The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 13, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-13 | Caring festival-goers benefit ailing vendor

— As you read the newspaper and listen to the news, the media often tell the negative side of people. Let me give you the flip side.

We have always participated as a vendor at the Labor Day weekend festival in St. Michael. However, Bob’s health wasn’t up to doing it this year.

We went to visit the group we always sit with. We were speechless when we got there. The fire company had donated a space and the crafters filled the booth with donated items to be chanced off.

A special thanks to Jack and Paul Calandra, who donated a “quad” to be chanced off. Thanks also to the fire company, the crafters, the school, the churches, friends, family and all those who bought tickets and donated to Bob to help us pay for his health insurance.

We would like to thank all of those for their prayers and cards for his healing and return to good health.

The outreach of caring, love and generosity from friends, family and strangers is overwhelming. People do have big hearts. May God bless you.

Bob and Elaine Oxford


God created us to live, not takes lives

Is God pro-choice? The Rev. Thomas Hopko, a well-known lecturer in both Orthodox and ecumenical Christian circles, clarifies the question for me.

Beyond all doubt, we are created for life; it is not God’s will that we die.

“God did not create death” (the “Wisdom of Solomon”). The church teaches that death results from human rebellion against God.

It is interesting that in the Genesis story, God did not say, “If you eat of the tree I will kill you.” God said, “When you eat of the tree you will die.”

Like our progenitors, Adam and Eve, we do what seems to be right in our own eyes. We think we know best. We say, “I’ll do it my way.” When we live that way, we sign our death certificate. God doesn’t kill anybody. We kill ourselves. The minute we take life into our own hands to do what we want, in a sense we commit suicide.

If we truly belong to God, we do not have choice (St. Maximos the Confessor). We have given up choice in favor of trust and obedience to God.

“If there is God and God is God and God is the living God and God is who he is, then our only choice is to give up our choice and listen to and obey him,” Hopko said.

The only sense in which God is pro-choice is that he desires that we choose to give up choice and obey what is taught in his word, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Roger Knepper


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Tackling the area's drug problem.
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