I attended a Bible Study at St. Casper’s Church in Wauseon, Ohio last night. A line from the Beatitudes came up. It was Jesus saying: “Woe to you who are filled now.” I said my take on this is ‘woe’ to us Americans who are ‘filled’ each day with three meals and snacks; or ‘fill’ our homes with central heat and air conditioning; or ‘fill’ our lives with with nice cars, nice furniture, all kinds of entertainment… while some two-thirds of the people in the world live on one meager meal a day, dwell in cobbled together shacks with no electricity, and don’t even have the basics in medicine, clothes… This morning after Mass at St. Casper’s, Fr. Robert Holden told me he thought it was important for people not to just stay in the cloister of small town, or suburban, bubbles; but rather to intimately experience the poor. Apparently, a good number of the people in the town of Ridgeville Corners, Ohio (pop. 400) don’t agree. A pastor at Christ Community Church there offered to retro-fit his church to provide temporary shelter for 50 displaced people from New Orleans. What’s more, the church was going to set up a network of “host families” to help each person in as many ways as possible. But a vocal contingent in town spoke against it at community meetings, and the zoning board wouldn’t ok the church’s building plan. While the idea fell through, what happened in Ridgeville Corners has become a national story (with overtones of prejudice, etc.). We journeyed there today… Christ Community Church member Holly Hershberger (their pastor was away in Biloxi, Mississippi helping hurricane victims this day) said although their idea to use the church as a shelter was voted down, the church was helping coordinate an alternative plan to house some eight (so far) hurricane victims in host family homes around the area. “We are a ministry of common sense,” said Holly. “If people need shelter, food, clothing… we try and find that for them…” Christ Community Church also has a Friday Homeschooling Co-op at their facility and I was asked to give a talk to their high school “God & Politics” class. The issue of abortion came up, and the students offered a series of alternatives: adoption, providing a safety net for women in crisis pregnance, and… abstinence in the first place. Students Arminda Whitlock and Rebecca Font said they regularly talk to junior high school and high school classes throughout the area on the subject of abstinence, including why they personally have chosen this path. Interestingly, the girls said they had just met with their state representative in Columbus who told them there was a bill being considered that would ban the use of the word “marriage” in the public schools (motivated, apparently, by a gay rights agenda, according to the girls). The girls were chagrined, saying in their talks they often recommend youth stay abstinent until: “marriage”… We traveled on to Stryker, Ohio where I talked to an old time resident who explained in 1912 Stryker High School won the State Championship in football. Several years later, a Stryker High School football player died of a head injury on the field. And since then — the school hasn’t had a football program.