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A Christian nation should acknowledge its duty to serve the poor

To The Daily Sun,

I am tired of reading letters to this forum that paint Democrats and liberals as anti-God and anti-American and that portray conservatives Republicans as the only true Christian patriots. Despite what many right-wing "Christians" might have you believe, there are millions of Christians who refer to themselves as liberals, progressives, Democrats or any number of things other than "conservative Republicans."

The most fundamental difference between liberal progressives and conservatives is the question of which side you are on. Conservatives believe that the rich and powerful get that way because they deserve to be, that society owes its prosperity to the prosperous, and that government's job when they have to make a choices is to side with those businesspeople who are doing well because all good things trickle down from them.

Progressives on the other hand, believe it is the poor and those who are ill-treated who need the most help from their government.

When you are in the political world, decisions have to be made daily about who you will help and who you won't. These political decisions are generally not win-win. Instead one group of people wins and one group of people loses. It is the nature of politics, and you can't take politics out of politics.

Jesus was not primarily concerned with politics, but for what politics he did have, it is virtually impossible to argue that he was anything but a progressive liberal thinker. The Gospels make it clear that Jesus' main concern was for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast. They also reveal His scorn for the wealthy and powerful.

Webster's dictionary defines a liberal as, "one who is open minded, not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional or established forms or ways." Jesus Christ was a pluralist liberal who taught that one need not conform to strict and orthodox views of God, religion, and life. He rejected greed, violence, the glorification of power, the amassing of wealth without social balance, and the personal judging of others, their lifestyles and beliefs. Jesus clearly sees a pure love of God and for our fellow human beings as the bottom line for being a Christian. His philosophy is embedded with the central importance of taking care of others. There is nothing in the Gospels about poor people being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on society, how we shouldn't help the poor because it weakens them, and nothing about charity or welfare corrupting a person's spirit.

As humans, we shouldn't have to believe in Jesus Christ to feel that it's important that we help the sick, feed the hungry, accept each other, not judge one another, and treat people with kindness, not apathy.

If we are truly a "Christian" nation, as we claim to be, and neglect the poor and the oppressed, we must either pretend that Jesus was as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy, without condition, and then admit that we just don't want to do it.

L.J. Siden

Gilmanton

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Join me in celebrating Jack Terrill at Church Landing tonight

To The Daily Sun,

On Tuesday November 18th, there will be an event at Church Landing in Meredith to recognize Jack Terrill for his countless contributions to our community. Jack Terrill is the former President/CEO of the Lakes Region United Way and current SVP of Community Impact for Granite United Way. But we are all losing Jack's impact in our collective communities as he will be relocating to Naples, Florida at the end of the month.

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Jack for over 12 years, when I was a volunteer for the Lakes Region United Way. I saw first-hand the depth of commitment and dedication that he gave to the social needs of our region. Jack is a visionary. He challenged me, the board and the community leaders to be bold in our thinking. Jack helped to make certain that the United Way was relevant and impactful to our community.

When Jack joined the United Way, he quickly recognized that we needed to make changes to ensure the organizations sustainability. This did not happen overnight. Slowly, over several years, mindsets were changed, revenues were increased and the focus of the local United Way evolved from being simply a fundraising to a catalyst for change and cooperation. Eventually, monies raised eclipsed $1 million annually and non-profits in the greater Lakes Region were collaborating together. Redundancies were identified and eliminated, information was shared, efficiencies were created and new stakes were placed in the ground. We were challenged to achieve more than we thought we were capable of doing.

In fairness, Jack did not do this alone. There have been and are many passionate, hardworking individuals and companies who have joined together in this effort to address the three focus areas of the importance of education, the significant need to address poverty and increase income opportunities within our neighborhoods and the overall benefits of Healthy Communities. But make no mistake; it was Jack's vision and leadership that directed this change. Jack earned a master's degree from SNHU in Community Economic Development, applying that education and his heart to improving the lives of those in need.
So many events and accomplishments that I will not attempt to name them all here. But it was Jack who recognized that Whole Village in Plymouth was an important asset to that community and those less fortunate. As a volunteer board member there, he recognized the need to ensure their sustainability. It was Jack who also recognized a grass roots group in Carroll County who had a small group of committed volunteers, grand visions and plans but again limited long-term resources to ensure their longevity to reach all of their goals. Jack convinced the Lakes Region United Way board to collaborate and merge with these organizations and in a short period of time, they thrived.
Just when we seemed to be hitting the tipping point ourselves, it was Jack who recognized that for the betterment of the organization, our community and to some extent putting himself at risk, he suggested that our board consider merging with the ever growing Granite United Way, a statewide organization. But it was Granite United Way that recognized that what Jack helped to create in the Lakes Region was the model for the other regions.
Despite so many successes the work is not complete and never will be. Jack is leaving for warmer climates to be with his lovely wife Diane and while he will most certainly be missed the efforts to continue in the direction that Jack helped to form will continue. This is his legacy and he should be very proud of his accomplishments. I speak only for myself, but I am a better person for having the opportunity to know and work with Jack. I am proud to have been able to be a part of his legacy to a small degree and am happy to call him my friend.
Best of luck to Jack and Diane! Naples Florida is gaining a true asset to their community!
Please come out and join me in recognizing Jack and help us thank him for all that he has done for the Lakes Region!

John Malm

Morrisville, Vermont

  • Category: Letters
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