The Good Samaritan: Slacktivists Reimagined
Updated: May 12
In many progressive Churches, we often find ourselves circling around the story of the Good Samaritan. In sermons, the pastor speaks to the power of reaching out to those on the outskirts of privilege, even when no one else will. In the pews, we congratulate ourselves for “that one time we did [insert arbitrary task] for [insert token underprivileged person]”. Together we boo and hiss at the thought of a person who would pass by as a stranger wallows in need.
When the sermon concludes, we are invited to celebrate the open table of communion, partaking in an ancient tradition of being served by the holiest of holies. We line up, our family and friends in front and behind us, surrounded by faces that we recognize.
We make our way back to our seats and wait for the last praise song to be played. As soon as we receive our final blessing, we leave the sold oak pews, turn off our jumbo-sized t.v.’s, and put away our golden communion chalices.
We climb into our cars and drive past the bus stations laiden with the “underprivileged”. We tip our hats to the homeless and gift them with nothing more than a little prayer.
When we get home, we plop down on the couch.
We scroll through facebook “like-ing” posts with #blacklivesmatter.
We “retweet” stories of people who create pay-it-forward lines at Starbucks.
We send selfies to our squad as we smile through a charcoal facemask and sip on a glass of rosé, captioning it with #treatyourself.
Some would argue that we are at times the good samaritan, at times the Levite or Priest, and at others, we are the robbed man himself.
But I say to you, we are most often than not, the very people who allow our society to operate a road in which we know will cause harm, cause theft, and in many cases, cause death.
The moral of the Good Samaritan, is NOT that we should reach out to those in need.
The moral of the Good Samaritan is that we MUST demand a safer system for people to travel the world through.
We must be proactive in our social actions.
We must be willing to put the status quo at risk.
We MUST be a vocal and unrelenting activist who demands reform until reform is made.
THAT is how we are to obtain eternal life. THAT is how we become a good neighbor. THAT is how we show God’s love on earth.
To be clear: THAT is how we are to act as Christians.
Therefor, if you congratulate yourself for believing in an all loving creator, stop and look around your pews. See if your congration looks like you.
If your church pamphlets and stock photos are the only places to which your love for inclusion is seen, maybe… just maybe… God’s Grace and Love for inclusion is not at the forefront of your teachings.
Do our churches look more like cookie cutter suburban neighborhoods than true representations of the society in which we live?
Do our parking lots look like car dealerships: filled with the newest and sportiest models?
Do our websites look like hipster abodes: places built only for white youths?
Do the trails from our bank accounts lead to the support of love and the end to all wars?
I, as a United Methodist, have a baptismal covenant: a convenient with the Creator of Love and the Source of all Life. This covenant, this oath before God , is to resist ALL evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
If you share this baptismal covenant and yet you find yourself on the side of the silent majority of our church… if you are unalarmed by a mass ousting of God’s Divinely Inspired Children… if you are unfaltering in the reckless abandonment of Queer People…
You are not only in a breach of covenant, you are partaking in a system of negligence and malicious injustice falsely given in the name our God: the God of Love, the God of Life, and the God of Unwavering Justice.
Do not be the Levite.
Do not be the Priest.
Do not be the Robbers.
But most of all…
DO NOT BE SILENT.
It is your duty to fight for love, inclusion, and the end to systems which cause harm…
It is your duty, even when no one else will.
But it is ever more your duty, when that very system which is causing harm is your very own church.