Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Good Samaritan or simply doing the right thing?

One of my favorite things to do (well that is probably an exaggeration) is to pronounce myself a "Good Samaritan." Amy and I do it all the time if we do anything decently nice or nicely. On the way to the concert on Sunday, I did so again, and explained to those in the car that anyone who does anything good or semi-good automatically becomes a Good Samaritan. Especially on the evening news.

Just last night it was reported that a homeless man turned in a wallet he found with a hundred dollars in it. Now honestly that is amazing, and probably news worthy. But when he was interviewed, his 'title' was "Good Samaritan." I've seen dozens of similar interviews where the person in question somehow garners that title. If you do something good, you're a Good Samaritan.

This title has been used so haphazardly that it no longer means what it used to mean. A Good Samaritan was originally an oxy-moron. It originally referred to someone who risked his life and spent his time and money to save a clear cut enemy: the person he saved actually despised him (or Samaritans as a race).

Probably a more relevant term would be "The Good Talibani." That might capture the hostility and the risk, cost, and grace shown by the parable of the Good Samaritan.

I don't really like it when folks no longer use the word "Christian" (substituting 'Christ-follower') to define themselves-I think we should just redefine the term biblically. However, I understand why they do so. Just like Good Samaritan, "Christian" doesn't mean a whole lot anymore. Anyone who does something 'good' could be interviewed by the news with the subtitle "Christian."

And a Christian is a disciple (Matt 28:19-20) or 'Christ-follower.' So I guess I could get used to it; though I do think its a little too trendy for me to start using it! I wonder how long that term will last; I'm betting a century or less. Too bad I won't be around to collect the money.

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