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Best Practices

Find new writings and thinkers, get advice on cultivating just relationships, practice reflection, and hone your skills. Watch for upcoming events and conferences that will do the same.

I'm not an Expert: Growing with the Blanket Exercise

In the space of two weeks in June, over 400 people participated in two mass Blanket Exercises. Wow. Each one was significant in its own way.

I first participated in the Blanket Exercise (BE) just a few short years ago at a meeting of the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee. Since that first experience, I have participated in the BE, led the BE as a facilitator, and taught dozens of people to be facilitators. I’ve done it with small and medium groups and large groups of up 200 participants or more. What a journey!

#CRClistens: Why We Need Robert's Rules

Ultimately within discussion and debate a person's goal is to get to the place where they can say of their challenger "we're talking the same language.". Two parties may disagree ultimately, yet there can be grace in the midst of a conversation because people are wrestling within the same parameters.

#CRClistens: 3 Guidelines for Dialogue on Social Media

When you throw verses at someone and tell them that their role in the church is not ‘true to scripture,’ what you are saying is, “Nope, God is not calling you to do what you think you are being called to do or be who you think God is calling you to be.” Scripture should be our guide. Absolutely. As you are guided by Scripture, be aware that the “cost” of a certain interpretation of Scripture may be much higher for someone else than it is for you.

#CRClistens: Finding Grace on the Internet

The Internet does not have a good reputation for encouraging civil conversation and thoughtful dialogue. It’s a place where people can spew hatred, vilify their opponents, and generally behave in unfortunate ways. It’s a place people claim either has zero consequences or massive consequences for “the real world,” depending on the issue and their personal preferences.

While that’s all true, I’ve also found the Internet a place that expands my ability to engage with those with whom I disagree.

#CRClistens: Our Disagreements are Nothing New

David Gushee recently wrote a couple of blog posts noting how the issue of inclusion of sexual minorities in the church is redefining the evangelical landscape. It is putting the squeeze on communities to such a degree that it is permanently reshaping institutional and relational boundaries. Synod 2016 will feel that pressure.

I want to invite you to ponder the following. While this squeeze feels new, difficult conflicts like this aren’t.

The Group Most Affected by Freak Weather

Last month I was in India where the people of Chennai were whacked with the worst flooding in 100 years. Hundreds died. Many more lost their homes and small businesses.

Facebook asked me if I was alright. Thanks Mark Z. Glad to know you care mate.

Every year during the rainy season, most of the slums in Phnom Penh are flooded with overflowing rivers and sewers. People literally live with a foot of dank black water in their home. They perch on wooden beds, continuing as if there weren't liquid feces floating around their feet. 

#CRClistens: Dialogue is Hard but it's Worth It

Editor's note: This is the second post in our new series How to Stay in Conversation with "the Other Side". During this series, we hope to learn together how to communicate about contentious issues in ways that build up the Body of Christ. Above all, we hope that this series will help you stay in conversation in constructive ways that honor and respect the image of God in those you disagree with and in the people affected by the issues about which you are talking.

Live Justly for Lent: Five Doors to Shalom at School

And that brings us to Lent. These public schools offer an opportunity, a door, to reach out past our comfort zone and meet our neighbor.

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The Day We Cancelled our Sunday Service

Over the years, God has placed ministry to and with the First Nations peoples on the hearts of several people in our congregation (Emo Christian Reformed Church). As a direct result of our involvement with God’s Great Outdoors, three men from our congregation asked the question, “How can we have a shared ministry with the First Nations people living all around us?” Last winter, Larry, Richard, and Dan contacted Adrian Snowball, one of the Elders of the Naicatchewenin people, living at Northwest Bay Reserve.

The Blessing of my Refugee Friends

I first began volunteering as a mentor to refugees because I wanted to be involved in some kind of ministry that reached beyond the boundaries of my everyday life at home and through my church. Being a mentor fit well because I could work it around my schedule and it gave me opportunity to connect with needy people from different places in the world. I enjoyed helping those first families, and still call them my friends, but much of the blessing for me at that time came from the sense of accomplishment I felt about having helped someone. 

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