Meditate.

by K.W. Leslie, 12 November
MEDITATE 'mɛd.ə.teɪt verb. Think deeply or carefully about something.
2. Focus one’s mind for a period of time, for religious, spiritual, or relaxation purposes.
[Meditation mɛd.ə'teɪ.ʃən noun.]

Mention meditation to the average person, and images immediately come to mind of sitting cross-legged on the floor, hands out, eyes closed, humming “Om” or something mindless. ’Cause you’re trying to blank your mind.

And that’d be eastern meditation. It’s the sort we find among Hindus, Buddhists, and Californians. It’s grown in popularity because it’s a useful way to get rid of stress and relax. But it’s not middle eastern meditation, the sort we find among Christians.

Well, assuming we even meditate. Many don’t. Those who do, stumbled into the habit and don’t realize we’re actually meditating. Or we were given other names for it, like “contemplation” or “practicing God’s presence” or “Christian mysticism”—a term which tends to weird dark Christians out just as much as “meditation.” Many such Christians are terrified that if we practice any form of meditational exercise, we’re opening ourselves up to evil spirits, which’ll quickly rush in like shoppers on a Black Friday, and demonize us. (Assuming they even can demonize someone with the Holy Spirit in ’em. Dark Christians might officially teach it’s not possible… but always allow for the possibility. Yes it’s a paradox; they don’t care. Whatever keeps us fearful and cautious.)

I explain elsewhere why that sort of thinking is ridiculous. In proper Christian meditation, we open ourselves to nothing and no one but God. It’s not about blanking the mind, hoping insight will somehow fill the vacuum. Just the opposite. It’s about filling the mind. Namely with God.

We sit, stand, lie down, hang upside down—whatever position works for you—shove every other distraction out of the way, and think. Hard. Turn an idea over in our minds. Analyze it. Play with it. Repeat it till it’s memorized, or till we understand it better. And ask God questions about it: What can he reveal to us about this?

Yep, it’s a form of prayer. Which makes it all the crazier when dark Christians tell us, “Don’t do that! It’s demonic.”

Yep, this practice may sound mighty familiar, ’cause you’re already doing it. You just didn’t realize it was called meditation. People tend to call it “thinking really hard,” and when we talk to God about it, “lifting it up in prayer.” It may be a regular discipline; then again maybe not. But Christians stumble into meditation all the time, because it’s so useful. And it really oughta become a regular practice.

What do people think Jesus is?

by K.W. Leslie, 11 November

Mark 8.27-30, Matthew 16.13-20, Luke 9.18-21.

Provincial leaders in the Roman Empire liked to suck up to their emperors, which is why there were cities named Καισάρεια/Kesáreia, “Cæsarea,” dotting the empire. Ancient Israel had two. The usual city referred to in the New Testament as Cæsarea is also called Cæsarea Maritima; it’s on the Mediterranean coast of northern Israel. The other is in Philip Herod’s province, so it got called Cæsarea Philippi. Today it’s called Banias.

Banias is actually an Arabic distortion of its original name, Πανειάς/Paneiás. It was named for the pagan god Pan. Likely Pan was originally Baal-Gad, one of the many Baals in the middle east, and when Alexander and the Greeks attached Greek names to everything, they referred to this Baal as Pan. The Greeks depicted Pan as a goat-man with a flute, but Pan comes from πάντως/pántos, “everything”: It’s a nature god, and therefore the god of everything. It’s considered a minor god because it didn’t have a large following, but Pan-worshipers thought their god was a big, big deal. They built a big ol’ shrine to Pan there, and it’s still there for tourists to gawk at.

Overt paganism tends to creep out certain religious Christians, who stay far away from any “wicked” city which practices such things. Of course Jesus knows all about the covert paganism going on in our supposedly “righteous” cities, which is why Caesarea didn’t bug him any more than Kfar Nahum… or Jerusalem. People are messed up no matter where you go, and our “righteous” avoidance of the appearance of evil doesn’t make us any more holy, or score us more karma points with God, like we imagine it does. On the contrary: We can’t minister to the lost when we’re “too good for them,” and we’re not all that good when we refuse to obey God and love our neighbors, pagan or not. Jesus doesn’t discriminate in that way, so of course he took his students to such cities.

In a city named for Caesar, you’d naturally see monuments dedicated to Caesar-worship. Herod 1 had deliberately built a temple there for the purpose. (Yeah, he also rebuilt the LORD’s temple in Jerusalem, but don’t think for a minute he did it for anything other than political reasons.) Technically they weren’t worshiping him, but his genius (pronounced 'ɡɛ.ni.us, not as our English word 'dʒin.jəs), his guardian spirit. Our word genie comes from the Latin word… and the Greek word for it would be δαίμων/démon.

But over time, Romans stopped worshiping the guardian spirit and simply worshiped the Caesars directly. After each Caesar died, the Roman senate voted to declare them to be gods. They believed whenever you worshiped ancestors as gods, they actually became gods; the Olympians would actually have to include ’em in their pantheon. Some pagan Romans didn’t even wait for ’em to die, but worshiped the living emperor as a god. Same as the ancient Egyptians worshiped their pharaohs.

So that’s what people said the Caesars were… so naturally Jesus wanted to talk about what people said he was.

Mark 8.27 KWL
Jesus and his students went into the villages of Caesarea in Philip Herod’s province.
On the road he was questioning his students, telling them, “What do people say I am?”
Matthew 16.13 KWL
Jesus went into the Caesarea area in Philip Herod’s province,
and questioned his students, saying, “What do people say about the Son of Man?”
Luke 9.18 KWL
It happened while Jesus was praying alone, though with the students around him,
he asked them, saying, “What do the crowds say I am?”

As you know, plenty of pagans nowadays admit Jesus is a wise man and great moral teacher… and little more. Muslims, and some Jews, say he’s a prophet… and again, little more. People of other religions, plus nontheists and skeptics, say much the same as the pagans, although they’re more honest in their disregard: Wise or not, they have no interest at all in following him.

So what do we Christians think he is?

Christians who lack faith.

by K.W. Leslie, 07 November

Nope, didn’t title this piece “Christians who doubt.” Because everybody doubts.

Which isn’t a bad thing. Jesus doesn’t want his followers to be gullible simpletons who can’t discern the difference between truth and rubbish. Mt 10.16 If we just put our faith in people indiscriminately—believe everything our friends say, believe everything the politicians tweet, believe everything the anti-vaxxer websites claim, never fact-check our preachers to make sure what they’re telling us is valid—we’re gonna be such fools. Doubt away.

But there’s a very particular form of doubt Jesus objects to most: Doubting him.

So when we talk about “Christians who lack faith,” it’s not about Christians who question all the doctrines and teachings which we presume are settled, like good postmoderns will do. It’s about Christians who lack faith in Jesus.

Yep him—not fellow Christians. And sometimes these Christians will try to mix these categories together: They’ll insist if you doubt them, you do doubt Jesus, ’cause they’re totally channeling Jesus. Nope. ’Tain’t the same thing. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. People will fail us, and Jesus is the only exception. Trust him without exception. Trust them as long as they remain trustworthy… and forgive ’em when they screw up, ’cause they will, ’cause we all do.

Now these not-as-trustworthy Christians have largely been successful at muddling who we’re to trust: A lot of Christians do trust their churches and preachers and Christian institutions. And trust ’em more than Jesus. That’s why they believe so much Christianist rubbish, and when we try to correct ’em with what Jesus actually teaches, they won’t believe us. Which is predictably typical human behavior: The more we’re around certain people, the more we grow to trust them, whether they deserve it or not. Spend all your time around Christianists, spend none with Jesus, and of course you’ll trust them more than him.

And too often Christians passively trust Jesus—by which I mean they believe things about him, and believe he’ll be there for us at the End, but following him now is a whole other deal. They’re more likely to follow the people they can see, and since they’ve not yet seen Jesus they treat him as hypothetical or imaginary.

This passive trust certainly resembles faith, but really it’s just procrastination: People who expect they’ll trust Jesus later. Not now. They don’t now. Not enough to do as he says, go where he goes, take the risks he tells us, nor heed the Holy Spirit’s course corrections. Where we are is more comfortable than where he wants us. We trust circumstances, not Jesus. That’s unfaith.

Jesus is the good pastor: The sheep come first.

by K.W. Leslie, 04 November

John 10.11-21.

Roman Catholics tend to call their clergymen “father,” but Protestants prefer “pastor,” which means “shepherd.” Some Protestants are okay with “father” too, but some of ’em really aren’t. Usually they’re anti-Catholics, who like to argue we’re not to call one another “father” because Jesus said so; because we only have one Father, in heaven. Mt 23.9 Fine. But in today’s bible passage, Jesus points out we only have one pastor, namely him, Jn 10.16 so if they wanna be so literal about the one passage, it’s kinda hypocritical for them to ignore the other. But I digress.

If we’re using Jesus as our example (’cause duh) we need to look at the ways in which he’s our pastor, and should expect the same of our various church leaders—whether we formally gave ’em the title “pastor” or not. And when Jesus speaks about being the good pastor, he defined it in pretty much one sentence, the one right after “I’m the good pastor.”

John 10.11-18 KWL
11 “I’m the good pastor. The good pastor puts down his soul for the sheep.
12 For the hiree, who’s not a pastor, the sheep aren’t theirs.
They see the wolf coming and abandon the sheep and flee. The wolf snatches them and scatters.
13 This is how a hiree is: Unconcerned about the sheep.
14 I’m the good shepherd. I know who’s mine, and my own know me,
15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I put down my soul for the sheep.
16 I have other sheep, who aren’t from this sheepfold: I have to bring them in.
They’ll hear my voice, and they’ll become one flock with one pastor.
17 This is why my Father loves me: I put down my soul so I might pick it up again.
18 Nobody takes my soul away from me, but I put it down on my own.
I have the power to put it down, and I have the power to pick it back up again:
I received this command from my Father.”

In case you missed it, ’cause some of us are pretty dense when it comes to reading comprehension: The good pastor puts down his soul for the sake of their sheep. The sheep come first. Not the pastor.

It’s really popular nowadays for pastors to get up in front of their congregations and proclaim how some things in their life have to take priority over their congregations. Like their spouse and kids. Like their physical and mental health. Sometimes—I kid you not—their creature comforts; the reason they gotta have two weeks vacation four times a year is because ministering to this church is so hard. And of course ministry is hard; we minister to sinners, and some of these sinners are mighty selfish! But I absolutely disagree our personal lives should take priority. No they shouldn’t. Jesus’s didn’t. He shared his eternal life with the entire world, and offers it to us as our salvation.

Pastors need to learn how to minister to their families and church families, simultaneously. How to budget their time properly. How to take proper Sabbaths instead of working seven days a week and burning out. How to teach the kids their soccer games don’t take precedence over Sunday morning services; how sometimes a needy person’s dire circumstances really do come before family.

Particularly now to not covet the conspicuous materialism of their more worldly church members, and justify doing likewise on the grounds they work so hard, so God’s gonna reward them with Mammon. Your working-class church members also work hard; sometimes harder. How d’you think they feel when the pastors whose salaries they donate to, take pleasure trips they can’t possibly afford? Maybe it’s not right that they feel envy, but still: Look at all the vacations Jesus took in the gospels—and notice he wouldn’t stop ministering on every single one of them. So much so, his family thought he was nuts. Because his flock always came first. Still does.

Relativism. (’Cause we aren’t all that absolute.)

by K.W. Leslie, 30 October
RELATIVISM 'rɛl.ə.də.vɪ.zəm noun. Belief that truth, knowledge, and morals are based on context, not absolutes.
[Relative 'rɛl.ə.dɪv adjective, relativist 'rɛl.ə.də.vɪst noun.]

Relativism is a big, big deal to Christian apologists. I’ll get to why in a minute; bear with me as I introduce the concept.

Some of us were raised by religious people, and were taught to believe in religious absolutes: God is real, Jesus is alive, sin causes death, love your neighbor. Others weren’t raised religious, but they grew up in a society which accepts and respects absolutes. Like scientific principles, logic, mathematics, or a rigid code of ethics.

The rest—probably the majority—claim they believe in absolutes, but they’re willing to get all loosey-goosey whenever the absolutes get in their way. They might agree theft is bad… but it’s okay if they shoplift every once in a while. Murder is bad… but dropping bombs on civilians during wartime is acceptable. Lying is bad… but it’s okay to take an iffy deduction on their taxes. And so on. These absolutes aren’t all that absolute when it conveniences them. So they’re not really absolute; they’re relative.

Yeah, it’s total hypocrisy to claim you believe in absolutes, but regularly make exceptions for yourself. But just about everybody does it. We Christians in particular: We judge others—sometimes harshly—for making mistakes, but we live under grace; we’re forgiven, not perfect. Still hypocrisy though.

And recognizing this, a number of people have decided to straight-up deny anything is absolute. Everything’s relative. Usually, all things being equal, certain things are true. (Like the bible’s proverbs.) But we can always make exceptions to these truths; therefore none of these truths are absolute. Sometimes they’re false. Postmoderns are known for doubting whether every “absolute truth” is really all that absolute. But these relativists insist nothing’s absolute. At all.

Jesus is the gate: Don’t go around him!

by K.W. Leslie, 28 October

John 10.1-10.

Right after Jesus cured a blind guy on Sabbath, for which the guy’s synagogue threw him out, Jesus commented some folks only think they can see, but they’re blind as well. Then he segued straight into talking about sheep. Like so.

John 9.40 – 10.10 KWL
40 Some of the Pharisees were listening to these things, and told Jesus, “We aren’t blind too.”
41 Jesus told them, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t have any sin.
You now say ‘We do so see’—and your sin remains.
1 Amen amen! I promise you one who won’t enter through the sheepfold gate,
but gets in some other way: This person is a thief, a looter.
2 One who enters through the gate is the sheep’s pastor.
3 The gatekeeper opens up for this pastor, and the sheep hears the pastor’s voice.
The pastor calls their own sheep, and leads them out.
4 Whenever the pastor drives out their own sheep, they go on ahead of the pastor,
and their pastor follows, for they know their pastor’s voice.
5 The sheep will never follow a stranger, but will flee from them:
They don’t know the stranger’s voice.”

Sounds like a non-sequitur: He goes from blindness to sheep? But the connection between the situation with the former blind man, and pastors properly leading their sheep out the gate, is that blind or not we oughta be able to hear. The sheep don’t need to identify their pastor by sight; they can hear. Strangers don’t sound right.

And yeah, Jesus is the good pastor. (Or “good shepherd,” as Christians like to call him.) Although we actually haven’t got to that analogy yet. We do in the next verses, and I’ll write about ’em later. Be patient.

In the meanwhile Jesus isn’t yet saying he’s the good pastor. In this bit he’s the gate.

John 10.6-10 KWL
6 Jesus gave them this analogy. That audience didn’t know what he was talking about,
7 so Jesus told them again, “Amen amen! I promise you I’m the sheep’s gate.
8 Anybody who goes around me is a thief and looter. But the sheep won’t hear them.
9 I’m the gate. When one enters through me they’ll be saved,
and they’ll enter, exit, and find pasture.
10 A thief won’t come unless it’s to steal, murder, and ruin;
I come so the sheep might have life, might have abundance.”

When a well-known Christian quits Jesus.

by K.W. Leslie, 25 October

Back in July, Christian popular author Joshua Harris announced he’s no longer Christian. Which was a bit of a shock to people who hadn’t kept up with him—who only knew him from his books, particularly his best-known book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Which no doubt has prompted a lot of headlines and comments about Harris kissing Jesus goodbye. I had to resist the temptation to use that for this article’s title.

I was obligated to read I Kissed Dating Goodbye at the Christian school where I taught. Some of my students’ youth pastors were inflicting it on them. It’s basically his promotion of “courtship,” as certain conservative Evangelicals call sexless, heavily chaperoned dating. In the book it’s how he claimed God wants people to find their mates. In my article on courtship, I pointed out the bible depicts no such thing; courtship is entirely a western cultural construct. Nothing wrong with it when it’s voluntary; everything wrong with it if your parents or church force it upon you.

Which should really tip you off as to what sort of “Christianity” Harris was immersed in. When you’re convinced our western cultural standards is as Jesus would have us live, y’got Christianism, not Christianity. And once you realize you got that wrong, it’ll shake your faith, as it absolutely should. But the danger of that shaking is you might think it’s all wrong, top to bottom, makeup to marrow—and quit Jesus.

I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened to Harris. He might describe it as far more complicated than that. No doubt there were a number of factors in his decision to leave Christianity. But superficially… it sure looks like it.

Harris certainly isn’t the first well-known Christian to go apostate, and whenever this happens, it tends to shake all their Christian fans. “Wait, I was following him, and he went wrong… so what does it mean for me?” Only that you oughta be following Jesus instead, so do that! But if you’re really nervous that you mighta been taught some untruth, relax. You’re not justified by your beliefs; you’re justified by trusting God. Keep trusting him, ask the Holy Spirit to help you inventory your beliefs to see whether any are misbeliefs, ditch any wrongness or heresies you find within you, and you’ll be just fine. God’s got you.

Altar calls: Come on down!

by K.W. Leslie, 24 October
ALTAR 'ɔl.tər noun. A table or block used as the focus for a religious ritual, particularly offerings or ritual sacrifices to a deity.
2. In Christianity, the table used to hold the elements for holy communion.
3. In some churches, the stage, the steps to the stage, or the space in front of the stage, where people go as a sign of commitment.

During our worship services, sometimes Christians are invited to leave our seats and come forward to the stage. It’s called an altar call.

Thing is, we’re not sure how the term originated. ’Cause the stage, or the front of the stage, wasn’t called an altar back then. The altar was the communion table. My guess is people were originally instructed to gather by the communion table. In a lot of churches, that altar is front and center; in the church I went to as a child, it was right in front of the preacher’s podium.

But when evangelists held rallies, whether at a concert hall, sports arena, outdoor stadium, theater, high school gym, or grade school cafeteria, or any venue where there is no communion table, they’d say “Come to the altar” anyway. Force of habit, I guess. So people came forward… and assumed something around there was the altar. The stage, perhaps.

You realize when we don’t clearly define things for the people of our churches, people just guess. And guess wrong. It’s why so many Christians don’t know what a soul is. Hence many new Christians have guessed the stage is the altar, so the word has evolved to mean a stage too. As if the people on stage are our ritual sacrifice to God. (Considering how some of them mangle the scriptures, some butchering is apparently still part of our services. But I’ll stop the ranting there.)

Anyway, altar calls used to generally be for people who wished to become Christian. The evangelist would invite ’em forward, and a pastor or elder would lead ’em in the sinner’s prayer. In many churches this is still true; it’s the only reason they have altar calls. “Come lay down your life at the altar,” is the idea: Submit to God, accept his salvation, let Jesus be your Lord, and let him make your life more abundant.

The altar call began as a dramatic way for people to visibly demonstrate they repented and were turning to God. They didn’t do altar calls in the bible though. John the baptist and the first Christians preferred baptism. But nowadays, churches expect you to go through some sort of baptism class first, so the altar call became an acceptable Evangelical substitute: Wanna give your life to Jesus? Come forward. One of our prayer team will pray with you.

Not every church does it, of course. In really large churches it’s not practical to move masses of people to the front of the auditorium. Some churches don’t approve of the public display. Show-offs will act like they’re publicly repenting, and really they’re just trying to get attention. Certain emotionally unstable people will come forward to every altar call, and go through the whole ritual time and again: They’ll repent, they’ll get prayed over, they’ll have a nice cathartic cry… and they’ll come back next week and do it all over again. Do they ever actually repent? Maybe. But really they’re there for the emotional release.

So if they don’t do altar calls, they do something like it: “If you haven’t yet received Jesus, meet us in the fellowship hall after the service,” or “Come talk to me about it later.” It’s a lot less emotional… which they prefer, ’cause it means people put some thought into turning to Jesus, instead of letting their emotions sway them. Speaking for myself, I don’t care whether it’s an emotional or thoughtful response; either can take. Likewise people can rethink, then turn their back on, either response. The important thing is we have some venue where people can turn to Jesus.

Take notes.

by K.W. Leslie, 23 October

It’s Wednesday. So, assuming you went to church Sunday morning… do you remember what the sermon or homily was about?

Some of you do, ’cause your memory is just that good. (Mine is.) You were paying attention. The preacher said something memorable, or entertaining, or particularly profound. Or perfectly relevant to your situation, or taught you something you’d like to try.

Others of you can’t remember for the life of you.

Nope, this isn’t a criticism. Hey, some people who stand up to preach simply aren’t preachers. They might be nice people, good musicians, great prayer leaders; they’re friendly people, and exactly the sort of person you want in your life when you’re going through tough times. Or they might have a lot of personal charisma—they’re people you naturally like, even though they might not have done anything to win people’s affection. (Some of them, like certain celebrities and politicians, might’ve done plenty to make you dislike them—but when you see ’em in person, all they gotta do is smile at you, and you’ll forgive them everything, ’cause they’re just that kind of person. That’s how they get away with so much evil.) But for whatever reason, Sunday mornings they’re the ones on the dais, at the podium, talking at you. And they use a lot of words… yet say very little worth remembering.

Some preachers are confusing. Instead of three points, they preach 20. Or every time they touch upon a good idea, they go off on a tangent, and never return to the initial idea. Or they speak nothing but Christianese and platitudes. Or they speak nothing but elementary, new-believer stuff—the stuff you know already, so why bother to listen?

Then there are the distractions in the service. There’s a hole in your sock, you can feel it, and it’s bugging you. There’s an argument on Twitter you had to pause for the service, but you so wanna dive back into it. There’s a guy behind you who smells like he’s taken holy communion about 20 times before the service. There’s a woman in front of you whose hat is blocking your view; who’s wearing a ton of perfume to cover up the fact she hasn’t drycleaned this particular set of Sunday clothes in a few months… but you can smell the stank anyway. There’s a crying baby. The kids are fidgeting. Isn’t there a game going on?… What’s the score?

Or you’re just tired. Or your mind is otherwise elsewhere. Or any of the personal reasons why you weren’t able to follow the message as well as you wish. Life happens.

But it’s important to remember what’s been preached at your church. For more reasons than these:

  • It helps you grow closer as a church body: You’re on the same page, topically. You have a common goal, a common subject to analyze further.
  • The preacher is likely discussing an issue many of you do need help with. Elementary or not, maybe you need to look at it again, or in depth.
  • Likely the Holy Spirit wants this subject preached upon, because you’re gonna need this information in the near future. Like, say, this Wednesday.

So if you’re struggling to remember the sermons, notetaking can help.

Jesus’s discussion falls apart.

by K.W. Leslie, 21 October

John 8.45-59.

So Jesus was trying to explain how if we stay in his word, we’re truly his students, and this truth’ll set us free. Jn 8.31-32 True to the Socratic-style way Pharisee instruction worked back then, Jesus’s listeners tried to pick apart his statements, and resisted the idea they weren’t free—that they were still slaves to sin. Jesus pointed out this was because they were still following their spiritual father, Satan… and you don’t need to be omniscient to predict they didn’t take this well.

So why’d Jesus say something so provocative? Well I used to think it’s because he was kinda done with them; they weren’t listening to a thing he said anyway. But we have to remember Jesus is patient and kind—’cause God is love, 1Jn 4.8 and those are the ways love acts. 1Co 13.4 So he did mean to provoke, but not to antagonize. Some in his audience heard what he was saying (like John, who recorded it) and repented and followed him. And others decided these were fighting words—and that’s what we read in the rest of this chapter.

Back to Jesus:

John 8.45-57 KWL
45 “You don’t trust me because I say the truth.
46 Who among you can convict me of sin? If I say the truth, why don’t you trust me?
47 One who’s from God, hears God’s words. This is why you don’t hear: You’re not from God.”

Determinists have used this passage to claim we first have to be elect before we can listen to God. If he never intended to save you, you weren’t created with the special innate ability to receive his words, and receive him. You were predestined for hell. Supposedly these Judeans were likewise predestined for hell, so Jesus was just talking to them for show. He knew they were doomed, but he had to at least look like he was engaging them, and pretend he wanted to lead ’em to truth. All to keep up the illusion God is love… ’cause in a deterministic universe, he’s really not.

In reality, Jesus figured telling them the unvarnished truth might shake a few of ’em out of their complacency. In John we only see the responses of those this tactic didn’t work on. Their bad behavior was a calculated risk on Jesus’s part. Well, now he had to deal with them.

John 8.48-49 KWL
48 In reply the Judeans told Jesus, “Don’t we rightly say you’re Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus replied, “I don’t have a demon, but honor my Father, and you dishonor me.”

Just to remind you: “You have a demon” is a Judean euphemism for “You’re insane.” It didn’t mean they literally thought Jesus was demonized. Demons make people act insane, but not all insanity is demonic.

“You’re Samaritan” was also a euphemism: It was their way of calling Jesus heretic, ’cause Samaritans were heretics. Certain commentators claim “Samaritan” was a slam on Jesus’s parentage, ’cause of the old doubts about who Jesus’s biological father is. (It’s presumed to be the source of the Judeans’ comment, “We weren’t begat by some fornicator,” Jn 8.41 but that ignores how they contrasted this with God being their father.) I seriously doubt the Judeans were trying to goad Jesus about his odd conception; they were just trying to call him a crazy heretic. The easiest way to dismiss someone: Claim his brain’s defective.