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Update Newsletters
14 September 2011

1. Activist Feedback

2. Commentary on the Lectionary; Matthew 20:1-16 What Is Fair?

3. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Carol Sullivan, who leafleted at a recent Women of Faith Conference in Dallas, writes:

Alice, Roman, Haven, and I went to the American Airlines Center on Friday evening for the Women of Faith Conference. There were many people and most were very receptive to the leaflets... only a few people gave them back. We were able to distribute 3 boxes over a 2 hour period as the people went into the conference. After leafleting a this conference for a few years, it is reassuring to observe that people seem to be more knowledgeable about the issues and more encouraging with respect to vegetarianism - there is hope!

Upcoming Activist Opportunities

9/23-24 NC Hickory Momentum Christian Youth Conference

9/23-24 NC Charlotte Women Of Faith Conference

9/23-24 VA Middleburg Awakening Festival Christian Music Festival

9/23-24 AZ Phoenix Women Of Faith Conference

9/24 NC Charlottesville TABLE Vegetarian Festival

9/25 PA Mifflintown Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

9/25-26 IL Belleville Our Lady of the Snows Youth Day Celebration

9/28 OK Inola Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

9/28 TX Austin David Crowder Band - The 7 Tour

9/29 TX Houston David Crowder Band Christian Concert

9/29 SC Central Music With A Mission Tour

9/29 NJ Ocean City Starfield Christian Concert

9/29-10/1 TX Dallas Benny Hinn Miracle Conference

9/29-10/1 GA Atlanta Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

9/30 WI Milwaukee Women Of Faith Conference

9/30-10/1 CO Denver Women Of Faith Conference

9/30-10/2 CA San Diego National Youth Workers Convention

10/1 OK Grove Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

10/1 MS Crystal Springs Music With A Mission Tour

10/1 TX Dallas David Crowder Band Christian Rock Concert

10/1-2 CA San Francisco TABLE World Vegetarian Festival

10/2 AL Madison Music With A Mission Tour

10/2 PA Meadville Point of Grace Christian Concert

10/3 GA Rome Music With a Mission

10/7 OH Youngstown Gaither Homecoming 2011 Tour

10/7-8 PA Pittsburgh Women of Faith Conference

10/7-8 VA Lynchburg Extraordinary Women's Conference

10/7-8 OR Portland Women Of Faith Conference

10/7-8 CO Co. Springs Hearts @ Home- Mom Revolution Women's Conference

10/7-8 MA Amherst Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

10/8 IN Wayne Gaither Gospel Homecoming Tour

10/8-9 MS Biloxi TABLE Gulf Coast Street Fest

10/9 MI Ypsilanti Gaither Gospel Homecoming Tour

10/9 MO Kansas City RED Christian Rock Concert

10/13-15 CA Long Beach Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

10/14-15 IN Fort Wayne Extraordinary Women Conference

10/14-15 CA Sacramento Women Of Faith Conference

10/14-15 FL Tampa Women Of Faith Conference

10/14-15 MO Independence GaitherFest Gospel

10/15 FL Tampa TABLE Tampa Bay Veg Fest

10/21-22 MS Tupelo Extraordinary Women Conference

10/21-22 TX San Antonio Women of Faith Conference

10/21-22 MN St. Paul Women of Faith Conference

10/29-30 MA Boston Boston Vegetarian Food Festival TABLE

11/3-5 OH Cleveland Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

11/4 LA Monroe Gaither Homecoming 2011 Tour

11/4-5 IL Rockford Extraordinary Women Conference

11/4-5 MN Rochester Hearts @ Home Mom Revolution Conference

11/18-20 GA Atlanta National Youth Workers Convention

International Events:

9/17 Canada, Ontario Leamington Project X @ UMEI Fireflight

10/2 Canada, British Columbia Langley Come to the Well Tour

2. Commentary on the Lectionary - Matthew 20:1-16 What Is Fair?

This week’s reading relates the parable who said that the “kingdom of heaven is like” a householder who paid all laborers the same amount, regardless of how long they worked. I will offer a perspective on this parable that borrows from mimetic theory.

Because we care a great deal about our status, we find ourselves in rivalries with other people. We want to be in positions of superiority, particularly if we believe that “deserve” greater status. In the “kingdom of heaven,” there are no inherent differences between individuals, and everyone gladly shares with each other, regardless of productivity. Historically, such communalism has generally worked much better in smaller, tight-knit communities than in larger nation-states. However, I don’t think Jesus was as concerned with such practical matters as with articulating the ideal, because in the kingdom of heaven there are no rivalries or conflicts, and therefore there is no violence.

People want what is “fair,” but a major problem is that self-interest colors perceptions of what is fair. To illustrate, in the United States there are often bitter conflicts on how the tax burden should be meted out. If income generation were totally just, and if government programs benefited all citizens roughly equally, then all people should pay the same taxes, regardless of income. While income is related to quality and quantity of work, most people agree that it is not totally just. For example, people do not have equal access to crucial educational resources or to more lucrative jobs. What, then, is “fair” income and “fair” taxation? Without a clear answer, people will often feel embittered by what they regard as unfair treatment, and such bitterness can easily lead to violence.

It is not easy to reconcile the ideal to which Jesus pointed with the limitations that human nature seems to impose on social arrangements. At the very least, we should grant basic rights to everyone, which includes the right not to be enslaved and the right not to be tortured, abused, or murdered. The nearly universal human disregard of these basic rights when it comes to nonhuman beings illustrates what happens when vulnerable individuals are at the mercy of those who lack the compassion, love, and mercy of Christ. If we are to start to move toward the world for which Jesus prayed – “Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven” – then we must stop perpetrating acts of violence and injustice upon innocent individuals.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

We Who Believe Are Invited into the Throne Room of God

Your question and comments are welcome

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