In the last bulletin I used the phrase, “We don’t execute shoplifters”. A man wrote and asked if the “we” meant our congregation, or society? Since he is in prison serving a life sentence, his question certainly has merit.
I meant the “we” to be our society. However, even that is not without challenge. At times it seems we do execute shoplifters in the sense that there can be a serious inequity in court sentences. Of course, we want each case to be judged on its on merits. However, the inequity comes when there is prejudice, or prejudging due to wealth, status, power, or color.
In the letter, the man, whom I have known for at least twenty years, tells of a prisoner who was in a fist fight, was shot by a policeman, nearly died, and was then sentenced to thirty-five years in prison, for a fist fight. He did not say if the other man was seriously injured or killed in the fight. After being in prison all these years he has serious doubts about justice in our courts.
In a recent newspaper article there was this story. I’m holding some details back to enforce the point. After a night of bar hoping in Fort Lauderdale, a man in his car hits and kills two people. He fled the scene, lied to the police and tried to pin the blame on someone else.
Next story. An eighteen year old kid in Rushville, Ind. sneaked into his high school and placed a mysterious package in the girl’s restroom. It was a blow-up doll. The man who killed the people got house arrest at his beachfront condo. The boy was jailed with a $30,000.00 bond and faces what may be eight years in prison. He has no previous record and is an A B and an occasional C student with hopes of possibly becoming a doctor. The man who killed the people was on probation, had a string of traffic violations and a cocaine conviction.
Question: Which of them do you think is extremely wealthy and which one is blue color? Question: Which one is white and which one is black? Why is it that I know you know the answer? In the case of the high school boy they charged him with “terrorist mischief”, and referred to the Columbine shootings.
Is this a race issue? Yes. But is it more? Yes. It is a race and class issue, as Leonard Pitts said in a recent article about these two incidents. It is what the Old Testament prophets railed against and so should we. Before we do, let’s take a little trip down the justice road in the Bible.
How current are these words form Ecclesiastes 5:8 “If you see the poor oppressed in a district and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are higher officials still”. Psalm 82:2-4 asks, “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Ezekiel 22:29 says, “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. The use of “alien” may be the closest thing to racial discrimination in the Bible. In Amos 2:6, 7 the Lord says about Israel, “They trample on the hearts of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.” Had enough? There’s lots more, especially if you go to the “poor” section of you concordance.
I find it not surprising but frustrating that the Christian folks out there who talk about the eventual doom of this country and the world, always base what they say on sexuality and to a lesser extent some philosophical view of government. I just don’t hear them blaming injustice in the courts due to class and race. I don’t hear them talking about big banks and shoddy mortgages that ruined the lives of the “poor”. I don’t hear them talking about greed on Wall Street and taking advantage of the disadvantaged. In a word, I don’t hear the Word. And if that isn’t the Word we preach, what is the gospel?
CONCERNS: Wayne Phlegar is recovering from a fall as well as his broken knee cap. Connie Crites brothers are receiving treatment for cancer. Martha Albert’s brother is recovering well after giving one of his kidneys to a person who needed one. The recipient is also doing well. Eleanor Crush (cancer), Randy Conner(cancer, Connie Crites’ father (heart issues) Helen Nicklas, Jenni and Wilma Cullum. Wilma has been treated for bronchitis. They have found a knot on Tooney’s neck and are doing a biopsy. Tooney is the daughter of a friend of Judy McWhorter. Bud McWhorter cut three of his fingers rather severely, but they are healing well after surgery. Erma Williams is still out of work. Remember Tim Elder and those working to relieve suffering throughout the world.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JULY 4-9
Monday: Matthew 22:23-40
Tuesday: John 2:13-25
Wednesday: Proverbs 3:1-18
Thursday: Jonah 2:1-10
Friday: Matthew 23:23-39
Saturday: Psalm 127:1-5
OUR DAILY BREAD: JULY 11-16
Monday: John 5:19-47
Tuesday: Philippians 1:19-24
Wednesday: Genesis 7:1-24
Thursday: Lamen. 1:8-16
Friday: Romans 8:12-25
Saturday: Psalm 133, 134
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Panda Mania, this year’s Vacation Bible School starts in just eight days! There are still some “Panda needs” on the foyer wall. If you can help with any of these things please take a panda or two. Please set aside some time on Saturday, July 10, to assemble all the decorations in the auditorium.
If you haven’t invited any children by now, do it this week. Mailed invitations went out last week.
Check with Erma and see if there are any areas of the week of VBS she needs help with.
The dates are July 11-15, 6:00-8:30 each evening.
PEANUT BUTTER FROM HEAVEN
That’s the name of the “FEEDING AMERICA SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA” food drive. Feeding America, formerly known as Southwestern Food Bank, is once again asking us to participate in a peanut butter drive to help feed the poor in our area. So each time you shop, pick up a jar, medium will work, of your favorite peanut butter and place it on the downstairs table, or in the foyer and at the end of the month when the drive is over it will be delivered. A flyer is on the downstairs bulletin board.
HEALTH TALENTS TRIP
Once again this year, Mike and AC Branch, along with Susan Jordan, will be going to Guatemala to work with the Health Talents Ezell Clinic. They will be leaving in August and will be able to take some items with them. Susan will give us a list of things they can take.
Also. Judy McWhorter will be going later in the year, so if we miss getting some things ready for this trip we can send some with Judy.
THE NEW BLINDS
We now have blinds on the foyer windows. This will allow us to block out the sun and make it easier to cool the building. In the winter months we can open them to let in the sun’s heat.
Due to the work of Susan Jordan, the Titmus Foundation has granted monies to be used to help send two Guatemalan students to medical and dental school. This was not an easy task to get done. Good work Susan!