Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
Rev. Paul H. Knudsen
Pastor Paul's April Message 
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

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Dear Members and Friends,

​In my Christian Living class, we just finished reading the classic short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton. Many of you are probably familiar with the story. An ancient king had a unique way of determining innocence or guilt. A subject accused of a crime would be brought into a large arena. The crowd would gather and the subject had to make a choice between two identical doors. Behind one, was a tiger ready to devour him. Behind the other, was a beautiful maiden who would be given to him in marriage.

The story gets more intense, as the king discovers that his daughter is in love with a non-royal. The young man is immediately arrested and a date is set for his trial in the king’s arena. He will have to choose between the two doors, one will bring certain death, the other will bring a beautiful young maiden to be his wife. In either case, the princess and her lover would not be together.

The princess is able to find out what lies behind each door. She knows what door will bring forth the tiger and what door will bring forth the beautiful maiden. The young man enters the arena and looks up at the princess for a sign. She gives a slight motion to the right. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it. Did the lady come out of that door, or the tiger?

In a brilliant way, the author leaves the ending up to the reader. Is it the lady, or the tiger? I posed this question to my 8th graders. The result: Tiger = 16, Lady = 2. I asked why, and the first response was, “If she couldn’t have him, nobody would!”

“The Lady, or the Tiger?” was written in 1882, but sadly in 2017 negatives such as jealousy, possessiveness and power still damage relationships. Women are in need of orders of protection and support, because their partner proclaims, “If I can’t have her, nobody will.” Our Healing Center exists to assist women who are in danger of abuse or experiencing abuse from a partner or ex-partner.

On April 22nd, over 500 young people will gather for our Healing Center’s 6th Annual NYC Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walkathon. The young people of our community need to know what constitutes a positive loving relationship and what does not. Jealousy, possessiveness, power & control lead to all types of abuse. A positive relationship involves an equal partnership in which there is love and respect in all areas of a couple’s interaction. Our young people need to know the difference between a good relationship and a bad one.

The Healing Center is committed to the prevention and intervention of intimate partner and family violence, abuse and sexual assault, serving people of diverse faiths, cultures and personal experience. Bethlehem Lutheran Church embraces this incredible ministry!