Afraid, but compelled

About 40 years ago Rachel and Eldon worked in a health development program in Port au Prince, Haiti.  Among their friends were Mike and Celia Askwith from the United Kingdom.

Mike and Celia Askwith in Stoltzfus home

Mike and Celia Askwith in Stoltzfus home

Rachel and Celia became close friends because they had children about the same age.  Eldon and Mike had similar development interests.  Mike worked at development in Haiti for the United Nations.  Eldon worked in a  development  program aimed at controlling TB among Haiti’s  children. The two couples attended the same church. The Askwiths  were both evangelical Christians.

The two couples connection has remained close in the years since.  The Askwith’s have visited the Stoltzfus’s in the states, and the Stoltzfus’s have visited the Askwith’s in London.  Currently, Mike is retired but continues to be on call as a consultant to the UN’s many development programs around the world.  He has visited many countrys and appreciates unique cultures.

It was obvious to me when they recently visited our family here in Goshen that Mike and Celia were devoted Christians who tended to interpret the Bible  literally.   We had warm fellowship.  Their Bibles were worn with many verses that they had underlined with a variety of colors.

This week the Askwith’s sent to Eldon a link to an article by Steve Chalke in Christianity Magazine that has moved them.  They asked specificly that the link be given to me.

In the article Chalke wrote: “I feel both compelled and afraid (emphasis mine) to write this article. Compelled because, in my understanding, the principles of justice, reconciliation and inclusion sit at the very heart of Jesus’ message. Afraid because I recognise the Bible is understood by many to teach that the practice of homosexuality, in any circumstance, is a sin or ‘less than God’s best’.”

The Old Fool appreciates the enduring Askwith and Stoltzfus friendship  that brought this article to him.  He respects Chalke’s integrity for the Old Fool has felt a like compulsion and fear.  “Why he calls himself the Old Fool” continues to rank among the more popular posts on the website.

The Old Fool urges that Chalke’s persuasive article be read by others who feel compelled to acknowledge the inclusiveness of Jesus, yet are afraid to do so publically. because of the negative reaction of those who place certain scripture texts above Jesus. “Fear not” is the word of Jesus to us today.

Please refer this website and post to your friends who struggle with what the Bible says on sensitive issues today and the inclusive Jesus.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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