Well, if you watch the news, or are one of those people who practice the old fashioned ways of the past and read newspapers, it would seem that not just our country but the world in general has lost its collective mind. Today the debate in our culture is how we get rid of the parts of our national history that we don’t agree with or like. Most of us grew up understanding that people were either male or female, but depending on what link you follow on an internet search you may be surprised to learn there are between three and seventy one different genders that are represented in mankind. Individuals who have entered the country or remain here illegally are no longer referred to as illegal immigrants. Instead they are known now as undocumented citizens of the U.S. All of this reads like a script from some dystopian style action movie. The only thing that’s missing is zombies. My intent this month isn’t to explain it away as the result of a fallen world, or to refer you to history books that record other times in the past when we have experienced the same thing. Instead I want to make you start asking some questions.
Charles Dudley Warner is quoted as saying, “Politics makes for strange bedfellows.” Politics by necessity requires compromise. Our government without compromise on the part of the two major political parties accomplishes very little and in the end only enriches the politicians and hurts the people. Actually, politics does little to solve problems or lift up the great unwashed masses. Dr. Sutterlin, my political science professor, challenged the class to name one problem that was ever solved by a politician that wasn’t started or caused by another politician. To this day I can’t come up with an answer to his question.
Many Christians and churches have become politically active. This has been common practice since the 4th century A.D. The problem with this practice is Mr. Warner’s quote from above. Christians on both sides of the political spectrum have ended up with some interesting bedfellows in politics. Pro-lifers end up supporting candidates and parties that advocate the death penalty. Those Christians advocating for a strong social safety net support candidates and parties that consider abortion a choice, another form of birth control. As I mentioned above politics requires compromise. Compromise gives life to politics. Government is able to function and work with compromise. Compromise even works within the church. We compromise within the church community to accommodate different preferences of its members. Carpet color, song choices, what pictures hang on the wall, the presence or absence of a flag or cross; these are all preferences that have nothing to do with our faith. Compromise allows us to manage and make allowances for these preferences. Unfortunately, compromise can and has become a cancerous growth within the church.
In the Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verse 30 and 31, Jesus responds to the disciples question of what is the greatest commandment by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” In this passage Jesus condenses and simplifies thousands of years of Jewish thought and teaching into a couple of sentences.
By now you are wondering where this is all leading. What I am getting at is that we have all at some point fallen into the same trap. Churches and people have gotten involved in politics for the right reasons, but they eventually have to make a choice. Which is more important: my politics or my faith. The two are not compatible in the long run. One requires compromise and the other requires obedience. If you identify as a Republican or Democrat then you have chosen a political ideology over a Savior. Your faith informs your politics or the other way around. If you have been saved and Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior then everything else in your life flows out of that.
I have laid this out in a very black and white way and I know it is more complicated than that. I do this to start a conversation, or actually conversations. There is a new committee that falls under the name of Christian Social Concerns. It is the purpose of the committee to examine the issues in our culture and determine how the church responds to these issues but also how the church navigates through the culture while still proclaiming the Gospel, loving God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength, and still loving our neighbor as ourselves. I hope everyone will consider these things and provide input, support and prayer in the future for members of this committee and for all the leaders of Bangor Liberty Friends and the Iowa Yearly Meeting.
Dates To Remember!!
3 Birthday Celebration of Wayne McDonald’s
(nearly) 90 years! (meeting hall) 3-5p
Kick off for Deeper
6 Deeper Meal 6:15p Deeper Class 7:00p
5-12-19-26 CQH work days
10 Quaker Men’s Breakfast 8:00a
8-10 Family Camp at CQH
11&25 Monday Night Bible Study 6:00p
21 USFWI meeting : Hostess: Rosalee P-Co Diane T 7:00p
LIBRARY LEDGE – A Servant’s Heart
For those of you who have a servant’s heart, may God bless you exceedingly. For your reading pleasure we have Developing a Servant’s Heart & The Gentle Art of a Servant’s Heart by Charles Stanley, as well as A Case for Serving by Stephen Graves & The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects by Barbara Lewis for the middle school age. We also have Facing the Monster by Carol Hart Metzker about how one person can fight child slavery. People that have a servant’s heart give greatly and deeply of themselves and deserve more thanks than they ever receive – Thank you for your service!
p.s. Watch for our book sale
HOC School Giveaway: Thanks to all who donated school items or funds for the House of Compassion project. We especially appreciated Kay F, Rosalee P, Tom & Jo G who helped pack. A total of 579 students received a backpack or trapper with supplies at St. Paul's. Since then almost 100 more have received ziploc bags of supplies through the supply closet at HOC. These numbers are lower than last year but we trust that means more parents are able to buy things themselves. Extra backpacks will be saved for next year and extra supplies will be given to teachers to use when needed through out the year.
Celebration of Wayne McDonald’s (nearly) 90 years!
Sunday, September 3 From 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Bangor - Liberty Friends Church
This is an urgent call to prayer for Lazarus John. Church Extension has been in contact with Lazarus as we consider starting a Sudanese worship group in Des Moines. Lazarus started a Sudanese church in Omaha and is very interested in starting a church in Iowa. He returned to Sudan in the interest of visiting churches he had started there with the interest of bringing them into association with Friends. His time there has been cut short. He was bitten by a blister beetle and was taken very ill. It became necessary to amputate fingers. We need to pray for a full recovery and for God's grace to abound in this whole situation. Lazarus is wheelchair bound and relies on both hands for mobilization.
A Caring Bridge Account has been set up for Lazarus John @ https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lazarusjohn
The update from Caring Bridge
states: "Lazarus John remains in the hospital in Omaha. According to his
wife, Veronica, his numbers are very low, and the infection is persisting
(though not spreading). He is meeting with the doctor today where it is
expected that they will recommend removing his two remaining fingers, and
possibly the rest of his arm. Lazarus spends most of his time sleeping due to
the medications he is receiving.
HOC Bonus Items: Each time a client comes for their monthly supplies of toilet paper, shampoo, dish soap, etc. they may also have a bonus item or 2 if they bring their own bag. These are extra donations such as used DVD movies, music CD’s, seasonal decorating items, picture frames, books, magazines and games for all ages. If you are willing to share any of these used items, give them to Margaret or take directly to HOC. They will be appreciated.
HOUSE OF COMPASSION VOLUNTEER PICNIC
and skills that you willingly and freely bring to Our
House. We are inviting all our volunteers and their immediate family(those
currently living in your household as well) to a picnic in your honor. We
hope to see you there and if you know anyone that would like to or is
considering volunteering, please bring them along. We can always use more
volunteers! Now for the details: