Comment Stream

Kristin Schmitt January 22, 2018

What are the some of the best Icebreakers you've heard?

CRC Communications January 22, 2018

Hi everyone.  We've removed a few comments from this thread. I just wanted to remind you all about our Community Guidelines for posting and for commenting. We don't want to censor conversations but we do want to make sure that we are being polite, courteous, and Christ-like in the way we communicate on The Network.  Thank you.

Jay DeBoer January 21, 2018

Hi Jonathan.  Thanks for your reply!

Jay DeBoer January 21, 2018

Thanks Angela!!

Victoria S January 19, 2018

As an introvert with a high need for expression I am an oddball in church.  I thrive on teaching and big groups don't bother me.  Because I am passionate in the pulpit people are disappointed with me in the pew.  I now respond that thank goodness I'm a bit more outgoing in the pulpit.   It took me a long time to stop accepting the criticism with the intent of becoming an extrovert.  When I am on "duty" I am as outgoing as possible.  When I am a parishioner I try to reach out to those who would like a friendly hello but don't want the hug, the small talk and the forced cup of coffee.  I often end up having deeper conversations by not offering these other ways of relating.

Ken Van Dellen January 19, 2018

I'm sorry. It was rude of me not to give you a better reply to your post but I had a little trouble processing it. I understood that the topic being discussed at the meeting in question was merit-based immigration, which the U.S. doesn't now have but reportedly Canada does have. I haven't confirmed that. You may have a better source of information than I have on what happened in the White House, but based on my assumption that the topic under discussion at the meeting being discussed was merit-based immigration, as reported, I interpreted the Haiti-Norway comparison as between developing and developed countries, not between black and white countries, so I didn't see any "blatant racism". I didn't realize that "merit-based" was code for "race-based".

I suppose exposing my ignorance may put me at risk of now being labeled as racist, but I think a look at my Facebook page by anyone interested will demonstrate that my friends are as diverse as the UN.

I hope you read all the way down to the bottom of my previous post that told of my experiences as a volunteer in Kenya. Perhaps you would agree with me on the "brain drain" issue that has the potential of making developing countries intellectually impoverished.

Ken Van Dellen January 19, 2018

This is starting to sound like the stuff one reads in blogs on the Web.

Our president gave a great speech today in support of the March for Life. I'll avoid making a comparison with another country.


Ken Van Dellen January 19, 2018

Easy! Just don't talk about "your country" and "your president".

Note that in my post I attempted to avoid criticizing your country and government. I thought I was quite pleasant.

Have you seen any comments directed at your country or prime minister from our direction?

Michele Gyselinck January 19, 2018

 I'd like to add that according to the MBTI, personality types have both a way of perceiving information, either through Sensing or iNtuition, and a decision-making process, Thinking Judgment or Feeling Judgment.  In half of the types, the dominant process is a information gathering one, and in the other half it's a decision-making one, because most balanced people usually decide how they're going to deal with what they learn.

Michele Gyselinck January 19, 2018

 I agree.  Besides the book Gifts Differing, I read other books that pointed out that the MBTI is really meant to be used as a sort of personality Zip Code (or postal code in Canada).  It gives people an idea of where you're coming from but leaves plenty of room for individuality.  Besides, even if two people have the same type, they won't necessarily have the same scores, so even there their personalities will manifest themselves in different ways.  Wycliffe adopted the MBTI to help them with staff management and conflict resolution because if you know that the person you often clash with does things a certain way because of their type, you're less likely to take their behavior personally, and a multinational organization like Wycliffe NEEDS a system to resolve conflicts in a big way.

One thing I liked a lot about Gifts Differing was the amount of time  and energy she--the author--spent on explaining the theory, a trait that showed she was an Introvert, because even though I read that book some years ago now, I still think I would know where to place the various types on the chart.  

Michele Gyselinck January 19, 2018

  It's not just a question of the word your president used, but of the blatant racism involved in the remark.  Your president actually bragged to his rich friends of having used the word in question before the WH decided they should deny he used it.  So there isn't much doubt about it.  Your president added that your country needed more immigrants from countries like Norway, who don't need to immigrate to the U.S. because their economy is fine and they have single payer health care in Norway along with free education.  

Michele Gyselinck January 19, 2018

 You may not think our commenting on your country's policies is a good idea, but since we're members of the same denomination how would you go about preventing it short of a schism for political reasons?

Michele Gyselinck January 19, 2018

 There is a difference between "calling a spade a spade," as you put it and vulgarity.  African countries are not "sh@thole" countries anymore than the States are.  Africans on average are more educated than Americans.  And if there are African countries where there is a big disparity between rich and poor, this disparity also exists in your country.  Does that make the U.S.A. a sh@thole country?  If not, then why should your president get away with saying that about countries simply because the majority of their inhabitants is dark-skinned?

Staci Devries January 19, 2018

So many good thoughts here, Mavis. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story and what's on your heart. 

I personally have not felt the "stigma" attached to being a Christian until recent years. Probably a result of living in a West Michigan Christian bubble. But recently I have noticed a shift and a need to be vocal and proactive about what being a Christ follower really looks like to me. And it's not perfect. But like you said, it's having a soft heart that is quick to apologize, eager to welcome others, and always learning. 

Thank you for also mentioning pornography and how an issue becomes real when you come up close and personal with it. Though this is not something I have walked through, there are many other issues (such as anxiety and cancer) that have become much more real to me. 

I also appreciate your last comment on not going to church for the simple reason of not wanting to get up and go. I think this can definitely be true but it might be a wake up call to find a new church. For me it was. No church is perfect but I do think it's important to genuinely look forward to going to church (to be fed spiritually, to praise God, to talk to others).  

thanks again for your comment, Mavis. 

Staci Devries January 19, 2018

Thanks to each of you for your comments. Mike is not alone in raising a question about the title of Pastor Mary's talk but after listening to her speak, I understood her intention. Thanks again for engaging. 

Denise Posie January 19, 2018

Hi Jeanette,

Thanks for taking time to give comments.  It was good to meet you last year at our first Women in Leadership gathering!

I appreciate the time and effort of First CRC of Toronto to develop resources to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women. I'm in the process of organizing a planning team to work on the 25th anniversary and these resources will be a good place to start.  They will be helpful.

Also, we now have a Leadership Development Advisory Team that will meet for the first time next week.  This eight member team will help shape our work (vision, mission, values and goals). 

I agree with your suggestions for a good place to start. 

Please join in praying for the advisory and planning teams, Synod 2018 and the work of this office.  I desire more than anything the Spirit's wisdom, guidance and power.  Again, thank you and blessings.



Denise Posie January 19, 2018

In this morning's quiet time, I used Canoeing the Mountain as a resource for prayer. I found this quote on p. 71 and it spoke to my desire, "...remember again that the goal of the expedition was not to build a family - it was to find a route to the Pacific Ocean.  Similarly, the goal of the Christian faith is not simply to become more loving community but to be a community of people who participate in God's mission to heal the world by reestablishing his loving reign on earth as it is in heaven."

I love the emphasis on God's mission and his loving reign!  This is good theology.....let us pray.

Hank Visser January 19, 2018

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lesli..... your points are not limited to the Youth alone, but applicable to us older folks (seniors) as well.

Lambert Sikkema January 18, 2018

Why do we assume our president in fact said this? The reports are unsubstantiated. In fact they are reliably rebuffed by others in the room.  Dick Durbin has been guilty of making stuff up in the past. I find it curious that we assume that a man who has previously been hailed as champion of the black community in our country has suddenly become  a raging racist. He isn't. Im really disappointed that any pastor would take as gospel anything that is reported by partisan politicians. Why aren't we celebrating the lowest unemployment rate of black Americans since records have been kept. I think that's something to wonder about and ask what has precipitated such a development. 

Ken Van Dellen January 18, 2018

No problem, Gerrit. I don't think I said you called the President a racist, but someone did.

We're talking about the same thing. Whether or not Trump said what he is alleged to have said, it is a matter of interpretation if that was racially insensitive. The language on this has evolved. In the past we innocently used "third-world countries", then "developing countries", although more recently the term "hell-hole countries" was used, too. The reference was to countries from which we can't possibly accommodate all who would like to come as refugees and to which we are reluctant to return refugees because of bad conditions, however one might label them.

If the President said something that might be racially insensitive, it seems to me that it would have been a good thing to suggest that he might use a better choice of words in the future even if only white guys are present. That would require no more courage than to think, "I can hardly wait to get out of here and tell the world what this jerk said" and then proceed to go public with an accurate or enhanced version of what was said in private and in the process offend a lot of people who otherwise would not have been offended. This would be another topic for discussion. Is it Christian to offend people and inflict pain on them if that is a side effect of exposing offensive behavior?

Jeanette Romkema January 18, 2018

Thank you for reaching out again. It’s continues to be important for women to feel supported in leadership, the CRC and at Synod. You are helping with this. 

First CRC of Toronto developed a few resources to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women. I will email them to you and anyone else interested. We found them helpful.

As for a few other ideas:

- name goals for increase the stats in the CRC in regards to women in leadership positions and work to making them a reality 

- start planning for our 25th anniversary of the ordination of women

- keep writing on the topic

- continue being more vocal about injustices 

-... and this is just a start. 


Gerrit Denhartog January 18, 2018

Ken, lest their be some misunderstanding, my reference to "racially insensitive" pertained to the President's remarks in last week's White House meeting, not to your contribution to this discussion, a contribution which I appreciate very much.  Please note that I did not call the President a "racist."  That is not my judgment to make, even if there is a well-documented pattern of such remarks.  Ultimately only the Lord knows what is in his heart. 


Ken Van Dellen January 18, 2018

Many times "insensitive" statements are such in the "eye of the beholder". If you look for it you will find it everywhere and will constantly be taking offense. I have been falsely accused of racism, sexism, etc., because in was inarticulate in expressing myself. I operate by the rule that is wrong to intentionally give offense and equally wrong to take offense when none is intended. I am happier and I believe those with whom I have contact are happier because I tend give the other person the benefit of the doubt and don't have a "What did you mean by that?" attitude.

Pardon me if any of my comments to you appear offensive. This is a discussion, dialogue, and debate, and we are presenting different points of view.

Mavis Moon January 18, 2018

Good point. I took your comment as something hurtful and it sounds like you only meant to be satirical.

Ken Van Dellen January 18, 2018

Thank you for your good and kind words.

You are right about the adversarial culture. Too many think we have to hate those with whom we disagree. I have many good friends I don't always agree with, and am married to one.

Denise Posie January 18, 2018

Hi Fronse,

Thanks for taking time to make comments on Kneeling in Prayer.  During our time in prayer we prayed for our churches, communities and denomination as we serve together in reaching the world for Christ.

As a people, we're definitely making an impact in the overall mission of the CRCNA. 

In regards to the ideas you mentioned in the comment section, it will be up to churches and ministries to create space for these discussions and learning opportunities based on their ministry context.   We're fortunate to have several resources available in the CRC and RCA. 

We'll continue to pray for God's guidance and power as we serve in kingdom building.  Thanks again.

posted in : Kneeling in Prayer
Mike Wagenman January 18, 2018

I'm struggling to know how your comment is any different from what you accuse my comment of being. Are you thinking the best about what I wrote, even if it came wrapped in a bit of satire? In fact, I was not looking to criticize. My intention was not to be flippant. I take this question very seriously. But I also find that a bit of irony might help us recognize the unconscious beliefs we have adopted from our scientific culture and have deployed within the church that are actually contrary to what faith is all about. I am attempting to offer the observation that in much of what I hear around the CRCNA lately, this post only being one concrete example of it, we seem to have forgotten that Jesus Christ is our and/or the church's only hope. Period. Full stop. If our Christian hope rests in our ministry gameplans, goals, gimmicks, tactics, metrics, marketing, or anything else like that, we're not putting our hope in Christ but in some humanistic effort that can so easily become manipulative and abusive. Young adults today do not need the added burden (with its guilt and shame) of guaranteeing the future viability of the church. They're having a hard enough time negotiating our rapidly changing culture while still following Jesus. I believe we actually push youth and young adults away from the church and from the Christian faith by placing these kinds of (theologically inappropriate) expectations on them. So, yes, I am joining the discussion precisely by pointing these things out.

Fronse Pellebon Smith January 18, 2018

Your comments are good.

Matthew 7:1-5 teaches us to : “Judge not lest he be judged yourself.”

try as I might, this is not easy when we are living in an adversarial culture.

it is not wise for us to forget Love is Jesus message to us.

our churches must witness this Love in all we do. We can have positive debate about how we can better shine our Light. Our Light shines brightest with Grace.

Mavis Moon January 18, 2018

I thought Pastor Mary’s talk was amazing, too! I listened to it twice now – the second time to refresh my memory before writing a response here.

By the way, I am a “boomer.” CRC for life but grew up in the Air Force where my dad was a chaplain. Attending San Jose CRC where I have been a member for almost 40 years now.

I was struck by Pastor Mary’s statements regarding the Millennials’ reluctance to take on the label of “Christian” because of its association with other words such as racist, anti-immigrant, and so on. I remember having similar feelings when so-called Christians were bombing abortion clinics and killing the doctors and staff who worked there. Back then if I said I was Christian I would sometimes qualify it with “not the abortion clinic-bombing kind.”

I think nearly all of us have to work through the reluctance we feel in some social circles to openly say we are Christians. It took me many years to finally go ahead and say things like “…a woman from church said or did x” or any other reference to the fact I actually went to church. Often, I was also reluctant because I knew I wouldn’t measure up to the “perfect Christian” I thought I should be if people were going to know I was Christian. For me, what helped was to get older and become less and less concerned with what other people thought, plus I hoped that ultimately, even though I would blow it over and over – NOT be that perfect Christian – I would at least do things like admit and apologize when I was wrong, and show people that I loved and cared for them. The association with negativity is heightened now, but there’s always been baggage that goes with that label. I’d be curious what your thoughts are on this.

Kind of along similar lines, I have been thinking a lot about her discussion of the culture of tolerance, of “You do you,” and loneliness. I’ve been thinking about how I can do more things like ask people for coffee. I like having people over for dinner; I could do more of that. I’ll keep thinking about that, and, again, I’d love to hear your ideas.

Pastor Mary’s reference to pornography really struck home, too. I’ve been closely involved in a situation where pornography was at the root. It’s something I really hadn’t thought about before then, and now think about often. I wrote down the things Mary said to read. Does the subject of pornography touch you and millennials or others that you know? One thing that strikes me is what a different perception there is about it in a sort of abstract way versus when it has a real, serious effect on life, ourselves, and our loved ones.

It was good to hear her discussion of preaching and mention that music was at the bottom of the list of reasons people go to church. Music was a big deal a few years back in our church, and I’ve been on our worship team for years. I plan to talk to our church leaders about evaluating the preaching in our church, the faith questions Mary brought up, and I downloaded her interview questions.

This is something Pastor Mary did not talk about, but here’s something that is kind of cynical and comes up in my mind a lot when we’re talking about millennials or others coming to church. I’m pretty convinced that many people would not come to church no matter how great the preaching, how welcoming the people, whatever we did – because they just don’t want to get up and go to it. They don’t want to subtract the time from their precious weekend hours, and/or they don’t want to have to set an alarm, and/or other practical reasons having nothing to do with what may or may not be happening in a church service. And don’t get me wrong – it’s true for me, too! Now that we’re empty-nesters we love taking day trips and spending our weekend hours elsewhere! Any thoughts?

Well, this response has gotten very long – and I could go on. Love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Mavis Moon January 18, 2018

I think it would be good if we all tried to think the best of each other and what they write or say, rather than look for things to criticize. I'm not saying I am always perfect at this myself, but Staci is asking sincere questions, wanting to share what she gained from Pastor Mary's talk, and hear and discuss what others have made. I hope we can all join her in that discussion, in the spirit in which her invitation was given.

Amy Schenkel January 18, 2018


Thanks for taking the time to share about this ministry opportunity with this audience.  I've heard of other organized initiatives to be a 'ministry of presence' in a particular neighborhood, like Move In, but this is my first time hearing about the Community of Celebration.

You make a good point- that being present isn't just about being present in our neighborhoods with the human beings there---it is also about recognizing God's presence in that place.  And, as we have one ear to our neighbor, we have one ear to the Holy Spirit and the nudgings we are given.  May we learn to hear that voice, and to discern it from our own, so that we do take advantage of the moments we are given to share God's truth of the gospel!

posted in : Not So Fast...
Amy Schenkel January 18, 2018

Thanks for this story, Mary!

I think we can all learn a lot from children about not letting inhibitions get in the way of simply being present with the community around us.  I'm sure your daughter's greetings brought joy to the lives of those she passed- oh, that we could say the same for each of us!

posted in : Not So Fast...
Gerrit Denhartog January 17, 2018

Thank God for the many "Christlike acts" of financial contributions for services to the people of Haiti, such as you describe.  Many private citizens have done so, and continue to do so, for years after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake.  I don't think that financial contributions and supportive public policy statements are mutually exclusive, do you?  It is hard for me to believe that it would be "Christlike" to make racially insensitive statements after making  "Christlike" contributions of money -- and not just vis-a-vis Haiti. Speaking of "action,"  I submit that it takes a bold, courageous ACT to speak truth to power, and such ACTIONS may be louder than Christlike money followed by silence.

Ken Van Dellen January 17, 2018

I thought I should focus on the title topic, not the entire Trump presidency. Both supporters and detractors think many of the Tweets and remarks are disconcerting and unhelpful. However, it was the alleged statement in the title that was used as a basis for a charge of racism.

These days, that serious accusation is frequently used to label people who other people don't like , and I think actions speak louder than words. I think that what a person does is a better indication of a person's standards than that person's words or a detractor's interpretation of them. If we think we need to judge someone, this seems to be a Christian approach. Instead of a list of Trump's Tweets, there should be a list of racist actions, if that's the issue, or actions of the opposite type.


After the recent charges of racism, Sen. Rand Paul issued a statement reporting that Private Citizen Trump had provided major financial backing for medical mission trips to Haiti where ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Paul and his team performed eye surgery on hundreds of Haitians. If providing that financial support was racism we need more racists. It's a Christlike act in my view.

Of course, lurking behind the latest fuss is concern over merit-based immigration and I'd like to make a comment on that. I'm not comfortable with full-blown merit-based immigration. We obviously can't admit everyone who wants to immigrate, and I think it wouldn't be wrong to establish limits or proportions for different skill categories of immigrants. I did not say racial categories. What concerns me, though, is brain drain, and that seems to differ from the views of the president.

I spent a stretch as a volunteer visiting lecturer at Daystar University in Kenya, and several students asked me if I could help them get a visa for America. My standard reply was that I was there to help educate the future leaders of Kenya. I pointed out that if everyone who wanted to live in America were to immigrate, America would be in worse shape than any country in the world. In the same vein, I think it would be wrong to pull away the best educated individuals from countries that need them.

Worship Ministries January 17, 2018

Hi Kristina, thanks for your comment here. We do apologize for the big volume changes in this webinar on youth and worship with Dr. Eric Mathis. We aren't sure why this problem was so pronounced in this recording. The other webinars that we've done have some small variations in volume, but not like this one. Please accept our apology. We are continuing to strive to improve the volume and quality of the webinars. 

Kristina Riewaldt January 17, 2018

I am so grateful to listen and learn from these webinars. During the Q&A section, it can be very difficult to listen because the host’s voice is very loud and the featured speaker is much softer in comparison. Hoping this comment is helpful to improve the sound balance so it doesn’t hurt the listeners’ ears!


Thanks for all the work and prep that goes into these webinars!

First CRC Office January 17, 2018

I use MailChimp to send out information to our church friends, as well as Outlook for those folks who aren't interested in opting in to MailChimp.  MailChimp is free on a basic level, and we have found it useful. It allows for some creativity in addition to plain text message.

Disability Concerns January 17, 2018

Thanks Worship Ministries and Bryan for the good advice.

Bryan, what do you do to "be as interactive as possible"?

Bryan Haley January 17, 2018

Hey Mark, great question. Church Juice is starting to do regular webinars on a monthly basis. Today is going to be our second one yet, so we're still learning and evaluating software, effectiveness, etc. So far, we've used, which is pretty basic, easy-to-use, and cost-effective software.

We have already found that finding the length is important, so that you keep people engaged and don't lose them, but long enough to feel like the webinar is valuable and worth their time investment. For us, the sweet spot seems to be about 40 minutes, including time for questions and answers. Another piece to that is to be as interactive as possible, which helps keep people engaged.

Michele Morin January 17, 2018

This is a really good point, Michele. (How amazing that we are both one "L" Micheles!)

Because we are fearfully and wonderfully made, very few of us can be measured well with a purely binary system. When I took the MBTI the first time, I was an ENTJ, but the E was my lowest score and, sure enough, the next time I took it, I was an INTJ. I have a feeling that the I and the E are a coin toss for me, depending on my people saturation level on the day of the test.

Cynthia Tobias wrote about a different system (can't recall the name right now) that differentiates between the manner in which we express information and the way we prefer to receive it.

I guess we would both agree that it is helpful to know as much as we can about peoples' preferences and personalities, but only so that we can be growing and operating out of a healthy place -- not so that we can put ourselves and others in boxes!

Thanks for taking time to comment. 

Gerrit Denhartog January 17, 2018

Has anyone in the CRC, in The Banner or other Christian publication published an exposition of "The New Normal" since the advent of Donald J. Trump in the public arena?  Our president has been applauded for his disdain of "political correctness," but what has he substituted?  A "New Political Correctness" a la Trump?  How can the serious Christian navigate these murky waters?  I recall the mantra of the Viet Nam era: "Our country, right or wrong!" and "Our president, right or wrong!"  Will it take another Pentagon Papers, another Kent State massacre, and another Watergate to shake us into a new awareness?

Gerrit Denhartog January 17, 2018

We do not have to rely on "alleged"  comments made in closed meetings, where there is no audio or video record of transactions.  In the case of President Trump, we have ample record of statements made to detect certain patterns. There is a complete history of tweets in the Trump Twitter Archive.  There are also video clips (and printed transcripts) of public statements made in various venues.  These often contradict claims made, which makes me wonder why he even bothers to assert "I never said that," when the record shows otherwise.  Presidential historians will have a field day with this documentation.  Christians have many opportunities for an honest assessment, i.e. one not clouded by partisan or tribal biases or by the temptation to limit the assessment to reductionist "derogatory labels."  What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a discussion of what criteria Christians should use.


Ken Van Dellen January 17, 2018

Are they afraid of being sent back because Haiti isn't such a nice place? Hmmm.

My wife and I like Canada, and we wave at you when we drive along Lakeshore Drive in our community and see Canada across Lake St. Clair. We also think it's cool to see another country, yours, when we enjoy Detroit's beautiful Riverwalk and look south to the parks of Windsor, Ontario, along the Detroit River. I even like to hear your trains honking when I'm dropping off to sleep.

I have to say, though, that I don't think it's a good idea for residents of our two countries to be commenting on the policies of the other country, as has happened recently here and in The Banner. Such remarks are likely to be based on insufficient information.

You folks may have nicer immigration policies than we have, but I don't know that. I still have sad memories of a border incident for which there may have been a sound basis, but was disappointing for me. I was the leader of a one-day field trip with two motor coaches of college students, and was forced to go back to the U.S. with one of the buses (toll each way and at least an hour lost out of our trip) to return a student who was not allowed in because he was from Poland. He was a good student and a nice young man, and I had to drop him at a shopping center to wait for transportation back home. Yes, he should have known he needed a visa, but at that time, a few decades ago, the border was virtually invisible. (I learned that at the time Canada required visa applicants to submit various numbers of photos, some needed only one but others, such as from the Middle East, needed five.) There may have been a good reason for these policies. It would be unfair to judge with only this much information, but I wondered, and still do, what the problem was with Poland.

Worship Ministries January 17, 2018

We've done webinars using the Zoom conferencing.  We've found Zoom to be quite reliable and easy to work with. One of the best pieces of advice I have is to do a practice webinar at least one day before. This allows you to work with the technology, test power point or other presentation if it's being used, and check for things like lighting in the room, background, sound, etc.

Ken Van Dellen January 17, 2018

This article begins, "I was shocked when I read reports about Trump’s alleged question posed at a recent meeting in the Oval Office..." Now I'm shocked that Network would publish an article with a title like "Do Trump’s "BLEEP" Remarks Represent American Values?", with that title, even, and wonder if we should ask if the article represents Christian values.

I think it's deplorable to begin with a sentence that cites an "alleged question" and then go on with an article based on what was alleged as if the alleged quotation had been documented. Many of our political leaders use language that most CRC members, or other Christians, would not use, at least not in public, and it's possible that President Trump used this language in a private meeting, but we have no video or audio recording of the purported incident (unlike when another president remarked that his detractors "cling to their guns and Bibles", and it was caught on an audio recording).

Anyone who follows politics at all must have noticed that many politicians, but not all, are less than honest in reporting the position of their opponents on issues. Distortions, half-truths, and misrepresentations regarding opponents are common in politics. Do we look at what someone actually said or what a political opponent reports that the person said? There seems to be plenty of room for false witness issues here.

Then we get into labeling and name-calling based on our interpretation of what someone said or allegedly said. Individuals are smeared as racist, sexist, or something else negative because of a particular statement or act, but when we examine the person's record we find that label simply doesn't fit. I'm talking here just about President Trump. I'm talking about myself and others I know. I tend to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

I've remarked that it would be great if politicians would reevaluate their standards. My guy should not just expect the other guy to operate with the standards of my guy, but my guy should hold himself or herself to the standards to which he or she holds the other guy. That would be a higher bar. This would work for non-politicians, too.

So many questions. Did the President say this or something like it? If so, what did he mean by it? Does that mean he deserves a derogatory label of some kind? How should a Christian judge him? Should we cast the first stone?

Lori Ray January 17, 2018

Thanks Kristin.  This is my heart for Coffee Break.  These are some very practical ways to integrate the focus on transformation into our weekly gatherings.  

Staci Devries January 17, 2018

Bryan, any chance this webinar will be available as a recording after it takes place? Noticed it was full (good sign). 

Gerrit Denhartog January 16, 2018

There seems to be much confusion regarding the meeting in question.  The latest news is that two Senators and a cabinet secretary now say that the president did not say what was originally reported by one of their colleagues.  This is a reversal from their earlier statement that they "could not recall."  Suddenly their memories are in line with the president's.  Has a miracle occurred, giving them simultaneously a sudden bolt of memory?   The meeting was held in the cabinet room and not open to the public; however,  they were conducting the public's business.  The meeting was not secret and did not involve classified information.  The writer apparently knows what is in the person's heart when she writes about one of the senators that he "hates the President and all that he stands for."   Maybe we can agree that it is business as usual in a toxic environment (?)  Many of us yearn for leadership which will take us out of the swamp of toxicity rather than contributing to it.