Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Pearl of Great Price and the Good Samaritan

I so dislike Facebook Bible Studies and social media Bible discussions. Because no matter what happens, there is always really limited (note, I do not say "crappy") exegesis and analysis on the verse being discussed. And the limitation often reflects American Christianity.

For instance, someone mentioned the Good Samaritan parable on FB today. And everyone starts posting about this and that...but in the long run it's still the parable understood from the white privileged kind of view. Which is NOT invalid but which is...because it is white privilege or ven black

As a minority I had to step in nd put in my two cents. The other aspects of the good samaritan parable is pretty much usually forgotten:

For instance:

A) helping people who are prejudiced against you,
B  ) that the understanding of another's pain and seeing the other person as a human beyond their externals C) that the people who are outwardly religious often are not loving in their hearts (and either do just up to the limit the law requires or find a way to legally not do the right thing --like going over to the other side)
D) knowing that we ourselves have been helped by people we have been prejudiced against. People like talking about giving and if christians are so saintly and do-gooders...but we also have received much from people we are prejudiced against and from people who we think God would not love.

We as Christians like to think about how helpful we re but we don't want to consider how much we have been helped. As long as we go around thinking of ourselves as good samaritans, we are seeing ourselves as people who are not wounded, who have not been helped and had our wounds bound up. We are also in the position of folks having been good neighbor to us. If we consider the good smaitan from both angles, then all our self-praise at being good samaritans get modified by humility...hopefully.

I remember hearing what the Chinese Church interpretation of the Pearl of Great Price is. They say Jesus was the man digging in his garden and we are the pearl he found and he gave up all he had -- his life-- because the pearl was so precious to him. The rest of the Christian world interprets the parables in so many ways but we American Christians have our narrow little interpretations. Even when we think we are outside the box, we are pretty well ensconced in it. nd you can always understand the effect of an american missionary because then the non-white church and the non-american church just starts taking our interpretation of things.

American analysis of the parables are often focused on the legalistic aspects. Doing, doing. We should be good and do.Or, look at us: We were good nd found tghe kingdom and gave up all for it. It is still self. And is still full of the old righteousness mentality. Get the focus off us. We like to think we have given up  a lot and everything to follow the kingdom. Why can't we also think tht the parable is about both sides of love. Jesus giving all for that great pearl (us) and us -- realizing how valuable we are ..and how costly... can now respond to that love and also give up the little we "think" we have.

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