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"Service Learning" & "Participatory" Community

See also Reinventing the World: The Mind-Changing Process

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The Different Drum: Community-Making and Peace

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Volunteer rates hit record numbers: "...young people see service organizations as an antidote to a sense of helplessness toward world problems. 'We have a venue to make a difference, and the best thing about it is we are not alone. We're part of a team, and I know that we're collectively working to impact something.' ....

     Many are more attuned to volunteer services because colleges and high schools increasingly offer courses and credits for 'service-learning.'... A volunteer's experience overseas and commitment to service are also attractive to employers, she says. 'It's pretty much helping out your community and helping others while helping yourself,' says AmeriCorps*VISTA member Tabaris Gregg." See The Draft is Back and the next link:

November 2005

M. Scott Peck obituary: "Peck, who has died aged 69, was a psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Travelled, the ultimate self-help manual.... Its opening sentence, 'Life is difficult', introduced a tome which argued... that human experience was trying and imperfectible, and that only self-discipline, delaying gratification, acceptance that one's actions have consequences, and a determined attempt at spiritual growth could make sense of it. By contrast, Peck himself was, by his own admission, a ... chain-smoking neurotic whose life was characterised by incessant infidelity....

      "Peck... found himself drawn from Eastern mysticism to mainstream Christianity.... He... published The Different Drum." In spite of his erratic lifestyle, his influence on churches and "Christian" leadership training has been substantial. See Re-Inventing the Church, Part 2


Wiping stereotypes of India off the books: "Sandhya Kumar teaches her three daughters about other countries, cultures and religions. She wants them to take pride in their Indian heritage and Hindu faith -- and to respect and understand other views. ... She and dozens of other Indian American parents launched a campaign to change the way their history is taught in Fairfax. ...they recommended that teachers expand their lessons on topics including Hindu writings; the value system, including the four stages of life; reincarnation and salvation.

     "School officials said that if members of other religions or ethnic groups raise concerns, they are ready to listen. 'This is not the end of a conversation,' Monday said. 'This is the beginning of a conversation about how we handle our increasingly diverse community.'" See Al Gore’s Vision of Planetary Oneness


Create a Culture of Connectivity in Your church: "With this new book and CD, you’ll be able to dig deep into what matters most in keeping people coming back to your church. You’ll explore how to create a climate of community." What about the old, timeless book, the Bible? Has it been replaced by marketing manuals and psycho-social strategies for group thinking? See Creating Community through a New Way of Thinking


Church leaders work to alter public perception: "...some evangelical Christian leaders worry that people have the wrong idea about them, equating 'evangelical' with 'conservative,' 'Republican,' 'reactionary' and 'judgmental.'... 'People have no idea as to who we really are,' said the Rev. Erwin Lutzer, one of the Gatekeepers.... When the evangelical church stepped into the political arena, it actually made itself a target, I think, in the wider communities in America.'...

      "The Gatekeepers include pastors Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, James Meeks... James McDonald... Mark Jobe.... 'If this group really does come together for some great causes, it will represent hope that diverse yet Christ-honoring groups can come together and span some of what used to be thought of as uncrossable chasms,' said Hybels...."I think some evangelicals have put too much emphasis on what Christ's followers are against, as opposed to what are the great causes....'

      "And what would those causes be? 'First would be the poor and the oppressed,' Hybels said, '...the hungry, the homeless.... Certainly, it would be AIDS. Lack of education. It's the classic causes that Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount.'"

      No, those aren't the main "causes" Jesus outlined in that great message. His concerns dealt with the heart and spirit, not possessions or earthly: Blessed are the "poor in spirit," those who mourn or hunger for His righteousness, the meek, the merciful, the pure, the peacemakers (sharing God's way to peace, not practicing conflict resolution), those who face persecution for His name's sake, those who -- by His Spirit -- seek His kingdom, not earthly gains and are salt and light in the dark and corrupt world.  See The Secret of Abundant Life


A message from the U.S. Faith-Based Inititiative Office: Hi, I'm Jim Towey, director of President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative. It’s great to come to you by way of the [Rick Warren's] Ministry ToolBox and greet you on behalf of President Bush. I met Rick Warren in the Oval Office when he was meeting with the President....

    "...the President decided the best way to tackle some of these social problems was to develop partnerships between the federal government and the faith-based community. ...I think the Faith-Based Initiative captures what has been the essence of American democracy.... It recognizes that within our pluralism, we can tap into the rich communities of Jews, Christians, Muslims - and people of no faith – all coming together to address society’s ills." See Faith-Based Compromise? & Serving a Greater Whole


Christmas CD banned for mentioning Jesus (UK): "Many see the measure as the latest attempt to 'de-Christianize' Christmas.... Just last month, the Scottish Parliament banned traditional Christmas cicials said 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' could not appear on government cards, as the wording was not deemed to be 'socially inclusive.'" The international goal for every community is Solidarity, which is incompatible with Christianity.


Dick and Jane don't teach bias: "It began as a reasonable and justified attempt to rid educational materials of words and images demeaning to women and racial and ethnic minorities, but the level of censorship has gone much too far.... Bias and sensitivity panels review every test question and textbook to make sure that nothing potentially offensive goes through." A New Way of Thinking


Ten Paradigm Shifts Towards Community Transformation (Part I): "All over our nation there is a quiet movement of the Spirit of God that is causing believers to re-examine how they 'do church.' ... It’s about making a significant and sustainable difference in the lives of people around us—in our communities and in our cities....

      "In a post-modern world, most people are neither impressed with the size of a church nor its commitment to 'truth.' Yet, from the cover of TIME magazine to the front page of the Wall Street Journal, transformational community-centered ministries are grabbing the attention of the American people. ... Effective ministry has always been holistic, combining good deeds with good news."

       But the deeds that are "good" to God will probably not be the ones done in "partnership" with a government that demands that we repackage the gospel in less offensive wrappings. See the "community" sections of Homeland Security and the transformation of America


Mrs. Ridge promotes survey on sex, drugs: "A Fairfax County schools survey that asks teens if they perform oral sex, use drugs or ever have considered suicide is part of a national grant-harvesting program promoted by Michele Ridge, wife of President Bush's director of homeland security.

      "Mrs. Ridge is the hired national spokeswoman for Communities That Care (CTC), which developed the youth survey used in more than 400 communities nationwide to collect personal information from students to help local governments justify federal and foundation grant applications...."  See The Power of Suggestion


Youth at Risk? The National Survey: "The report focused on the findings of a CTC [Communities that Care] survey conducted with over 14,000 pupils across England, Scotland and Wales which assessed the levels of problem behaviour and risk and protection factors....

     "...over half of pupils in Year 11 admitted to 'binge' drinking sometime in the four weeks before the survey. Other findings which were a little surprising in terms of the apparent scope of problem behaviour include about one-third of Year 10 pupils admitting to vandalising someone else's property at some point in the last year." All these signs of "unhealthy communities" justify more government control through consensus groups. The UN Plan for Your Mental Health and the first link on this page.


Communities That Care. "Years of research by social scientists and public health experts have demonstrated how to most effectively coordinate prevention efforts. CTC's strategy for involving key leaders to ensure top-down support as well as its use of accurate data in identifying and addressing priority risk and protective factors." See The high cost of homeland security - How will it change America?


Bush urges help for needy: "President George W. Bush used his Saturday radio address this Thanksgiving weekend to implore Americans to show compassion for other Americans by volunteering in different ways to help people less fortunate. 'Taking time to count our own blessings reminds us that many people struggle every day -- men, women, and children facing hunger, homelessness, illness, addiction, or despair. These are not strangers. They are fellow Americans needing comfort, love, and compassion." This sounds so good, but consider these warnings: Serving a Greater Whole and Faith-Based Compromise


The Lord giveth, Costco taketh away? "...can a city grab church land to erect a Costco? Cypress, Calif., apparently thought so. Quite shamelessly this spring, city officials announced plans to condemn the Cottonwood Christian Center's land because they preferred the taxes Costco would generate to the souls the Cottonwood might save.

     "Last week, in an unprecedented victory for religious liberty and private property, a federal judge stepped in and said to the overweening Cypress city council: Not so fast....

     "Councilmember Anna Piercy... told the News-Enterprise in a May 15 story, 'They're waging a holy war trying to make it a religious issue, and it's not that.' You are telling a church it cannot worship on its own land and that is not a religious issue? 'We just don't want them taking our prime development land,' she explained. Whose prime development land, Ms. Piercy?"


National Security Becomes National Snoopery: "Using the Sept. 11 attacks and the threat of terrorism as justification, the federal government is invading the privacy of Americans on a massive scale, probing their use of telecommunications to uncover intimate information about U.S. citizens proven guilty of nothing..... 'Consumers should know that the information they give to America Online or Microsoft may very well wind up at the IRS or the FBI.'...

       "'What happens to that information four or five years from now?' he asked. 'The FBI doesn't throw anything away.'...

       "Despite the massive threat to the privacy rights of Americans, there has been little public outcry against the expanded government snooping, possibly because 'there is something that people just haven't grasped, though government investigators have,' Gidari said. 'A network economy yields so much more information about personal lives that can be collected and manipulated in ways most people don't understand.'...

       "'We endow government with tremendous power - power to arrest you, take away your property, take away your life, destroy your reputation, take your children away from you,' Dempsey said. 'I think those powers in the hands of human beings, acting under pressure, with the best of intentions, facing time deadlines in a world of limited resources, those kinds of powers need to be surrounded with a thicket of rules.'  ...

    "The aphorism 'If you build it, they will come' is apt, warned attorney Gidari. 'And `they' are the law enforcement authorities.'" See A National Information System & No Place to Hide?



The links below illustrate how church growth communities -- as well as national and global governments -- are using data gathering programs, personal profiles, tracking and "Service learning" to manage and monitor people -- often under the banner of assessing the 'growth' or 'health' of the church." See Reinventing the World. God calls His people to serve the poor in His name, with freedom to share His truth in love. That freedom is restricted -- and the web of data gathering enlarged -- when the government becomes a partner. See Faith-Based Compromise and Charts: Paradigm Shift


Community. Celebrate Global Youth Service Day April 26-28: "The goals of GYSD are to: [1] Highlight the ways that young people improve their communities through service 365 days a year [2] Recruit the next generation of volunteers and [3] Promote the benefits of youth service around the world." See Serving a Greater Whole and The New "Participatory" Community.

National Youth Service day: "National Youth Service Day (NYSD) is the largest service event in the world, engaging millions of young Americans and focusing national attention on the amazing leadership of young people. National Youth Service Day is also an opportunity to recruit the next generation of volunteers while promoting the benefits of youth service to the American public. Please take a moment to fill out the questionnaire below...." Question # was: "Did any projects incorporate a service-learning approach?" We are called to love, serve and teach in the freedom of Christ, not within the constraints and demands of the government. John 13:34

Faith-based use of government funds grows: "The number of faith-based groups using government funds to provide social services has grown in the past two years... More 'very, very small contracts' are being made with local ministries and a 'significant minority' of contracts are made directly with a church, not its nonprofit affiliate. The 1996 charitable-choice law allowed such direct contracts, though a church must also set up an accounting and reporting system for how the money was used... At the forum, Jim Towey, director of the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said collecting data on religious social services is a delicate matter for the government, since such inquiries can scare religious workers. "It's a Catch-22," said Mr. Towey, who took over the office early this year. "How do you get the data of what's going on in the country? We're trying to maneuver through that." See Faith-Based Compromise.


'First Things First' brings proven programs to our community: "1. To use credible research to identify significant problems facing Chattanooga, emphasizing families and youth. 2.To identify solutions that are based on traditional values and principles; to measure the effectiveness of these solutions based on credible, empirical data; to evaluate the impact of these potential solutions. 3.To build broad public support for values-based solutions through advocacy, communication and collaboration rather than providing direct client services. 4.To empower and equip local leaders and professionals who work with families and who are also promoting values-based solutions, and to provide support that advances their effectiveness." See Redefining Church (Check the links under the heading: "Information Networks")

Need some ideas for Servant Evangelism? "Here’s a huge list of projects. Pick one you like, and then drop John an e-mail. He needs to know which project you’ve chosen, the name of your church, the name of the coordinator...."

"The Faith-Based Caucus for an International Criminal Court is a coalition of religious and interfaith NGOs that examine the moral, ethical and religious considerations surrounding the Court. Religious organizations have a special role to play in raising awareness at the grassroots level and helping to shape the ICC. ...Participating Organizations:" World Council of Churches, United Methodist Church, World Conference on Religion and Peace, Quaker UN Office, Unitarian Universalists UN Office, Lutheran Office for World Community, Presbyterian UN Office, Mennonite Central Committee, Franciscans International, Bahai International, B'nai B'rith International. See Conforming the Church to the New Millennium

Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Not Just 'Lip Service': "Christian leaders say the president genuinely wants level playing field for charities....The evangelicals were among approximately 150 religious leaders, including Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims, who met in the White House's East Room for a 30-minute briefing by Bush, a Methodist layman, concerning his 'faith-based initiative.' Bush has urged the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate to approve his plan before Memorial Day, May 27 .... 'We shouldn't fear faith, we ought to welcome it in our society,'" said the president. See Faith-Based Compromise

Bush urges Americans to volunteer: "'You probably got a sense of my strong feelings about the enemy. I believe they're evil,' Bush said. 'The best way to fight evil at home is to do some good.'' ...The president proposed spending $230 million in 2003 to establish Citizen Corps councils in local communities, including the $50 million he announced Monday. The program is an element of the USA Freedom Corps that Bush announced in his State of the Union address in January." See Serving a Greater Whole

Bush wants more college work-study jobs to serve community: "President Bush wants colleges and universities to free more than half a million work-study students from campus jobs and unleash them on communities to change the world "one person, one soul, one conscience at a time."


Is YMCA Promoting Fatherless Families? "...A good example is my recent visit to a YMCA in Las Vegas. As I walked in the lobby the first thing that greeted me was a huge banner hung from the ceiling promoting 'Building strong kids, families, and communities.' As I stood there looking at the banner, it struck me that something was not only wrong, but missing. What's missing is the father. ...It appears this banner is not only promoting Hillary Clinton's 'It takes a whole village' concept of child rearing, but also that a one-parent home is a family. Why is there a pink triangle inside the Y? I've seen people wearing pink triangles in gay pride parades. Why is it here?" Go to Edutainment, take the shortcut to "symbols" and read the explanation.


School credits urged for student volunteers: "Introducing community service to the curriculums of primary, middle and high schools has been advocated as part of the planned revamp of the national education system. ... [C]ommunity service activities may include cleaning medical facilities, reading books to visually impaired people, participating in traffic safety campaigns and undertaking various activities with children. The report urges schools and their local communities to work together to organize volunteer activities and train community service instructors." [That makes sense, since these instructors must learn to be group facilitators who guide the consensus process. Every server must learn to trade individual thinking for group thinking and traditional values for global values. See Serving a Greater Whole

      "Creating a framework in which not only students, but also adults participate in lifelong community service activities is part of the report's recommendations...." It sounds familiar, doesn't it?  Japan is following the same UNESCO guidelines for "lifelong learning" and community service that America has followed for years. See Reinventing the World


Volunteers answer president's call Nation's community organizations inundated with eager new recruits: "In the few days since the State of the Union speech, President Bush's appeal to Americans to fight terrorism by giving time to their communities has proved what volunteer service leaders call 'the power of the ask.' The idea is that most people won't serve until someone asks them. And after the president asked on Tuesday night, phones are ringing off the hook and Web sites are jammed all across the country ...In Washington, the number of inquiries about joining AmeriCorps, the main domestic service program for young people, has tripled, hitting 18,000 yesterday, said spokesman Sandy Scott. ...'The president is using his bully pulpit and has become the recruiter in chief.'"

       God calls us to serve each other, share our possessions and reach out to the needy. But when the government organizes the service, writes the rules for communication and trains the volunteers using the dialectic process, we need to be cautious. See Faith-Based Compromise


President's Pastor-Friend Seeks 'Community Salvation': "'s the role of the church to cast God's preferred future for this community, and make sure folk have what they need to accomplish that vision -- be it faith, hope, grace, etc.," [UMC Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell] says....    Caldwell's vision for 'community salvation' was born out of his childhood in a poor Houston neighborhood. He believes that Western culture has divorced people from the biblical concept of community.... 

       "Caldwell's development work caught the eye of then-Gov. George W. Bush. Their friendship continued after Bush ascended to the White House. Caldwell describes himself as 'just one of the people who prays with the president,' but he was invited to give the benediction at the presidential inauguration, and was also asked to pray at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Caldwell also accompanied the president on his first visit to Ground Zero after the attacks." See other illustrations of The Postmodern Church

Leadership Network: "The ministry of Windsor Village and Kirbyjon Caldwell is one of the shining examples of how ministry will be conducted in the 21st century. Their commitment to discipling the whole person for ministry and everyday life is exceptional. Their understanding of how to transform both the person and the city is phenomenal." See Church Networks and Reinventing the World


God’s design and pattern for the N.T. church (scroll to this heading): "The 2 winged church - cells and cell-ebration: *Celebration – greatness, corporate anointing, excitement, momentum, preaching and equipping, corporate praise and worship, vision, direction, etc.  *Cells – intimacy, vulnerability, accountability, personal attention, discipleship and mentoring, make friends, participate and contribute, exercise gifts, love and be loved, share deeply etc. *It’s not one or the other – we need both! (Balance) ... *Jesus had a cell – the Twelve - and had a triplet...."  This unbiblical description of the New Testament Church outlines one of the more popular patterns for the global church. Cells and celebration may sound loving and feel good, but -- since it uses the consensus process to build group unity, it shifts individuals from God's unchanging Word to a group consensus led by a facilitator trained in the dialectic process. See The Global Church and Part 4: The Open Church


"Quality Management" for the Church: Involve Everybody Who Cares: "... building participation is not optional. As leaders, we have no choice but to figure out how to invite in everybody who is going to be affected by change. Those we fail to invite into the creation process will surely and always show up as resistors and saboteurs.....None of us these days can know what will work inside the dense networks we call organizations. We can't see what's meaningful to people, or even understand how they get their work done. We have no option but to ask them into the design process." See The Global Church


Organizational Learning Ventures - Helping church leaders transition from the present to the future: Over the past three decades, the US culture has moved from one of observation to participation, from involvement to experience. [2] A second shift is from training to learning, for a one-time transfer of information based on a classroom model to a life long process of discovery and learning that is interactive...... [3] A final shift is from individual learning to collaborative learning or shared leaning in the context of a team."  This shift in from facts to feeling or experience -- and from individual to group our collective learning -- parallels UNESCO's global education system. See Molding Human Resources for a Global Workforce


Preaching in Today's Culture: "Yes, people are used to images but good storytellers pay less attention to the sound byte rules. Since we are a story soaked culture, to preach in any other way is just not going to attract people." This message from "The Leadership Network" is part of a series called "Helping Church Leaders Transition from the Present to the Future." This transition includes training church leaders to persuade their people through stories that manipulate feelings rather than through the facts and truths that build a solid foundation.


Peter Drucker on the Church and Denominations: "...there is a substantial critical mass of people and churches that are already moving.' ...While acknowledging that there are still many unhealthy churches, there is a justified 'change in basic premises, basic attitudes, basic mind set... on the whole, we are on the march.... The congregation we are dealing with is a very different congregation that the one in which most of us bean... It is a congregation that sees itself in partnership...." See The Global Church


Global Church Management. This dream we call DAWN: "The database approach, research strategy and action planning along with prayer by the whole Church attracted me to DAWN," says Agustin 'Jun' Vencer. "...It is focused in its ministry, measurable in its outcomes, good management leadership, uses technology well, high in accountability, and increasingly becoming international in its staffing. It is systemic in its approach to ministry." 

          Notice the TQM buzzwords in his statement. [A Glossary of Church Terms will define these terms when finished] He praises the new global management system with its high tech monitoring and standards-based assessments. Does he know how these "outcome-based" strategies will be used to manage minds and members everywhere? See Reinventing the World

The Great Commission Roundtable serves as an umbrella system. It uses of the same TQM terminology that permeates UN programs see [Habitat II] as well as US government, education and corporate management systems. The article "One More Step Towards De-Fragmentation" shows its goal:  

Three international movements have dominated the landscape of global mission in the last decade--the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization, the AD2000 Movement and the World Evangelical Fellowship. Sadly, participation in these networks has tended to divide the allegiances.... The GCR is an attempt to work together. It is a picture of how partnership can work on a global scale...." (John 17: 22)....

The dream of the GCR is to become an international community of networks, an energizing force for world evangelism: geographically inclusive, welcoming, coalescing around shared values, connecting existing networks through bridge-building, cooperating with shared vision, interdependent, integrated, flexible, building relationship and trust across the world with different communities, sharing news, research and communicating the "best practices in missions."

Twisting Truth by Classroom Consensus: The much acclaimed manual, Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to religion and Public Education, outlines the social contract for the global village. Edited by Charles Haynes, it illustrates how its group of authors did "redefine the words" and introduce a new social contract. Quoting from the Williamsburg Charter, which laid the foundation for The First Liberty Institute headed by Dr. Haynes, it states,

"The Compact Must be Mutual  ...that rights are universal and responsibilities mutual is both the premise and the promise of democratic pluralism….. From this axiom… derives guidelines for conducting public debates involving religion…."

"First, those who claim the right to dissent should assume the responsibility to debate: Commitment to democratic pluralism assumes the coexistence with one political community of groups whose ultimate faith commitments may be incompatible, yet whose common commitment to social unity and diversity does justice to both the requirements of individual conscience and the wider community. A general consent to the obligations of citizenship is therefore inherent…." 

"Second, those who claim the right to criticize should assume the responsibility to comprehend…. Genuine tolerance honestly weights honest differences and promotes both impartiality and pluralism. Debased tolerance results in indifference to the differences that vitalize a pluralistic democracy…."

"Third, those who claim the right to influence should accept the responsibility not to inflame…." [8]

The last statement points to a basic, though unstated, ground rule for the consensus process: Don't offend group members with politically incorrect expressions. Unpopular facts or ideas clash with the emphasis on building trusting relationships. Naturally, it doesn't take long before the group's disapproval intimidates most dissenters into silence. Few dare voice contrary facts or beliefs that could violate another person's comfort zone.  

Two UN Summits, One Millennium Goal: The second point -- "no individual... can any longer live as an isolated microcosm in our interdependent world" -- is already being used in communities across the USA to justify pressuring people of all ages to participate in the consensus process. The Columbine massacre and the new quest to identify "loners" as potential criminals have intensified this pressure.

Remember, the United Nations demands solidarity. Only a new set of shared beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors can complete its utopian vision of the global community. To succeed, it needs the cooperation of spiritual leaders who will persuade their followers.  

Absolute truth and political dissent are unacceptable. Uncompromising positions could bring conflict and gridlock. Our Global Neighborhood suggests a threefold approach to establishing “an ethical dimension to global governance.”  Do they sound familiar?

  • Encourage commitment to core values… and strengthen the sense of common responsibility for the global neighborhood.

  • Express these values through a global ethic of specific rights and responsibilities….

  • Embody this ethic in the evolving system of international norms, adapting, where necessary existing norms of sovereignty…. (See Our Global Neighood)  

At over 260 Shalom sites across the country (including Chicago) churches are working with their communities “toward systemic change.” Collaborating with community organizations and residents, they pursue benevolent  social goals such as economic development, affordable housing, multicultural relationships, and “health and healing that addresses issues affecting physical, emotional, and social wholeness.”                “Spiritual and congregational development” is encouraged through “study circles” which pair “congregations from different faith traditions” in small groups “for dialogue.” Here they “grapple with public issues and build community.”

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