“Neighbor” is a central term in the vocabulary of faith. Which is why one of Jesus’s most famous teachings is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
But what does the word “neighbor” actually mean, and who counts?
As I wrote in “Learning to Speak God from Scratch“:
As neighbors, we are bound to each other by humanity, not just proximity. Some in our culture believe we become stronger by being more inward-focused. That building walls and closing borders is better than the biblical mandate to invite all to the table. When it comes to neighborliness, we are connected by need, not just nearness.
Is this how Americans understand the word “neighbor?” I have a hunch many do not.
Which is why I decided to investigate by heading down to Times Square and asking some strangers for their opinions.