STUDENTS’ NEWS-e-LETTER #005

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

April 11, 2009

Contents
1. April’s Amazingness
2. Forgettable Fact
3. Surf Report
4. Potent Quotables
5. Obama & The Demanding Golden Rule

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1. April’s Amazingness…

April 2009
12 – Easter Services @ 9am & 11am (S.A.C.) NO Student group
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14 –
15 –
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17 –
18 –
19 – Sunday Worship. GIRLS & GUYS GROUPs, 1-3pm.
20 –
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22 –
23 –
24 –
25 – STUDENT LOCK-IN! :: The 30-HOUR FAMINE (Sat 7:30am – Sun 1:30pm)
26 – Sunday Worship, (S.A.C.) :: “TAKE-DOWN” Service Opportunity
27 –
27 –
28 –
29 –
30 –

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2. Forgettable Fact

By feeding hens certain dyes they can be made to lay eggs with multi-colored yolks.

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3. SURF REPORT

~ Coming to a LOCK-IN near you (7am, April 25 – 1pm April 26): The 30 Hour Famine
http://www.30hourfamine.org/

~ The Haunting in Connecticut Review
“Some things cannot be explained.” Such is the tagline for “The Haunting in Connecticut,” complete with a claim to be based on true events and a Discovery channel documentary on the incident.
http://www.planetwisdom.com/movies/hauntinginconnecticut.php

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4. POTENT QUOTABLES

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
~ Winston Churchill

“Teachers: two kinds: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move and the kind that just give you a little prod from behind and you jump to the skies.”
~ Robert Frost

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5. Obama & The Demanding Golden Rule?

It is possible to debate President Obama’s politics all day, and it is clear that we at PlanetWisdom are in strong disagreement with some of President Obama’s policies, most notably his pro-abortion stance. However, President Obama’s political campaign was based on finding commonality instead of criticizing differences, and so we will try to do the same.

In “The Audacity of Hope,” President Obama models an inseparable pair of Christian virtues: empathy and humility. Empathy is understanding another person’s point of view: their thoughts, reactions, emotions. Why is empathy important? Empathy is important because it is living out God’s command to love one another as we love ourselves.
Obama writes, “That is how I understand the Golden Rule — not simply as a call to sympathy or charity, but as something more demanding, a call to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.”

Can we love someone, or act in a loving manner towards someone, if we don’t know anything about him? How can we cheer someone up if we don’t know she is sad? Or rejoice with someone if we don’t know she is glad?

The Golden Rule is demanding, even impossible, because it asks us to love others as we love ourselves, which means we have to know others as we know ourselves. For us, in this lifetime, that is impossible. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be making the effort every day. Because it is our actions that will show the world the love of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)

Humility is empathy’s twin brother, and they are attached at the hip. Humility is when we accept our limitations as humans and acknowledge the worth of others. It is knowing that God didn’t make us any more special than any other human being, that He created the homeless person, the alcoholic, and the runway model with the same loving care.

Obama writes, “I was reminded that it is my obligation . . . as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided, just as I cannot claim infallibility in my support of abortion rights. I must admit that I may have been infected with society’s prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God; that Jesus’ call to love one another might demand a different conclusion. . . . . I don’t believe that such doubts make me a bad Christian. I believe they make me human, limited in my understanding of God’s purpose and therefore prone to sin.”

One of the “Four Marks of a Fool” is know-it-all-ism, and it is a sin that young and old fall into with equal ease. Whether it is in a discussion about politics or curfew, at times, we are so certain that we are right. It is so obvious to us, so clear. It is at these times that we are most likely to have failed, first in empathy and then in humility. For if we were empathetic, we could see why the other person disagreed with us. And if we were humble, we would see our potential to be wrong.

Humility and empathy are two strengths of President Barack Obama, at least as he portrays himself in this book. He consistently presents strong arguments against his position and shows respect for people who disagree with him. Why? Because President Obama seems to have accepted that he is human, prone to sin, and limited in his understanding.

We have the perfect example of humility in our Lord and Savior, whom we are commanded to imitate in Philippians 2:5-11:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

That is our call as Christians and our example to follow: absolute obedience, absolute humility, and absolute empathy. None of us are there yet, but let’s start working our empathy and humility muscles with a simple exercise. Take the views of President Obama that you like the least and post the best reasons you can in support of those views. You might even want to do a little research. And as always, we would love for you to post your answers to the following questions!

Questions
1. What do you think of President Obama? Why?
2. Do you think it’s important to understand a President or leader before you judge his or her actions? Why or why not?
3. Do you think most people tend to see Christians as humble, empathetic people? Or as uncaring, judgmental people? Why?
4. Can you think of an example of where you have taken one of your own personal beliefs and attributed it to God?
5. When was the last time you were wrong? Do you think that you are overconfident?
6. Do you think your parents are always wrong? Why or why not?

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A Daily Devotional from PlanetWisdom.com, copyright 2009 Youth Specialties/Zondervan. Used by permission.
*All “surf report” internet links and “potent quotables” are provided for informational purposes, and do not necessarily imply endorsement by Christ Church of Austin.