Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINT Who is my neighbor?
by Rev. Stephen Thurston II
2022-01-20

This article shared 1005 times since Thu Jan 20, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The notion of functioning as a Good Samaritan is one that transcends any particular faith tradition. The idea of humans treating humans in a humane way sounds so simple, yet history and modernity are replete with scenes and scenarios showcasing just how strenuous of a task this can be.

Growing up, one of my favorite television programs was Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. With a focus on reinforcing the values of empathy and compassion Mr. Rogers framed for his viewers how to be a good neighbor. But even before this Presbyterian minister began molding the minds of young people around the attributes of a good neighbor, there was a biblical messiah who had redefined the notion of a neighbor already.

The Bible records in Luke 10:25-37 the parable of the Good Samaritan, wherein Jesus responds to an inquiry from a scribe (lawyer) about the nature of a neighbor by shifting "neighbor" from object orientation to subject orientation. For those of you who may have skipped that day in English class let me say it another way. Jesus uses this parable to shift the focus of "neighbor" from one who receives love to the one who does the loving. It's my belief that Jesus' overarching goal here was to lead this scribe into developing the capacity for loving people that's not dependent upon the identity of the one being loved.

The parable goes on to highlight two "church people" who were passing along the way when they come upon a man who'd been victimized and is now laying in the middle of the road. These "church people" see a need, but choose to sidestep the need and it's at this point in the parable where the man in the road becomes victimized twice. The robbers hurt him by violence, but the "church people" hurt him by neglect.

The rather forbidding and foreboding analysis of the Christian community is that far too many "church people" are seeing needs within the LGBTQ+ community, yet consciously choosing to sidestep those needs. Such neglect occurs when 35% of Black Q+ youth are dealing with food insecurity and 65% are experiencing depressive disorder, and when 21% of Black Q+ youth attempted suicide in the past year and 47% considered it as an option.

With COVID 19 confining Q+ youth to hostile home environments and 15% of Q+ Americans postponing or avoiding medical treatment due to discrimination we can't continue to sit back and say, "Poor them!" When I consider the fact that "church people" see the victimization then sidestep the victim, I say, "Poor us!"

When I read this parable I wondered: How is it that these church people, these followers of God ,could clearly see a need, but sidestep the need? How could they further victimize someone who'd already been violated? How could they see an opportunity to love, but instead leave? Sadly, I find myself raising the same questions of modern "church people."

At what point will we stop limiting our lens of who our neighbor is and broaden our understanding and inclusivity of whom we label as neighbor? As a cisgender heterosexual Christ follower, I challenge other cisgender heterosexual Christ followers to change the question that we either consciously or subconsciously raise. Instead of asking, "Who's my neighbor?" in an effort to filter out whose needs we'll satisfy and whose needs we'll sidestep, our question ought to be, "Am I being neighborly?"

Margret Thatcher once said: "No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions…" So here are some questions I'd like for Christians with good intentions, but poor implementation, to consider: Who's off limits to you? What are the boundaries for who you'll treat lovingly? What are the limits to your love? How far are you willing to go for someone in need? Do you weigh a person's background, worth, sexual identity or orientation before you extend help? Do you view all human beings as God's children/God's creation and thus all deserving of the same kind of love, compassion and care?

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one that depicts mercy, and mercy is nothing more than compassion in action. If we're going to love our LGBTQ+ neighbors as we do our self, if we're going to see needs then satisfy those needs rather than sidestep those needs, if we're going to model the behavior of the Good Samaritan then you and I, as the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth, have to:

1. See our neighbor: We have to look into the eyes, hearts and circumstances of our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters and not be blinded by our prejudices. Love is proactive and God often places people in our path to show love to. The question is: Will we see them?

2. Sacrifice for our neighbor: When the Good Samaritan decided to help the hurting man, it cost him something. Becoming a voice for the victimized within the LGBTQ+ community will cost us something, too.

3. Stabilize our neighbor: The Good Samaritan didn't just treat the wounds of the man in the road, he followed through and ensured that the man had a proper environment for healing. We must likewise create safe environments and advocate for comprehensive legislation, such as the Equality Act, to create equal treatment in both law and practice. Being neighborly is about touching, lifting and empowering those in need at their most vulnerable moments of weakness.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine, could you be mine, won't you be my neighbor?

Rev. Stephen J. Thurston II is teaching pastor of Salem Baptist Church-House of Hope. He leads individuals and organizations in changing what's within to change what's around.


This article shared 1005 times since Thu Jan 20, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'LGBTQ Rights on the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality' event preview 2022-05-22
-- From a press release - Celebrating, honoring and acknowledging Pride Month is more important this year than ever (and it should be celebrated all year, not just during one month). The expected Supreme Court ruling that will undermine the right to ...


Gay News

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry 2022-05-06
- It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous. Added to that ...


Gay News

VIEWS Biden, Democrats must end Title 42 now 2022-04-26
- The Biden Administration should honor its commitment to immediately end Title 42 restrictions which were imposed by former President Donald Trump, to deny asylum seekers their basic, protected rights. It would be a mistake for Democrats ...


Gay News

VIEWS The closing of civil society: Russia and the U.S., or fear the queer! 2022-04-23
- Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made manifest the fragility of civil society in Russia and the strength of civil society in Ukraine. It has also once again focused an intense spotlight on our own civil society. ...


Gay News

LETTERS A difference in opinion about Vatican document 2022-04-07
- I am responding to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burks, who issued a press release that Windy City Times published. A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could trigger a new wave of ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Mixed reactions to Will Smith's slap 2022-04-05
- By now, everyone has seen or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a tasteless and misogynistic joke about his wife's short hair resembling Demi Moore's buzzcut in the 1997 movie ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT On A Scale of 1 to 10: Sex, Religion, Power, Politics--A Public Meditation 2022-04-03
- QUESTION: "On a scale of one to 10, how faithful would you say you are, in terms of religion?"—U.S Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), South Carolina RESPONSE: "… there's no religious test in the Constitution under Article ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT For Elise, I promise to advocate to ban the trans/gay panic defense 2022-03-29
- Elise is dead. We don't yet know how or why. But Elise is dead, and my heart is breaking. Trans activist Elise Malary was an inspiration for me. She was the driving force behind the legislation ...


Gay News

VIEWS Putin's war and anti-queer Christian nationalism 2022-03-15
- —'Don't Say Gay' bill clears Florida Senate awaiting signature of Governor Ron De Santis (March 08, 2022). —Texas attorney general Ken Paxton issues legal opinion classifying gender-affirming medical care for ...


Gay News

VIEWS Bannon, the Catholic vote and our democracy 2022-02-20
- "I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball for what we do every day... We're taking down the Biden regime." Stephen K. Bannon speaking to reporters as he turned himself over to federal ...


Gay News

Social commentator Fran Lebowitz at Auditorium Theatre April 15 2022-02-16
- Social commentator, satirist and author Fran Lebowitz will be at Chicago's Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., on Friday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. Lebowitz essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current ...


Gay News

LETTER Love is the road to healing 2022-02-15
- I am writing this letter to the editor in response to the press release that was printed in the present online issue of Windy City Times. The press release ("Program for LGBTQ people/families pushed by Archdiocese ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT: FDA must lift discriminatory blood-donor policy 2022-01-26
- With the nation's blood supply at its lowest point in a decade, and the American Red Cross declaring its first-ever national blood crisis earlier this month, it is time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ...


Gay News

Failure to enact Freedom to Vote is a blow to vulnerable groups 2022-01-20
-- From a press release - From Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: "The failure to enact the Freedom to Vote, John R. Lewis Act is a profound blow to our Democracy. The inability to ensure ...


Gay News

VIEWS Trans women passing the torch 2022-01-19
- I am writing this letter to the editor to compliment Windy City Times on its recent article "Passing the torch: How generations of trans women approach activism, advocacy," by Max Lubbers. The article highlights how the ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.