By Jeannine Pitas
DUBUQUE — It’s a Thursday evening, and about 90 people — ranging in age from teenagers through senior citizens — are gathered in a large meeting room at one of Dubuque’s houses of worship. A Mennonite Christian man stands at the podium, discussing a story familiar to many of us: the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37).
After his 10-minute presentation, another community member from the Tri-State Islamic Center comes forward to offer a different interpretation of the parable, stressing its importance as a sign of God’s power and mercy. Finally, a member of Dubuque’s Temple Beth El offers yet another perspective, interpreting the characters in this familiar story as representing different aspects — good and bad — of every human being. After these three presentations, the floor is opened to questions, and then the crowd breaks into small groups to discuss what we’ve seen and heard over a cup of tea.