Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost the Good Samaritan

This guy came up to Jesus all confused because there were so many stinkin' commandments and couldn't we just simplify the list? I mean ten is a two-digit number for crying out loud and how do you expect a guy to be able to remember all that? Wouldn't it be better to just boil them all down to one all-encompassing rule?

Jesus looked the guy in the eyes and said, "No problemo, Paco! The greatest commandment is this: Look both ways before crossing the stree--no wait, that's not it--Love God with everything you are and everything you have; put Yahweh first."

That would have been pretty good right there, but being a preacher, Jesus apparently couldn't stop at pretty good; he needed to go for depth and length...especially length. So just as the guy was turning to walk away satisfied, Jesus added, "And the second-greatest commandment is pretty darn close to the first: Love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself and want yourself to be loved and cared for and have good stuff happen to and all that."

The guy stopped dead in his tracks...well, not literally; he was still breathing and all, albeit a bit more heavily now.

"Can you run that by me again?"

"Sure," Jesus replied, and he repeated the whole paragraph.

Something I haven't told you about this guy questioning Jesus...he was a lawyer. He wanted the precise, do-this-and-nothing-more-and-you'll-be-on-the-right-side-of-God's-Naughty-or-Nice-List version of life. So just to be on the safe side, he asked Jesus, "That's all fine and dandy, but just what exactly do you mean when you use the term neighbor?"

And that's when Jesus told the following story.

It was a dark and stormy night. Anyone in their right mind would be at home, snuggling with their dog and sipping mulled cider in front of a roaring fire. But no...this guy was walking from Jerusalem to know, the Bad Part of Town...and surprise-surprise, got the ever-lovin' snot kicked out of him by a band of unschooled ruffians. They Three C'd him: took his Cash, his Cards, and his Clothes.

So he's laying there, moaning and groaning, when what to his wondering eyes should appear but one of the pastoral staff from the man's church. He thinks to himself, "Oh good! The pastor will help me! I mean, last week's sermon was on going the extra mile and all that!" And he calls out to the pastor, "Oh boy, am I ever glad to see you! Can you help a brother out?"

Apparently, the answer is "No," because the pastor crosses the street and walks by on the opposite side ...while holding his fingers in his ears and singing the chorus of a Christmas carol: "Fa la la la laaaaa...."

The mugged man is having trouble holding on to consciousness when a deacon from the church approaches. He thinks, "Surely this guy will help me. I even think he's on the benevolence committee!"

But the injured man is, sadly, mistaken, and can hardly believe his eyes as he sees the deacon check his watch, turn around, and scurry off in the opposite direction.

About a half-hour later, the man is going into shock when a gay person of color with bad complexion and malodorous breath comes up the road and sees the man. He stops, cleans the man's wounds with some antiseptic wipes, wraps him in his coat, and takes him to the nearest urgent care facility, where he gives them his own debit card and instructs them to do whatever is needed to bring the victim back to health.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
"Now," said Jesus, "which one of these men was a neighbor to the man who got mugged?"

The lawyer looked at his feet as he cleared his throat and mumbled, "I know I'm supposed to say 'the gay person of color with bad complexion and malodorous breath,' but I really feel uncomfortable with that."

"Tough noogies, LawyerLad, you need to cowboy up."

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