By Melissa Wuske
Turkish Christian Kept from His Daughter
Byram is a Christian who grew up as a Muslim in Turkey. Now, as a result of his faith, his wife won’t allow him to see their daughter.
Byram came to faith as a student in the United States. On a visit back to Turkey with his wife and daughter, he told his family about his faith in Christ. His parents sent him to a mental institution, which later released him saying he was of sound mind, and his wife refused to come back to the United States with him. After years of trying to reconcile the relationship with his wife, he’s still denied access to his daughter. The courts gave him custody every other weekend, but his wife often refuses the visits, and her family members have physically assaulted Byram several times.
Still, Byram is faithful to Christ, ministering to many people in Turkey, and has not given up on restoring his relationship with his daughter.
Financial Motivations Matter
A study by Barna Research and Thrivent Financial found that Christians’ financial goals make a difference in their giving behavior and attitudes. The study divided motivations into two categories: Givers (those with goals like “provide for my family” and “give charitably”) and Keepers (those with goals like “support the lifestyle I want” and “be content”). Respondents’ behavior and attitudes followed logical patterns based on their main goal.
“That motivations are of ultimate importance is no surprise,” said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group. “Why, then, do church leaders sometimes make them of secondary importance when it comes to generosity? So often we focus our efforts on cultivating generous habits rather than on making generous disciples.
“The place to start, I think, is with a holistic assessment of generosity in your church,” Kinnaman said. “How do you communicate about what it is and the many ways to do it? Does your community celebrate those who volunteer and those who practice hospitality? Do you hear from people who are generous in different ways, and offer opportunities for generosity in various shapes and sizes (not just the offering plate)?”
Release for Man Imprisoned for Decades Without Conviction
Jerry Hartfield, a black intellectually disabled man, was sentenced to death for the murder and sexual assault of a white woman in 1976, based on a confession the police coerced him to make. In 1980, the conviction was overturned. While Hartfield remained in prison without a conviction, his case worked its way through numerous courts. Finally, after 35 years of waiting, Hartfield was released.
According to Equal Justice Initiative, “This case demonstrates how racial bias, prosecutorial misconduct, and the failure to provide adequate counsel to poor defendants undermine the reliability of convictions in capital cases, and exemplifies a systemic indifference to wrongfully imprisoning an African American man for four decades that is a legacy of our nation’s history of racial injustice.”
In reflecting on his imprisonment and release, Hartfield said, “I am not bitter. I am not angry. [The prosecutors] were only doing their jobs, and I respect them for that. It is a blessing that God placed [the attorneys and advocates who helped win my release] in my life. I am just overwhelmed.”
It Pays to Be Polite
Austin Simms, owner of Cups Coffee and Tea in Roanoke, Virginia, has a new pricing structure for beverages at his shop. Ordering “a small coffee” costs $5, but patrons get a discount for manners: “a small coffee please” is $3, and “Hello, one small coffee please” is $1.75. His aim is to help people connect and “realize we’re all people behind the counter.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).