Bethany Lutheran Church
Red Lake Falls MN
From the Pastor
It's the 4th of July and time to think about that tricky issue of “separation of church and state”.
We live in a country where the government “neither promotes religion nor represses it”. In other words, our government is supposed to be neutral, neither favoring one religion nor repressing another.
That to me is a balancing act that is fairly simple in some cases but really tricky in others.
Some particular brands of religion are very dangerous. Remember the Branch Davidians and how they blew up a large government building in Oklahoma City in 1997? Does freedom of religion give us the right to blow people up in the name of God? I don't think so!
But at the same time, our own brand of religion can sometimes be dangerous.
It wasn't so long ago, that teachers were allowed to lead kids in prayer in at least some of our public schools. I would think that if the teacher was a faithful Lutheran of Scandinavian descent, that would have been a pretty good! But how do you suppose the other churches in town felt? “There goes Mrs. Hanson again, trying to make our Catholic kids into Lutherans!”
As long as we were the biggest church in town, we had no problem with prayer in public school. But what if the biggest church in town was run by the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses? What if our kids were being led in prayer by a teacher who was a Buddhist?
Do you see how easy it is to be blind to our own abuses of power and privilege? What passes for a good thing in Kindred North Dakota, might be very oppressive in Salt Lake City Utah.
Here are some good guidelines for issues concerning the separation of church and state.
• The quickest way to kill a religion is for the government to enforce it.
• The separation of church and state is one of the reasons, religion has flourished in this country. People like the freedom to choose.
• The separation of church and state is for the protection of everyone's religious freedoms including our own.
• It is not fair to our employer to use our time on the job to “promote” our own personal brand of religion.
• We are always free to “practice” the religion of love, honesty, respect, and compassion on any job.
• The best sermon is a good example.
• Separation of church and state doesn't mean leaving our faith at the church door, but living it out through a good example.
• Have some compassion on the poor judges who have to decide these matters. It not always easy to find that perfect balance between “neither promoting, nor repressing religion”, especially in a culture of great diversity and competing and conflicting freedoms.
Happy 4th of July! Pastor Gary
No one accomplishes so much in so little time as when he or she is praying.
Vacation Bible School is Coming!
VBS at Bethany will be from July 24th - 27th from 5:30 pm – 8:00pm 5th graders and below are welcome. Need not be a member of Bethany.
Helpers are needed (adult or youth) to teach, plan meals, decorate, and set up. Contact Peggy Miller (email@example.com) or call the church to help. See the flyer in this month's newsletter and on our website for more information.
Luther: The Movie
7:00pm July 9th. Want to learn more about the reformation on this 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation? On Sunday evening, July 9th at 7:00pm we will be showing “Luther” a 2003 movie about the life of Martin Luther. The movie is very good and is very accurate at portraying both the man and his times. Come and join us for movie and some popcorn!
2 – Ella Sletten
4 – Kelsey Stephens
5 – Steve Klipping
6 – Joanne Dahle
7 – Brady Gums
8 – Eric Johnson
9 – Nicholas Piersol
10 – Blake Audette
11 – Lori Vigstol
12 – Alek Lacina
14 – Spencer Sundberg
15 – John Columbus
16 – Steve Hams
17 – Maurice Bjorgan
19 – Sam Brule
20 – Dale Knutson
21 – Carson Gagner
23 – Paul Klein
24 – Chris Van Emmerik
25 – Jaclyn Fering
26 – Dean Hartel
27 – Todd Doyle
28 – Heidi Matzke
29 – Erwin Wetenkamp
30 – Tom Hovland
31 – Jesse Ellefson
1 – Ed & Eldora Braaten
Jim & Bev Gilbertson
3 – Perry & Laurie Duden
8 – Dean & Lorri Ann Hartel
16 – John & Sandy Klein
19 – Fred & Tandra Landman
24 – Tim & Peggy Nord
30 – Jerod & Wanda Olson