Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Talking With Our Enemies

 

Some years ago, a friend of my family named Jerry Parr died. No, it was not Secret Service agent Jerry Parr who helped save Ronald Reagan’s life after an assassination attempt. The Jerry I knew was a Houston painter who had lost his sight and became friends with my father, who visited weekly to read books aloud and to chat.

Jerry had worked in sign painting prior to his blindness. Privately, he exercised great creative talent. Shortly before he died, he gifted this print of one of his paintings to my dad.

It is a depiction of the Biblical “Woman at the Well” story. The woman is a Samaritan. Her people were at odds with Jews like Jesus. She is also a publicly reviled sinner. She comes alone to the well because adulterers were not welcome to draw water at the usual time, when all the town’s women would gather there.

Jesus speaks to her as He would to a fellow Jew in good standing. He does not avoid mention of her adultery. Nor does He focus on it. He simply speaks truth and shows interest in her, offering her what He can.

The painting reminds me that anger and revulsion, though often justified, are insufficient responses to people who flaunt our differences and openly live in defiance of what we know to be good and true. All people matter. The most wayward of sheep require the most attention; not for merit but for hope of reunion.

We Christians are called to love our enemies. Love begins as interest. Before we can know someone, we must want to know that person and make an effort.

There is much these days to antagonize us; many reasons for anger and dismay. Take a breath. Pray. Be patient. Hope for harmony begins with conversation. If someone isn’t ready to listen, move on. But conversations with the lost, the blind, and the broken are how we restore society.

Published in Religion & Philosophy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 9 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member

    Aaron Miller:

    We Christians are called to love our enemies. Love begins as interest. Before we can know someone, we must want to know that person and make an effort.

    Yes.

    • #1
    • December 19, 2019, at 10:12 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thanks for the reminder. Lovely post.

    • #2
    • December 19, 2019, at 11:36 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  3. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Aaron Miller:

    The painting reminds me that anger and revulsion, though often justified, are insufficient responses to people who flaunt our differences and openly live in defiance of what we know to be good and true. All people matter. The most wayward of sheep require the most attention; not for merit but for hope of reunion. 

    We Christians are called to love our enemies. Love begins as interest. Before we can know someone, we must want to know that person and make an effort. 

    There is much these days to antagonize us; many reasons for anger and dismay. Take a breath. Pray. Be patient. Hope for harmony begins with conversation. If someone isn’t ready to listen, move on. But conversations with the lost, the blind, and the broken are how we restore society. 

    I won’t argue with that, but I can point out one big difference between Jesus’ time and our own. The woman at the well was not on her way to an adulterers’ pride parade. She wasn’t trying to “cancel” Jesus for His hateful, adulteraphobic views.

    One big similarity with our day is that Jesus was just as offensive to the elite of His day, as He is to the powers-that-be today. The reasons differ, of course.

    • #3
    • December 19, 2019, at 12:26 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  4. Steven Seward Member

    Pretty nice painting!

    • #4
    • December 19, 2019, at 2:16 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  5. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    That story is worth thinking about, as our media clamors for more and more divisiveness each hour.

    Very well told as well, with having the painting as an additional treasure for us readers to view.

    • #5
    • December 19, 2019, at 4:09 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. garyinabq Member

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller:

    The painting reminds me that anger and revulsion, though often justified, are insufficient responses to people who flaunt our differences and openly live in defiance of what we know to be good and true. All people matter. The most wayward of sheep require the most attention; not for merit but for hope of reunion.

    We Christians are called to love our enemies. Love begins as interest. Before we can know someone, we must want to know that person and make an effort.

    There is much these days to antagonize us; many reasons for anger and dismay. Take a breath. Pray. Be patient. Hope for harmony begins with conversation. If someone isn’t ready to listen, move on. But conversations with the lost, the blind, and the broken are how we restore society.

    I won’t argue with that, but I can point out one big difference between Jesus’ time and our own. The woman at the well was not on her way to an adulterers’ pride parade. She wasn’t trying to “cancel” Jesus for His hateful, adulteraphobic views.

    One big similarity with our day is that Jesus was just as offensive to the elite of His day, as He is to the powers-that-be today. The reasons differ, of course.

     

    • #6
    • December 19, 2019, at 5:12 PM PST
    • Like
  7. garyinabq Member

    Those who cancel us today or mock us at their pride parade are today’s Roman soldiers and their supporters. And we forgive them as they know not what they do. There’s a bigger plan here.

    *this was supposed to go with the previous comment.

    • #7
    • December 19, 2019, at 5:21 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It took me a while to recall the name. Jerry worked as a sign painter alongside Dalhart Windberg, who gained some esteem in Texas for his own art. My dad received the print of Parr’s painting when Windberg graciously offered to sell some of his old pal’s paintings as prints through his gallery.

    Windberg too is a gifted painter. You can find more of his works at the link above.

    Hill Country Florescence
    Woodland Reflections
    • #8
    • December 19, 2019, at 7:43 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Skyler Coolidge

    One of my favorite sculptors is Ivan Mestrovic, who left many of his works scattered about at the University of Notre Dame. His “Christ and the Samaritan Woman” always seemed pleasant to me.

    • #9
    • December 19, 2019, at 9:31 PM PST
    • 4 likes