Pacific Union “All God’s People,” June 8, 2018 Episode 203


Some excellent examples of how visual media can illuminate the world around us were on display this last week in the 16th Annual Diogenes Film Festival, hosted at the Cameo Cinema in Saint Helena, California. As a showcase for student work, the festival was a lively example of how young filmmakers, with a spirit of inquiry, are quite capable of creating provocative short films that provide insight into contemporary life.

Students from Pacific Union College who participate must demonstrate their talent and skills in diverse and emotionally rich ways.

Sarah Martinez’s thesis film “Charlie” follows a creative young girl struggling to care for her disabled parents while yearning for the simple joys of being a child.

Gabriela Talavera’s film, “The Land Bleeds Still,” is a documentary about the filmmaker’s discovery of how her own family history, and how the decades of armed conflict in El Salvador shaped the lives of her family, especially those of her mother and grandmother—and how it is now impacting her own life.

Pacific Union College is committed to helping young people like these find ways to discover and express their perspectives and beliefs—and to create an environment where their talents can be nurtured and developed. We are so proud of what they are doing, and the productive and effective storytellers that they are becoming.

Follow the Diogenes Film Festival at:

Learn more about the PUC Visual Arts Program at:

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In cities around the Pacific Union, young people are getting ready for a 10-week, mission-based experience with the potential to change lives. This summer, Youth Rush will engage 290 students in Literature Ministries in 25 locations across the Pacific Union. Starting this next week, these young people, ages 16-25, will start working in many of our communities with a single mission and purpose: to help bring health, healing, and hope to people through life-changing resources and effective personal interaction. We are praying for this ministry—and for the opportunities for sharing faith and the deepening of their own faith—that this ministry affords these young people.

Youth Rush Cities for Summer 2018:

Phoenix, AZ, San Marcos, San Diego, Hawthorne, San Fernando Valley, W. Covina, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Ana, Bakersfield, Merced, Modesto, Visalia, Salinas, Santa Maria, San Jose, Antioch, Sacramento, Meadow Vista , Cedar City, UT, Salt Lake City, UT, South Lake Tahoe, NV, Susanville, CA, Reno, NV, Las Vegas, NV

Learn more about Youth Rush in:


Central California

Southern California

Southeastern California

Nevada and Utah

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The Apostle Paul noted the great diversity of life, and reminded those to whom he was speaking that God gives everyone life and breadth, across all of history and in every situation. Then he said,

“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’”—Acts 17:27-28, NIV

2019-04-30T20:25:56-07:00June 8th, 2018|All Gods People|

The Ox in the Ditch

By Ray Tetz

My father was a math teacher who was equally capable of teaching the concrete principles of arithmetic and the abstract principles of algebra. When the phone rang on a Sabbath morning, we were already dressed and ready for church and slowly assembling in the car. Maybe I was 11; I don’t really remember. What I do remember is my dad answering the phone and then, after a minute or so, hanging it up and saying, “Well, the ox is in the ditch. Guess I’m not going to church.”

As he started to take off his tie, he looked at my brother and me and said, “You boys wanna go with me?”

He was not given to long explanations; it would have been pointless to ask him what it was that he was about to do. All we knew was that it involved an ox in a ditch, that it wouldn’t require Sabbath clothes, and that he was inviting us to skip church. We found all three factors inviting.

It took only a jiffy to change out of our good clothes and into our work clothes, load into his old VW bus, and head off to see the ox in the ditch.

What we found was a basement filling up with water from a broken pipe that had yet to be discovered and capped. The elderly woman who owned the place was standing in the driveway in her housecoat and slippers. She had been awakened by the sound of water in her cellar, and when she couldn’t find the source—and with the water climbing up around her ankles—she came upstairs, closed the cellar door behind her, and called Charles. My dad.

For the next several hours, my brother and I hauled buckets of water up the stairs and dumped them out onto the yard, while my dad found the pipe, got it capped (I have no idea how), and then proceeded to sweep up the mess on the floor of the basement.

For a while it was fun, and then it was just drudgery, and then we got hungry and tired. But eventually, when it was all done, a lot of nice things were said, and even though we were all really muddy and dirty, it didn’t matter, and it was something to be proud of, and the poor old lady looked so relieved and kept hugging us and giving us more Kool-Aid and, well, it was just about perfect. I still remember it.

On the way back to our house, from the backseat, I had to ask, “What about the ox, Dad?”

He looked a little surprised and then, laughing a bit, explained that it was a saying that comes from the Bible (Luke 14:5). “It means that someone is in trouble—as if their ox has fallen into a ditch and has to be pulled out,” he told us. “We say it when we mean that someone needs our help and there’s no choice but to go help them—even if it is Sabbath.”

He paused and added, “It’s a symbol, like in math.” Not wanting yet another unprompted conversation about math, I let it go.

The answer was not entirely satisfactory, but it was the only one I got, so I had to think about it. And I did get to skip church.

That was the day that I learned that somehow my family (including me) was a part of a group that people could call when they were in trouble. Even if you had to skip something important like church, you would have to help them. And they would do the same in return. When whatever it was that was wrong had been taken care of, there would be lots of smiling and hugging and maybe a treat and everything would be fine even if you were totally covered in slime and had to take a bath on Sabbath in the middle of the day.

It turns out that I’m a part of a community that loves me and is somehow here to help me out, but at the same time expects me to do the same for everybody else. And overall, it’s not a bad deal, not at all. There are a lot of ways in which the ox can fall into the ditch in this world and in this church. And lots of people like my dad willing to take off his tie and help pull that ox out. I haven’t forgotten.

Ray Tetz is the director of communication and community engagement for the Pacific Union Conference.

2018-06-01T17:49:01-07:00June 1st, 2018|Blog|