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I'll add this blog to my favorites, it truly is great.

Margaret Aymer

Dear Elaine,


Dianne Andrino

I have been very disappointed with the study on the Beatitudes. Not only is there too much emphasis on liberation theology, picturing Jesus as some kind of community agitator, changing the meaning of "blessed" and "righteousness" ever so slightly but just enough to change the emphasis and meaning of the whole text. And in the lesson eight video at our monthly meeting, AD (anno domini, year of our Lord) was referred to as CE (common era). I thought that expression was only used by atheists and non-christians who want to wipe out any and all references to Jesus in our culture.

Elaine Hurd Shepherdstown Presbyterian Women's Group

Rev. Aymer, Our group would like to share a part of the confession we've been working on based on Lessons 1&2.

OUR SPC PW CONFESSION (Feb. 2012 draft)

God cares for, deeply loves, greatly honors those who live with grinding oppression every day - the destitute, those economically poor and those who have lost all hope, who feel completely empty.
God expects us to love the poor and to share our resources so all have enough.
God honors those who weep because of personal loss and those who mourn because of injustice done to them.
God honors those who cry out against injustice and the suffering of others.

Not much has changed since the time of Jesus -the majority are still poor while a small minority enjoys great wealth.
Almost 1/4 of the world's population are literally destitute.
Poor people often don't complain about their suffering. When they do and try to fight back, they are blamed - expected to stay in their place.
Because of their poverty poor people sometimes seem to be more aware of their dependence on God.
Many people who grieve personal losses retreat from social contact, hide their pain.
Some of us also hide our pain. They and we apologize for our tears.
Mourning really has no time boundaries (unlike what our culture teaches us).
Mourners for societal ills (protestors) are often denigrated (as radicals or extremists) and seen as bothersome.

We are ignorant about poor people's lives and we forget them.
It's painful, depressing, overwhelming to learn about the lives of the destitute. We feel hopeless in the face of the enormity of the suffering.
We love being comfortable. We are afraid of losing our comforts and our security based on those comforts.
We think of our affluence as our own personal achievement.
Because we are better off we think we are better.
We often blame the poor for being poor.
Sometimes we want to stop listening because it's too painful and we feel we can't do anything about it.
We think mourners should "get over it" after a period of time and we stop attending to the needs of those still suffering.
We become too busy - other things capture our attention.
We are distracted, self-absorbed.
We have expectations about how others should respond. If they don't do what we expect, we blame them.
We don't like "whiney" people, we expect them to "buck up".

Educate ourselves. Become aware. Wake up!
Reflect on our priorities and how we use our resources.
Don't fear becoming vulnerable and sharing more economically.
Volunteer time and energy at local soup kitchens homeless shelters, the potluck dinner for migrant workers at local orchards, drive people who need transportation, knit for charities, make prayer shawls.
Listen including when it's not convenient.
Maintain an attitude of respect (not offering solutions and trying to fix persons).
Ask people "How can I help?" Help them find help.
Ask "Can I go with you?" Go with.
Concerning social ills, speak out! Mourn with those mourning.
Speak out agains sexual trafficking; about poverty that drives women to prostitution.

We're continuing to add to our confession at each monthly meeting and want to thank you again for this challenging and transforming Bible study.

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