>> I want to offer praise for Mark Hall's article "Is God Republican or Democrat?" (Fall 2005). I appreciate what he had to say about the balance of political thinking in the church. I struggle with this concept on many levels, and it becomes very difficult when I am torn by cultural tradition and individual circumstances. I believe the greatest issues to be decided in a situation like this are personal and of pure conviction. However, I also understand the slippery slope that steadily grows when Christian accountability and public awareness never cross paths.
More than anything else, this message is simply an affirmation of the need for discussion involving this topic. I want to encourage Mr. Hall and others to continue tackling this difficult subject.
EDITOR’S NOTE: REFUGE FROM THE STORM
The last issue of George Fox Journal included stories on how the George Fox community was responding to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. One of those responses offered to provide a semester of free tuition to students unable to continue their studies at a university in the disaster area. Here is the story of one evacuee who found refuge at George Fox.
>> One week into Bill Stieber’s final semester at University of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina rammed the campus. With his basement apartment under water and his hometown in chaos, he sought temporary refuge in Galveston, Texas. Two weeks later, another hurricane — Hurricane Rita this time — barreled across the gulf toward him again. He had planned to seek a job in Oregon after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration, but now the hurricanes seemed to be “a little slap from God.” He packed his belongings and drove northwest.
Stieber, 41, already had endured major storms in his personal life. In his mid-30s, epileptic seizures caused him to quit his construction and truck-driving jobs. After taking a year off to gain control through medication, he enrolled in junior college. “I found out I had a knack for learning,” he says. “I didn’t know I had it.” After considering a career in accounting, he decided he preferred working with people and focused his studies on management. He transferred to University of New Orleans, a public institution of 17,000.
When Hurricane Katrina arrived, he was just six credits from graduation. While delivering a donated couch to his new Tualatin, Ore., apartment, a member of Rolling Hills Community Church suggested he look at finishing his degree at George Fox. Today, he is enrolled in business law and ethics classes. He plans to graduate in the spring. "Everything is going unexpectedly well," he says.
Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast last August, a team of five students and staff traveled to Louisiana to clear debris. Now a second group of students and employees is traveling to the region. Over spring break, more than 30 people will volunteer on projects organized by Campus Crusade for Christ. One team will work with contractors on construction projects in Pass Christian, Miss. The other group will clean out buildings and assist community members.
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