The United Methodist's Empathetic Answer to the Refugee Ban

The United Methodist's Empathetic Answer to the Refugee Ban

"Dare we be the conscience of the state?" - Bishop Laurie Haller
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January 27th, 2017. Holocaust Remembrance Day and the day that President Trump signed the Refugee Ban. President Trump banned the entrance of both refugees and citizens from 7 predominately Muslim countries. Needless to say, thousands of people are speaking up, and so are many different organizations.

As an active member of the United Methodist Church, with Iowa as my home Annual conference, I have to say that the news struck me somewhat harder than I expected. John Wesley proclaimed that the world was his parish, and as someone who follows the ways of Wesley, I cannot reach part of my parish. It breaks my heart.

Two United Methodist communities have issued statements on where we as United Methodists stand with the ban.

The United Methodist Women (UMW) released a statement on January 25 stating, "United Methodist Women takes to heart Jesus' commandment to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Throughout our 150-year history, we have carried this out by extending God's love to women, men, youth and children around the world, including immigrants and refugees."

The General Board of Church and Society released a similar statement on January 26th. They called lawmakers to work for "just and compassionate migration policies that affirm the worth, dignity, and inherent values and rights of all persons regardless of nationality or legal status." This calling is the same as what our Book of Resolutions (rule book if you will) #3281.

Bishop Laurie Haller, the current bishop of the Iowa Annual Conference, in a blog post on January 23 asked of us, members of the United Methodist Church, what we dare to do.

"Dare we as United Methodists and all people of faith covenant to support President Trump and his administration by our prayers and encouragement as well as by serving as their conscience? Dare we share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny with people around the world and with creation itself? Dare we work for the day when our nation and world will look like God’s reign, where the poor will go first with the eight richest men bringing up the rear, those earning minimum wage will sit at the places of honor as well as have their wages increased, and those who are rejected because of their skin color, immigration status, or sexual orientation/gender identity are welcomed with open arms? Dare we move from praying, “God, make our country great again; America first!” to “God, use us as your servants to make every corner of our world safe and whole again”?"

We, as United Methodists and of people of all faiths need to covenant to support President Trump and all of his administration in both prayer and encouragement. We need to share the shame heart, home, and destiny with people around the entire world. I answer Bishop Laurie's call, putting first all the people of God's Church.

Reba McEntire this week released her new single. It has gained the attention of many and made its rounds on social media. We need to give this world back to God. Because without him, we are nothing.


Take a minute, listen to her words. Take a moment, think about what you can do. Take a moment, and pray for our leaders. Let us be the conscience of the state once again.

Cover Image Credit: Be Artist Be Art

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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