Toward righteousness

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May 14, 2018

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Nancy Almquist ends with a prayer suggestion: “Lord God, forgive me when I act alone, working toward righteousness as if I am the one responsible for your view of me as holy.”

I’ve been thinking about Nancy’s words, about what she’s suggesting: some of us have replaced faith with a kind of anxiety. We’ve become convinced that if we don’t work hard enough and in the right direction, we might lose God’s attention – we might lose God’s love.

Is that even possible? To lose God’s love? Of course not. But as Nancy points out, the fear remains – the fear that God doesn’t really love us and won’t unless we fulfill a particular set of character traits and achieve a specific list of behaviors.

We want to make right choices, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing good. But the point of righteousness, according to Nancy, is that it’s like a breastplate – a piece of armor – that we can put on. In Isaiah 59, God “looked and was displeased that there was no justice” (v. 15), so God “put on righteousness as his breastplate” (v. 17). Paul writes that this same armor of God has now been made available to us, as a gift, that we, too, might go into the places where there is no justice “with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14).

God’s righteousness covers us. God’s righteousness protects us. Nancy writes that this is how “we have received righteousness as a result of God’s grace.”

Thank you,
Eric Muhr

Last week, I wrote about the seeds of hope at the center of what it means to be Quaker. And I wrote about seeds of hope – the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget.

In order to stay on target to meet our goal of $162,000 by December 31, 2020, we need to get to $26,325 by June 1, 2018. As of this morning, we have raised $25,355 in gifts and pledges. Thank you for your continuing support!

Click here to read more about seeds of hope.





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com

Seeds of Hope
Copyright © 2018 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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Seeds of hope

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May 7, 2018

There are seeds of hope at the center of what it means to be a Friend. Robert Barclay wrote that “a divine, spiritual, and supernatural light is in all men.” Isaac Penington claimed that this seed was placed in each of us by God as a witness that might “spring up and remain” in us. Elizabeth Fry admitted that she didn’t understand “words of doctrine,” but “one thing I do know, – that Christ is in me ... that ever blessed power.” Stephen Grellet confessed that he was surprised to “find in me what I had so long sought for without me” – Jesus Christ, that “divine presence.”

Everywhere I look in the world, I find evidence of these seeds of hope in the persistence (some might say obstinance) that has resulted in members of a nominal religious group having a huge impact on the shape of society. Here are just a few of the efforts Quakers helped start: York Retreat, Hull House, the Servant Leadership movement, Alternatives to Violence Project, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Right Sharing of World Resources. Quakers have actively engaged other Christians, other faiths, and the world. Quakers are faithful helpers, workers, leaders, evangelists, and visionaries. Quakers have sometimes succeeded and frequently failed. But they’ve always been committed. And hopeful. And faithful.

The work of Barclay Press – as a Christian publisher in the Friends tradition – is to serve as a seed vault. To capture the essence of these seeds of hope, to preserve it in the words of Friends both present and past, and to share those words – in pamphlets, devotional readers, curriculum, trade books, ebooks, and booklets.

Barclay Press is a Quaker non-profit, and the work of publishing and distribution is our ministry.

Since December, fifty of you have helped us raise $25,080 in gifts and pledges. We needed $25,000 to survive this year, and we’re going to make it! Which has prompted me to start thinking about what’s next – what might Barclay Press accomplish if we were thriving instead of simply surviving? Here are the five parts of my seeds of hope:

  • Each new title costs us about $3,000 to design, produce, market, and distribute. $27,000 would allow Barclay Press to invest in three quality projects every year through the end of 2020.
  • Some small congregations rely on Barclay Press for curriculum but get so far behind financially that they can’t afford to pay. $15,000 would allow Barclay Press to erase the debts of those churches while continuing to serve them.
  • We’ve made slow progress at paying down our long-term debt. $15,000 would allow Barclay Press to finally get out from under this burden.
  • Barclay Press has three weeks of cash reserves to help us get through a crisis. An additional $30,000 would get us to three months of cash reserves, an important milestone in achieving financial stability.
  • That $25,000 we needed this year is what we’ll need next year and the year after that. $75,000 would take care of the Barclay Press bottom line through the end of 2020.

My seeds of hope dream is to raise a total of $162,000 by December 31, 2020. The $25,080 in gifts and pledges so far this year puts us 15 percent of the way toward our goal. Here’s how you can help us continue to make progress:

  • A one-time or monthly donation – just click on DONATE at barclaypress.com or mail us a check at 211 N Meridian St, #101, Newberg, Oregon 97132.
  • Talk to your church or monthly meeting about making support for Barclay Press a regular part of your budget.
  • Pray for Barclay Press and for the work that we do.

Thank you,
Eric Muhr





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com

Seeds of Hope
Copyright © 2018 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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Activate joy

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April 30, 2018

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Bob Henry writes about how children model for us what it is to make joy, peace, and love a reality, not just in our hearts, but in “our relationships, communities, and workplaces. If there is one thing children are able to do, it is to activate joy, peace, and love without much resistance. What a child’s heart feels and experiences is often immediately manifested in their actions and words.”

During a vacation Bible school at his meeting this year, Bob noted that children “befriended guests and included everyone. They shared uplifting qualities, encouraged, and cheered each other on. As they worked together on lessons and games, they embraced the theme of being created by God and built for a purpose.”

Do we have joy, peace, and love in our hearts? How do they affect our relationships? How do they show up in our interactions with our communities? How are they manifested through us in our workplaces?

Bob suggests that paying attention to children or thinking back on our own experiences of childhood might be helpful. The way “children interact is a great reminder of the importance of knowing what’s down in our hearts and allowing it to become observable in our outward lives.”

As adults, we have learned by experience to filter what we say and do, to be careful how we react or respond. And as adults, we are sometimes so busy that we lose touch with our hearts (not to mention our feelings).

Have joy, peace, and love “slipped too far away to tap?” Maybe what we need, according to Bob, is “a reminder for us to reengage, to seek again our Inner Light and respond to our world out of a deep sense of joy, peace and love.”

Eric Muhr


P.S. In this tenuous year of transition, Barclay Press must raise $25,000 in order to remain a going concern. So far this year, we’ve received $17,680 in donations and $3,300 in pledges, getting us almost 84 percent of the way to where we need to be by the end of the year. Thank you for your continuing prayer, for your words of encouragement, and for your support.





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com

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