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Practice What You Preach

A Sermon on the Good Samaritan


The other day Alexandra and I were on a walk with Eleanor when we saw a dog that appeared to be lost. It had a collar and was acting sweet but a little scared.

Of course, if it was our dog (Zeus! 😃) we’d hope that someone called us. Unfortunately, neither one of us had our phones (trade-offs of digital minimalism) so we couldn’t call the owner. So, we decided to hang out with the dog waiting for someone who might have a phone.

As luck would have it, a sweet couple cruised up. They were super helpful — calling the owner (voicemail) and then the humane society (closed because it was a holiday).

Long story a little shorter, as we were trying to figure out what to do, the owner of the dog arrived. Case solved! Happy reunion. Etc.

While we were waiting, we got to chat a bit. A perk of digital minimalism: Opportunities for micro moments of positivity resonance, Love 2.0 style!

So, we’re slowly getting to the point of Today’s +1…

One of our new friends had a tattoo on the inside of his right wrist: Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ — a sacred Buddhist mantra that captures the essence of a compassionate life.

I was appreciating them for embodying that compassion and shared a fun little study about seminary students on their way to teach a lesson on the Sermon on the Mount.

Have you heard it before?

Get this: Researchers set up a little study where seminary students were on their way to teach a class on the Good Samaritan — you know, the parable in which the super devout people ignore a person in need but the non-religious Samaritan is the only one who takes the time to help?

Well, the researchers set it up so the seminary students were running just a little late to teach their class on being a nice person.


The researchers put a shabbily dressed man who was moaning (and clearly in need) right in their path. The seminary students almost had to step over him to get to their class.

Guess what happened?

90% of our devoutly religious teachers — ON THEIR WAY TO TEACH ABOUT BEING A GOOD SAMARITAN — ignored the person in need.

Hah. And D’oh! Of course, we ALL do the same thing at times. That’s part of being human.

And… Today’s +1.

Let’s practice what we preach.

btw: Martin Luther King, Jr. had a great line about this. He said: “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”