Who is My Neighbor?

Too Much Bible Study?

I am beginning to think that some Christians spend too much time studying the Bible.

Please don’t stop reading at this point.

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Puzzling People

People watching is one of my favorite hobbies. Some people intrigue me. Others puzzle me.

My people, people who are part of my American Christian tribe sometimes puzzle me the most. Some of the angriest people I know spend a lot of time attending Bible studies and studying the Bible on their own in preparation for these group studies. These angry people know the Greek roots of many words. But when the conversation turns to the daily news, their voices are full of venom towards people whose lifestyle or immigration status, or religion and culture make them particularly offensive or frightening sinners.

Who Did Jesus Love?

We want to be like Jesus.

Jesus who offended the religious elite at every turn, and called them names.

Jesus who loved and the universally hated traitors, and the indisputably sinful caught in the act.

Shouldn’t we Bible-studiers be making news by loving too broadly? Instead we are known mainly for railing against those who accept the outcasts in their midst.

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Who is My Neighbor?

I spend a lot of time studying the Bible. I look up Greek words. I even take things further and write Bible studies. I am indistinguishable from angry Christians. They don’t seem to know that they are angry and hateful. Maybe I am blind and deaf too.

Bible-studiers spend hours in the book that teaches that the first and greatest thing in life is to love God with all their being. It teaches that the second most important thing in life is to love their neighbor (defined very broadly as everyone whose path they cross, even their despised enemy.)

We Bible-studiers sing choruses about how much we love our powerful God, and then break to talk about how afraid we are of hate filled Muslims, and how angry we are that sinners are being granted the same rights we enjoy, and how incensed we are that poor and desperate strangers to our country are being welcomed as friends. If God is so powerful why are we so afraid?

Exemptions in the Fine Print?

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Why don’t we talk more about how much we love our God and how much he loves the least of these?

Jesus welcomed the prostitute, the Samaritan woman, and lepers.

What would happen if Jesus told us that our neighbors are Muslims, gays, and illegal aliens?

Watch for the next post in this series to be published next week.

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2 Responses to Who is My Neighbor?

  1. Carrie April 24, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    Powerful, Beth!

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  1. The Lost Art of Loving | Beth Ratzlaff - April 27, 2015

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