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THE FLABBY BODY OF CHRIST • KEEPING THE LIGHT ON FOR GOD

RETHINKING GOD IN TODAY’S CULTURE.


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These 12 Core Values That Make Up The DNA of thechurch
Expect the unexpected | Irrelevance is irreverence
Love people when they least expect it and least deserve it | Playing it safe is risky
Pray like it depends on god and work like it depends on you | Everyone is invaluable and irreplaceable
Everything is an experiment | You cannot out give God
Maturity does not equal conformity | Go the extra mile
It's never to late too be who you might have been | Do it right and do it big
COMMUNITY
HOMELESS
CONNECT March 23rd 2010
9am-4pm at Salem First Baptist Church

“Homeless Connect is a one day resource fair


focused on connecting homeless individuals and
those at risk of becoming homeless in Marion/Polk
counties with services to help improve their lives.”

For more information, contact Linda Macrae at 503-585-6232 or macrael@mwvcaa.org


To volunteer, contact HandsOn Mid-Willamette Valley at 503-363-1651 or ksinger-adams@unitedwaymwv.org

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EDITORIAL
RETHINKING DEATH
BY BO & MELISSA LANE
We were rather nervous when Melissa got preg- Our daughter was born in a small hospital in a For those who put their faith and trust in Jesus
nant for the second time. Our first born, Benja- small town in Oregon; the kind of place where Christ, this concept of death immediately
min, was eleven weeks premature and, because everyone knows everything about every situ- becomes attainable. Our new awareness of
of the difficulty surrounding his birth, we didn’t ation going on everywhere. So when I walked death gives us the ability to turn our mourning
want to put another child through a similar situ- outside and saw a man trying his hardest to into dancing and our sorrow into joy; a revived
ation. So, needless to say, our discovery caused hold his composure, yet failing to the extreme, I and renewed hope that our lives are not lived in
much anxiety for the two of us. knew it was the mother’s husband. vein. We hold fast to the promise of Revelation
that “God will wipe every tear from our eyes.
But God, being good, walked us through the He was pacing back and forth talking to some- There will be no more death or mourning or
first eight months without many issues and one on his cell phone. One moment he was crying or pain, for the old order of things has
sooner than we realized we were in the hospital talking. Another he was weeping. And the next passed away.”
for the second time. Only this time, the situa- he was shouting things like “Why?” and “How
tion was much healthier than before. Melissa am I going to take care of the kids by myself?” So we will continue to weep and mourn for
would spend a few weeks in the hospital gear- His world was falling apart. His kids wouldn’t those who have passed away, only because
ing up for the baby’s entrance while the doctors grow up with their mother. The same day I cel- we will miss their time here with us. This is
and nurses watched over and cared for her. Our ebrate the birth of my daughter is the same say good and normal and right. But our strength
daughter would be brought into this world a he mourns the death of his wife. If you think isn’t based on our situation. It comes only from
few weeks early but God was working it all out. about it, and if you have lost someone close to knowing that God is good and that He’s mak-
We definitely noticed. you, you can understand just how tragic it can ing all things new. And we’re equally thank-
be. ful that God’s goodness isn’t based on our
The night our daughter was born was both situation. It’s based simply on the fact that He
triumphant and tragic. For our family, it was Two hours later, my daughter was born. She is good. He is holy and wholly righteous. And
joyous. Yet for another family, it was jaded. was beautiful and healthy and alive. And I knowing this beautiful nugget of truth should
Excitement was brewing in our little hospital boasted my newest treasure for all our family change our situation.
room for a life soon to be born but, in that same and friends to see. I took pictures and helped
moment, echoes of mourning could already be print her little foot on her birth certificate. It was
heard for a life that was ending. Doctors and triumphant; everything but tragic.
nurses ran back and forth, grabbing this thing
and that thing, running down the hall to a room People die. We weep and mourn. People live.
with a mother, just a few years older than my We leap and dance. Death and life - there is
wife, who was dying. nothing new about either of them. They’ve been
around for, well, the beginning of creation. Bo & Melissa remain awestuck
by their Creator and His undying
Personally, I found myself in a difficult position. We understand this. We live and cope and
love for them. They’re thankful
As I walked down the hall, past the room where continue and refocus and move on but we still that God entrusted them with the
the mother lay dead, my heart broke; a feeling grieve and mourn and cry and remember. We world’s most beautiful children.
that usually accompanies such an enormous are surrounded by death as soon as we enter They are also captivated by the
loss. “What if that was my wife, my mother?” this world, so from a young age we gather a TV show LOST. Just sayin’.
were the thoughts going through my head. common perspective of what death looks and Take a minute and holla at us:
But at the same time, I was filled with joy and feels like. boandmel@rethinkmonthly.com
anticipation because this night would be the
night I’d meet my beautiful daughter, Bella, But what if we changed our perception con-
for the first time. It was as if my own personal cerning death? What if we look at death as the
universe was being thrown off its axis and into greatest gift that life can give?
a whole new dimension. Little did I know this
difficulty would drastically elevate the moment I
stepped outside.

6_RETHINK MONTHLY
rethink monthly
MAGAZINE
MARCH / APRIL 2010 - ISSUE 11 FEATURES
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS >
Bo Lane >
bo@rethinkmonthly.com

Melissa Lane >


melissa@rethinkmonthly.com

MANAGING EDITOR >


Connie Andresen >
connie@rethinkmonthly.com

SALES MANAGER >


Susan Trask >
susan@rethinkmonthly.com

ART DIRECTOR >


Vin Thomas >
vin@rethinkmonthly.com

CREDITS >
Cover image by Vanessa Farnell. Additional images
by Kesha Thomas and Vanessa Farnell. All images
are property of their perspective owners and have
been used by permission. All rights reserved.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS >


Bo & Melissa Lane, Chad Fisher, Michael Olsen,
John W. Whitehead, Grace Fudge, Scott Cornthwaite,
John Fehlen, Stephen W. Simpson

RETHINK MONTHLY >


©2010 Rethink, Inc. No part of this publication may be
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Rethinking Death .................... Pg 06
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www.rethinkpodcast.com Divided We Stand .................... Pg 08
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magazine and have shared it with all your
friends and family, please consider recycling A Village Cries Out .................... Pg 12
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Monthly magazines and save it forever. You Did It For Me .................... Pg 16
Keeping The Light On For God .................... Pg 18
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RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_7
FAITH
CULTURE
DIVIDED WE STAND
BY CHAD FISHER
My wife and I had the pleasure of taking a little In 2002, wildlife experts began tracking the you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the
road trip last week with the newest addition to herds of red deer using electronic collars and nations.”
our family, Macy Lee. When we got home, a full surveying their movement by satellite tracking
mailbox and a pile of Wall Street Journals were and video surveillance at the old borderlines. We’ve been called to be prophets to the na-
laying in my driveway waiting for me to catch up Red deer born of herds from the West side will tions. Jesus’ last command to His church as He
on a week’s worth of news updates and latest venture, nose literally touching the now open ascended into heaven was to “Go and make
economic sagas. In that pile of newspapers, a air where the wall once stood to divide them, disciples”, not “Stay put and remain in your
particular article caught my attention. At first and they stop. They move no further. Neither comfort zones.”
glance, it seemed like news-filler, but after I herd has ventured over the place where the
began reading I realized that God was showing wall once stood, though today, nothing stands Expand. Grow. Create. Influence. Yet how do we
me something profound and beautiful. in their way from expanding their territory into do that when we are stuck behind an invisible
what is now free land for them to roam. wall?
It has been 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell.
But deep in the forest of Grafenau, Germany, Most of us, like these red deer, have never ven- The church remains divided. We remain
a breed of red deer called Ahornia still refuses tured beyond the wall. For many, we’ve gained separated by doctrine and denomination. We
to cross the old Iron Curtain. This deer inhabits collective memory through things learned and remain segregated by culture, color and race.
the thickly wooded mountains along what things experienced which have become divid- We have white churches and black churches.
once was the fortified border between West ing walls for us, blocking us from advancing We remain segregated by generation, offering
Germany and Czechoslovakia. At the height fully into the territory that Christ has already contemporary services for the young and tra-
of the Cold War, a high electric fence, barbed predestined for us to wholly obtain. Though ditional services for the old. We remain divided
wire and machine-gun-carrying guards cut off nothing stands in our way, we limit ourselves by the legalism that shapes our worldview and
Eastern Europe from the Western world. The by looking at the world through human eyes perpetuates the overwhelmingly justified judg-
barriers severed the herds of deer on the two rather than through divine eyes. We have been ment toward those who believe or look or act
sides as well. called, each one of us, to expand, to grow, to differently than we do.
accomplish, to achieve, to take risks, to be
The fence is long gone, and the no-man’s land great. The church stands with its’ nose against an
where it once stood is now part of Europe’s big- invisible wall that was destroyed thousands
gest nature preserve. The once-deadly border We are not limited in what we can do, become of years ago by Jesus’ sacrifice to unite all of
area is alive with songbirds nesting in crumbling or accomplish. The biggest limitation that mankind to it’s creator and return all of creation
watchtowers, foxes hiding in weedy fortifica- we face is not the difficulty of what is to be to it’s fruitful beginnings.
tions and animals not seen there for years. grasped or obtained but our own insignificant
view of ourselves. It’s our view of ourselves Galatians 3:26-29 says to all of us, “You are all
But one species is boycotting the reunified that blocks us in, keeps us small and limits our sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for
animal kingdom: the Red Deer. Herds of them potential. What we need is God’s view of who all of you who were baptized into Christ have
roam both sides of the old NATO-Warsaw Pact we are, what we are to become, what we are to clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither
border but mysteriously turn around when accomplish. Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,
they approach the since dissolved border, this for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong
although the deer alive today have no memory Genesis 1:26-28 recounts the words of God to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and
of the ominous fence. toward mankind before the first man and heirs according to the promise.”
woman were yet living. God said, “Let us make
One reason, stated by wildlife experts, is man in our image, to rule over all the creatures Freedom is ours. We are rightful heirs to the
that the deer have traditional trails, passed and over all the earth…then God blessed them promises of God. All we have to do is step
on through the generations, with a collective and said to them, ‘Be fruitful [great, successful, across the line.
memory that their grounds end at the erstwhile strong, influential] and increase in number [ex-
Chad has spent the last decade
barrier. Females, who stay with their mothers pand, grow, create]; fill the earth and subdue it
as a youth pastor and worship
longer than males and spend more time ab- [without fear and without hesitation, everything
leader and now leads a growing
sorbing their mothers’ movements, stick even is yours; as big as you can dream there is yet team of people committed to
more closely to the traditional turf. more for you than that].” planting a new church in 2010.
Chad lives in Columbus, Ohio
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the with his wife Katie and two
womb I knew you, before you were born I set daughters, Morgan and Macy.

8_RETHINK MONTHLY
Join us on Saturday, April 3rd starting at 1pm
for a free community egg hunt, snacks,
popcorn, drinks, movie and much more.

Fun for the whole family. All are welcome!


Salem
Harritt School | 2112 Linwood Street NW in4th at 10am at Harritt!
April
And don’t miss our Annual Pancake Feed on Sunday,
intchurch.com | 503.383.2287
Brought to you by Hope Hoint Church | www.hopepo
10_RETHINK MONTHLY
Recently, I was invited to speak to seems to think that faith in the government Tolerance for dissent, we must remember, is
a group of affluent, upper middle and a positive attitude are enough to get you a vital characteristic of the citizens of a demo-
class retirees. The host’s estate through the day--that you’re not a good citizen cratic society. As Supreme Court Justice Oliver
was extensive, his home airy and if you criticize the government. Comfortable in Wendell Holmes said, “If there is any principle
spacious, original art graced the their materialism, they have come to believe of the Constitution that more imperatively
walls, and the guests ranged from that being a good citizen means doing one calls for attachment than any other, it is the
dignitaries to activists from the civil thing--voting. principle of free thought--not free thought for
rights era. those who agree with us but freedom for the
The problem we face today, however, is that thought that we hate.”
I had been invited to lead a discussion on America requires more than voters. It requires
ways to minimize political polarization and doers--a well-informed and very active group Loving your country does not mean being
find common ground, and I agreed, hoping of doers--if we are to have any chance of satisfied with the status quo or the way gov-
that these people, who are well-educated, holding the government accountable and ernment is being administered. Government
well-connected and well-to-do, would want maintaining our freedoms. invariably, possibly inevitably, oversteps its
to get involved in the freedom struggle and authority. As human beings are not perfect,
effect change within their spheres of influ- After all, it was not idle rhetoric that prompted governments, because they are constructs of
ence. Instead, I came face to face with those the Framers of the Constitution to begin with human beings, will necessarily be imperfect
I’ve been writing about for years--materially the words “We the people.” In the words of as well.
comfortable, disconnected from reality and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl War-
totally oblivious to what’s been going on in the ren, throughout the extraordinary document Love of country, it must be emphasized, is
American government as far as the erosion of that is the Constitution and Bill of Rights, always strengthened by both a knowledge
our civil liberties and the amassing of power “there is an implicit assumption that we, the of history and of the Constitution and, when
by the federal government. people, will preserve our democratic rights by need be, acting on that knowledge. “If we have
acting responsibly in our enjoyment of them.” no appreciation of the past,” Justice Warren
I quickly realized that what these people call This ultimate responsibility for maintaining our recognized, “we can have little understanding
polarization is actually Americans challeng- freedoms then rests with the people. of the present or vision for the future.”
ing the status quo, especially the so-called
government elite. To my surprise, I found The Framers of the Constitution knew very The problems facing our generation are nu-
myself on the receiving end of a group lecture well that whenever and wherever democratic merous and are becoming incredibly complex.
in which I was reprimanded for being too governments had failed, it was because the Technology, which has developed at a rapid
negative in my views of the government. I people had abdicated their responsibility as pace, offers those in power more invasive and
was also informed that I need to have “faith” guardians of freedom. They also knew that awesome possibilities than ever before. Never
in our leaders and refrain from criticizing our whenever in history the people denied this in American history has there been a more
president because Americans still live in the responsibility, an authoritarian regime arose pressing need to maintain the barriers in the
best country in the world. In other words, my which eventually denied the people the right to Constitution erected by our Founders to check
patriotism was called into question. govern themselves. All governments fall into governmental power and abuse.
two classifications: those with a democratic
But is this really what patriotism or loving your form and those that are authoritarian, ruled by We’re at a very crucial crossroads in American
country is all about? If so, then Thomas Jef- an individual or some oligarchic elite. history. We have to be well-informed, not only
ferson and the great freedom fighters of our about current events but well-versed in the ba-
times would be considered unpatriotic. Acting responsibly, however, means that there sics of our rights and duties as citizens. If not,
are certain responsibilities and duties without in perceived times of crisis, we may very well
I felt like a radical extremist just sitting there. which our rights would become meaningless. find ourselves in the clutches of a governmen-
After all, I spend my time calling government Duties of citizenship extend beyond the act tal system that is alien to everything America
leaders to account for their actions, and when of voting, which is only the first step in acting stands for. And make no mistake about it, the
they fail to abide by the Constitution, I actively responsibly. Citizens must be willing to stand mass of citizens will continue to be misin-
and vocally exercise my rights as a citizen. In and fight to protect their freedoms. And if formed, and as astute political leaders have
fact, the First Amendment does more than need be, it will entail criticizing the govern- recognized in the past, they can be easily led.
give us a right to criticize our country--it makes ment. This is patriotism in action. Therein is the menace to our freedoms.
it a civic duty.
What this means is that we can still be patriotic As Hermann Goering, one of Hitler’s top mili-
It didn’t take long for me to see that my and love our country while disagreeing with tary leaders, opined:
view of what it means to be American was the government or going to court to fight for
diametrically opposed to that of the group. I freedom. Responsible citizenship means being It is always a simple matter to drag the
belong to the camp that equates patriotism outraged at the loss of others’ freedoms, even people along, whether it is a democracy, or
with activism--even when that activism may when our own are not directly threatened. It a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a
be perceived as extremism. Martin Luther King also means remembering that the prime func- communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice,
Jr. put it best when, after being accused of tion of any free government is to protect the the people can always be brought to the
extremism, responded, “The question is not weak against the strong. bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you
whether we will be extremists, but what kind have to do is to tell them they are being at-
of extremist will you be?” Love of country will sometimes entail carrying tacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack
a picket sign or going to jail, if necessary, to of patriotism and exposing the country to
This group, however, which is representative preserve liberty. And it will mean speaking danger. It works the same in any country.
of a substantial cross-section of Americans, up for those with whom you might disagree.

RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_11
Cries Out
A Village

Cries
A Village

Out by Grace Fudge

12_RETHINK MONTHLY
I sat on the dry stubble and dirt, the traumatized and trembling earth, rocking back
and forth in sobs. I was asking why, for a people with so many needs, for a people
having such a passion for Christ, for the children just having received prayer for
protection and provision, and for the children who, just hours ago, had celebrat-
ed the birth of Christ with their sponsors: why, why did this happen? My whole
being was encompassed in deep anguish. Those around me were in stupor
and unbelief, prayer, and tears. To have heard the sound of the earth growl
and moan in its transition stage, to have seen the countryside “crack”
and watch as the dust erupts skyward, all the while hearing the hys-
terical cries and wailing of the village peoples in unison, a crying out
to the Lord, a crying out to the gods that could not promise “I will
never leave you nor forsake you.”

Seven days earlier, I left Portland Airport at 6AM with anticipa-


tion, not fully knowing what this mission had in store for me
in Grand Goave, Haiti, with Lifeline Christian Mission (LCM).
There were six women in my group – my sister Cece Taylor
and her friend Rosie Thompson along with Rosie’s daughter
Cierra, and twin sisters Janna and Dee Peters. We felt that our
jet’s “777” destination from Texas to Miami was significant.

Over the next number of days, meeting the numerous inter-


preters (all Haitian men-of-Christ that had been “sponsor chil-
dren” themselves through LCM) left me in admiration for their
gentle and compassionate nature. They had a great sense of
humor, which I really enjoyed, and it was easy to converse with
them. They were most eager to help in any capacity and they
went out of their way to make our activities and programs run
smoothly.

I was captivated by the women on “Women’s Day” with their passion for
the Lord and dedication in worshiping and gathering with one another (some took
two days to get to the compound and by no means was it in a comfortable vehicle).
Their voices of praise, singing, and worship, the memorization of scripture, both the
young and the old – they gathered for praise unto the Lord. In a country so differ-
ent from what I am accustomed, we worshipped the same God, we sang the same
songs. I found that there was no barrier between the two different cultures when
Christ was the focus.

But for a large majority of Haiti, Christ isn’t the focus.

Haiti is about the size of Maryland and about two-thirds mountainous. The history
of Haiti is not necessarily a pretty one. Revolutions, dictatorships, political tur-
moil, the AIDS epidemic causing a final collapse in the economy, poor infrastruc-
ture, and hurricanes only begin to paint a picture of a country where the people
are oppressed - a look into the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Haiti with voodooists believing that
their religion can coexist with Catholicism. Otherwise, Voodoo is considered
the country’s national religion. The Protestants, however, go up against voo-
dooism and have brought Christianity into the county, bringing in not only the
Word, but they have educated, fed, and cared for a people who would other-
wise be struggling with malnutrition, severe poverty, rioting, disease, and peril.

Being on the cement roof of a two-story building during the 7.0 magnitude
earthquake was sheer terror. It was a true miracle that the building did not
collapse; the contortion of the building was ghastly, and yet it did not crack
as I was riding on a wave of cement that heaved and rolled. I look at what
the country of Haiti went through, a country that at its best is considered
“poverty stricken” by our standards and what are “slums” to us could be
its better parts of the country. To endure a disaster that they were very
unfamiliar with, a cataclysm that tore their lives apart, a tragedy leaving
them homeless, the heartache of losing loved ones and having loved ones
injured or unaccounted for, is just so unfathomable.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_13
A Village Cries Out Continued...
The Reverend quickly goes from group to group as we are huddled we cried together; we held each other. We could not immediately
out in the field, making sure we are okay and making sure that there fix anything, but offering hope and loving on them was imperative
are not any immediate needs amongst the women at LCM. His own in knowing that we were all in God’s hands. We prayed with those
village is in turmoil and despair. A young Haitian man is seen, arms that had lost loved ones. We prayed over those that were injured.
heavenward, praising the Lord in Heaven. It is such an incompre- We prayed over those that had missing family members. We prayed
hensible situation, yet these people know that God is in control, God for provision, hope, and healing. We gave out clothing for those that
is good. were in need. We cared for the wounded through LCM’s medical
clinic, although the medical supplies were very limited and the inju-
The evening was long. The village peoples poured into the grounds ries were great. More babies were delivered; more information came
of LCM (all the walls around the compound had come down). in reporting the loss of loved ones and severe injuries. Moreover,
The tremors continued. With each tremor, the cry of the peoples through it all I felt so broken, so empty, knowing that I endured this
increased. What rose above all else was “Jesus, Jesus.” There were quake without a scratch or a bruise or having lost a loved one. I had
believers and unbelievers that walked onto the compound. They food and water; I had a home to go to.
came in not knowing what was happening, but knowing that they
were in a safe place. And throughout the night, they continued to The devotionals that had been planned out for our week at the com-
pour in, families all huddled together on the ground, some crying, pound, months before we ever went, were focused on God’s protec-
some praising God, some voodooist reaching out for that which was tion and provision. Little did any of us know that, at the beginning of
unattainable through their veneration. A baby was born. There were the week, we would refer to each one of them and, in wonderment,
reports of fatalities. The wounded were starting to come in - grue- exclaim that we were being prepared in a mighty way.
some doesn’t quite cover what was seen and heard. The night was
long and sickening, with the unknown awaiting all. The night following the quake, there was the most beautiful and
incredible worship service under the stars in Grand Goave, Haiti that
Light of a new day brought perspective to some, reality to others, was heard for miles. The Christian Haitians sang out to a mighty
but mostly fear to the Haitians. We went out amongst the hundreds God, and I walked amongst these people, singing in English as they
of people encamped in the field, along with some of the interpret- sang in Creole. There was such a peace about it, even though the
ers, and prayed with and for the Haitians. It was a very hot day, but earth trembled and the buildings still shook. As I lay outdoors for the

14_RETHINK MONTHLY
night with a large number of other women, encamped in the yard, and to help guide them in their walk with Christ in a country that is
I would sometimes fall asleep, only to awaken to the beauty of the so full of corruption and iniquity.
praise.
Since the quake, LCM has been able to bring in help, and along
Through the nights, the Christian Haitian interpreters were protec- with the US Military, have handed out thousands and thousands
tive, very attentive, in prayer, and made sure we were all right. One of meals and have played a big role in the medical care of the
such man would always come up and ask, “Are you okay, my people in the village and outlying areas, and have started cleanup
sister?” When I awoke the morning (2:30 AM) that we were to leave, of destroyed homes. A recent report that I received from Gretchen
they were all together in prayer for us, praying for our safety, as DeVoe, Lifeline Christian Mission Co-founder was full of promise
the roads we were about to embark upon were dangerous, roads and hope. She states: God is sovereign and He is doing something
of uncertainty due to bridges that were damaged, roads that had here in Haiti!
split from the quake, and roads where we could be ambushed. They
broke out in song where you could just feel the spirit moving, and The spiritual presence of our Lord can be seen and felt in every bit of
before we loaded the bus, they went from one to another, hugging energy that is expended by His people. And the eyes of the people
and praying for us. of Haiti are on His mighty works.

I look at the amount of faith that these Christian Haitians have. I Haiti continues to need our prayers and our help. Haiti is facing
went into a county that is poor, so deprived, and very underprivi- some very big challenges. But things are shaking in Haiti, not just
leged. Yet they are richer than most of us ever will be. I look at a from aftershocks. People are coming to Christ. There have been
people who have so little, yet the simplicity of their lives and their a great number of baptisms. The Haitian President declared the
need for provision and protection allow them to seek God in great weekend of February 12-14 as “days for prayer and fasting.” People
measure. They know who their creator is; they know from where all are turning to God for their needs. God is in control, and with God, all
blessings come; they know that God is in control. One such inter- things are possible.
preter likened LCM in this manner – “God used Lifeline as he used
Joseph” - God had brought this ministry to Grand Goave to prepare
them for what was coming, to bring in provisions for their peoples,

RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_15
You
Did It
For MeA Local Girl Saw A Need And Will Stop At
Nothing To Help Those In Her Community

16_RETHINK MONTHLY
“Unless someone like you cares a
whole, awful lot, things aren’t going
to get better. They’re NOT!” Since education is distracted for the homeless students, Whitney
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax decided she wanted to try to eliminate as many of those elements as
possible.

From a young age, Dr. Seuss taught many of us that it takes an ex- Give A Shirt partners with a contact at the Salem-Keizer School District
traordinary effort to affect change for the better. In the book, children in order to fill needs that other social programs cannot fill adequately,
are encouraged to deeply care because if they will not, things will not allowing the students to get back in the classroom and continue their
get better. This is a profound lesson that Dr. Seuss teaches us. education.

What does it mean to care a whole, awful lot about something? If I care Once each quarter, the homeless students are invited to a party where
this much, is my effort going to affect change for good? Can I really they can get free medical attention, hang out, play Wii, eat lunch, and
make a difference? sign up for field trips to go shopping for new clothes that they will enjoy
wearing.
In Fall of 2009, the Youth Pastors at Salem Alliance Church in Salem,
Oregon challenged the high school and middle school students to When a middle-school homeless student was told that she would
come up with a way to help solve an issue in the Salem-Keizer area. get to go shopping for new clothes, her face lit up. She was amazed
The idea was to find a way to be Jesus with skin to the area – that this that somebody would want to help her. Later in the day, at lunchtime,
would both teach students how to be loved and how to love others another girl mentioned that she hadn’t eaten in two days.
through the love of Jesus. After all of the ideas came in, the youth
groups would then vote on the best idea- the idea that they would actu- In Matthew 25: 34-36, while sitting on the Mount of Olives, Christ says:
ally help out with. “Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are
blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
West Salem High School senior Whitney Ferrin, an attendee of the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was
high school group at Salem Alliance decided to take this challenge to thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you
heart. Whitney researched the Salem-Keizer area to find a problem that welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and
was waiting desperately for a solution. you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’”

Her findings? Disheartening. Whitney learned that there were 900 Whitney says that the proceeds of t-shirt sales help Give A Shirt ac-
homeless students in the Salem-Keizer School District during the complish their mission statement: “Give Hope, Restore Dignity.”
2008-2009 school year. The magnitude of this statistic is astonishing.
“Succeeding is getting the students clothes,” says Whitney, “We have
Whitney teamed up with Paula Hoffart, one of the Youth Pastors at already succeeded, but we must continue to succeed. It’s a big deal.
Salem Alliance, to figure out how to help these students. The idea that Kids need to be able to see people who care about them.”
they came up with is to sell t-shirts.
Some people have dreamt of Give A Shirt expanding and franchising to
“We wanted to sell a t-shirt that we would actually want to wear,” says other areas with similar needs. When asked about this, Whitney smiled.
Ferrin, “When the Give A Shirt idea came up, we both said, ‘I’d wear
that!’” “That would be awesome and completely affirming of what we are do-
ing here in Salem,” acknowledged Whitney, “But we need to fill areas
An edgy name gets people talking. Try wearing one of their shirts of great need in each community. That might not be homelessness
around town. People interact with you in ways you would never expect. somewhere else.”

After the youth groups voted for Whitney’s idea, the production of Caring a “whole, awful lot” is hard to do in a culture that constantly
shirts began. The rest is history. In the past 3 months, Give A Shirt blurs the lines between needs and wants. The homeless students in
has sold over 1,000 shirts at schools, festival booths, and on www. Salem are struggling to even satisfy their basic needs.
igiveashirt.org.
Give A Shirt has a wise founder. She understands what Christ was
From the start, Whitney wanted to help the students get clothing. She talking about in Matthew 25 about serving those who have needs. She
found that students were harassed and made fun of at school for heard the message that Dr. Seuss teaches in The Lorax. She is lead-
clothing and hygiene issues. ing a large group of people to affect change for a group of homeless
Homeless students have so many factors distracting from their students in great need.
education. Getting to school can sometimes be last priority for these
students because of life’s other issues. Give A Shirt is helping students in the Salem-Keizer School District,
and the organization’s influence is growing rapidly in Salem, Oregon.
“If I was made fun of at school for reasons that were beyond my
control, I wouldn’t want to go either,” says Whitney, “We want to help There remains a question that needs to be answered. What are the
these students be able to rise out of the situation they are in.” great needs that need to be filled in your area? Will you Give A Shirt?

RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_17
Keeping The Light On For God
by John Fehlen

18_RETHINK MONTHLY
I
have been reading the Book of Exodus lately. the temple for the lamp to remain lit. There is a responsibility
In it we discover such great detail regarding the on their part that is often overlooked today. Our contempo-
construction, décor, and maintenance of the temple rary churches have largely become spectator based in which
of the Lord. If you’ve ever read through Exodus, folks rate the service like that of an episode of American Idol,
then you too have discovered the incredible minutia. or So You Think You Can Dance? In large part, the leaders of
Frankly, it can be a bit mind-numbing. Every detail has a cor- the local church have a heavy expectation to “bring it,” and if
responding detail. Everything has a purpose and a place - it’s there seems to be a lack of God’s Presence, then the services
amazing and awe-inspiring, yet, it can be overwhelming. are rated accordingly. In this passage we discover the opposite
expectation. The people were to “bring it.” Let me repeat: THE
So, just when my eyes were beginning to gloss over my heart PEOPLE BRING IT.
was captured by these verses in Exodus 27:
Imagine with me what would happen when Spirit-filled believ-
“And you shall command the children of Israel that they ers come together and collectively bring the indwelling Pres-
bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause ence of God with them. Our gatherings would be lit up! Church
the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, services would be alive with the collective spiritual energy that
outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and is generated by God’s people full of God’s Spirit.
his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the
LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on Now that’s where the pastor’s role begins.
behalf of the children of Israel.”
The Pastor TENDS It
Here we discover God’s command to the priests that there Aaron and his sons were the priests of the temple. They were
should always be a light left on in the temple. The inner court commanded to tend to the lamp from evening to morning. That
must always have illumination. The lamps were to be filled with would probably involve filling the lamps with oil, keeping the
pure olive oil. The process by which olive oil is harvested and wicks trimmed, and watching the flame.
refined is pretty amazing. There are various grades of oil, and
the command was such that only the purest form was to be What is notably absent from this passage? Simply: bringing
brought to the inner court to keep the lamp burning day and oil was not their responsibility. The role of the priest involved
night. tending. Today in our churches, we have pastors that are given
the same role of keeping the lamp burning with the oil that the
Throughout Biblical history, we discover that oil is often used people bring.
as a typology of the Holy Spirit and His anointing presence.
From this passage, one can surmise that the Lord God desired I have known good and Godly leaders that struggled in their
that there be a visual reminder of His Presence always burning place of ministry service. There are a number of reasons why
brightly within the temple and before the people. God’s desire this could be the case, but it occurs to me that perhaps they
for His manifold Presence to be expressed, enjoyed, and were trying to keep a lamp burning without oil. These well-
exalted remains today. He wants His life-giving Presence and meaning pastors have too great an expectation upon them to
Power to be evident in our churches. be both bringer and tender. That is an undue presumption that
leads to a high burnout rate for pastoral leaders. To be sure,
And yet, how often have we been a part of, or at least aware our pastors ought to be spiritually alive people that embody the
of, congregations in which God’s Presence has not dwelt for Presence of the Living God. Yet, often they are expected to be
some time? These are empty shells, white-washed tombs, the sole source. This is akin to lighting the pastor on fire while
and shadows of their former selves. It’s sad to find churches everyone stands around and watches the show. Have our
with beautiful architecture, but lacking the life of God’s Spirit. churches become Pastor Shows? If so, are we OK with this?
How does this happen? Who is to blame when the lights are What will the fallout be when the heavy yoke of bringer and
barely on, and God is certainly not at home? tender becomes too much?

The better question might be: “How can we, in our postmodern Let’s stop placing this undue burden upon our church leader-
culture, insure that the Presence of God still burns brightly ship. They are called to tend to that which people bring to the
within our gatherings?” I believe there are two components assembly, and not the other way around. This is the appropri-
that are found in the Exodus 27 passage. ate place where the Kingdom of God becomes a partnership:
people and pastor.
The People BRING It
The people of Israel were commanded to bring the pure oil to Together we can keep the light on for God.

RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_19
CULTURE
SNOW WHITE: ONE ORPHAN AMONG MILLIONS
BY MICHAEL OLSEN
Twenty years ago I met Snow White: Porcelain or “Hello, how are you” would be the extent ture and said, “Richard, I believe Nancy is my
white skin, black hair, and a wide smile greet- of her verbal communication with the park younger sister by one year.” Peter pulled out
ing everyone, and I do mean everyone, who visitors. She said she became very good at ‘lip a recent picture of him standing alongside his
was within hearing distance of her “Hello.” syncing.’ She had our lunch table in hysterics! mother. The similarities of Peter’s mother were
If you ever met her, you probably would ask unmistakable. Peters’ mom could be Nancy’s
where the seven dwarfs were. I had the same That conversation with Disney personnel older sister; a senior Snow White if you will.
thought. touched a spark with Nancy. She became Peter added that his mom told him that she
more curious where her parents were, or better gave him and her daughter up for adoption
“Nobody is this nice,” was the way a friend yet, who they were. In a very emotional voice, because of her and his father’s alcoholism.
of hers described her personality. I first met Nancy described how one road leading to her Peter’s parents eventually went their separate
Nancy, aka Snow White, in St. Louis, MO. We biological parents’ whereabouts led to another ways with no desire to remain in contact with
both were airline employees; she was a flight roadblock; a turnpike of information would the children. She had spent most of her life
attendant and I worked as a safety instructor end up as a dirt path to nowhere. Her adoptive working in a textile mill in Marietta, Georgia.
at the Training and Operations department. mother and father provided all they knew, but
as always, the information was incomplete. Richard stared at Peter and in unison both
We met during a lunch break at the TWA Train- yelled, “I got to make a call!” They could not
ing Center in St. Louis. She asked me if she It wasn’t until she met her future husband get to a phone fast enough. Richard called
could join the table where I was sitting. I was Richard at a church function that the ice age Nancy at her hotel in St. Louis and said,
having lunch with a church youth group who of information she desired began to melt. He “Honey, God has answered your prayers. I
were at the training center for a tour. Nancy was a pediatrician and had compassion for believe your mom is alive in Marietta, Georgia.”
overheard the conversation I was having with orphans. He worked many hours providing Peter called his ‘mom’ and as well, contacted
the Youth Pastor concerning the power of free medical care for children living in foster the courthouse where his paper trail began in
prayer. Nancy asked the Youth Pastor and homes. More importantly, he really believed locating his mom.
me if we really believed Jesus answered all God answered all prayers, and soon they both
prayers. I told her that I had no reason to doubt were about to witness an answer to Nancy’s Everything checked out, and Peter forwarded
that He didn’t. She explained her lifelong prayer. all the information to Nancy and Richard. Now
prayer was very close to being answered. Nancy was waiting on the call from Lillian, her
Nancy would soon, possibly that afternoon, Nancy was in St. Louis on a special assign- mom, to verify everything.
discover who her biological mother was and ment. During this same time, Richard had
where she was located. been attending a medical conference in The next day I saw Nancy at the St. Louis
Memphis. At the conference, Richard met an Airport. I asked if “mom” called. Nancy replied
Nancy continued to share with us that she alumnus of his medical school. This acquain- with her Snow White smile, “Prayer has been
interviewed to be Snow White at Disneyworld tance, Peter, had gone on to become a pedi- answered Michael; I’m going home to see
in Orlando, Florida after her graduation from atric surgeon. As they were sharing stories mom today.”
community college. Throughout her school about medical cases, families, and friends,
Michael was the Director of
years, people always compared her to the Richard told him about Nancy’s plight in
Ministries for the Salem Union
Disney animation character Snow White, not locating her biological parents. Peter said that
Gospel Mission for 10 years.
only because of her physical likeness, but as he went through the same thing in that he, Prior to his work at UGM, he
well, her “charming ways.” Apparently, the after 12 years, located his mother. His father retired from the U.S.Army after
interviewers thought the same. During the died a year before he had located his mother. 21 years and worked for Trans
background investigation, Disney personnel Richard was ready to ask how he pulled off all World Airlines in New York after
called and requested more information about that detective work when Peter asked, ‘what his military retirement. He and
her parents. She explained that she was raised is your wife’s middle name?” “Jane” was his his wife Wendy live in Salem.
by her adoptive mother and really did not response; “Nancy Jane.” Michael can be reached at mjeccl4@gmail.com.
know much about her parents. The personnel
worker said she would be in touch. She was “Richard,” Peter asked, “what state was Nancy
recalled to Orlando and was offered a one adopted in and when was she born?” Richard
year contract as a cast member to play Snow supplied that information and showed another
White, on one condition. Because of her heavy picture of Nancy. Peter studied Richards’s pic-
“southern” accent, she would be restricted in
her scripts. “Welcome to the magic kingdom”

20_RETHINK MONTHLY
03&(0/"('&45
'VOGPSUIFFOUJSFGBNJMZ

THE MILLION OTHER STORIES


“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit
orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted
from the world” James 1:27
XXXPSBHGFTUDPN
Nancy’s story came to mind as I watched the orphan tragedy in Haiti 
over the last month. Nancy’s story was a good orphan story; most sto-
ries about orphans do not have Nancy’s ending. As I began to research
how to help the people in Haiti, especially the orphans, I was reminded
of how large the orphan plight is worldwide. MSNBC reported that “be-
fore the quake, an estimated 15 percent of all children in Haiti were said 4BUVSEBZ "QSJM
to be orphaned or abandoned. About 200,000 of these children lived in BN¬QN
institutions and the rest were fostered, living with relatives or living on
the street.” 4VOEBZ "QSJM
BN¬QN
0SFHPO4UBUF'BJSHSPVOET 4BMFN 03
WHO IS AN ORPHAN? "ENJTTJPO
$IJMESFOVOEFSBSF'3&&
In the common use, an orphan does not have any surviving parent 1BSLJOHJT'3&&UPP

to care for him or her. However, the United Nations Children Fund
(UNICEF), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS)
4QPOTPSFEJOQBSUCZ
and other groups label any child that has lost one parent as an orphan.
In this approach, a maternal orphan is a child whose mother has died,
a paternal orphan is one whose father has died and a double orphan McDonald’s of Oregon
is one who lost both parents. In the United States, one legal definition and SW Washington

used is a minor bereft through “death or disappearance of, abandon-


ment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents.”

Whatever the cause of a child becoming an orphan, the numbers are


staggering worldwide. In Afghanistan there are an estimated 1.5 million
orphans due to years of war. In China it is estimated 573,000 children
are in orphanages and 650,000 orphans in Russia. In Myanmar, the
former country of Burma, the figure is a staggering 1.7 million.

With 100,000 orphans due to the earthquake deaths of their parents,


the Haitian government is now faced with well over a quarter of a
million orphans. Before the earthquake there were 1,700 professional
missionary workers in Haiti where 60 percent were dedicated to the
orphan plight. From what I read, that is about the average amount of
missionary workers in Latin American countries with a population of
10 million. That’s a lot of children for 900 people to care for. By some
estimates, Haiti has more nongovernmental organizations per capita
than any other place on earth. They are doing the Lord’s work, espe-
cially these days, but even a blizzard of these efforts do not seem to put
a dent in the orphan population. However, a 2002 report by Dr Geoff
Foster showed that Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s) were the “most
viable institutions at both national and local levels and have developed
experience in addressing the multi-dimensional impact of AIDS and its
particular impact on children.”

Although the orphan population seems insurmountable, extraordinary


results are being witnessed by many missionaries worldwide. Improve-
ment in children’s basic health, education, and most importantly, being
raised with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a daily occurrence. Not only in
Haiti, but worldwide. Inquire with your church the best way to help the
orphans of the world. You’ll never know if a Snow White story will enter
your life.
OPINION
THE FLABBY BODY OF CHRIST
BY STEPHEN W. SIMPSON
Church is boring. I don’t ever recall hopping out often had to defend his position of authority A little narcissism isn’t really the problem. We
of bed on Sunday morning jazzed about the and many of his letters are part of an ongoing need to like ourselves and have a healthy
sermon, even when the preacher was good. I’ve doctrinal debate. You get the sense, however, sense of entitlement. But when these traits
never driven to church in anticipation of hearing that even theological issues were somewhat reach a clinical level in the form of Narcissistic
the choir or the worship band, even when they secondary. The focus was a meal, not a class Personality Disorder (NPD), it’s poison to the
included remarkable musicians. When I went, it or a worship service. Some early Christians en- body of Christ. In my fifteen years as a psycho-
was to see my friends. I wanted to talk. Sunday joyed the community meal so much that Paul therapist, I have encountered few human sys-
school and Bible study were okay, but breeze- had to tell them to tone it down because they tems so consistently dysfunctional as church
way and parking lot conversations were the were partying a little too hard. staffs. I’ve heard of pastors doing things that
most invigorating. My utmost communion with would make the most ambitious CEO’s blush.
the Body of Christ didn’t even happen on the Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine most Chris- Though most of us only hear about this when
church premises. That happened in some loud tians getting too carried away having a good a high-profile church leader’s grandiosity leads
restaurant that offered free refills of Diet Coke time together. Church is an adjunct to profes- to recklessness, most of the time acrimony and
that helped me power on past noon and large sional and familial communities. We get up on dysfunction continue behind the scenes for
portions that would render me unconscious Sunday, drive, park, sit, listen, sing, pray, chat, years. When we rely on the talents and titillating
fifteen minutes after I got home. and go home. Even if we’re involved in a small vision of one man instead of the slow, silent life
group, the relationships are usually secondary. of community, it’s easy for people to get hurt.
Now that I have kids, I don’t really get to have The early Christians learned and grew through
church anymore. Our four year-old quadruplets relationship. It’s plastered all over the New After spending a thousand words twitting the
(all natural, so step-off, octo-haters!) keep us Testament. Yet, we still structure our religion Sunday service, I should probably come up with
scurrying during the breaks. I go to church for around one guy, and it’s not Jesus. an alternative. But I don’t think that’s a good
them now. Statistics on church attendance, idea. I’m too narcissistic as it is, and I don’t want
especially for men my age, suggest that I’m Churches often grow for the wrong reason. to be the one to tell you how it’s supposed to
not alone. Maybe the problem isn’t me, after all. If you don’t find church boring, it’s probably be. We need to decide. We need to figure out,
Maybe something is wrong with church. because of a talented preacher. He’s smart, but once again, what it means to follow Christ
moreover, entertaining. Big, active churches together. This is a plea, not a prescription. I want
As much as postmodern evangelicals bandy are cults of personality, not communities. Try church to be fun again. By fun, I don’t mean
about the word “community,” our gatherings to imagine Mars Hill in Seattle without Mark entertaining or topical or cool. I can get that at
have changed very little. Stylistic alterations Driscoll. Try to imagine the other one without concerts and movies, and they do a much bet-
might add some hipster flair, but the focal point Rob Bell (though at least he had the wisdom ter job than the church ever will. No, I want to
of the liturgical week remains theater. A dozen to abdicate his throne). Try to imagine Lake- talk. I want to listen, but to a friend instead of a
or so people perform for a few hundred that wood Church without Joel Osteen. You can’t. sermon. I want to be taught, but only if I can ask
sit, stand, kneel, pray, and sing on command. When the focus turns to Christ, it’s because a questions and participate in dialogue. Mostly,
We squeeze real community into the gaps, showman gets our attention first. We don’t find I just want to eat, drink, laugh, and enjoy other
between events with a hierarchical structure. God in each other. The Body of Christ has an people. That’s where I find God.
Not only is this a long way from Biblical models enormous head atop a weak, flabby body.
of the early Christian church, it’s a breeding Stephen W. Simpson is a
ground for messy group dynamics. And, again, Though pastors give “servant leadership” lip- psychologist, writer and
it’s boring. service at leadership conferences, few enter professor at Fuller Theological
the ministry out of a desire to submit and suffer Seminary in Pasadena,
Church today, whether a cathedral, a mega-alu- for others. How could they? How can we expect California. This article was first
minum warehouse, or a little wooden building our leaders to be authentic when theater is the published on PatrolMag.com.
in the country, has little in common with the center of our religious week? How can some-
New Testament church. In the first century there one consent to shepherd the flock as a Man of
was still teaching, prayer, and worship, but the God without being narcissistic? Any leader in
early church was about community. Paul’s let- the modern church needs at least a little bit of
ters paint a picture of people living together and narcissism to survive. No one is drawn to such
collectively figuring out what it meant to follow a job unless they enjoy power and attention.
Christ. The authority of the leaders and teach-
ers wasn’t a forgone conclusion. They were in
dialogue with their congregations. Paul himself

22_RETHINK MONTHLY
N
• SERVICE AND INSTALLATIO IAL
RC
• RESIDENTIAL AND COMME CTRIC
ELE
• HEAT PUMPS, AC, GAS AND

Impacted by Homosexuality?

Struggling with unwanted Family member or friend Pastor/leader wondering


homosexual desires? embracing homosexuality? how to offer support?

Mid-Valley Fellowship is a local Christian organization that presents a

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homosexual friend or family member.

All communication with Mid-Valley Fellowship is confidential.


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