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I too have been a part of groups for many years, as well as a supervisor responsible for running group meetings.  

"Personality types" exist in all of us and there was a lack of recognition in the article of this.  

I have been in groups where the leader (find me a leader who doesn't) had an agenda, and that is fine but used their own limited agenda to be controlling, whenever the discussion went in productive paths they deemed beyond their control.

This article did a lot of labelling, lacked nuance and self-reflective humility.






An example came to me after the last post:

I was invited by a chic, smart young lady from Planned Parenthood to be a part of a discussion for one of our state legislators, who happened to wield a lot of power.

Obviously, the discussion was to follow a certain path.  The leader was about as waspish (without the "p" perhaps) as you could get.  The group was diverse including a local African-American female with an iconic status.  She took over the discussion into paths absolutely contrary to the agenda of the Planned Parenthood leader.

The "diversity" opinion was very opiniated, domineering (likely, according to the article's definitions).

I cheered the entire time, silently saying "go, girl."


You have a point (nuancing?) on the difference between a small group that meets regularly in a church basement and someone trying to exert political influence by assembling what they thought would be a power group fitting their agenda.

However, after re-reading the article I did not see anything that would preclude my example from fitting the implied definition of "small group." 

By "waspish" I meant the commonly used shorthand for white, anglo-saxon, protestant.  I thought that would be understood and it is partly why I included the ethnicity of the lady who literally took over the discussion.  She exhibited most of the traits of  E.G.R. Type #1, except "needy."  She definitely was not needy.  (If I mentioned her by name many in West Michigan would know who I am talking about, she is that iconic).


In my opinion, part of  what was missing in the article is something that I think Ken was also hinting at and which my example, I thought served to demonstrate.  Leaders have agendas and when someone does not fit their stereotype of audience, yes, e.g.r. applies, but I would hope they would be self-reflective enough to wonder if it did not extend to themselves.  Otherwise there is the danger of pigeonholing people.

I have been in many other small group sessions, in church basements, where the leader(s) also had agendas and one quite quickly got the idea that it could be the leader who fit E.G.R. Type 1.  (I have a concrete example in mind)

I would have appreciated if the author had stated the possibility that perhaps E.G.R. was required for the leader, as I felt was needed just a teeny bit for the article.  

Again, I think Ken had a point.

As far as I could determine on a quick scan, omitted was a powerful tax-free method, the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).  A couple age 72 and above can donate to a qualified charity (501c) up to $100,000 annually out of a traditional IRA and still retain their personal exemption.  Such contributions will also satisfy RMD requirements.

This is how Christianity Today reported this decision --characterized more as a loss for religious freedom in Canada by spokespersons and reflected in the report.




Canada’s Supreme Court Rejects Country’s Only Christian Law School 

Trinity Western University’s loss over its LGBT stance is seen as a blow to religious freedom.


 JUNE 15, 2018 12:09 PM

Trinity Western University has lost a years-long legal fight to launch what would be the only Christian law school in Canada.


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The Supreme Court of Canada considered a pair of appeals cases involving regional law societies that refused to accredit the Trinity Western program due to the evangelical institution’s student covenant, which prohibits sex outside of traditional marriage.

In Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada and Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of British Columbia, justices sided 7-2 against TWU, calling it “proportionate and reasonable” to favor the rights of LGBT students over the school’s religious convictions.

Some legal experts say Friday’s decision has essentially “gutted” religious freedom protections. It also quashes the future of the school, which was slated to open as early as 2019 if the ruling had been in its favor, since Canadian law schools require the approval of provincial law societies to operate.

“Without question, the Trinity Western community is disappointed by this ruling,” saidEarl Phillips, executive director of TWU’s proposed law school. “However, all Canadians should be troubled by today’s decision that sets a precedent for how the courts will interpret and apply Charter rights and equality rights going forward.”

According to CBC News:

The majority judgment said the covenant would deter LGBT students from attending the proposed law school, and those who did attend would be at risk of significant harm.

It found the public interest of the law profession includes promoting equality by ensuring equal access, supporting diversity within the bar and preventing harm to LGBT students.

“In our respectful view, the [law societies] decision not to accredit Trinity Western University's proposed law school represents a proportionate balance between the limitation on the Charter right at issue and the statutory objectives the [law societies] sought to pursue,” it reads.

The ruling has come as a blow to Trinity Western, one of 11 universities belonging to Christian Higher Education Canada, and fellow evangelicals in Canada. Its program would have been one of just three in the country to offer special training in charity law.

“While many have tried to frame this case as a clash between religious freedom and equality rights, it needn’t be so. Charter rights are not competitors in a zero-sum game,” stated the Christian Legal Fellowship of Canada. “They can be fully exercised in co-existence, as the Supreme Court recognized in the first [Trinity Western] case in 2001,” when the school went before the Supreme Court to defend its teaching college against similar concerns.

“This is a very disappointing outcome,” the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) tweeted. “Societies are stronger when all people and their beliefs and the institutions they form are respected. #ChristianHigherEd changes lives for the better. This is a loss for all people of goodwill.”

Christians have argued that the freedom to live out their convictions and beliefs actually benefits Canadian society as a whole.

“Institutions ought to have the right to define aspirations that come out of deeply held values and to live them consistently in community,” said Ray Pennings, head of the Christian think tank Cardus. “That’s what a pluralist society looks like.”

Cardus’s law program director Andrew Bennett released a statement saying:

The Supreme Court of Canada has consigned the fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion to second class status with its decision on Trinity Western University. This upholds a narrow understanding of diversity in which people of faith are relegated to the private sphere.

Canadians of all faiths will have less latitude to publicly dissent from majority opinions on social issues that clash with their beliefs. Now more than ever we need a robust and clear defence of freedom of conscience and religion and public faith.


The redoubtable Mr. Boesenkool does not need my support for his spot on analysis but here it is anyway.

I have heard from a missionary that I have supported of the heavy burden the 90% rule imposes.  It delayed their entry to the mission field by over a year and continued to drain from their "in-the-field" effectiveness. This despite's the "alternative facts" euphemisms put out.  Consider this thought experiment: how well would denominational headquarters run if every position had to operate under the 90% rule?  It would allow for many more open positions, wouldn't it, to serve many more needs?

Essentially I agree with billwald.  Consider what is proposed: the Belhar if adopted as a confession will be on the same level as "what is your only comfort in life and death..."

I do not believe that it can or will operate at that level.  For it to do so the de facto segregation that Ron Feenstra cited in CTS as a reason for the Belhar must at the operative level be reversed by all CRC Christians.

In my opinion what that means in the Grand Rapids context is that all the RCA/CRC people who joined white flight to places like Hudsonville, Caledonia, Ada, Jenison etc. are obligated to move back to more integrated neighborhoods.

In Grand Rapids, if you own a home worth much over $100,000.00 you have segregated yourself de facto from diversity.  If that is it is agreed that most minority populations are income/asset disadvantaged, meaning one can easily segregate oneself by the price of the home one purchases.  I live on a street that has gone from "Dutch ghetto" to predominantly African-American in orientation and I can say with some confidence that my diverse neighbors cannot afford to live in the communities I cited above.

With the adoption of the Belhar will the RCA re-open all the inner-city churches that it has abandoned over the last 30 years?  I think of Immanuel Reformed, Garfield Park Reformed, Oakdale Reformed, Bethany Reformed just to name some. I believe they must if they are to live up to their Belhar or live in the institutional sin it identifies.

Quite frankly after thirty years of observing neighborhood transition I do not believe most RCA/CRC people know what they are getting into with the Belhar nor will they be willing to.  Being an accidental diversity tourist by driving miles and miles from a relatively homogenous neighborhood to an inner-city church while admirable as far as it goes, does not entirely cut it either.

I appreciate billwald's honest attempt at the historical record.  I do not see this as "holding on" to anything. 

I come at this from a somewhat different angle:  in what turned out to be the absolutely safest move our family could make, we didn't.  We didn't move along with the rest of the "white flighters" and their churches.  As a result the hockey rink remained a 5 minute, 35 mph drive away, as did the trumpet teacher, the violin  instructor, their inner city Christian school from which they walked a mile home through the "hood," the athletic fields etc etc.

Meanwhile, it was sad to read of those who moved to the suburbs for the safety of their children, that their children were killed in auto accidents at alcohol/drug-induced rates of speed and sometimes in drug overdoses. 

In one year in our county there were twenty-two homicides:  11 within the city limits, all African-American and 11 in the suburbs/exurban, all European-American.  That of course on top of the number of European-American young people mentioned above killed in auto accidents and drug overdoses. 

It also somewhat inoculated them against the euphemisms on diversity of their teachers, preachers, and professors.  Anecdotes in this regard could go on forever but here is one: at the age of twenty .my eldest met across the street with two of his youthful playmates, Pollo and Marquiz.  A friendly nostalgic conversation ensued which ended in the amazement by Pollo and Marquiz that at the age of twenty my son had not fathered any children.  They each had about three or more "that they knew of."

I am very concerned that the Belhar will be used for euphemisms.  I should mention in addition to Dr. Feenstra's citing of de facto segregation in the CTS Forum, that Dr. Borgdorff also emphasized it in a class on the Belhar that I took this past Spring.  The implication I pointed out had to be "white flight" being reversed if the Belhar occupies the same status as "What is my only comfort in life and death..."  I doubt very many people will operate at that level and I appreciate billwald's observation of that.

There are other observations I can make but suffice that for now.


Very much appreciate your rarely stated but complete exposition of the cry of the Reformation (if I am correct that is where  Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda originated).  

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard even from supposedly educated persons the "always reforming" cliche as some sort of evidence for whatever new coming down the pipe that they wanted supported.  Made me wonder if they were more children of the French Revolution than Calvin's Reformation, which if memory of my Reformation history classes serves me correctly was in a sense a "conservative" movement, wanting to return to the doctrines of the early church.

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