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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Samaritan Evangelist

Dr. D'Ambrosio puts it so well and he has answered a question that is close to my heart: should I be an evangelist? We're all called to preach the gospel by our deeds, but on top of that, I've always felt the urge to speak and to write about my faith, but always held back. My excuses were plenty, and, I thought, reasonable: I don't have formal training in theology; I am a sinner; I can't claim that I properly manage my own household; I have a fulltime job that has nothing to do with the gospel; and the list goes on. Dr. D'Ambrosio points to the Samaritan in last Sunday's gospel reading as an example: here was a Samaritan, typically shunned by Jews, and she was untrained, of course. Having had five husbands, and living with a man that wasn't her husband, she was hardly one's image of a saintly, perhaps celibate evangelist. That is not to say that the gospel will not challenge her lifestyle: it will. She accepted the gospel, however, rather than run away from it. She let wonder and hope take hold, and she shared them with her neighbors. Was she effective? You bet she was. (Note: I am not implying that the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42 was necessarily a sinner. Was she five times widowed perhaps, and now she is betrothed but not yet married? I'm not expert enough to say for certain. In any case, my point is that she was an untrained and as yet unbaptized Samaritan, but that doesn't keep her from sharing even a newfound, unexplored faith.)

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