“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27, NO. 29&30 – ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL, EXCEPT WITH TUBE SOCKS
If you’ve decided to read this article, let me say up front that I believe there are things common to all humankind. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll use Maslow’s list. Physiological, Safety, Love-belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization. If you want an expanded definition look them up.
However, within each of these categories there is room for individual preference. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Or, gentlemen prefer blonds but marry brunets. You get what I mean. I’m sure there have been studies done, and continuing to be done, on why certain people are attracted to other certain people, and why some are not attracted to those same people. Why do some people chose one vocation over another? Why do we see a particular talent (gift) in one child and not all the siblings? How much does DNA play in all that? So why would we almost insist that people who believe in God, particularly in the teachings of the Bible, all think and feel alike?
Are the individual qualities and desires of one person supposed to be brought in line with the qualities and desires of another? In the area of religion, or “church orthodoxy”, when one person expresses how they live their life, are all the rest supposed to live theirs the same way? Because a religious person likes football and another person thinks it is a waste of time and rather proudly says they’d rather read good books, should those who like football feel less spiritual?
While on vacation years ago, we went to a North Carolina church. We were flying blind, but I knew as soon as I saw the tract rack in the foyer, what to expect. The preacher said, for some reason perhaps known only to him, that when he had to stop his work and take the family on vacation, his idea of a vacation was too take his books and study the Bible. I felt the comment was self-serving. What eldership wouldn’t love to hear that? I thought he should be stoned for working on vacation. I also wondered how many people he made feel they had to be like him to be a super saint?
When it comes to scripture we have the same problem. Paul says he had learned to be content no matter the circumstances. There is certainly a lesson there. But what is it? If you happened to read last Sunday’s paper about the conditions under which many children in the Bristol, Va. live, would you tell them they should learn to be content, even though they do not have food to eat over the weekend? Would you tell the child who comes to school with bruises from the mother, to be content? Would you tell the mother, caught in an abusive relationship, to be content? Other passages can cause the same result, if painted on to cover a deeper issue.
When Paul talked about “modest” clothing, how many times has that been defined by someone according to their hang-ups or standards in a way which indicated those who didn’t agree were somehow sinners? How many times was the culture and the context examined to try to come close to that which Paul was referring?
How many people have read what Paul said about marriage and then defined that to fit themselves and everyone else? In so doing, they set the standard for the rest, making them feel guilty because they don’t feel the same way. I remember a woman who, with three children and a loving husband, said it was better not to be married because of what Paul said in I Cor.7.
I thought about this in the adult class last Sunday morning. Among other things, we talked about forgiveness. A visitor pointed out (as he understood it) that unless we forgive, God would not forgive us. Of course, we all knew the scripture to which he was referring. In my warped mind I was thinking, “Then we’re all in a heap of trouble!” If you think always forgiving others exactly as one should, and of course, asking forgiveness, cleans the slate, what need is there of grace?
Abraham Sirgy said, “What is forgiveness?” The discussion turned to the Amish people who forgave the man who murdered their children in a Pennsylvania town. But Abraham’s question is necessary, what is forgiveness?
In the irony of life, that evening, on 60 minutes, there was a segment about Glenn Ford, a black man freed after thirty years of solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. The focus was on the prosecutor, Marty Stroud, who tried him. Stroud now says he did it to boost his ego, and that critical evidence was not checked.. He said they even laughed at how easy the case would be. He now sees it as a hole in his life that can never be filled, and it could be seen on his face. A year after Ford was released, he died of lung cancer. No treatment or compensation was awarded him. In the days before Ford died, Stroud went to him and asked his forgiveness for the callous injustice he’d inflicted upon him. Ford refused. You can judge him if you like. Quoting a scripture might even help you make that judgement, but be sure you know what you would do if you were him.
What is forgiveness? Is it a one size fits all? No. Forgiving someone who bumps into you is not the same as forgiving the one who raped and murdered your child. We all know that. Someone who asks forgiveness is much different from someone who says they don’t want or care about receiving it.
I think forgiveness is multifaceted. When we are on the receiving end, we want one size fits all. “You have to forgive me because I asked, and you’re a Christian, and if you don’t God won’t forgive you ever, until you do!” It’s even harder on the giving end.
No one doubts that forgiveness is a healthy thing. But I don’t have a simple, clear-cut answer as to what forgiveness is. What I think I know is amid all the complexities and psychological makeups of humankind, one-sized answers only leave us feeling hopeless and helpless. Maybe it falls into Paul saying to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. . Maybe. Keith
CONCERNS: We’ve learned that Whit Robertson’s brain cancer is now terminal and he is under hospice care. Whit is the teenage son of a good friend of Leena Bolin. They ask prayers that he not suffer. Alisa’s sister, Melanie Gentry will be seeing a specialist soon about her vision and balance problems. Betty Foy was unable to be out and about due to headaches. Her sister, and Martha’s aunt, Sue Huels, is very ill. Hannah, Garrett Lee’s friend, has had something of a relapse with the leukemia and is at Duke. Melisha Scruggs cousin, Autumn, is being treat for brain cancer. Joni Beach’s mother, Betty Voss, as well as her father, are dealing with declining health issues. Joni also asks pray for her aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Sandy Blanchard is from Del Bolin’s home congregation and is fighting cancer and has lost her sight. Gary Overstreet had open heart surgery on Thursday at RMH. Remember also Woody Fisher, Roger’s brother, Jim Hunter, The
Phlegars, Jim and Mary Smith, Bill Albert’s son, David, Lee Nicklas, Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Tim Elder and Del Bolin as he finishes his medical work in Honduras
OUR DAILY BREAD: OCTOBER 19-24
Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday Psalm 146:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: OCTOBER 26-31
Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98:1-9
Late congratulations to Connie Crites on becoming a grandmother again. Mya Maurer was born to Kelly and Geoff on September 23. The boys are getting use to having a sister in the house.
Congratulations to Nick Bolin for making the dean’s list at Virginia Tech. Actually, Nick has made it every year since he started, but this was the first time the local paper published the list.
Today is Super Sunday. Among the goodies we will enjoy at the meal will be some of the pork and beef which was frozen after the Bar B Que the last of September. Those of you who were unable to attend, be sure to give it a try
THE PEAKS OF OTTER
Today is also the day some of us go to the Peaks Of Otter for a hike, if you are among the young at heart, and a picnic.
As always, if you are riding the bus, be sure to get there as early as possible. The tickets sell out quickly if the weather is nice. It looks to be sunny and in the mid fifties, but remember, it is cooler up there.
We had twenty-one folks sign up for the picnic, however, if you didn’t and want to join us, please do so.
Thanks to Susan Jordan for telling us of her experiences at the Ezell Clinic. Her love of going and helping with the medical work done there by Health Talents has inspired others to plan to go with her next year.
Thanks to all of you who have prepared the Sunday evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House lately.
If you don’t get the local paper, the Extra section in Wednesday’s edition featured our own Chef Jeff Bland. It was a great article about Jeff’s accomplishments as well as his choice of a healthy lifestyle that not only produced significant weight loss, but in his view, saved his life.