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I saw a similar article (or maybe it came from the same study?) recently about people with mental illness. The overall public perception is that the mentally ill are "dangerous", but those living with mental illness are much more likely to be the VICTIMS of a crime than they are to commit one themselves.

1) Not a pastor, nor do I play one on TV.

2) Just barely skimmed this entry and the subsequent comments.

BUT with that said . . .

My pastor just preached a sermon last week and was very clear from the outset that he was "borrowing" from two sources, and named those sources. I thought that was an admirable thing to do.

On the flip side, a friend of mine works for Kregel Publications, and when I expressed horror at a book series they publish that is full of sermon "ideas", she informed me that this line is one of their best-selling products.

just some thoughts from a lurker . . .


I have some colleagues who are active Rotary members. I called your post to their attention, and I expect that they will respond to you at some point.

I don't get the sense, however, that there is any "lodge" aspect to this organization in terms of swearing allegiance to the organization, or "secret" membership requirements, which, as I understand it, is what the concern about lodge membership stems from. 

Then there's this: (look at the last Q&A)

Again, I don't think that the Rotary Club has any vows or beliefs that would be applicable to the spirit of the CRC's position...but again, I am neither a Rotarian nor a theologian, so hopefully someone who is one or both can enlighten us further...


One other thing, Angela...the "contact us" link will work with Gmail if you use Firefox or Chrome as your browser. I'm guessing you're using Internet Explorer, which of course is going to want to push you towards Outlook :-)

Lorraine Woodward on November 14, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


I agree that "visible" minority is an awkward phrase. I think part of the issue is that Canada and the US use different terminology, but I know that's not all of it. 

My personal preference is to identify people from "under-represented groups" or those "outside of the majority culture". This takes into account diversity of life experiences, rather than physical appearance. In my opinion, the reason we should value increasing our diversity is that we want the leadership of this denomination to be attainable by all in our denomination, not just those who are on the "inside". This diversity incorporates physical appearance to some extent, but as your examples show, that is not the entire story.   In terms of "neither Jew nor Greek", I would refer you to (CRC Campus Minister) Shiao Chong's reflection on New Testament "Affirmative Action". Pastor Chong says of the Church in the book of Acts:   "Instead of maintaining the status quo, they chose to integrate the subgroup into the structure of the church. They chose to create a new leadership structure and empower the immigrant subgroup’s ability to exercise their gifts and leadership."  (Shiao Chong, A Biblical Case for Affirmative Action, Retrieved 11/14/2012)  In my opinion, the real issue is that those of us in the majority culture need to be willing to release control and share power, which means going outside of our comfort zone to allow for different styles of management and different ways of looking at things. This is the diversity that I long to see in the CRC. 

Posted in: How Is It?

Posted in: My Heart Hurts

I went through a cognitive-based therapy program several years ago that all but banned the word "but" in favor of "and". Something to think about...

Read Psalm 34 and know that God does not want you to feel shame. I can't say it any better than others already have, but it's definitely okay to not be okay with the way things are. And if you search the Psalms, you will not see any trace of the kind of cliches that are thrown at you. Remember, Job's friends offered those kind of trite sound bites, and God basically told them to shut up :-) 

My godson has had some health problems, and I learned quickly that not everybody "gets" it. I pray that you will find safe people (here *and* in "real" life) that you can share your heart with.

Thank you for the gift of your honesty. 

I want to know the list of words you are concerned about! I'm a former New Yorker living in West Michigan, and I've had my share of foibles...

 I'm saying this not as a representative of my employer, but just as a personal musing...I wonder if helping with this type of issue would fall under the umbrella of Pastor-Church Relations? I agree that it would be good to have some kind of support in place, although I'm saying that with basically zero knowledge of the ins and outs of all of this. 

I am torn about this. I live in Grand Rapids, MI, where the CRC does NOT have the best reputation. When I moved here to attend Calvin College, I quickly learned that the sweet little old lady at Russ' could say, "Oh, you go to Calvin?" in a completely different tone than some of my co-workers would use in asking the same question.

With that said, I attend a church that has chosen to remove the "CRC" from its name, with the stated purpose of being more welcoming to those for whom "CRC" is a dirty word. Because I now work for the denomination (although the opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my agency or the CRCNA as a whole!), I am more bothered by this than I might have been before I was employed by the denomination.

Maybe a better question would be, "How did we get to this place? Why do we have a PR problem? And is there anything we can do to change people's perceptions of what 'CRC' is about?"

Hello Mavis!

I'm not a librarian, but I work for Christian Reformed World Missions, and we are working on developing a network of library volunteers to work with theological libraries all over the world. As I have learned, librarians come in many varieties, so the opportunities we have may or may not mesh with your experience, but if you'd like to read more, you can visit

I always learn so much from you, Mark! My almost-three-year-old godson is fascinated by anything on wheels, not to mention that he notices EVERYTHING, and I've been stretched as I've had to answer his many questions about people he sees who use wheelchairs or walkers . . . I try really hard to say things like "the chair helps him get around" but am acutely aware of the language I use, and I have you to thank for that, at least in part. :-) My recent challenge was with a woman using a cane . . . his reaction was "she has an owie?" and I struggled to try to explain that it may or may not be an "owie", as in something that was temporary--but that this was to help her walk. Maybe it was permanent, maybe not. I worry constantly that I am saying the "wrong" thing, but I keep trying :-)

I am relentless in attacking the use of the word "retarded", to the point where the teens in my church probably roll their virtual eyes at me every time I call them out on it on Facebook. Another huge pet peeve of mine is people who say "so-and-so *IS* ADHD" instead of "HAS" ADHD. I was disappointed recently as I listened to an audiobook on child discipline and heard the author (a psychologist) consistently use the term "they ARE ADHD".  This goes hand-in-hand with my dislike of people's flippant, "ha ha, I'm so ADD today" comments . . . if they really knew the pain and struggles of those of us who are living with ADHD, they would not be so casual in their joking about it. 

Thanks, as always, for challenging us to re-think the way we speak about people, all of whom are created in God's image . . . 


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