Conditional love for poor not part of Jesus' teachings
I have noticed a disturbing trendin recent articles and letters regarding the"homeless." There appears to be those in this community Christian and non-Christian who hold to a conditional love of this segment in our community. This attitude, from my perspective, is one of "We will loveand assist you ... but only if we judge you to be worthy of our love andhelp, and only if we see some return on our investment!" All others are to be "politely"encouraged to leave town.
This clearly goes against the teaching of Jesus. Time and time again, He taught that we are to love God and each other with what the Bible calls"agape" love. This is a love that chooses to love andgive of ourselvesunconditionally regardless of how the recipient receives it or whether he deserves it. This is the kind of love that God exhibits to us.
When feeding the multitudes, Jesus was always concernedabout their physical needs in an effort to minister to their spiritual ones. The question must be asked: Did some in the crowdtake advantage of this? Were they just hanging around until the next meal? Undoubtedly, the answer is yes. There are alwaysthose in every walk and station in life who take selfish advantage of a situation, butthis fact does not free us from our responsibility to reach out to those in need. For a several months Our Daily Bread has done precisely that: providing not only physical but spiritual food in an effort to reach people for Christ. They have accomplished this in a biblical ministrythat literally goes out into the highways and hedges and compels souls to enter into the kingdom of God.
Social programs that are administered bystate/county and/or non-profit agenciesserve a purpose and have their place and function in this world. However, true change only comes from a change of theheart and this can only be accomplished by God through Christ. This fundamental truth cannot be ignored nor can we pick and choose who we minister to.
The attitude that is required is one of agape love and compassion, and continuing to reach out with the greatest hope in this world. It is the only hope that any of us truly have.
By the way, Iuse to be one of those who "took advantage" of the services provided bythe Good News Rescue Mission in Redding. It continues to be funded byChristians who exhibit the Lord's lovewithout expecting any return on their investment. I am thankful that they didn't "politely encourage" me to leave town.
Pastor Scott Ratzloff
Oceanview Baptist Church
Save Our Pool fundraiser still competing with school
Last Wednesday, I attended an organizational meeting of volunteer efforts to "Save Our Pool" ("Pool seeks funding to stay afloat," Feb. 9) The letter generated by the pool management indicated for us to come with our fundraising ideas.
The main thrust of this meeting turned out to be a request for doing a dinner and auction evening. I mentioned that St. Joseph School has scheduled a dinner auction event on May 12 and noted this is the main annual fundraiser for our school. The collective consciousness of this meeting instantly focused on getting a jump on our little school by doing the S.O.P. dinner auction the weekend prior. There was no discussion for other types of fundraisers or significant alterations to the original plan.
Anyone who uses our pool cannot help but notice that the number of pool users has drastically decreased over the past few years. Could it be in part the result of the same mean-spiritedness that was so prevalent at that meeting? Perhaps we need to fix our spirit first, and then our efforts to fix our pool will work better.
Linda D. Athey
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