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Volume ∞ Issue ∞

On ethics, morality and faith: The Redeemed Shall Walk

Fri, Feb 6th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Do you remember when you, your parents, or grandparents, saved Gold Bond stamps or S & H Green stamps, given as an incentive to buy from a certain store or gas station? After we filled the required number of books, we could take them to a Redemption Center and trade them in for a premium of our choice, usually something useful that could improve our lives. It was a much-anticipated day, one we had saved for, bit by bit, stamp by stamp.

I can see the 2008 election year as a similar process. As the result of many, many years of effort and investments of lives, our country has reaped a partial redemption from racism and sexism. This is a result, not only of big blocks of "stamps" contributed by the Martin Luther King, Jrs., the women of Seneca Falls, the Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincolns of history, but individual or smaller numbers of "stamps" from the selfless and sacrificial acts of millions of ordinary people who sought a more just and loving way of relating to, and living with, the whole human race. All were willing to sacrifice and endure.

Is this the ultimate redemption? No way!

In my local contact with people, I still hear frequent racist jokes and comments, put-downs of women, religious slurs, and complaints about immigrants and other groups of our fellow children of God who may differ slightly from what many may consider the only RIGHT ways. Radio, T.V. and blogs often exacerbate these attitudes. We still have a long way to go and educating to do before we get rid of prejudice, hatred and arrogance. As a clergyperson, I believe that this can be accomplished by studying and truly following Jesus' example; as a former biology teacher, I also think society can be bettered by knowing the true facts about the sameness of all humans, regardless of variations in skin pigment, gender, talents, nationality, economic and social placement, or ways of relating to our Creator. As a member of a minority: pale-skinned Northern European heritage, these changes are essential to future existence.

The most hopeful part of the whole redemption process is that each of us can add "stamps" to the savings books that may eventually lead to the goal of accepting each other, as we are, as persons of worth, worthy of respect and kindness.

Isaiah talks in the 35th Chapter about a "highway called the "Holy Way" upon which "the redeemed shall walk." I believe we have taken just a few short steps on our society's journey up that road, that way of redemption. The hope for the future of our country and our world lies in our following that upward path.

Take a step, save a "stamp," build a better future.

Jeanne Martin lives in Mabel. She can be reached at

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