Won’t you be My Neighbor?

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What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same Luke 10:25-37
The Message (MSG)

The Jews typically interpreted “neighbor,” meaning “one who is near,” in terms of members of the same people and religious community, that is, fellow Jews (as in Matthew 5:43-48). The Pharisees tended to exclude “ordinary people” from their definition. The Qumran community excluded “the sons of darkness” from their definition of neighbors.

The lawyer agrees that the essence of the Torah is to love one’s neighbor as oneself, but then seeks to limit the application of this to fellow Jews only. Love your own race and faith community, he believes, and you have fulfilled the law.” by Matt Slick The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37 Christian Apologetics Research Ministry

This attitude around the parable of the Good Samaritan was not unique to the ancient Jewish culture; many in society today clandestinely hold to this sentiment. Sadly enough, followers of Christ in the faith community are not excluded from this reality. No, we are not ever going to be the same, but we humans are one large family; living and learning more about each other all of the time. In the last several weeks the subject of our genetic inter-relatedness has been thoroughly discussed. Beyond that; we must continue  to “have the conversation.” This is a term that we often hear when we speak in multi- ethnic discussions focused on race and ethnicity. The conversation is ongoing and seemingly never ends. Why is this? could it be that we are forever talking but nobody is listening.
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Brad Paisley has been lambasted by some and lauded by others for the his artistic work, the song Accidental Racist,.” Through all of the controversy, this artistic expression has accomplished its main goal; it’s making money. However, a secondary result is that it has opened the conversation (Oh that word again)! Instead of discounting it outright; we need to use this as a teachable moment to understand more about this admixture called America.

Maybe, among all conversations, this one is most sensitive. Often times people are reluctant to talk about it because this shows people on all sides of the ethnic/cultural chasm  their real and  unmask feelings. In this day and age, the time has past for merely dealing with feelings, though they cannot be discounted as to their relevance. Commitment is needed to see change from within people’s hearts. both from the privileged and the not so.

The human neighborhood is populated many different kinds of people some rich and some poor, some darker, some lighter, some like the crowd, but some like to go it alone, some ask you how do you feel, yet others are concerned about what you need. Wherever we may be from and no matter what we look like, we need one another and that’s a conversation starter.

“It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 The Message (MSG)

What we need is a neighbor; one who is really interested in our needs from the most elementary as in respect, empathy, understanding, embrace and acknowledgement etc. The deeper considerations of the neighborhood are in the aspects of self denial in the stead of another. This message was central in Christ’s ministry, and a principle that he would not only live by, but would ultimately die by.

So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor? 
source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/mrrogersneighborhoodlyrics.html

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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