Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

I have a job, several of them actually. I have everything I need, and then some. I've learned to be gratefully content with very little. This has made far more difference in my life than an elected official ever could.

I'm still going to vote today, and I am grateful I can. I'm thankful for women like Alice Stokes Paul, who was a suffragist and an American hero. And as a woman, I'd like the government to stay out of my decisions regarding my body. When the Presidency, House and Congress were all controlled by the "pro-life" party, and they had the chance to make whatever pro-life law they wanted... the issue of abortion didn't even come up. Our values become abundantly clear when one looks at our historic acts of commission and omission.

There are other reasons I'll vote today.

Act Justly

Presidents Washington and Lincoln believed it was not enough to win a war, they had to win in a way consistent with the values of their society and the principles of their cause. They insisted that prisoners be treated with the same rights they were fighting for. It is shameful that recent administrations have embraced a doctrine of preemptive war, torture techniques including water boarding, extraordinary rendition, classifying prisoners-of-war as "enemy combatants", breaking the Geneva Convention, and the concentration camps in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I mourn the loss of over 162,000 civilians and combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am sad that the historic peace churches were largely silent in the face of these moral atrocities. I am grateful that the current administration repudiated the Bybee Torture Memos in 2009. Let's choose leaders who can stand with Washington, and Lincoln, and Churchill, after all, they lived in equally perilous times.

Love Mercy

Helping the poor has always been the Church's foremost responsibility. Sadly, the American church has been far more preoccupied with the prosperity doctrine than with ministries of compassion and mercy. Therefore, the government has been called upon to care for the least of these. However, when an administration faces the choice of feeding poor children or fighting wars to control the world's resources, the voice of the poor goes unheard. And if the church lacks compassion or mercy, from what source will a civilized society find it? And so we see the vilification of the poor, making it socially acceptable to ignore and abandon them, and this quickly becomes an issue of life and death. So how "Pro-life" are we when our people starve, and die from preventable diseases?

Walk Humbly

As a person of faith, I gain nothing when my friends and neighbors are denied basic civil liberties because of their sexual orientation. I could not cast a vote for any candidate, knowing he would deny basic human decency to my friends and neighbors.

America is fast becoming a place where the gap between rich and poor is more remarkable than ever. Our politicians are beholden to special interests, neither Democrat nor Republican are above reproach. The wealthy, especially corporations, influence politics to protect their interests, while the poor have only their vote, and increasingly, that basic human right is denied them.

Increasingly, we create exactly the kind of country our ancestors fled.

Please vote today.

Nathan Brendle - All-District

Congratulations to Nathan Brendle! He has been named to the 2012 District 2 All-District team!

This team consists of the top 16 singles players in northeast Indiana. The district stretches from South Bend to Kokomo, east toward Marion and then also includes Fort Wayne. There are 82 teams in the district, which means there are more than 250 players eligible for this award. Nate's selection puts him in the 5% of players in the northeast area of Indiana!

Nathan is the second Bruin all-time to be selected to the All-District team, so it is quite an honor. The other player was Ben Mast in 2010. Nathan is joined on the team by several other players from our area, including Nick Pollock of Concord and Derek Hinen of Columbia City, 2 players that Nathan defeated during this season.

Nathan ended the season 21-2. That is a record for wins in a single season by a Bethany Christian player. Nathan ended his career as a Bruin with 51 wins. That is also a record (at least for the time that we have records :-), eclipsing Luke Hostetter's 45. Nathan also set multiple other records this year, including winning 21 straight matches. 40 straight sets, 8 matches in a row where he won at least one of the sets "6-0," and he had 16 "6-0" sets on the season. It was an incredible year and the All-District team is a fitting recognition for such a great player.

Here is the team in full (click on the picture to enlarge):

Here are some wonderful things about Nathan, that I said on Senior Night:

One thing that I always enjoy about Senior Night is reflecting on how each senior has changed. With Nathan, he has always been our most skilled player, since he joined as a sophomore. But watching how he has matured mentally over the years has been incredible. Making amazing strides in self-control, focus, and patience, he has both solidified his tennis game and put himself in a great place to succeed post-tennis. I've always enjoyed his honesty and desire to be a player who is concerned with the team. As such, I've enjoyed watching him celebrate his personal successes (like the Merrillville Tournament championship) as well as his teammates successes (like Joel and Hans win over Elkhart Central!)

The other thing that has been great about Nathan is his willingness to teach. He has a gift of helping others, especially with their serves, and seeing him use that gift has been awesome. With his Fairfield win, Nathan is now the all-time leader at Bethany for varsity wins. So we will miss his incredible talent. But we will also miss the other gifts he gives to the team.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27