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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 10

There are many ways my participation in organized religion has helped make me a better person. That participation has helped grow my commitment to helping others through a variety of mission programs; my participation in organized religioun has introduced me to amazing people that I certainly would have never otherwise met; and it has helped instill within me a moral compass that helps me navigate my way through a world filled with turbulence. For these things I am grateful!

As many of us know, however, participation in organized religion can have its downside as well. One of the parables contained in today’s passage from Luke makes that point very well; that parable is the story of The Good Samaritan.

If I were to ask most folks to recount the parable of The Good Samaritan, they would say something like: “A man gets mugged and the first two people who encounter the battered man ignore his plight. The third man – the Samaritan – is the only one who helped the man out. That’s what makes him good.”

That bare-bones summary of the parable would basically be accurate. It would overlook a couple of important points – one of which is why the first two individuals passed by the battered man. In the parable, Jesus tells us that the first man to pass by the man was a priest and the second was a Levite religious person. From those details one could infer that in addition to the thing that might have otherwise caused the individuals to pass by (i.e. a busy schedule or the fear of getting involved in another person’s drama), one could make a case that the individuals had religious reasons for passing by as well. Their concern about coming into contact with blood and jeopardizing their standing as pure, however, might have been one reason they passed by.

That would be ironic, wouldn’t it? The possibility that one’s participation in organized religion might be the reason someone fails to shore love and compassion?

For those of you readers who participate actively within a faith tradition, I would as you to examine your own life today. Are there ways in which this participation might cause you to develop blind spots that might prevent you from truly embodying the faith of Jesus?

Til next time…

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