www.SanTanSun.com Spirituality Spiritual Reflections Am I a neighbor? BY PASTOR RYAN GEAR Have you heard the following sayings? “I like Jesus, but I don’t like organized religion.” “I like Jesus, but I don’t like church.” “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” These are popular sayings in American culture. In my opinion, they express a frustration with religion that millions of Americans feel. In short, they believe that the Christians they see in the media, or in some churches do not adequately reﬂect the love of Jesus. Of course, this does not apply to all, or even to most, Christians, but some of the more vocal Christian leaders in the media appear to be too judgmental and partisan in the opinions of many. In the famous “Parable of the Good Samaritan,” found in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus dialogues with an expert in religious law who is conﬁdent of his own moral superiority. After quoting the teaching to “love your neighbor as yourself,” the religious expert seeks to limit the term “neighbor” to include only the people whom he already likes. He deﬁantly asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replies by telling the “Parable of the Good Samaritan,” fully knowing that the religious expert detests the Samaritan people– the Samaritans were of a different race, followed a different religion and lived in a different region than the religious expert. By making a Samaritan the hero of the story, Jesus exposed the prejudice and hypocrisy of this very religious man. The parable PASTOR RYAN GEAR emphatically states that, “Who is my neighbor?” is the wrong question. The correct question is, “Am I a neighbor to everyone I meet, regardless of my perceived differences with them?” As I read the “Parable of the Good Samaritan,” I am challenged to ask myself the same question, “Do I seek to qualify whether someone else is worthy to be my neighbor, or am I the kind of person who chooses to be a neighbor no matter what?” As a pastor, I believe this question posed by the “Parable of the Good Samaritan” would lead to millions of our neighbors seeing Jesus more clearly in His followers. Ryan Gear is the founding and lead pastor of One Church in Chandler. For more information, visit onechurch.com or email Pastor Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org. July 6 – July 19, 2013 53 High Holy Day, picnic at Temple Havurat Emet With the holiday coming early this year, Temple Havurat Emet will hold its High Holy Day special event, Rosh Hashana, which will start on Wed., Sept. 4. A full membership for the temple is $100, which includes admittance to High Holy days. The offer is for first-year members only. For more information or for tickets, call Gigi at 480-785-7767. Catered picnic A picnic catered by Chompie’s Restaurant will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. Fri., Aug. 2 for members. It will include slider sandwiches, side salads and chips for $9 for adults and $4.50 for children younger than 13. A special service for children will follow at 6:30 p.m. and the usual Friday night service will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lecky Room of the Ed Robson Library at 9930 E. Riggs Rd., Chandler. Call Carol at 520-423-9941 in Maricopa or Linda at 420-588-1826 in Sun Lakes for information or visit templehavuratemet.org. Spiritual Reflections Share your spiritual reﬂections...The spiritual leaders of SanTan Sun area churches, temples, mosques and other religious and spiritual gathering places are invited to contribute their Spiritual Reﬂections in essay format by sending their thoughts, enlightening insights and other writings of a spiritual nature to News@SanTanSun. com. Be certain to put “Spiritual Reﬂections submission” in the subject line, and keep your articles around 200-300 words, or they may be edited for length. Include your ﬁrst and last name, title and facility name, address, phone number and website. Spiritual Reﬂections are printed on a space-available basis, and submission does not guarantee print. The opinions represented in this column are those of the author and not that of the SanTan Sun News.