"Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

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AmyJ
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"Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by AmyJ »

Experiences in my life coincided where I heard Rachel Hardy's Modern Interpretation of "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" while thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan.

The entire perspective of the story changed for me once I asked the question (inspired by the song "Poor Wayfaring Stranger") "What if the man who was beset among thieves and left to die was going "Home" to his mother (maybe she was dying, maybe he was broke - who knows)"?

I used to mentally judge the Jew who was robbed as "being in the wrong place at the wrong time - he should have known better". Maybe he should have known better - and maybe the motivation was so strong (maybe even noble) - that it surpassed the risk in the initial risk assessment. It actually humanizes both the Jew and the Samaritan more in my mind because of the way both the story in the song and the story in the text are interconnected in my mind.
Old-Timer
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by Old-Timer »

I love looking at stories from multiple perspectives.

I like this one.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
Roy
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by Roy »

Old-Timer wrote: 23 Nov 2022, 08:10 I love looking at stories from multiple perspectives.

I like this one.
I agree. I even enjoy this when done with historical events. Since the good Samaritan is fictional there is no end to the different perspectives that could be added without worrying about historical accuracy. Sometimes, fictional stories evolve over time to stay fresh and new for new generations of readers.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
Watcher
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by Watcher »

Roy wrote: 23 Nov 2022, 18:07
Old-Timer wrote: 23 Nov 2022, 08:10 I love looking at stories from multiple perspectives.

I like this one.
I agree. I even enjoy this when done with historical events. Since the good Samaritan is fictional there is no end to the different perspectives that could be added without worrying about historical accuracy. Sometimes, fictional stories evolve over time to stay fresh and new for new generations of readers.
May I add some additional historical information to this thread. Anciently many civilizations believe that there were “local” g-ds that became powerful in local areas because the people there believe and worshiped them. When Israel was divided the norther kingdom was mostly comprised of 10 tribes. The tribe of Juda controlled the southern kingdom.

Before Juda was conquered by Babylon – Assyrians conquered norther Israel. According to traditions the people would be moved to disconnect them with their g-ds. As northern Israel was moved northward a society that did now worship Israel’s G-d was moved into the norther Israel area. All of this was done to make various conquered societies weak. This new society in northern Israel had such difficulties in their relocation they decided to worship the G-d of Israel. However, in doing so they included many of their most beloved traditions. These people became known as the Samaritans. The Jews always thought of them as apostates and false worshipers.

When the Jews returned from captivity the Samaritans became such a problem that the Jews took upon believes that to have any dealing with a Samaritan would render a Jew unclean – even to worship on their Sabbath. Special cleansing rituals were required before a Jew could even properly say a prayer or read scripture. At the time of Jesus, the Samaritans were hated by the Jews more than the Romans to which the Jews paid taxes and to whom they were kept in various levels of bondage. Jews did not even believe that a Samaritan could be converted or saved in eternity. Samaritans were to the Jews the worse scum of the earth. The Romans were the only reason that war between the Jews and Samaritans was avoided. If there was anyone that should not be loved by a Jew, it was a Samaritan.

Jesus was asked about the commandment to love thy neighbor. Jesus was asked, “Who is a neighbor to a Jew?” In response to that question Jesus gave the parable of what is called today, “The Good Samaritan”. Obviously Jesus is the Good Samaritan but there is another under the surface symbolism of the Good Samaritan – if there is anyone you hate or cannot stand and that you do not want anything to do with or even ever be around (someone that offends you beyond anyone or anything else) – that is your Good Samaritan whom you need to learn to love as your neighbor.
Old-Timer
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by Old-Timer »

Exactly.

I gave a talk in church years ago about charity and used this parable to make that point directly. I essentially said:
"Whom do you see as so sinful that you would cringe if you had to associate with them? What if they walked into the chapel in the middle of the sacrament? Someone who was stumbling drunk or smoking a cigarette? Two men holding hands who obviously were in a relationship? A young women in skimpy shorts and a tank top with gang tattoos and spiked hair? Someone wearing a full burka? A specific politician with whom you disagree strongly?

Would your reaction be, "You can't be here!" or, "Thank God you found us."

Even more importantly, do you seek actively to associate with and get to know these people?
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
Watcher
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by Watcher »

Old-Timer wrote: 26 Nov 2022, 13:24 Exactly.

I gave a talk in church years ago about charity and used this parable to make that point directly. I essentially said:
"Whom do you see as so sinful that you would cringe if you had to associate with them? What if they walked into the chapel in the middle of the sacrament? Someone who was stumbling drunk or smoking a cigarette? Two men holding hands who obviously were in a relationship? A young women in skimpy shorts and a tank top with gang tattoos and spiked hair? Someone wearing a full burka? A specific politician with whom you disagree strongly?

Would your reaction be, "You can't be here!" or, "Thank God you found us."

Even more importantly, do you seek actively to associate with and get to know these people?
My parents use to tell me that a kind person is not kind when kindness is expected but kind when kindness is not expected by anyone. I have struggled this kind of kindness as long as I can remember. I can love everybody with the exception of those I do not like. I am convinced I can love anyone that I learn to like so I struggle trying to figure out how to like certain types of people.
AmyJ
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by AmyJ »

One of the things that I really liked about thinking about the "Good Samaritan" story is that the Samaritan paid full market value to the innkeeper and promised the innkeeper that he would continue to pay full market value to the innkeeper if more money was spent before the Samaritan left.

The Samaritan didn't stick around to offer personal services or put the Jew in obligation to the Samaritan (as far as the story goes). The Samaritan saw a need, acted on that need to induce safety and healing in the life of the Jew (a potential enemy) and then handed the entire situation off to the innkeeper as the expert (sustainability stuff) and went out into the world.

I like to think that we can function as similar "fulcrums" - people who show up and change a situation drastically around before moving on to other things gracefully.
Old-Timer
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Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by Old-Timer »

I have never had that thought ever, Amy. I love it.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" Interposed With "The Good Samaritan"

Post by AmyJ »

I have been giving a lot of thought to this over the years - The Good Samaritan is a good "First Responder" story. I have wondered what the innkeeper's side of the story would be (as the long-term caregivers) - it would be more of a long-term rehabilitation (or hospice) caregiving story.

A) Did the "innkeeper" outsource the physical care to someone else and handle the money?
B) Was the establishment the kind where "pay in full" was normal?
C) Did the innkeeper and primary caregivers know about the generosity of the Samaritan? Did it influence how the Jew was treated?

Sometimes I ask myself whether I am acting like a caretaker (handle "all the things because the person can't) in a first-responder (get in, transition to expert help/the person themselves, get out) situation or a first-responder in a caretaker situation (assuming that I am getting and getting out of the situation).

In either case, paying "full value" in terms of respect/dignity and resources whenever possible and knowing when to outsource care to conserve personal resources are themes of both the Good Samaritan and the Innkeeper perspectives to me.
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