’s leaders want people to believe. Even as a non-believer, I can find lots of wisdom in the bible and in the new testament.

  36. GA Peach says:

    Thank you. This has always been my favorite Bible story.

  37. MinNJ says:

    Thank you so much for that! Inspiring and instructive. I’m very grateful, and I hope you return with other posts for us. I was just thinking of that Amos passage recently…I imagine your congragants must miss you very much, but we may perhaps gain a welcome voice here.

  38. Beth says:

    I didn’t make it to church this morning – long story. But I missed it and felt a bit let down. I almost always learn something new at my church that is of help to me during the upcoming week. And then I read this post and realized that I had my bit of knowledge from reading this post that will be with me this week. Thanks, Retired Pastor! I hope you keep postingl.

    • vyccan says:

      My word, Beth, while reading this I WAS thinking about missing church this morning, and getting a message anyways!

      • As I am not home, I also missed church though I tried to find one, but was too late. It’s a triple header! Thank you for taking Jesus (and the Samaritan) back. Of course, we all have different Samaritans….passed by the liberal, passed by the progressive, helped by …well – you get the picture.

  39. overthemoon says:

    Thank you for this wonderful example of just how careful we have to be when the sanctimonious lay down (or campaign with) with the ignorant!

    • Eykis says:

      Excellent explanation and a grateful THANK YOU to the Retired Pastor. Yes, it is good to hear from someone who has actually had religious training and years of thoughtful experience – so much more educational than listening to the “Johnnies come lately” to their own brand of religiosity.
      Again, thank you for reminding us of the story of the Good Samaritan.

  40. Ripley in CT says:

    And this, I presume, is where the “Good Samaritan” Law originates. To protect those of us who will stop and pull a victim out of harm’s way, so that we won’t get sued.

    An excellent Voice from the Flats entry. Thank you.

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