Letters to a Congresswoman & to an editor

Dear Congresswoman,

Thank you for your response to my earlier signing of a petition. I am not exactly a hard working Hoosier, because I am an 88 yr. old retiree who can do little more than fuss and sometimes pray about the state of the world. I am a retired minister of the gospel and a church administrator. It is appreciated when you support the humane treatment of our neighbors around the world.

In the seventies I met the son-in-law- of one of my parishioners. He was a Palestinian whose ancestral home had been confiscated by the Israelis. He became very angry when an elderly sister sincerely suggested that Israeli action was a fulfillment of prophecy, and the Israelis were God’s “Chosen.” A very good present friend of mine has a daughter who married a Palestinian while they were both in a Christian college. He returned home and died in Lebanon while fighting in defense of his family and property. It is apparent that both sides in the present conflict have strong feelings of being wronged. And both have been doing the wrong things to right the wrongs done to them.

If the antagonists were to ask what the other really wanted, they would likely learn that their basic needs were the same, such as safety, food and clean water, education for their children, health care, freedom to move about the world and be respected. I believe they should stop trying to destroy each other, and begin to exchange assets instead of missiles, tear down fences and stop digging tunnels beneath them.

If that were to happen, the role of the United States could change from aiding only one side to sharing assets with both sides. I hope you and your colleagues will promote these kinds of endeavors, and aid the administration in implementing a new style of foreign relations.

IMG_1433Dear Editor:

Tim Vandenack and his editor are to be commended for presenting a carefully balanced view of the Mennonite Church in the July 28, 2014 issue of the Elkhart Truth. The article “Church’s Split Highlights Larger Marriage Debate” draws unfortunate public attention to what it may be said that Mennonites do best, split.

Mennonites do not manage their variances well. When policies vary, the conferences try to promote conversations among the congregations. If a conversation about an issue becomes too intense, policies will be changed or a congregation may do as did Clinton Frame Mennonite Church has done, it withdraws from its conference.

Clinton Frame Mennonite Church and  other Mennonites of Elkhart County cannot sever ties of faith, family and neighborhood. Mennonites will no doubt meet each other if there is a local disaster or at an annual event like the MCC Relief Sale or through the activities of church wide agencies such as the Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service, Mennonite Mutual Aid, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates

The Elkhart public should be grateful that Mennonites belong to a peace church tradition. Though Mennonites may be passive aggressive, not even the most conservative or the most liberal among them will resort to armed conflict. They are brothers and sisters still.

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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2 Responses to Letters to a Congresswoman & to an editor

  1. Freda Zehr says:

    Martin, just to let you know, I am receiving two of the same emails the last two times. I enjoy them so much and resonate each time with thought, so I would get two then to miss one!

    • Martin says:

      I don’t know how these duplications occur, but sometimes they do. You are now listed as one subscriber, not two. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. Be sure to let me know if there are problems in the future.

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