the samaritan was a heretic. the ‘dirtiest’ of all outsiders according the puritanical jewish mind. i read somewhere that in their ancient laws (not in the bible, for good reason) the jews believed something similar to this credo: ‘a good samaritan is a dead one’. they hated the samaritan. yet, jesus used the samaritan (there is scholarly debate over whether jesus actually told any of the samaritan-based stories, because the author of them (luke) might have had an agenda/heart for the samaritan and wanted to demonstrate the importance of interacting with the ‘other’) — for the sake of this conversation, let’s assume jesus did tell these heretical stories. jesus supports the heretic. he uses the heretic as the person we can learn from. it is also important to remember that the word ‘evangelism’ doesn’t just mean to teach others, at the root of the word ‘teach’ (matthew 28:19-20) is also the word learn. we can never stop learning from a buddhist, from a mormon, from a muslim or anyone. but if jesus was close to and supported the heretic. than i am not only a heretic, i want to continue being one. if that’s where jesus is, that’s where i want to be. they are the one who naturally challenges systems and beliefs not by being purposefully inflammatory, but by just being themselves. this is the key.
too many times we get so caught up on language and semantics and we begin taking ourselves seriously. too seriously. under the guise of defending god (who isn’t on trial) we seem to justify our behaviour of incessantly quoting scripture and coercing people to our side or our worldview when jesus spent most of his time engaging people right where they were at. he had this ability to see them as they were and as they are and let the latter gauge everything he said and did. i don’t think jesus was as sensitive as some of us are when it comes to using language. i am not advocating a language that abuses or destroys or unnecessarily deconstructs people or ideas, but i think we need to come to a place where we realize that languge is one of many mediums we use to communicate. and words like samaritan, dung (greek word ‘skubalon’ means shit), gehenna, fox, bird (sometimes) were typical words used in the ancient palestine to signify a level of disgust and it was this language that created separation. division. if anything, we need to remove any language that could support ideologies founded upon the ideas of exclusivism. jesus by using the samaritan was essentially redrawing the boundaries (especially in the story of the ‘good samaritan’; which might be re-cast as anyone you might think is unacceptable — the good —— (fill in the blank). and so if jesus spends his time with the heretics. then well, i want to be a heretic.