March 27, 2005

AS BEST WE CAN:

They're everyday believers (Janet I. Tu, 3/27/05, Seattle Times)

Jim Roths of Sumner, who attends Redmond's Overlake Christian Church, left a high-level corporate position to move with his family to Central Asia to work as a missionary for eight years.

Betty Woodard, a grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of three, founded a prison ministry at her church, Goodwill Missionary Baptist in Seattle's Central Area, and volunteers regularly, visiting shut-ins and nursing homes.

George Balagtas is a student minister at Seattle University, preparing the school's light-filled Chapel of St. Ignatius for Mass.

Three people from different walks of life, each with different ways of practicing their faith. Yet, at a time when Christianity has become politicized and polarized, these three also express a certain unity in what they believe it means to be Christian.

Today, some 159 million Christians in the United States, and about 1.9 billion worldwide, will celebrate Easter, marking the day they believe Jesus was resurrected. (Orthodox Christians use a different calendar and will celebrate Easter on May 1.)

It is, perhaps, one of the two days of the year — the other is Christmas — when the public expression of Christianity is most apparent, as the faithful flock to churches.

For Roths, Woodard and Balagtas and many other Christians, their faith is also lived day in and day out, in ways big and small.

The three articulate it differently. To Balagtas, it is living the life of Jesus, applying to his own life Christ's teachings and the hope of the resurrection story. Woodard calls it letting "your light shine that they may see your good work and glorify the Father." Roths sees it as a calling from God to be an example of how a Christian lives his faith.

Underlying their different statements are similar sentiments about what it means to be a Christian: to follow the example of Jesus to love others and do good deeds; and to trust that God has a plan for their lives.

As Roths says: "I think the best way we can impact society is to be an example ourselves, to live out our faith as best we can."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2005 6:12 AM
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