Neighbors 101

Some neighbors are lovable and others are not so huggable.  

No one likes the nosey neighbor who is always spreading gossip or criticizing us, our house or children. 

The creepy neighbor who seems to always pop out of the bushes is scary.  

And no one likes the infuriating neighbor who always lets and leaves their dog crap on your lawn. Yuck!

Some neighbors are annoying. They complain about everything and are just plain fussy. 

When everyone is having fun, annoying neighbors point out there are no dessert plates.

We celebrate with some neighbors while others inspire a party when they leave.

Countries are big neighborhoods with lots of neighbors.

The Constitution establishes our neighborhood as “We the People of the United States.” 

A neighborhood so diverse it requires its first amendment to our community constitution to remind us to respect our diversity of expression.  

The Constitution shows the complexity of relationships within a community by immediately setting the ground rules for peaceful assemble to party, no, to air grievances. Grievances.  Not parties.

Our community agreement further encourages us to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, defend one another, care about our neighbor’s welfare and secure their liberty.

Sounds poetic.

Disclaimer: When our community agreement was drafted, it was written for and by white, male, land owning neighbors. Women, poor men and people of color were sadly not included in the neighborhood.

It is a beautiful document when everyone is included in the neighborhood.

However, still two hundred and forty plus years later; some still carry torches to protest women, poor men and people of color to be protected by the neighborhood.

I guess they never heard the Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25-37).

Let us consider a female victim like the brave survivors who shared their stories of sexual violence perpetrated upon them.

A woman is going to town. We do not know where she is from, where she is going, what she is wearing or what time of day she is walking.  These are all irrelevant to what happens to her. 

Her race and faith are not important.  We do not even know if she has any friends or family.

We may want to know where is she going  but the story does not say whether she is headed to an abortion clinic, a brothel or church. 

None of the factors we typically read in the news makes her any less of a victim.Judge pic

If the victim was male without any other details, most would be able to identify with the victim. It is sad that gender, race, ethnicity, dress and other factors reduce compassion for victims.

The media should leave out victim information that takes the focus away from the perpetrators or heroes.

Robbers attack the girl, they strip her, assault her, beat her and went away, leaving her half dead.

No further information about the perpetrators. They are perpetrators regardless of their age, gender, race, class or any other factor that would make them more or less hated.

Church people see her lying in the road and pass on the other side. 

Sounds about right. 

The church people are not the heroes of the story. They are presented no better than the robbers.

The church people are terrible neighbors.

I am a church person.  How are we terrible neighbors like the Church people in the story?
We are terrible neighbors when we fail to speak up when someone is bullied.

We are terrible neighbors when we look for reasons to blame girls who are attacked, stripped of clothes and dignity, beaten and left half dead.

We are terrible neighbors when we ask about what they were wearing, where they were going, why they were out so late or any other question that helps us see them as less of a victim.

We are terrible neighbors when we ignore their cries.

We are terrible neighbors when we fail to provide support and seek justice for the victim.

The Good Samaritan is a lesson about being a good neighbor.

The story changed attitudes about being a ‘Samaritan’. To understand this story fully, we need to change the Samaritan to anyone despised by her or his neighbors.

According to the news, some of our neighbors despise the LGBTQA community, abortion clinic staff, people of color, Muslims, immigrants and the list continues to grow.

Therefore, in this story their good neighbor would be a Muslim transgender black neighbor who has mercy on them, takes pity on them, bandages their wounds, takes them to the hospital, and pays their bill.

For white nationalists, a person of color may be the good neighbor in the story.

A neighbor is anyone who has mercy on the woman lying naked in the street. The neighbor is the one who takes pity on her, bandages her wounds, carries her to the hospital, gives her a place to stay or donates money to her care.

The neighbor did not ask what she was wearing, where she was going, why she was out so late or blame her for being a victim.

The neighbor did not assault her.

The neighbor heard her cries and responded with compassion.

A neighbor seeks justice and domestic tranquility. Neighbors defend one another. Neighbors care about our neighbor’s welfare, freedom and liberty.

I want to be a good neighbor.



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