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Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.

Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.

These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.

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April 14, 2010

Strong words

As I heard about the recent article in the Outllook on the Beaver-Butler declaration in response to the 2008 actions of the General Assembly,and then the declaration itself - I was stunned.  I appreciate their prayerful response to decisions they find objectable and incongruent with their understanding of Scripture.  What I can't fathom is the totality of the statement against worship with Jews and Muslims.  I am not going to insinuate anti-Semitism or anti-Islamicism.  That would be counter to their claim.

Their claim rests on the fact that though we do worship the same God, both Jews and Muslims do not recognize Jesus or the Holy Spirit as part of the triune God-head we look to as the source of our grace and salvation.

What an amazing understanding and belief to share with two other major religions!  To be children of Abraham together!  To bow down to and revere the same God!  The God of our fathers, the God of their fathers!  Can't we worship that God together?  Can't we celebrate or love and reverence for our shared God?  Isn't that a bigger similarity than our not all accepting Jesus as God?

We can hold to who we are as Christians - as believers in a triune God.  As believers in the divinity of Jesus, without compromising that.  And we can worship together with Jews and Muslims to God who we all believe in.  We don't have to give up our separate worships, but there is no limitation of worshiping God with anyone. 

How can we as Christians ever hope to achieve the kingdom of God here on earth - to live as the prince of peace has taught us to - if we exclude encounters with others unless they are in 100% agreement with us?

So you have to be Christian first before we can begin to lift each other up?

So they would not have worshiped with Jesus (he was a Jew!)?  That's a stretch I know but it begs the questions of why we rely so heavily on the books of Paul which are interpretive of the Gospels, and not directly on the Gospels - the words in Red - when making these statements?

No.  Jesus did not say "worship with other religions" but Jesus used a Samaritan as an example (he could have only used Jews that conformed to his religion) and so many other times he reaches out to others who's beliefs or lifestyles (the woman at the well) run counter to the culture he was a part of.

If we are ever to realize peace on earth, we are going to need to step past those things that divide us, though they are a risk, because they are the right thing to do and what God calls us to do.  We are called to understand and welcome others where they are, not where we are.

If we require others to pass our litmus test, and limit our response to the Gospel to converting others so they might be saved - instead of living a life worthy of replicating - giving without an expectation of receiving - we are never going to stop the ongoing us and them war we are constantly stuck in.

This statement comes from someone within a divided denomination that spends more time arguing and less time living the Gospel.  Imagine what would happen if we got past that?

April 12, 2010

PLEASE READ THIS ONE! "The Problem With Non"

Here's a great blog to check out! Nails some of the issues we have in our church, congregations, and our camp/conference/retreat centers right on the head! We have been doing what we have been doing so long (and so well...

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April 9, 2010

Solar Under the Sun program (Update on Monday April 5 post)

Following up on my post from Monday, I was happy to receive this note from Rev. Joe Hill, General Presbyter, Presbytery of the Pines. On your most recent blog posting you implied that Ferncliff was doing the solar power thing...

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April 7, 2010

Presbymergent post from their Facebook group and Website

I've been sharing a lot of thoughts about how we look at ourselves as camp, conference and retreat ministries lately. This post I am cutting "whole cloth" from a message on Presbymergent's facebook page and the website. I recommend...

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April 5, 2010

Solar and Water...Faithful Action

Here's another beautiful example of putting your Faith into Action! David Gill, Executive Director of Ferncliff in Arkansas shared this on Facebook recently. They are starting a Solar Institute to help mission groups learn how to construct solar powered water...

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