Monday, September 25, 2017

Still Awesome - Annual Quilt Raffle

Every year the Trinity United Methodist Women raffle off a a quilt to raise money for the many mission project that they support.  All this work is never for them.  I've never seen them buy anything for themselves except the occasional coffee or doughnut, and I'm pretty sure that those are all donated too.

But saying "Annual Quilt Raffle" sound ordinary.

And it rarely is.

This year is no exception.  Our friend, and longtime Trinity member, Goldie Bolitho recently stopped quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and all the other "fiber arts" things that she loves for decades because her eyesight has made it impossible to continue.  But Goldie wanted her work to be a blessing to someone else and so she donated  her supplies (literally more than two truckloads of stuff) to Trinity's crafters and to our sewing and crafting friends at The Joy Center in Big Creek, Kentucky.  Among those things was almost an entire quilt, all of the quilt squares that were needed for one, and thus most of the hard, tedious, and incredibly artistic detail work.

And they were truly beautiful works of art.

They were so impressive, that Marilyn Ball put them all together into a finished quilt top, and all of our quilters (who meet here every Thursday morning - and you're invited to join them, hint, hint) pitched in to make a bottom, add the soft batting in the middle, and actually do the quilting that puts everything together.

And so what we end up with is yet another one-of-a-kind art project that will also do a great job of keeping you warm at night.  Hundreds of hours and untold amounts of love and passion poured into one beautiful quilt that you can use to keep warm in your bed or while you watch television on the sofa this winter.

And you can have a chance to make this beauty your own for only $1 per ticket or 6 for $5.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Who’s “Side” Are You On?

I read an article that included a statement that struck me as wrong, but which, the more I thought about it, bothered me even more.  The article was yet another story about the current clash of political ideas and in the story, one group (the name of the group is unimportant) claimed that they would win because, “God is on our side.”  It would be easy to point out how some of the group’s actions have been hurtful in ways that clearly do not reflect anything like godliness, but the more I thought about it, this is true of every single political and religious group on the planet.

We can never claim that God is on our side.


Because God doesn’t take sides.

We are either on God’s side, or we are not.

God is the creator, ruler, and final judge of all that is.  There is nothing we can do to persuade God to join our cause regardless of its goodness.  God does not stand with or against Republicans or Democrats. God does not join forces with churches, or synagogues, or mosques.  God does not play favorites with social movements. 

God is so much bigger than humanity, or anything that humanity perceives, that God’s very existence defines good and evil.  When we stand with God we join the forces of good and when our positions oppose God’s will we have, by definition, become agents of evil.

There are only two sides.

As followers of God and followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to abandon the idea that God will take our “side” or join our cause, and realize instead that we must join God’s side.  The positions of the Republican party sometimes align with God’s will and sometimes their positions stand against God’s will.  The same is true of the Democrat party, and the Libertarian party, and the Socialist party. The same is true of the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church, and the Catholic Church, a well as the Mormons, those of the Jewish faith, Muslims, and even ISIS.  The same is true of those advocating for, and against, LBGT rights, environmentalists, and every other group that encourage us to join their cause by claiming that God is on their side.

He isn’t.

God isn’t a “joiner.”  God doesn’t join our “sides.”

We either stand for good or we stand for evil.

We are either on God’s side, or we are not.

Our affiliation with a political party, or a social movement, or even a particular denomination or religion does not define us as godly.  We are only godly, we are only good, when we do the will of God.  Political parties, and social movements, and even churches and religions are only on God’s side when they do the will of God.  If we truly want to be on God’s side, we can stand with those groups when they are godly.

But we must stand against them when they are not.

Long ago, as the people of Israel entered the Promised Land, they had to make a choice.  They had to choose whether they were going to follow God or the gods of Egypt that they had left behind.  Joshua pressed them for an answer saying, “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

In our modern world far removed from the children of Israel, and in a time when our political, social, and religious worlds are so polarized, perhaps it would be worthwhile to consider what Joshua might ask us today.  Would his words to us sound like this?

Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of the political parties, or the gods of the social movements, or the gods disguised as religion.  But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

There are only two sides.

We either stand for good or we stand for evil.

We are either on God’s side, or we are not.

Whose side are you on?

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