Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Associated Baptist Press - 3/24/2009

Associated Baptist Press
March 24, 2009 · (09-42)

David Wilkinson, Executive Director
Robert Marus, Managing Editor/Washington Bureau Chief
Bob Allen, Senior Writer

In this issue
Families: Redeeming the time (1,380 words)
Family missions involvement raises children's awareness (725 words)
Southern Baptist ethics head lobbies for coal, against cap and trade (926 words)
Southern Baptist activist organizes confab on church and environment (916 words)
Opinion: What marriage is -- and what it isn't (944 words)

Families: Redeeming the time
By Ken Camp (1,380 words)

DALLAS (ABP) -- In tight economic times, families should recognize making memories doesn't mean breaking the bank, family ministry experts agree.

Dream vacations to Disney World can be meaningful memory-building times for families, but so can shared trips to a store or afternoon drives down country roads.

The times that just happen can be as meaningful as the fancy vacations-and maybe more so," said Diana Garland, dean of the Baylor University School of Social Work.

"Fun does not have to be expensive."

Sometimes, carefully planned trips fail to live up to expectations, but time spent together eating a meal, doing household chores, shopping at the grocery store or learning some new skill-like playing a musical instrument or a new game-offer unbeatable family memories, she noted.

"Quality time is not really scheduled as much as it is something that happens in the middle of the quantity of time spent together. Some of the most precious moments happen in the middle of just living life together," Garland said.

Meaningful family times don't require big budgets or elaborate timetables, but they do demand some intentionality, said Cathy Anderson, children's minister at First Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.

"I'm a big fan of the designated family night," Anderson said. Scheduling a night each week for a family activity and sticking to that schedule demands discipline when coaches call extra practices, extra-credit school assemblies are offered and opportunities for overtime at work arise.

"Parents have to decide they really want to do it," she said, pointing to one family she knows who designated 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday as their family Sabbath time.

"That's the time they committed to turn off all the electronics and spend time together without all the background noise," she said.

Parks, museums and historical sites offer opportunities for families to have fun and learn things together at little or no cost, Anderson added.

"Pretend like you're a tourist in your hometown," she suggested.

Significant time together as a family may be accomplished by something as simple as setting one evening each week as "family night in the kitchen," said Diane Lane, preschool and children's ministry specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

"Choose something easy like spaghetti," she suggested. Give each member of the family some assignment-cooking the main dish, preparing a side dish or dessert, setting the table and cleaning up after the meal. And then rotate the assignments so nobody has to do the same thing two weeks in a row.

Time spent making simple crafts together also can be precious, Lane noted. Parents with young children can find easy craft projects with spiritual applications at no cost online from BaptistWay Press, she suggested.

Some of the time-management principles in Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People apply directly to busy families who struggle to find ways to spend time together, said Keith Lowry, BGCT family ministry specialist.

Lowry quotes Covey: "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule but to schedule your priorities." That means paying attention to crucially important matters-like family-first when making plans.

"If you want to be happy with the life you've built, you've got to be in charge during construction," Lowry said.

"If you don't decide, and decide now, someone or something else will decide for you. Don't look back at the end of your life and wish you had made different decisions. Make those decisions now. ... Leave a path you won't be sorry to see your children and grandchildren follow you down."

Ministry experts agreed family service projects strengthen faith development and family relations.

"Children develop faith and character in relationships with the adults in their lives," Anderson said.

Parents do well when they set a good example for their children, modeling service to others. But they do even better when they involve their children in working alongside them, Garland stressed.

"It's important for children to learn about serving outside themselves. It's especially important for children and adolescents to realize the importance of who they are and what they do now," she emphasized. "Too often, we ask children what they want to do when they grow up, as if we don't value who they are now."

Service activities can be as simple as an older child reading to a preschooler or families visiting nursing home residents, she noted.

Family mission trips-whether to a remote location or close to home-require some advance planning, said Chris Boltin, short-term assignments and partnerships manager with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Global Missions. Families should begin by discovering their passions and interests, he recommended.

"Spend some time as a family discussing things that you already like to do together," Boltin said. A family that enjoys working outdoors might do the yard work for an elderly neighbor, or a family that enjoys playing board games might volunteer for an activities time at a local convalescent center, he suggested.

Family mission trips may involve international travel, but they also may be to an unfamiliar part of town, he noted.

"Something as simple as traveling across town may be a difficult cultural journey," Boltin observed. "You want this to be a fun, productive and meaningful time together. By taking the time to truly know your family, potential problematic issues can be avoided."

Obviously, a full-fledged mission trip to a remote location demands participants do their homework-checking age restrictions, requirements regarding special expertise and estimated costs.

Families should have a clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities in advance, he added.

"Be sure every member of your family understands their individual roles and importance to the trip," Boltin said. "Nothing can replace the feeling that you have been a part of something greater than yourself and have made a difference in the world around you."

Richard Singleton, a counseling program supervisor with STARRY, part of Children At Heart Ministries in Round Rock, suggested several ways families can create meaningful memories:

· Focus on Scripture. "God loves to shower families with blessings built on the foundation of his word," he said. "Take a familiar passage for a test drive under the summer skies. 'The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands' would be a great verse for a picnic in the park. Dole out the bologna sandwiches and lemonade, recline on the checkered blanket, stare into the sky. Recite your verse and play the old tried-and-true game of finding shapes in the clouds. Truly, the heavens will declare glory."

· Don't spend a lot. "Good memories come in all shapes and sizes-and mostly without the need for money," he stressed. "Take pictures, play board games, create a scrapbook, share walks, build a temporary fort out of some of that stuff that you've been threatening to throw out of the garage. My grandpa made me a dilapidated little tree house one summer. I thought it was the best tree house on the planet. I still do!"

· Worship together. "Creating family memories doesn't demand that families miss church," he observed. "Many families check out of church for the summer. But church is an especially important component of a healthy summer."

· Serve side-by-side. "Volunteer for meaningful service projects that allow you and your child to spend valuable summer time together," he advised. "Participate in backyard Bible clubs, vacation Bible school and other endeavors that promote knowledge, fellowship and an opportunity for saving faith to be sparked by the Spirit of God. For many, summer has often been the most formative time for faith to blossom and flourish."

· Take it easy. "Plan for significant times of rest and relaxation," he said, remembering fondly an old porch swing that served as an informal gathering place for his family. "Each summer, our family would gather, clutching sweet tea in mason jars, feet swinging in the air and stories flowing as if from the land of milk and honey. We paused. We rested. We grew closer to God and each other.

· Unplug. "Bless your children or grandchildren with a Sabbath away from all the gadgets, gizmos and games," he recommended. "Go slow. They won't like it at first, but if you find a way to make it meaningful, they'll remember it for a lifetime."

Ken Camp is managing editor of the Baptist Standard.

Family missions involvement raises children's awareness
By Analiz González Schremmer (725 words)

DALLAS (ABP) -- Getting a young family involved in missions might seem impossible, but there are several possibilities available to help children and parents serve the needy locally or overseas.

Violetta Alvarado, volunteer coordinator at Buckner International, offered a number of ideas for families to consider, including creative opportunities to raise children's awareness of others' needs.

"A family could set aside a couple of days and create a certain theme," she said. "For example, they could talk to an international adoption agency and pray for the children from a specific country. Then the family could learn about their culture by eating some of their food or seeing a movie that was made there. They could also write a note and send it to adoption workers to let them know that they are praying for them."

Other local options could include visiting a retirement community, or hosting a drive to collect books, clothing, or coats in the winter.

"Families can pray together over their donations before giving them to their church or a local charity," she added.

Susan Williams, office manager for Buckner missions, said families serving together often can help a child form a broader appreciation for missions and service.

"When I was a child, I remember that my mom had an elderly neighbor that we used to drive to the store because she wasn't able to drive herself," she said. "I also remember Mom taking me over to her house to visit with her. Things like that make such a huge impression, watching your parents serve and experiencing it with them; family mission trips are a great opportunity for that."

Although Buckner normally doesn't offer international mission trip opportunities for children under age 12, Williams said many churches offer opportunities for families to serve together.

"Taking a child on a mission trip, whether locally or internationally, will change their world view," she said.

Buckner offers a summer mother/daughter mission trip for girls and their moms. This summer's trip to Guatemala, July 7-12, still has openings, she added.

Marty Lewis, minister to children at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, noted the importance of involving children in service and said the children in his church are active in local service projects.

"Just yesterday, (children from Park Cities) made sandwiches for some children at a community center," Lewis said. "The children love it. We've been working with Cornerstone Academy, a school of Cornerstone Baptist Church, and they are putting together something for the children to be more comfortable during reading. So Girls in Action (the missions program for girls in grades one through six) made some pillows for them.

"Our boys recently did something called Hoops for Missions, which helped raise money for the Texas Baptist Men by shooting hoops."

Jillian Zeiger is the volunteer coordinator at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas. Many families will spend a day, or sometimes an entire weekend, sorting shoes together for international shipment to orphans because children as young as 4 or 5 can help, she noted.

The children work together with their parents to process shoes by taking tags and trash out, sorting them and separating them by size, she said.

"Local mission trips can be a good idea because of the economy. And volunteers can make a huge difference in just a couple of hours of work. It isn't that going afar isn't good, but this allows kids to know that they can have an impact right here, too. It also makes it easier to bring friends," Zeiger said.

"Another advantage is safety. It is really difficult for anyone who has been on an airplane to go through the process with children. Staying somewhere local means they can avoid the airport system. It also saves children the trouble of having to adjust to time zone changes."

Children also can serve by feeding the homeless in their community, she added.

"I got the chance to do that as a child," Zeiger said. "I was in third grade and lived in Michigan. ... It hit my heart, and so I told my mom and we went as a family. It was a great experience that I will always carry with me and helped mold me into who I am today. That's why I know it's really important for children to have opportunities to do missions like that."

Analiz González Schremmer writes for Buckner International.

Southern Baptist ethics head lobbies for coal, against cap and trade
By Bob Allen (926 words)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ABP) -- Coal-fired power plants have received the blessing of the Southern Baptist Convention's top lobbyist for social and moral concerns, who is urging opposition to a market-based attempt to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

Friends of Coal, a volunteer organization with ties to the West Virginia Coal Association, is running an article on its website that includes a link for readers to enter their ZIP code and send an e-mail to their senator opposing a "global warming tax" they said would raise energy costs.

The link goes to the website of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, where the agency's president, Richard Land, warns in an article that Democratic Senate leadership plans to move ahead with a "cap-and-trade" bill.

The bill would limit the amounts of greenhouse gases industries can emit and punish them with fines if they exceed those limits. But it would also allow them to pay less-polluting industries for the right to increase their emissions.

"Such a bill would put the brakes on our already slowed economy, forcing industries and businesses to slash jobs and to pass their taxes onto individuals and families in the form of price increases on commodities and energy," Land wrote. "This would make it even more difficult for America to climb out of its current economic troubles."

What's worse, Land contended, is that the whole basis behind the policy -- that it will help avoid catastrophic, human-induced global warming -- "is not even settled among scientists, who are growing increasingly skeptical, especially since we have been experiencing a decade-long cooling trend."

"Christians should take every reasonable step to care for God's creation," Land said. "But rushing into environmental policies based on questionable science that will create greater economic hardships on every American, especially the poor, is the wrong approach."

During the March 14 broadcast of his radio program, "Richard Land Live," Land said he wants "to ring the alarm bells" about "a huge tax" that is coming to all Americans.

"It's called 'cap and trade,' and it's the tax that dares not speak its name," Land said. "Politicians love cap and trade, because they can claim to be taxing polluters, not workers. But of course, that is never true. Taxes are costs that are handed on to consumers. Once the government creates a scarce new commodity -- in this case the right to emit carbon -- and then mandates that businesses buy it, the costs are inevitably going to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices."

Land said those hit hardest by cap and trade "will be the, quote, 95 percent of working families, unquote, that Mr. Obama keeps talking about, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with a caveat. It comes with a footnote: 'unless you use energy.'"

"Putting a price on carbon is regressive," Land said. "It's not only a tax, it's a regressive tax that hurts those who make the least the most, because poor and middle-income households spend much more of their paychecks, percentage-wise, on things like gas to drive to work or to go get groceries or for home heating and air conditioning."

"Cap and trade is the ideal policy for every Beltway analyst who thinks the tax code is too progressive," Land said. "But the greatest inequities are geographic and would be imposed on the parts of the U.S. that rely most on manufacturing or fossil fuels -- particularly coal, which generates most power in the Midwest, in the Southern and the Plains states. It's no coincidence that the liberals most invested in cap and trade -- [Sen.] Barbara Boxer [D-Calif.], [Rep.] Henry Waxman [D-Calif.] and [Rep.] Ed Markey [D-Mass.] -- come from California or the Northeast."

Land said coal provides more than half of electricity generated in the United States, and 25 states get more than half of their electricity from coal-fired generators. In some states it's even higher. Ohio gets 86 percent of its power from coal, Indiana 94 percent, Missouri 85 percent and West Virginia 98 percent.

"Who's going to get soaked the most with these taxes?" Land asked. "Well, West Virginia, Wyoming, Ohio, Missouri: Grab hold of your pocketbook and hold on tight, because you're going to get more of this tax increase because you get more of your generation from coal. People who run nuclear-energy plants aren't going to have to buy cap and trade. It's going to be coal plants. It gets messier and messier."

Christian anti-global-warming activists disagreed with Land's reasoning. Land is "lash[ing] himself to dirty coal, sacrificing human health and the global environment to corporate greed," according to Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.

"As a global-warming denier, Richard Land continues to distort the overwhelming agreement within the scientific community about climate change," Parham, author of Loving Neighbors Across Time: A Christian Guide to Protecting the Earth, said. He said Land's "repeated claims about Earth cooling do not negate global warming."

Jonathan Merritt, national spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative, said Christians who care about God's creation and recognize that something must be done about the global energy and environmental crisis "are growing increasingly weary of those claiming to represent us who preach relentlessly about what [they] oppose, yet refuse to offer policy alternatives."

He added, "I find it curious that we are first in line to support the coal industry that is polluting our air and destroying the Appalachian Mountains, yet when it comes to actual pro-environmental legislation, we are nowhere to be found."

Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.

Southern Baptist activist organizes confab on church and environment
By Bob Allen (916 words)

ATLANTA (ABP) -- An upcoming national conference on churches and the environment features several well-known evangelical speakers, including some prominent Southern Baptist leaders who will be speaking for first time on the increasingly high-profile theological issue known as "creation care."

The gathering is scheduled May 13-15 at Cross Pointe Church near Atlanta, where former Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt is senior pastor. Merritt is scheduled to speak, along with other Southern Baptists including Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research and Mark Liederbach, professor of ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

Merritt's 26-year-old son, Jonathan Merritt, is organizing the gathering, called the Flourish National Church Leaders Conference on Creation Care.

While still in seminary, the younger Merritt spearheaded A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change, which was signed by 550 Southern Baptists, including the SBC president at the time.

Other Southern Baptist leaders quickly distanced themselves from the initiative. A Baptist Press headline declared "Seminary student's climate change project is not SBC's," while Richard Land, head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, released a statement explaining why he did not endorse the statement.

Land said Southern Baptist public-policy advocacy "is most effective when it is supported by the broadest possible consensus among Southern Baptists." He cited a 2007 SBC resolution that urged Southern Baptists "to proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research" and to support only policies that "improve the stewardship of the earth's resources without resulting in significant negative consequences" on the economy.

During that time Merritt met Jim Jewell, who has worked more than 30 years with Christian causes and organizations including World Vision, Trinity Forum, and Prison Fellowship; and Rusty Pritchard, a volunteer lay leader for three decades who taught environmental studies for seven years at Emory University in Atlanta.

Last year Jewell, former CEO of the Evangelical Environment Network, and Pritchard started Flourish, a ministry aimed at helping churches and families build environmental stewardship into their Christian commitment and witness. The May conference is the organization's inaugural event, but plans include a quarterly magazine, Web-based communications and other resources.

A 2008 Barna poll found that 90 percent of evangelicals said they would like to see Christians take a more active role in taking care of the environment, but two-thirds believe the media has over-hyped the story and most are skeptical that humans are a primary cause of global warming.

Jewell says part of the problem is that calls for environmental stewardship in the past have come largely from secular voices with values contrary to the Bible. Moreover, they have focused only on political action to combat climate change.

That prompted some evangelical leaders to overreact, he says, by telling followers that even modest care for God's creation is misplaced concern and has nothing to do with preaching the gospel.

The intent of Flourish, he says, is to bridge the chasm between those who prescribe only political solutions and those who would do nothing at all.

Jewell says there are plenty of good reasons for Bible-believing Christians to care about the environment.

For one thing, he says, Christians are called to be the very best citizens, and one way to do that is by rolling up their sleeves to improve their local communities by planting trees, working for pedestrian and bike paths or cleaning area watersheds.

Another is that Christians are called to love others, and research shows that interrupting delicate balances in the environment through pollution most hurts the needy.

Reducing dependence on foreign oil is important not only for national security, he says, but it also helps stop enriching regimes that restrict Christians' religious freedom.

There are also practical benefits. Jewell says churches can save a lot of money through energy-saving changes, which in turn can be used for programs and missions of the church. Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, for example, where former SBC president Jack Graham is pastor, undertook an environmental retrofit in 2006-2007 that saved the congregation more than $1 million in water and utility bills.

Jewell says environmental problems, like all others, are at root the result of sin, and Christians recognize the ultimate solution to conquering sin is faith in Jesus Christ. For that reason, he contends that creation care is important enough to be a major focus of the church, rooted in Scripture and religious tradition instead of simply reacting to modern trends.

Other scheduled speakers at the Flourish conference include Chris Seay, pastor of the Ecclesia Christian community in Houston; Joel Hunter, pastor of the Orlando-area Northland Church and author of books including A New Kind of Conservative; and Andy Crouch, senior editor at Christianity Today International.

"A new kind of evangelical conversation about God's creation is beginning, and Flourish will be one of the milestones," said Crouch, author of Culture Making. "Those who attend will be on the leading edge of a significant new movement that I believe will, and must, shape the church and our culture for generations to come."

Jonathan Merritt told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he hopes the conference will be a starting point for change in how churches think about their God-given responsibility to care for the world.

"I think it's going to be a primary touchpoint for the church to get involved in in the 21st century," he said.

Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.

Opinion: What marriage is -- and what it isn't
By Benjamin Cole (944 words)

(ABP) -- In late February, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch co-authored a provocative op-ed in the New York Times, titled "A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage." In the piece, Blankenhorn, the conservative president of the Institute for American Values, and Rauch, an openly gay scholar at The Brookings Institution and a staunch advocate of same-sex marriage, sought to forge a political compromise to move the contentious debate "onto a healthier, calmer track."

The Blankenhorn-Rauch compromise proposes a federal recognition of same-sex unions granted at the state level so long as the state licensing the marriage or civil union provides statutory exemptions for religious organizations that do not wish to solemnize or otherwise facilitate those unions. In short, churches would not be required to provide their facilities and ministers would not have to render their services to homosexual partners who desire marriage.

Not long after Blankenhorn and Rauch published their Times piece, I attended a panel discussion on it, held at Brookings' headquarters here in Washington. In the discussion, the two discussed their proposal more thoroughly. Responding to them were an attorney from the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign, a law professor, and a representative of the Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

During the conversation, it became immediately obvious that the proposal -- at least inasmuch as it was outlined in the op-ed -- did not provide answers to all of the many conflicts between religious liberty and gay rights that will result (indeed, that are already resulting) from the legalization of same-sex unions. For instance, what about the conscientious objection of the county clerk who, on religious grounds, feels she cannot issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples? Or what about the licensed caterers and florists who will deny their services for such ceremonies because same-sex marriage violates their religious principles?

The entire discussion, however, missed the fundamental problem with same-sex marriage: Namely, the nature of marriage itself.

The reason that many conservatives do not approve of same-sex marriage is not because we wish to deny basic liberties to gays and lesbians. It is because we do not believe such relationships constitute a marriage by definition. It is a question of ontology rather than ideology.

Offering exemptions to ministers and churches that object does little to resolve the conflict either. No minister has ever been forced to perform ceremonies for heterosexual couples of whose union the church would disapprove. No church has ever been forced to host a reception for such a union. In my own ministry, I've refused more requests to perform a marriage than I've accepted. My churches have denied our facilities to couples whose relationships did not meet our approval.

Those traditional-marriage advocates who wish to strike a compromise on the issue of same-sex marriage similar to the one proposed by Blankenhorn and Rauch are like the man who feeds the crocodile hoping that it will eat him last.

Such compromises are more aptly labeled capitulations.

I shall never forget the day I read Chief Justice Earl Warren's opinion for the Supreme Court's majority in the landmark 1967 interracial-marriage case, Loving v. Virginia. At the time, I was in the Moody Library of Baylor University preparing for a doctoral seminar presentation on the decriminalization of sodomy and the justices' 2003 reversal of Bowers v. Hardwick, a mid-1980s case out of Georgia in which the Court upheld the constitutionality of state laws prohibiting homosexual acts.

It was probably the best paper I wrote while at Baylor, and probably the most difficult to research. Quite frankly, there are more pleasant things about which to read than criminal reports, statutes and court decisions concerning homosexual sodomy.

When I ran across the Loving decision, I was immediately struck by the way the Court defined marriage as a fundamental right and how the majority opinion -- if pressed -- could be used as precedent by contemporary proponents of same-sex marriage. Chief Justice Warren wrote:

"The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law."

The debate about same-sex marriage in this first decade of the 21st century is probably more volatile than the debate about interracial marriage was in the 1960s. Of course, I am in a priori disagreement with any assertion that the fundamental liberty of a man and a woman to marry regardless of their races is similar to the claim that two persons of the same gender deserve licensed state recognition. Apples and oranges, you might say.

In the first instance, the essential ingredient of male and female is present. In the latter, it is not.

Marriage has always been -- in every culture and society of human history -- a relationship between members of the opposite sex. Even in those cultures and societies where aberrations like polygamy have been accepted, the union of man and woman is essential to the relationship.

The conflict about state recognition of same-sex marriage is not going to be resolved soon. There are those -- like Blankenhorn and Rauch -- who wish to keep it from rising to the temperature of the abortion debate. If the Court, however, decides the issue similar to the way it ruled in Roe v. Wade, then we are almost certain to enter another long and costly phase of the very culture war that Blankenhorn and Rauch wish to avert.

-- Benjamin Cole is a former Southern Baptist pastor who now works on public-policy issues in the nation's capital.


An unclear audio recording led to mischaracterization of a quotation by Lauran Bethell in the March 23 ABP story, "Mercer conference focuses on ending modern slavery." Please replace the fourth and fifth paragraphs with the following:

Bethell, recipient of the Baptist World Alliance Human Rights Award, spent the past 20 years fighting sex trafficking, first in Thailand, then in Eastern Europe. She told the audience she had stayed sane despite working some of the "darkest situations on Earth" by following the example of her leader, Jesus, who went to the dark places of his time because it was the right thing to do. Using the example of the "woman of ill repute" -- to whom Jesus ministered in Samaria and who later became one of his greatest evangelists -- Bethell said Jesus was the ideal example of showing up.

"Jesus' example of showing up -- showing up in places where even the disciples raised their eyebrows -- let me know that I can, that we can, do this," Bethell said. "What would Jesus' solution be in our time, in our century, of modern-day slavery? I know one thing: He's sure pleased with what you have all done today, just shown up. He's sure pleased with what we have seen today, people sacrificing time and energy to learn from each other and participate together in seeking solutions."

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