The letters to the editor concerning the column by Rev. Koonz miss the main point. The main point is what Jesus didn't say.
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus emphasized the importance of helping those in need. In verse 40 he says, "And the king will say, ‘I assure you, when you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it unto me.'"
Notice that Jesus was referring to the need for his followers to help the needy. There is no record of him saying it is the government's job or that the government should take from the rich and give to the needy.
Unfortunately, except for a few organizations such as the Salvation Army and rescue missions, the church largely forgot this part of the gospel message. Needy people tend to be invisible and are easily ignored: The "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome.
With diminishing government funds churches have the opportunity to pick up the slack. In Walla Walla there are two primary survival needs: Food and shelter. It is time the church organizations in this town eschew denominational rivalries and work together to help the needy.
We have an excellent food bank program in town. Several churches donate directly to the Food Pantry at the First Presbyterian Church. A few others donate to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Distribution Center. The BMAC Food Distribution Center distributes locally donated food to the three food banks in town: Food Pantry, Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul.
Each family needing food can obtain food from a food bank every 10 days. If each family of each church in town donated one item of food each week the food needs in Walla Walla could be satisfied.
Shelter is more difficult to provide. Some housing is provided. The Christian Aid Center has a few houses for people to live in. Here is a place for a church to start: Adopt one of the houses at the Christian Aid Center. Amazing Grace Nazarene has done this; it has been a huge blessing to their members.
Christian Aid Center also has plans for a 14-unit facility that is sitting on the shelf for lack of funds to build and manage. This is where the churches in the Walla Walla Valley could unite as one church and raise money to build and manage this facility.
Victor R. Phillips