Blog
162 views
3 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Immigration Preaching Challenge Finalists

The CRC is blessed with immigrant pastors and members who stand strong and speak up for more welcoming attitudes. Read sermons from the finalists of the Immigration Preaching Challenge!

PastorsBiblical Justice
Devotional
139 views
4 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Sign Up for 2015 Advent Devotions

Starting November 30, World Renew and the CRC Office of Social Justice will share a daily devotional series for Advent 2015 called Displacement and Belonging. 

Biblical Justice
Blog
293 views
3 shares
0 rating
3 comments

COP 21: A Crash Course

In a few weeks, the nations of the world will gather in Paris to try and reach a global agreement in response to the challenge of climate change. How do we, as Christians, engage in this process?

Biblical Justice
Webinar Recording
356 views
1 share
0 rating
0 comments

Oops: Stop Accidentally Offending People

In this interactive webinar, four panelists give their Top 5 Lists, from four different perspectives, for becoming more hospitable and loving in a diverse world.

Disability ConcernsRacial ReconciliationBiblical Justice
Type Not Listed
41 views
0 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Questions for Candidates - A Resource for Civic Action

These questions are a resource for people who want to question U.S. candidates for federal, state, and local office about their positions on issues that affect people with disabilities. 

Disability ConcernsBiblical Justice
Article
743 views
3 shares
0 rating
5 comments

Pro-Life Series: Physician-Assisted Suicide

Compassion for suffering, protection of vulnerable people, and celebration and affirmation of life are three reasons why I am pro-life and oppose assisted suicide.

Disability ConcernsBiblical Justice
Blog
355 views
6 shares
0 rating
3 comments

Pro-Life Series: I Was Proven Wrong

Two weeks ago, I think there was a celebration in heaven. Even though Manhattan was awash in black SUVs, there seemed to be an awareness that something very hopeful was happening. 

Biblical Justice
Blog
232 views
28 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Pro-Love and People With Disabilities

Fear of the unknown and the grief that our child might not be “normal” gripped us. But through it all, we relied on God’s strength and grace to carry us through our fears and grief. 

Disability ConcernsBiblical Justice
Blog
339 views
38 shares
0 rating
13 comments

Change the Conversation About Immigrants in the U.S.

Even though immigrants bring a wealth of cultural and economic growth to the U.S., mainstream culture frequently describes them as a burden. It's time to unlearn this thinking...

Biblical Justice
Blog
143 views
3 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Tragic Times

In the face of ongoing tragedies and suffering, we feel uncomfortable with our own prayers. My prayer and the massive reality of pain. Must I feel embarrassed for my well-being? 

PrayerBiblical Justice
Discussion Topic
165 views
0 shares
0 rating
2 comments

A Coptic Christian's Comments on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Raymond Ibrahim, a Coptic Christian whose book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians details the sufferings of Christians living as minorities in Muslim countries, posted a provocative blog piece entitled "Why Western Nations Should Only Accept Christian Refugees." You can read the blog here . He finishes his piece with this conclusion... Since January 2015, the U.S. has granted asylum to approximately six Muslims for every Christian it takes in. The reason for this is simple: for the progressive mindset—which dominates Western governments, media, and academia—taking in...
Muslim MinistryBiblical Justice
Blog
313 views
7 shares
0 rating
1 comment

What Being Pro-Life Means to Me

She explained to me that his family is really involved in his church. They go to a small, church from a conservative denomination called the CRC. “Have you heard of it?” she asked. 

Biblical Justice
Blog
286 views
3 shares
0 rating
5 comments

Our Reformed Engagement in Ethical Business Practices

Christian ethics in business is a fertile field which needs far greater engagement by Christian churches, organizations, societies, individual Christians, and Reformed ethicists.

Biblical Justice
Survey or Questionnaire
100 views
1 share
0 rating
0 comments

Predatory Lending Survey

We want to hear from you: how does predatory lending impact your community and individuals you have served? What would you like to know, and learn, about predatory lending? 

Biblical Justice
Blog
289 views
35 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Preaching Challenge: Immigration

Have you ever talked about immigration from the pulpit? The Office of Social Justice invites you to participate in the Immigration Preaching Challenge as a way to respond to God's call to be truth tellers.

PastorsBiblical Justice
Book or eBook
842 views
45 shares
0 rating
1 comment

Justice Books to Read in 2015

Do you have plans for how to stay alert to injustice in 2015? Here are 10 books we recommend to raise your awareness about certain justice issues and to empower you to act.

Biblical Justice
Story or Testimony
170 views
1 share
0 rating
0 comments

Middle East Christianity - True Story

The poem below, written in the last couple of days, comes rooted in reality, and is a means to help me continue to pray into the pain of persecuted Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.

Muslim MinistryBiblical Justice
Blog
171 views
0 shares
0 rating
0 comments

10 Popular Articles for CRC Justice-Seekers in 2014

Do Justice, the joint blog of the Centre for Public Dialogue and the Office of Social Justice, has been around for a year and a half! You can see the most popular articles of the year here.

Biblical Justice
Story or Testimony
229 views
26 shares
0 rating
2 comments

Listening to Marginalized Voices Challenge

In life and in death, Jesus hung out with those on the margins of society. In fact, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, he says that He Himself is at the margins. As His hands and feet, are we listening to people at the margins?

Biblical Justice
Discussion Topic
88 views
0 shares
0 rating
0 comments

The Core Mission of the Church? Whole, half or non-Gospel considerations

On October 1st, Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC posted and article entitled "Social Justice and the Gospel: What is the Core Mission of the Church?" Here is the link: http://michaeljkruger.com/social-justice-and-the-gospel-what-is-the-core... He cited his own musing, his discussions with his students, as well as interactions with the likes of Don Carson who said: Some studies have shown that Christians spend about five times more mission dollars on issues related to poverty...
Global MissionBiblical JusticeYouth Ministry
Discussion Topic
13 views
0 shares
0 rating
0 comments

Immigration Dilemma

Around 250 Salvadorans leave the country every day. There are no exact numbers because migrating continues being something “clandestine, invisible” from the authorities. It doesn’t matter in what conditions youth live, they want to leave.

Biblical Justice
Discussion Topic
283 views
1 share
0 rating
4 comments

What About Justice?

What are, should or could deacons be doing about injustice? What resources are available to help deacons carry out this aspect of their Charge?

DeaconsBiblical Justice

Pages

RSS

Would anyone be willing to offer a definition of "social justice?"  In order words, what is that as opposed to "justice?"  Or approaching it from the other side, what within the definition of "justice" is other than "social justice?"

This is a fashionable phrase these days but I frankly don't have working definition for it.  I honestly don't understand exactly what someone means when they say "social justice".

posted in: Political Diversity

Kris: It would seem that the b-ver post you replie to is no longer here, but I suspect b-ver was suggesting pastors/churches should not take political positions.

If I'm accurate about that, I would agree with what b-ver indicated, and I can understand why you would ask whether preacher would then be able to make applications in their sermons.

Sure they can, but there would be lines.  Indeed, I would suggest I've seen my pastors over the years do a pretty good job of drawing those lines and staying on the appropriate side.

So, for example, if it comes to abortion, the pastor would be appropriate to lament and condemn the taking of innocent life that abortion represents.  But if there was pending legislation on the matter, the sermon should not take a position on that.  Certainly, it will seem obvious to everyone in the room, at least in some cases, what position the pastor might take, but people would be surprised how complex legislation can get, even when it seems simple.  I'm on the "practicing law" side of legislation and I can't tell you how often I shake my head, thinking that the language of this or that statute was passed by the enthusiasm of folks who had a great hearts but really didn't know as much as was required to competently evaluate actual legislation.

Abortion presents a relatively simple application.  I would suggest "Social Justice" becomes much more complicated, but a similar analysis would still be appropriate.  Pastors may (and should ) admonish congregants to 'do justice, have mercy and walk humbly with God' (my favorite verse for over 30 years, BTW).  But if the pastor starts to favor or disfavor certain broadly described political/economic systems (eg., "free market" versus more "government regulated"), or specific legislation that has regulatory effect, he/she is really out on a competency limb, and is clearly wandering outside the traditional Kuyperian sphere of the church. 

Yes of course, there are fine lines here, sometimes hard to see precisely, but there are lines, and the CRC historical tradition is pretty rich in providing wisdom in defining those lines.  Ignoring those lines tends toward a Roman Catholic model, which historically created no such boundaries.

posted in: Political Diversity

To answer the question, "Are the Office of Social Justice, the Synod of the CRC, and other official organs of the CRCNA - whether intentionally or not - attempting to define Christianity in a way that excludes conservative political and economic views," yes of course, but that simple answer demands explanation.

The CRC has been and is a member of WARC (World Alliance of Reformed Churches), which together with REC (Reformed Ecumenical Council) has now become WCRC (World Communion of Reformed Churches).

WCRC, and previously, WARC, have adopted the Accra Confession.  CRC representatives have spoken favorably about the CRC (as reported by CRC News Releases).

In turn, the Accra Confession condemns what it calls "neo-liberal economics."  If you review the Accra Confession (get it from http://www.warc.ch/documents/ACCRA_Pamphlet.pdf), you will find that by that reference, the Accra intends to condemn what we all know better as "market driven economics," or "free market economics."  "Market driven economics" is a necessary corollary of what we know as "political freedom."  You cannot, by definition, have political freedom without having economic freedom.

The United States was, historically speaking, a grand experiment in human history, one rooted in the historic Protestant Reformation, the result of which was more political/economic freedom than the world has ever seen.  This was called "liberalism" back in the day (today it's called "conservatism").  John Locke, Adam Smith -- those sorts of guys -- advocated this new freedom, and those ideas were picked up and implemented by the American "founding fathers" in our constituion and other structures.  What was the net result of this "liberalism"?  The most politically free and economically prosperous nation human history has ever witnessed.  Which is why today's conservatives bemoan the reduction of market freedom and the increasing role of the goverment in all things economic.

Those who hold to the Accra Confession, including WCRC, the ecumenical organization the CRC belongs to, call this sort of freedom, literally, the "worship of Mammon."  The Accra is pretty classic "Liberation Theology."  Whether we are willing to recognize it or not, all the "social justice" talk we engage is more than just a fashionable phrase.  It has deep roots in the political/economic perspective embraced by the Accra Confession.  Indeed, the Accra is really much more of a political/economic document than a "confession" as we have ever defined "confession."

So yes, there is a very strong drive in the CRCNA to adopt a political/economic view that, by sheer definition, excludes those persons who in the US today are known as "conservatives." Indeed, its not just a drive, it is already an actuality.   The question is whether or not the move in that direction will continue or reverse.  I for one would like to see the CRC stay out of political/econonomics.  Doing otherwise will, by definition, divide the CRCNA because it does exclude today's "conservatives."  In all of this, we have forgotten the boundaries articulated by "Kuyperian Social Sphere Sovereignty," which really was a close cousin to to the political/economic theory that launched that grand experiement known as the United States of America.

posted in: Political Diversity

Kris: Thanks for the further response and your willingness to invite Than to the discussion.

I'm particularly pleased to see your willingness to use the word "mercy."  It is becoming a rarely used word in CRC.  For example, in the Belhar confession, the word "justice" (or injustice) appears 7 times,  mercy" 0 (zero).  If I go to the WCRC (World Communion of Reformed Justice) website (the CRC is a member of WCRC ) and use it's search facility, there are 11 PAGES of hits for "justice,"  but a search for the word "mercy" renders NOT EVEN ONE  hit.  If I use the CRCNA.ORG search facility on the CRCNA site, I get 11, 100 hits for "justice" but only 2560 for "mercy."  Contrast this with the 1995 Bylaws for the CRCNA (the denominational corporation).  It mentions only "mercy," never "justice." What a difference 16 years makes, eh?

I would suggest "justice" predominantly characterizes the jurisdiction of the sphere of government, and "mercy" is within the "church" sphere (ala Kuyper/Dooyeweerd), perhaps among others.  "Liberation theology" saw this quite differently, with some manifistations of Liberation Theology becoming almost totally, if not totally, involved with justice (usually unapologetically Marxist, eg., Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas).  Somewhat more contemporarily, a "Black version" has also evolved (Black Liberation Theology), as exemplified by Barak Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright.  I regard the "Social Justice" movement as largely a relabeling of  "Liberation Theology," which I think essentially confirmed by John Cooper and is one of his objections to the Belhar.  Unlike Cooper, I don't want the CRC to adopt the Belhar as anything, confession or otherwise.  My objections to both the Liberation Theology movement and the Social Justice movement are: (1) both morph the church into a political organization, and (2) the political theory adopted by both is largely unbiblical.  Both perspectives rewrite Micah 6:8 by ignoring the "love mercy" phrase. 

Which is why I appreciate your obvious willingness to use the word "mercy."  :-) 

 

Hi Doug,  

Yes, maybe Than will be able to answer more of your questions.  
I think CRC members who shared immigration stories and 2010 Synod understand the difference between justice and mercy. They are calling on church members to treat immigrants with mercy and they are calling on church members to call on government to enact laws that are just.  (Points 1-5 in the pledge are all about justice.)           

On your critique of G, I understand your position, that you would prefer the OSJ not do policy development or advocacy on immigration.  Be assured that in doing advocacy the OSJ doesn’t claim to represent the views of every individual in the CRC (even if we did congressmen wouldn't believe us), that’s why mobilizing individual members to speak up is so important.  The OSJ does their best to communicate Synod’s recommendations to members but it is up to each individual to decide what to do about it.  And in this case Synod has said, as it has with other non-confession issues in the past, that you can disagree with them.

Kris V. E. -

Of course.  Remember the topic of this thread - we're talking political diversity - and if the only applications you can think of are political, you need to get out more.

The manner in which it is applied is also important.  Is the preacher saying, "Passage 3 verse 4 says you need to vote for the coming tax increase"?  I ask questions, make suggestions, point out salient facts, but I rarely say "chapter X verse Y means you must do Z" and almost never when it comes to political matters.

posted in: Political Diversity

b-ver,

Under the system you are describing would preachers able make applications in their sermons?  

posted in: Political Diversity

Kris: Your latest posts suggests to me that you're just trying to help congregations help people in their church who have immigration issues.  It seems to me that you are not really into the part of OSJ that deals with "advocating government policies."  That's fair enough. 

I did notice that OSJ has a number of positions, and yours isn't the one I'd expect to answer questions about the "government policies" OSJ advocates for.  There is another position, that of Policy Analyst/Advocacy Fellow.  I believe Than Veltman holds that position.  Might he be able to help on some of these questions?  Could you ask him.

Switching thoughts, my own church, employers in my church, and I personally, are pretty Hispanic immigrant friendly (lots of Hispanics in the mid-Willamette Valley here).  We sponsor a Hispanic church in the city, our dairy owners employ pretty much all Hispanics for milkers, I've had Hispanic (legal and illegal) for clients, and I have them for neighbors (I live on "that side" of town).  I coached a junior high (public school) basketball team a few years back and I suspect at least half my team were illegals or the children of illegals.  No, I don't check anyone's legal status when I deal with obvious immigrant types  in the neighborhood, or as coach, etc.  I do deal with that at work, but my "rules for myself" at work are more complex than would be profitable to go into.

But there there's me as Citizen of Oregon, City of Salem, Marion County and the United States.  In my voting (and political advocacy), I take the position of having to create and implement "good government."  And if government does what I think "good government" should do, more illegals would be removed than are from the area I live in, mere birth would not create citizenship, and many fewer illegals would get across the border. 

Certainly, I think comprehensive immigration reform is LONG overdue.  But the reason we don't have that reform is because too many people allow their genuine feeling of mercy to trump concepts of justice when it comes to voting and advocating government policy.  We've had pretty good law in the somewhat distant past, but then we started to not enforce it, and eventually the change in the law that should have happened didn't, because our real law (what we enforced) eliminated any motivation to change the formal law (what's in the books).  We think we are doing good (being merciful) by failing to execute laws that "are mean to people" but instead do bad, putting immigrants in impossible situations and literally tearing down "the rule of law," ending up with neither justice nor mercy. 

This problem will only be successfully tackled when we, as a nation, figure out how to separate what we'd personally like to have happen for the illegal immigrants we personally know from what we know to be good government.  I don't see OSJ or the Synod pushing in that direction, which means I suspect at this point, we are part of the problem, not the solution.

Now there are some who honestly believe there should be no borders, that anyone who wants to come into the US (or any other country for that matter) should not be prevented by government from doing so.  I can sympathize with the sentiment but that is not a practically workable proposal at any level.  Not even close.  Nation states have to have enforced borders or they cannot be nation states (and some oppose nation states).

By the way, Congress and the president resolved to have comprehensive immigration reform back when Reagan was president.  Amnesty was given to millions of illegals, which was to be followed by legislation that would control the border (a fundamental prerequisite for any control of immigration), create appropriate guest worker laws, etc.  The problem was that after the amnesty was granted, nothing else was done.  I put that one squarely at the feet of Democrats, who renegged on the deal after getting the amnesty they wanted.  And that's why you know have so many Republicans who absolutely refuse to discuss anything about immigration reform until the border is controlled.  Sort of a "fool me once, shame on you, twice shame on me" thing for them.

And this is why it is important that the CRC, if it is going to represent my political voice (certainly not my first choice), do so competently.  If it can't distinguish between CRC members and congregations being merciful, and creating/implementing good government (and so far I can't tell that it can), it will only be adding to the mess already there.  And the result of that will be injustice for pretty much everyone.

Kris V.E.-

I find this paragraph in your answer telling...

"When I work on advocacy for this issue I’m not concerned about the Board of Trustees or the Denominational Offices.  I’m concerned about honoring the various Christians who put the immigration report together and in doing so requested that the whole denomination help them in working for the good of our immigrant neighbors.  In my computer there are dozens and dozens of stories from CRC members who tried and failed to get documentation for immigrants and then saw families broken apart or new friends waiting for decades to enter.  For every one of those stories there are dozens more I haven’t had time to hear.  This isn’t a debate about the semantics of the U.S. constitution this is an effort to change laws that are ruining people’s lives.  U.S. laws do not change until enough people ask.  This is a justice effort born out of scripture, relationships, compassion, and a desire to defend the cause of those who are most vulnerable."

1. The U.S. Constitution is one of our laws - the foundational one.  It is usual when people claim a matter is mere "semantics" that they've got no real answer to the question put before them and would rather dismiss the whole matter.  But we cannot, precisely because that's the law the rest are supposed to be based on.  Besides, you brought it up and now you don't want to talk about it?

2. The laws are not ruining people's lives.  Ignoring the laws, acting in violation of that law, willfully trespassing in our country and stealing from our citizens - stealing jobs, social services, medical care, and more to the point where hundreds of ERs have closed down, minority youth unemployment approaches 50%, and our national debt is immense.  While illegal immigrants are not solely responsible for these ills, they contribute greatly to them.  A guy who gets arrested for robbing a bank is not having his life ruined by the law against robbing banks.  His life is ruined because he violated the law.  A guy who breaks into somebody else's house and gets shot by the homeowner isn't dead because the homeowner defended himself but because he attacked the homeowner.  So somebody who breaks the law to come here, settles, gets a job, brought kids with him who grow up knowing nothing of the home country, then gets caught - the law isn't what caused his problem.  He did.  It's not like he didn't know he was breaking the law.

3. I agree the U.S. should alter its laws regarding immigration.  But those laws will also then have to be enforced.  We want to make sure (a) that those new laws aren't worse than the ones we have; and (b) that they are so enforced.  But enforcing those laws will also and inevitably have a deleterious effect on those persons who choose to ignore them.  Those law-breakers will be vulnerable, too.  What will you advocate then?  Changing the laws back?

4. Have you any stories on your computer about those who lost loved ones because the ER they would have used is shut down and the closest one is now miles away?  Have you any stories on your computer about young Black men who cannot find a job because they can't speak Spanish and so can't communicate with the illegals working there?  Do you have any stories on your computer about people killed by illegal immigrants driving without the necessary skills or training on our highways?  Pick your set of sob stories and I can find you others.  The difference is, the people harmed in mine are legally entitled to be here and fellow citizens.

Kris: I mean this kindly and with a smile on my face, but you did punt on the question.  I asked (with bolding), "In other words (and framed another way), do you think our Constitution SHOULD provide that foreigners have legal right to immigrate? " and you answered "maybe it would be more accurate so say it is up to other countries to decide if their citizens have a right to apply?  At any rate the U.S. congress is supposed to set up laws that respond to those applications."  Respectfully, and again with smile, that's a punt.

It could be that you are punting because you don't know what your answer would be, that you haven't thought of this before.  But, you are the OSJ's "Congregational Justice Mobilizer" and, again with respect and a smile, you need to have your political theory down if you are going to mobilize others.  CRC members will reasonably assume OSJ has its political theory down, and that they can rely on it as scripturally based.

I have read the full text of the report from the "Committee to Study the Migration of Workers" -- twice in fact.  Actually, I thought it was a pretty good report. My one concern about it was that in one recommendation especially, it exceeded its own analysis.  It recommended (and Synod adopted the recommendation) in paragraph G that the BOT was to encourage the OSJ to engage in advocacy strategies that will lead to immigration reform and enactment of fair, just, and equitable laws regarding immigrants. 

Sounds innocent enough, but here's the catch.  The analysis of the report clearly recognized, essentially, that Scripture gives no specific guidance for what immigration laws might be, and that Christians could reasonably disagree as to what they would be. So just what are the "fair, just and equitable laws" that OSJ should politically advocate for?  And why don't CRC members just get to advocate for themselves?  They are the US citizens, individually, not collectively through the CRC/OSJ.

Now if the OSJ would just say, "hey members, we don't know what they would be, but please consider for yourselves what immigration laws should be and advocate for them," I'd be fine. Certainly, Kuyper's "not one square inch" also covers immigration and we should be responsible Citizens.  BUT, and a bit BUT, OSJ's pledge letter advocates for specifics. Just one, for example, is that the US government "maintain the constitutional rights of birthright citizenship."  Certainly, Christian minds can differ on whether a government should grant a baby citizenship just because his/her parents illegally came to the US soley in order that their child be born here (and so acquire US Citizenship).  In my mind, creating that incentive is really bad government policy. And I think the Committee Report members would regard my position as "reasonable" and "not contrary to Scripture."  So, why does OSJ insist on being my political proxy on that issue?

The Committee Report did an excellent job, I thought, of distinguishing between our perspective: (1) as Christians and churches dealing with immigrants; and (2) as government, or citizens who play a role in creating good government.  On the other hand, there is nothing in the OSJ documents that I could find (the pledge letter included) that appropriately distinguishes between those two perspectives. That's a "Kuyperian sphere sovereignty" thing, and although I saw that perspective recognized in the Committee Report, I just see no evidence of it is OSJ's implementation of the Synodical mandate based on that report.

And that's is the core of my concern, which is why I start by asking "In other words (and framed another way), do you think our Constitution SHOULD provide that foreigners have legal right to immigrate? "  From what I do read off the  OSJ site, your office may be promoting the political idea of borderless societies.  I'm not saying you do, but I certainly can't determine that you don't, and some of your materials at least suggest you may.  And so I ask a "beginning question," a "foundational question," in order to work up to OSJ's adopted political theory/framework that would be the beginning point from which it would answer lots and lots of specific immigration questions.

Whether OSJ staff knows it or not, OSJ is being my political proxy on this.  I just want to know what OSJ has fundamentally decided its political theory is in this area before I "complain too much" (again, smile on my face).

Article 1 Section 8 under powers of congress says, "Congress shall have the power to...  establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization."  Maybe it would be more accurate so say it is up to other countries to decide if their citizens have a right to apply?  At any rate the U.S. congress is supposed to set up laws that respond to those applications. I wasn't sure what you were looking for in your original question.   

I think if you want to get at theories behind Synod's decision you would have to read the full report.  I think it is on the OSJ website.  Sorry if this doesn't answer your question.  Not trying to "punt." Feel free to ask from a different angle if I'm missing it.  

 

I think it is important to note that the CRC’s involvement in immigration began with a young CRC congregation realizing that many of its people who were being baptized, becoming members, and taking the Lord’s Supper, were undocumented immigrants.  The Elders weren’t sure how to respond biblically or legally so the question went to Classis and then Synod.  After much prayer, bible study, and conversation Synod came to an almost unanimous conclusion that being undocumented should not prevent someone from being baptized.    

Synod also concluded that the church can’t simply ignore the law but that, given our system of government, it should advocate for less burdensome laws.  You have to understand, the authors of the report to Synod are Pastors, Elders and CRC members from various backgrounds across the U.S. They experienced the negative impact of our current immigration policy on the lives of people in their churches and towns.  Their hearts are broken because of the pain they’ve seen in the lives of people they love.  Somewhere on the Network someone recently wrote something about mercy, that the church forgot about mercy, this cause isn’t being driven by politics or CRC bureaucrats, it’s being driven by mercy.  

When I work on advocacy for this issue I’m not concerned about the Board of Trustees or the Denominational Offices.  I’m concerned about honoring the various Christians who put the immigration report together and in doing so requested that the whole denomination help them in working for the good of our immigrant neighbors.  In my computer there are dozens and dozens of stories from CRC members who tried and failed to get documentation for immigrants and then saw families broken apart or new friends waiting for decades to enter.  For every one of those stories there are dozens more I haven’t had time to hear.  This isn’t a debate about the semantics of the U.S. constitution this is an effort to change laws that are ruining people’s lives.  U.S. laws do not change until enough people ask.  This is a justice effort born out of scripture, relationships, compassion, and a desire to defend the cause of those who are most vulnerable.  

Most importantly, advocating for immigration reform only covers about half of what Synod 2010 asked of CRC churches in response to immigration.  The rest of the report has to do with attitudes that embrace newcomers in our congregations.     

(In response to b-ver, “Why is the church specifying this program rather than simply the Biblical principle? Do we not trust our members...”  We do trust our members. Hopefully that trust is reflected in the work we are putting into this project they’ve given us.  I’ll leave the question of why 1-5 vs other policies to others who may want to weigh in.)

Kris V. E. -

I think the first problem is the assertion of a "right to apply".  While people may ask for whatever they wish to ask for, and often do, that does not mean either that they have a right to make the request.  It's like saying, "people have a right to ask for chocolate syrup".  It's incongruous - makes no sense - to describe the behavior as a "right".  The article of the Constitution you site merely indicates an assumption on the part of the framers that people would ask to become citizens.

The fact that people will ask also does not compel any particular answer.  I could freely apply to my mother to have ice cream instead of broccoli.  She doesn't have to grant my application and, to my knowledge, never did.

The article, then, directs Congress to decide how to answer those requests, but to devise an answer that is "uniform" - that is, consistent and consistently applied.  A blanket "no" would meet that requirement.  Whether we think that's the best answer or what of the various forms of "maybe" or "yes" we prefer, is immaterial as far as the Constitution is concerned.  Only that Congress have a rule, and that it be "uniform".

Kris: Thanks for the response.  A few things:

You say, "According to our Constitution people have the right to apply for immigration...".  Can you cite the Article/Section or quote the text that you believe gives a right to persons who are not US Citizens to apply to immigrate?  As far as I know, there is no such right created by our federal constitution, whether as written or as interpreted by any court decision.

Understand I'm not suggesting Congress should not choose to allow immigration. I think it should, but also that it should apply criteria for allowing that.  But I wasn't really asking a legal question (although interesting what you say about the Constitution).  What I was asking was a question of political theory.  In other words (and framed another way), do you think our Constitution SHOULD provide that foreigners have legal right to immigrate?  Now if you say "no," then we can take on the next logical question that presents itself given your "no" answer, and if you say "yes," then we can take on the next logical question that presents itself given your "yes" answer.

Too often people jump to the end decision on political issue without carefully examining the foundational conclusions reached to get to that end decision. I'm literally trying to find out OSJ's (my denomination's) underlying political theory as it relates to this particular legal/political issue.  Sort of like reading from John Locke's First and Second Treatises on Government to figure out his.  Or, more contemporarily, reading CPJ's (Center for Public Justice's) "Guideline" documents and other position papers to figure out theirs.

I'll certainly be getting to your "another question" -- again, just want to take this somewhat methodically or the discussion can get utterly confusing.

Kris V. E. -

I didn't see anything that specified "rationalization" - reform, yes, but that can mean numerous things.  I'm not sure that what the pledge envisions as "reform" is what I would call "rationalization".  By "rationalization" I mean clear rules for who's in and who's not, evenly applied, and those who don't meet the "who's in" criteria are quickly shooed home - decisions are clear, timely, and as objective as possible with as little time as possible hanging about wondering what the answer will be.  If somebody wants to appeal a decision, they may do so from their home country, not here and the burden of proof is on those who want to show us they meet the "who's in" criteria, not the other way 'round just as I have to prove I'm elligible for a Drivers' license instead of government having to prove I'm not.

I did know that "enforcement" was point 5 - enforcement "consistent with humanitarian values".  Would you consider the recent Arizona law to require law enforcement to check the immigrant status of people arrested/pulled over for some other violation of the law to be "consistent with humanitarian values"?  Judging from other stuff written on the OSJ site and by people connected with OSJ at the time Arizona's law was passed, I seriously doubt it.  But enforcement that doesn't check their immigration status or actually deport people - even if it means breaking up families (and there is no possible criteria for immigration that will not mean in some instance that one family member is allowed in and another is excluded) - is no enforcement.

But then there's amnesty (point 2 - yeah, "rigorous criteria" which are unspecified and pretty much any rigorous criteria imaginable would conflict with point 1 about reform, besides being grossly unfair to those who have followed the legal process); guest workers is point 3 (why do we need unskilled guest workers when we have several millions of our own citizens unemployed?); and point 4 is welfare for foreigners who stay foreigners - in their own countries, not foreigners who come here to become Americans - because we can see how well government welfare transfer payments have worked here.

So, as I understand what is being pledged, we are to "advocate" reform (not rationalization), amnesty after rigourous criteria that don't actually bother anybody, guest-workers, foreign aid (which is largely ineffective, serving mostly to prop up corrupt, oppressive governments), and humane enforcement which is to say enforcement that doesn't inconvenience anyone.

Now, answer me this...  what makes this political program more compatible with the biblical injunction to care for your neighbor and "the alien among you" than others (such as one that doesn't include points 2-4)?  Why is the church specifying this political program - or any political program - rather than simply the biblical principle?  Do we not trust our members to have the conscience, intelligence, compassion, or initiative to apply the principles without such specificity?

 

See point 5 to read what the Commitment to My Immigrant Neighbor Pledge says about borders...

“We commit to be advocates for the following principles in order to make our immigration system more functional and just:
1. Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce the waiting time for separated families, maintain the constitutional rights of birthright citizenship and the ability of immigrants to naturalize;
2. An opportunity for undocumented immigrants to earn a path towards permanent legal status by satisfying specific rigorous criteria;
3. A viable guest worker program that creates legal avenues for workers and their families to enter our country and work in safety with their rights and due process fully protected;
4. A framework to generate solutions to the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations;
5. Border enforcement and protection initiatives that are both consistent with humanitarian values and allow the authorities to enforce the law and implement immigration policy."

 

Hi Doug,

The question about people having a “justice based right to immigrate to the U.S.,” is an important one.  According to our Constitution people have the right to apply for immigration and congress has the right to set laws for yes or no on who gets in.  In 2010 the U.S. said yes to about 140,000 Mexican applicants, including children, but we employed and received income taxes through false social security numbers from well over 4 million Mexican immigrants.    

Another question is, are we, as a part of the current immigration system, breaking God’s law regarding fair loving just treatment of all people including the alien within our gates?  Synod 2010’s answer is yes.

Also, I think, given our history and current context, even though it is our right, it would be an ironic injustice of biblical proportions for the U.S. to deny all immigration requests.  

Charles: Are you suggesting the US (and other countries) must be borderless in order to obey God's norms for government?  That's the essential message I read from what you say but I don't want to put words into your mouth (or keyboard hands).

Megan: Thanks for the answer to the first question.  That's helpful.  I have read by now pretty much everything on the OSJ web pages, as well as the Synod 2010 report.  Please understand that I understand you and other OSJ staff are doing what you are assigned to do.  I say that because some of what I may say in my posts here might seem to be taking pokes at you and other staff.  I'm not intending that. But I am trying to figure out what political positions the CRC (via OSJ and otherwise) is taking (because in so doing, the denomination is acting as my political proxy and the political proxy of other CRC members).

Which brings me back to the second question I asked.  You punted on answering that one.  :-)

I do realize my second question is more complicated than my first, but it's not that complicated.  In fact, I would argue that the question is a foundational one, such that OSJ can't really start "doing" anything without answering it and a handful of other foundational questions.  When I reviewed all the OSJ web pages and linked reports, I found lots and lots of the usual "left of center" lingo but I would be really hard pressed to say there was even one statement that clearly acknowledged the right of any government to limit (even if to the point of eliminating) immigration.  Again, the answer to this question is a fundamental point for any immigration discussion.  Indeed, some folks will openly and honestly say they believe the US should be borderless, that it has no right to disallow anyone from coming here.  What is bit troubling to me is one could make a case, from reading the Synod 2010 report and the OSJ pages and links, that such is also the position of the CRC/OSJ.

So, is it?  Does OSJ take the position that the US government should be acknowledged to have a "right" to control (i.e., limit, even if that means eliminate) immigration?  Or does OSJ take the position that all people, or even some people, outside the US have a justice based right to immigrate into the US?

Doug,

This statement in particular was co-written by OSJ staff and the Office of Race Relations in accordance with the recommendations from Synod 2010 that we educate and advocate on comprehensive immigration reform. If you visit the pledge website, you'll see the recommendations in bullet-point format. 

Your second question is much more complex. As a follow-up to the aforementioned pledge, the OSJ and Office of Race Relations are offering a more in-depth curriculum for congregations wanting to take a closer look at the issue of immigration. The curriculum is being piloted among a few churches this winter, and will be available for broad use this spring.

I'm committed to my immigrant neighbor.  If he's here in violation of our laws, I'm committed to encouraging and helping him to go home.  Laws like the ones recently passed in Arizona and Alabama are part of that.

If he's here in accord with our laws, I'm committed to helping him adjust and assimilate.

Enforcement, rationalization of the INS system, assimilation.  There's a pledge for you.

There's a process??

Judging by the statements themselves, they just avail themselves of the latest left-wing group-speak, put a Christian gloss over it, and send it out.  A process implies careful thought, consideration of how this will impact people, and so on.  But those statements are laid out in a way that makes it fairly clear that it never occurred to the authors that they might even need to answer cogent arguments from opponents - they assume there aren't any.  When the people they hang out with do become aware of disagreement, they simply declare it invalid and unchristian, as in the recent BANNER editorial.

Makes it much, much easier.

Kris: Thanks for the help.  OK, I will.

First, I'm wondering first how the OSJ develops the statements it develops. Does it just assign someone to write it?  Does the BOT write it?  Does it subcontract with Sojourners or Center for Public Justice?  Or ...?  The reason I ask this is because it seems to me that it is difficult at best (acutally impossible) to "represent" all CRCers when producing statements like this.  So I think knowing the process is important.

Second, I notice in the statement that there seems to be a presumption that people from other countries have some sort of justice based right to immigrate into the US.  Is that a presumption, or not?  Put another way, would it be "just" (not discussing wisdom at this point, or even mercy) for the US to simply deny immigration requests to everyone?

Hi Doug:  If you have comments about the Commitment to My Immigrant Neighbor Pledge this would be a great place to post them.  Others who have already posted here will probably get an alert that more people have jumped in on this conversation and maybe they will respond.  On the other hand trying to start a general discussion on immigration under this specific post might not get a big response...   you could also start a new topic/thread in this Social Justice Advocates section and see if it gets some more discussion going around the issue of immigration.           

Meghan: Are you (meant as folks from OSJ) intending to actually discuss these issues, or is your post just an advertisment for the OSF initiative you are pitching?

I'd love to discuss these (and other) OSJ issues--constructively--but I am getting the feeling that your seed post wasn't an actual discussion invitation.

Let me know.  I don't really want to waste my time "discussing" with myself, but would like an "iron sharpens iron" discussion with OSJ folk and CRC members about this.

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." - CS Lewis.
 

But that would be no solution.  I do not seek some fantasy of political balance.  What bothers me is the apparent attempt to define the faith as excluding those with certain political and economic opinions.

It's one thing, for instance, to argue that a federally funded, single-payer health care system is the best way to provide for the poor.  It is quite another to say that being faithful to the Bible requires such a system.  The first is a statement about which Christians may disagree.  The second says that if you disagree, you're not Christian.

The Bible says much about taking care of God's creation and work and responsibility and caring for the marginalized of society, it says not a whit about anthropogenic global warming, ethanol subsidies, food stamps or appropriate income tax rates. Would it not perhaps be best for the Church to officially remain silent where the Bible is silent - to espouse, expound upon, promulgate and defend biblical principles while leaving their prudential application to our members?

posted in: Political Diversity

Easily solvable. We'll have a synodical overture demanding that, first: for every person hired or placed on a committee, another person who represents the opposite political position of the first person be hired/appointed alongside the first person. And, second: all hirable positions and committee appointments will be made on the basis of providing a representation of the spectrum of political views in both Canada and the United States to the hiring entity or specific committee.

In a year or two, we can read fawning Banner articles on how the Kingdom of Christ is being realized on earth by the fact that Conservatives, LIberals, Progressives, Tea-Partiers, Marxists, Libertarians and Anarchists are all working together for the Gospel of Christ. 

posted in: Political Diversity

I mean conservative political and economic views.

For instance, the Synod of the CRC officially endorsed the Micah Statement on Climate Change even though it makes several questionable (and in my opinion false) declarations such as:

"We acknowledge that industrialization, increased deforestation, intensified agriculture and grazing, along with the unrestrained burning of fossil fuels, have forced the earth’s natural systems out of balance. Rapidly increasing greenhouse gas emissions are causing the average global temperature to rise, with devastating impacts already being experienced, especially by the poorest and most marginalized groups. A projected temperature rise of 2°C within the next few decades will significantly alter life on earth and accelerate loss of biodiversity. It will increase the risk and severity of extreme weather events, such as drought, flood, and hurricanes, leading to displacement and hunger. Sea levels will continue to rise, contaminating fresh water supplies and submerging island and coastal communities. We are likely to see mass migration, leading to resource conflicts. Profound changes to rainfall and snowfall, as well as the rapid melting of glaciers, will lead to more water stress and shortages for many millions of people."

The statement also castigates those who (like many conservatives) are skeptical of the science undergirding the claims and even more skeptical of the proposed solution (UN and governmental dictats).

One particular official of the Micah Center, one Dr. David Van Dyke (distinct from the Micah Network and not officially sponsored by the CRC, but still supported) flatly declared that the Bible requires us to support federally funded, single-payer health care systems (according to this report: http://www.crcna.org/news.cfm?newsid=2517&section=1).

The Contemporary Testimony, in articles 44-54 (with the exception of its statements concerning embryonic research and abortion) apparently adopts almost wholesale the premises and assumptions of the social-welfare state as a requirement of faith.

These are not statements that argue social-welfare or statist policies are the best means to the ends of caring for creation or the poor, but statements that suggest or declare social-welfare, statest policies are the only way to achieve these ends.  And they are officially sanctioned by denominational leadership.  And that concerns me.

UPDATED TO REFLECT CORRECTION BELOW

posted in: Political Diversity

Oh - and in the interests of accuracy, regarding the Micah Center, after stating that the Micah Center is not officially sponsored or approved, "...many CRC individuals and churches help to sponsor it and the CRC’s Office of Social Justice has co-sponsored events with the organization and considers it a regional partner." (from the article referenced above)

So there's a basis for saying it's supported by the CRC, but that doesn't mean the denomination as such gives them money except for specific services and or events.

posted in: Political Diversity

Thanks for the correction.

Not sure it mitigates the overall point I'm making, but accuracy is a good thing, so again, thanks.

posted in: Political Diversity

Just to clarify, the Micah Network and Micah Center are two completely separate organizations. The article you cite also makes clear that the Micah Center is not officially sponsored by the CRCNA.

posted in: Political Diversity

Please clarify what you mean by conservative political and economic views. As someone who would put herself in the fiscally conservative but socially liberal camp, I have not felt excluded by the denomination but rather the two political parties that we have in the U.S.

posted in: Political Diversity

Actually, there have been laws regulating immigration from the very beginning of the European colonies on these shores.  They tended to be light, hard to enforce, and frequently ignored, but they were there.

By the middle of the 19th century, as patterns of immigration changed and more of those immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe, the laws changed, becoming more restrictive.

It is a fact that many of those laws were racist - not against Blacks or Hispanics, but against Slavs, Italians, Irish, Jews and most especially Chinese (cf. American Passage).  From the time of the U.S. Civil War and running through the 1950s, there were also close connections between immigration restrictions and the eugenics movement.

That said, there is a distinctive American culture that is worth preserving, and far more people want to come into the U.S. at a rate much faster than we can effectively assimilate.

What is more, illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.  We see the poor immigrant, but that poor immigrant undersells the local youth on the labor market leading to things like 50% unemployment for Black teenagers in Washington, D.C. and, while it is too often and too simply (and falsely) attributed to some ill-defined racist power structure, immigration is a factor.  There are also the social services used by many of these immigrants that amount to a theft from taxpayers.  To further avoid the law, there are issues of identity theft, forged papers, hidden papers, dangerous drivers who have not been properly trained for our roads and vehicles - not to mention the ability to exploit the fear of deportation and/or prison employers have been known to use against illegal immigrant employees.

I will grant that U.S. immigration laws are hosed - byzantine, burdensome and ineffective.  That doesn't mean we should have unrestricted immigration or that we should reward those who have broken our laws in order to steal jobs, identities, and tax dollars.

So no, I won't be signing this pledge. It will do little more than perpetuate the problem.  I'm more interested in finding possible solutions.

I am a small business owner. I have not felt the anything from immigrants but increased business. Love for your neighbor doesn't come with conditions.

In many years ago, people came all of the world for different reason, there were not law to determine who and who is not illegel and these laws add latter. those who came to this country become illegel , becuase they have hard life background.as christians, our duty is love neighor, as you entertaining strangers,  whom maybe angeles sent from God.

Meghan. This is the kind of post that causes many people in the denomination to groan. You seem to have a great care and love for people which is very good and very Christian. We should see peopel first as created in the image of God and not first as illigal or legal. But I wish there would be a little more nuance in your post and in  the "commitment to my Immigrant neighbo"r pledge.  Do you and those who work at the OSJ realize that America accepts mor immigrants than all the other countries in the world combined? This is a very generous country in terms of immigration.  I agree with you that this is a country of immigrants. Its what makes this country great ,what gives it energy and viatality .But does this country have the right to determine its own immigration policy? If it does ,then it needs to punish people who violate those laws. People do not have an inherint right to illigally immigrate and then to bring thier families here. The plege states that this is a complex issue and truely it is. So lets aknowlege the complexity by saying that the system is broken because illigal immigrants have broken it AND the US government needs to change some laws.  The plege states that illigal immigrants can not go the police when they witness a crime or are the victims of a crime. That is a blanket statment that is not based on fact . The Banner recently has had some good articles about people who are here iligelly. Perhaps we should also have articles in The Banner from small buisness owners and ordinary people who have felt the negative effects of illigal immigration.  Thank you  Brian Tebben

I am a social justice "advocate" at a personal level but on my own, not representing any organization whatsoever. I think the Christian faith is enough reason to fight (in a peaceful way) for social justice in our societies.

From my point of view, the church (we as believers and the institutions as a whole) have not done enough work trying to seek justice for the opressed and needy. And this, looking for justice, is a Biblical position. People vote for people and parties whose only goal is to acomplish economic interests and pursuing the goal of rich becoming richer, without caring for the poor. Middle class often stands in-between for political agendas. Not to mention about places where there are acute extreme poverty issues.

Activism will be the key for the chuches to awaken and be truly concerned about social issues of justice. Theological arguments and works of motivation and encouragement to care for the environment, as God's stewards, for instance, have been successful for many congregations and Christian people. But not too much is said or published within the Church's context about society. And what's published comes from a politically conservative view which is not too concerned about opression proper, but about military, mainly the issue of "Just war" in the U.S./Canadian context.    

 

Our goal on working with returning felons and their families is not just social justice but to bring them to salvation in Jesus Christ. I lead a Celebrate Recovery group for Allen County Community Corrections. We are helping returning felons work on their recovery from drug, alcohol addictions and their hurts, hang-ups and habits that are destructive. We have a family ministry for their spouse and children plus we provide a meal. BUT our main goal is not just to help them re-enter society from prison but to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ. As is it written in Romans 10:9-15, "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” We must be intentional on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those we are helping re-enter society from prison. As we do, they will say (and they have said to us) how beautiful you are for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with us and for bringing us to salvation in Jesus Christ!

http://www.delightingod.com

We may be heading down that path but, there is always hope. Something i think we are all loseing, that no matter how bad things look there is always hope in GOD and his will along with his master plan.

Yes, thank you too, Ken.  God bless you and I really meant what I said about the issues you expressed.  I really do hope your local friends and family, and your church, can bond together and get through these difficult times. There are many issues that need to be addressed, some at a local or regional level, others at a national or international level. The original post by Kate Kooyman spoke about immigration reform, the CRCNA's and President Obama's speeches and responses, and upcoming legislation. My only goal here is to shed some light on the diversity of viewpoints that exist, in the hope that we all as Christians can see the light and come to some conclusions as to the best way forward.

If some agree with me, fine, then can say why. If others disagree, no problem, we can politely disagree and state our reasoning.  I happen to think that if all ideas are allowed to compete in a fair arena of ideas, people are smart enough to see through bad ideas and adopt the good ones. This is not always the case, some get stuck on bad ideas and will not let go, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Thank you for your comments though, Ken, and I really do wish the best for you and your family going forward. I did not mean to minimize your personal situation, I was merely trying to keep this thread on the original topic.  God bless you.

Thamks John, We made the right choice.

God bless you

Ken

OK thank you for your honesty, Ken, I guess we will have to respectfully agree to disagree on my goals here.  Yes I did spend time explaining my views on an issue and I hope others do the same. It is only in that way we can learn from each other and sift through ideas, letting the good ones come to the top.  I hope you don't jump to the conclusion that this church and network are not to my satisfaction; I'm not sure where that came from.  Yes, of course we all see areas for improvement, we all care, that is why this forum was created, so we could discuss what we care about and then take the best ideas for our own churches. I really wish you would stop stereotyping people with "I live with your type of people with the same attitudes".  Ken, you really don't know my attitudes on many issues. I think many of them you would agree with, and many would surprise you!  Why don't we get to know one another in Christian love before casting these aspersions?

Ken, I do disagree with one point you made, though. One can't "beat people into submission with ideas"!  That is not possible. One can only explain one's ideas, and if they make sense, others will adopt them.  If they don't make sense, they are free to explain why and maybe they will change the minds of others in the process. I think too many people are afraid of ideas, they think we should all just follow the "conventional wisdom" or what is "politically correct" and leave it at that.  If our founders followed that philosophy, where would be now?  Or if Jesus just went along with the "accepted" ideas of his time, where would we all be?

So yes, you have judged my motives incorrectly, and my actions of discussing good ideas and soliciting other ideas should not cause you any strife. In spite of your mistake on me, I welcome you too, and I look forward to future discussions of ideas, if you feel like participating.  No pressure, Ken! Yes, of course we can be friends and brothers in Christ even if we disagree on issues, and of course we will both continue to be civil and engage in intelligent discourse. That is how Christians should and do act.

John, You are may be fine individual but you don't spend the effort you did explaining your view after just joining 2 days ago without feeling this church and network are not to your satifaction. John you can fool yourself but I will stay with my belief based on what have already said. That is why John, I drove you towards you to do the explaining. John I live with your type of people with the same attutudes. They are good people too and I love them. But you John are after conflect to beat people wih idea;s into submission. You knew I was hurting yet you through out some platitudes then dove in to further your goals. It maybe my fault if I judged your motives incorrectly, But your actions did the talking.

In spite of this John I would like to welcome you. If you are who you say you are we will be friends even if we don;t agree on certain issue's. If your not who claim lets stop right here and be civil. Your choice, both ways John I know you are a brother in Christ . WE are bing watched by many and Iwe need to show them how Christains act.

Ken

Ken, I resent your false accusation that I am "itching for a fight". I am through with that too, and I don't want to argue with you either.  I know the purpose of this forum is to discuss things in Christian love, and see how other churches do things. I think it is important to ask questions and compare notes with other Christians across the CRC, whether they are down the street or across the country.  I assume you and others are doing ministry just like me, so I want to ask for help, share my experience, and connect and learn with others!

So, again, anything discussed here will be done in Love.  To me, NOT discussing various ideas on the best way to do something, and ending up with a less optimal solution, is not love, it is a disservice to those we want to help.  The poor and helpless suffer more if we don't figure out the best way to help them.  I can understand if you don't want to join the discussion but please don't cast aspersions on those who want to discuss issues and seek the truth. 

John, I don't want to argue with you. That is why I asked what your are doing here. I could see you itching for a fight. I'm through with that. Anything done without Love is nothing.

Ken, that is a shame you feel that way. I think it is obvious that it does matter which polices we implement. The way we are going now, we are being led down a path to European style socialism and failure. I want better for our children and the world, and a good example is Newt's policies on immigration.  The current system is unfair and Newt has put together a non-partisan coaltion that is not interested in politics, they just want good ideas that work. I can understand why you would not be interested but many want the best for our children and those that enherit the world we leave.

John , I haven't read his proposal. nor do I care much about secular politic's anymore. As far as I am concerned nobody in Gov leadership. is doing their job. They all have a problem with the truth.

I am so sorry to hear about your trouble, Ken.  I can't believe your church is too busy with "more important stuff" because showing love to you and everyone else is one of the most important things the church can do.  Hopefully someone from your church will read this and pay you a visit!  In the meantime, yes you still have your family and yes of course Jesus cares for you and your family. But, we are all praying that the relationship between you and your church improves.

To keep this a bit on topic for this area of the forum, what do you think of Newt Gingrich's common sense ideas for immigration reform?

Thanks John, I live 300 yds from my church, but they are to busywith more important stuff. Besides John when you have a long term illness with no let up people have to melt away.

I suppose I would also. So after  12yrs I  am down to my immediate family. Not even my brothers  intiate contact anymore till the holiday's. John, I have my name and verses written under sheetrock in that church when we built it. I think a lot about that and how everyone can talk about what the church means to them. I am believer in spite of the church. Jesus cares for me and family and we live on that. But my family is slowly stopping to go to church to because they don't understand how this can happen.Actuall;y ,My storry is much bigger than what I'm saying but it is hard for me to type with spastic hands and arms.

Thanks for the verse, I can't quote things from memory anymore but it is written in my heart and doesn't bleed out with my tears.

 I know some people will read this and say what did you do Ken to mess up the church relations. I welcome anybody to ask me maybe on the phone so I can actually tell them. It's a story of Grace .

Pages