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Carolyn Moe

February 1, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

Build Community with Three Simple Rules

In my December reflection, I referenced a small book called, Three Simple Rules by Bishop Rueben P. Job.* After attending the open forum meeting of the GR School Board last Wednesday, my thoughts were brought back to this simple, but not easy, way of interacting with each other. As sometimes is the case we don't think of the point we want to make at an important time such as that until we are back home again. That being said, I'd like you to please consider these points carefully and prayerfully.

I first would like to thank and commend the school board for recognizing the difficult situation that we, along with many schools in the state, find ourselves. They have taken on the difficult task to meet this challenge face-on. They have done much research and deliberation considering the possible ways to solve the dilemma of too little support from our state government and too few students to meet the bottom line of the budget. Yes, they are attempting their very best to "do good" with the outcome providing a continued quality education for the students in the Gladbrook Reinbeck school district.

In his book, Bishop Job is referencing the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, who first spoke passionately about these three simple rules. And yes, the second rule is "Do Good." Here is how it is described, "This way of living will require a careful and continual assessment of my life and the world in which I live." For now I am committing myself to seeking good for everyone in my world and everyone in God's world. Even those little offenses, like cutting in ahead of me in traffic, to the large offenses such as considering me less than a child of God, can never move me outside the circle of goodness that flows from God to me and through me to the world. Every act and every word must pass through the love and will of God and there be measured to discover if its purpose does indeed bring good and goodness to all it touches.

This is a very large task, but begins to show others the admonition from Colossians 3:12 - "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience."

BUT WAIT. If this is the second rule, what is the first rule? Shouldn't we start at the beginning?

Bishop Job states, "The first simple rule is "Do no harm." It is not that complicated. Even a child can understand what it means, and it is applicable to everyone at every stage of life. And when practiced, it works wonders in transforming the world around us. Most of us have observed and experienced the struggle to resolve complex and difficult issues. I have found that when this first simple rule was remembered, it often saved me from uttering a wrong word or considering a wrong response.

He continues, "Each of us knows of groups that are locked in conflict, sometimes over profound issues and sometimes over issues that are just plain silly. But the conflict is real, the divisions deep, and the consequences can often be devastating. If, however, all who are involved can agree to do no harm, the climate in which the conflict is going on is immediately changed. How is it changed? Well, if I am to do no harm, I can no longer gossip about the conflict. I can no longer speak disparagingly about those involved in the conflict. I can no longer manipulate the facts of the conflict. I can no longer diminish those who do not agree with me and must honor each as a child of God it is not an easy rule; and it does demand a radical trust in God's presence, power, wisdom and guidance and a radical obedience to God's leadership. Practicing our faith in the world requires our deepest resolve, our greatest faith, our unwavering trust, and a very, very large measure of God's grace."

NOW WHAT? I know from having been a teacher and simply a citizen of this country that we have moved far away from overtly letting Christian values influence political decisions. However, individually, we are still called to live our lives according to the values lodged deepest in our lives, our hearts and our spirit. If we claim our future inheritance in God's kingdom by the precious sacrifice of his son, Jesus, our lives cannot be divided. Our words, motives and actions must reflect Jesus example by these simple rules: One - Do no harm; two - Do good; and three - Stay in love with God.

My prayer is that each of you will claim those three simple rules as we work to continue to be a community together. *Bishop Job was bishop of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church

Carolyn Moe

Gladbrook, Iowa



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