From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Good Samaritan, Bad Rap

The Good Samaritan  (Painting by Jan Wijnants) 
Samaritans have long been maligned, and good ones don’t fare that much better.

The schism between Jews and Samaritas allegedly began with rivalries among Jacob’s 12 sons.  Things didn’t get any better as time went on.  Samaritans became aligned with the Northern Kingdom, and Jews with the Kingdom of Judah.  These kingdoms got along about as well as Jacob’s sons did.

The Jews of Jesus' day wanted little to do with Samaritans.  The Good Samaritan parable therefore speaks volumes about the courage it takes to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Just recently, a Good Samaritan tried “to help a lost toddler find her parents.”  Although this was successfully accomplished, the “Samaritan” was afterwards accused of child abduction.  The child’s father wound up punching “Samaritan” in the face while wanting “to kill him.”

As Martin Luther King, Jr. used to ask:  What, then, shall we do?  Shall we save our own skin and walk on by?  Or shall we reach out to help, knowing full well that this might be a heavy cross to bear?  


Copyright June 29, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Smashed tablets, once again

Tablets of the Law  (by Ji-Elle)
Exodus 32 tells the story of an angry Moses and an even angrier God.  Their “stiff-necked” people had been worshipping a golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain.

When Moses came back down, Ten Commandments in tow, he confronted his wayward followers.  Exodus 32:19 then states:  ...his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.

The Lord was ready to call it a day (God’s time), but Moses calmed down and pleaded the people’s case.  He begged:  …please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.

The Lord so loved Moses that He eventually “reissued” the Decalogue on spanking new tablets.  But that is far from the end of the story.  These Commandments are continually broken and pieced back together.

Why just the other day, replica tablets were deliberately destroyed.  But chances are, the perpetrator had way different motives than Moses.


Copyright June 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Goldwater rule still golden?

All that glitters...   (Photo by AlaskaMining)
Does freedom of speech include making public statements about President Trump’s behavioral patterns?  Maybe if you’re a plumber, maybe not if you’re a psychiatrist.

Back in 1964, the now-defunct Fact Magazine published “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.”  About half of the 2,400 surveyed psychiatrists deemed Goldwater to be “unfit for the job” of United States president.

In today’s comment-on-every-twitch era, “A Special Issue on the Mind of Donald Trump” seems tempting.  But would it be ethical?  The American Psychiatric Association has long said
no.  Especially after Goldwater won $75,000 in a 1966 libel suit against Fact Magazine.

But what about freedom of speech and speaking truth to power?  Is silence always that golden?  Many of today's psychiatrists are balking at this “Goldwater Rule.”  If every Tom, Dick and Harry can be googled by prospective employers, why can’t presidents be similarly scrutinized?

The crux lies in the role of psychiatrists.  Alleged experts in human motivation and behavior, their opinions can especially influence public mood.  But then again, so do the proclamations of athletes, authors and entertainers, many of whom “diagnose” from afar.

Although the APA still insists that it is “unethical and irresponsible… to offer professional opinions on people who were not properly evaluated,” Los Angeles psychiatrist Lance Dodes begs to differ.  He states:  The APA is not protecting Donald Trump; they’re protecting themselves.


Copyright June 28, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved