Good Samaritan

The Bible story of the Good Samaritan is a lesson about who is a good neighbor. In the Old Testament days, the Samaritans were a strict minority variant of Judaism that was not friendly with the main-line Jews. Both groups looked down on the other group. The point of the story was that the passing rabbi did not help the robbery victim, and others also did not help him. The point was not that a Samaritan helped, and that we should talk about the Samaritan as though this minority group member was unexpectantly good. The Samaritan term identified who he was. He was a good neighbor and the others were not good neighbors. The word “Samaritan” is a cliché now not meaning a minority group member who was unexpectantly nice. I wish the modern term were “Good Neighbor” with no reference to “Samaritan”.

There is no reason to reference a minority group that is not a relevant concept.

On our way to Disney World one Sunday, I drove over some debris that ripped the side of our right rear tire. This was like what caused the crash of the Concorde SST. I got off I-4 at the next exit and drove into a neighborhood. A woman watering her lawn did not offer to help us but her neighbor across the street drove home and saw me with the spare tire out and offered to help. That was not the best time for me to find our spare tire was flat. He took the spare to a gas station and inflated the tire. I appreciated his help and he was pleased to have helped. We left and went to a tire store, bought a new tire and continued to Disney World.

Another time, back in Massachusetts, I was in our K-Mart parking lot and found I had a dead battery. I raised the hood of our car and stood by holding my jumper cables. Soon a good neighbor offered to help jump start my car.

Notice the lack of reference to an irrelevant minority group name in my stories. Identity politics is a modern misconception. The Gospel story starts with the question, “Who is my neighbor?”