Is Christ divided? No; He is Christ United in Mid-City

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

We are on summer break 2016

We are on summer break 2016
Please use the links in the left column
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Friday, June 17, 2016

A father's faith: How modern dads pass on their religious traditions

Louisville and Orlando, 2016
Baptist News Global: These days, when cynicism overwhelms, Bill Leonard tries to remember the night in a Louisville cathedral when Muhammad Ali kissed him on the cheek, an interfaith congregation reached out in thanksgiving, and for a moment, the kingdom of God came near. You gotta hope.

The Orlando tragedy: what can be said?
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: What we need most is not declarations of the undoubted meaning of the catastrophe, but lament. We need not commentary, but poetry.

Forgiving Dylann Roof is taking a heavy toll on those left behind. But they're not giving up.
The Washington Post: Some have forgiven. Others are still trying. "I know I need to as a believer."

A father's faith: How modern dads pass on their religious traditions
Deseret News National: Even as ideas about fatherhood evolve, certain conclusions about how fathers can pass on their faith remain stable.

You'd think that Israel, of all places, would respect its refugees
The (London) Guardian: Africans facing genocide are making a modern-day Exodus, fleeing through the Sinai. But the Israeli government has no time for non-Jewish asylum seekers, says Giles Fraser.

Orlando Backlash

Orlando Backlash
Emotions are running high after the murder of 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando. We Americans have a desperate and understandable urge to lay the blame somewhere, and we find it irresistible to strike out against political and religious opponents. The New York Times believes the culprit is the Republican Party (which Sean Davis at The Federalist satires effectively, in my view). Attorney Chase Strangio spoke for many when he tweeted "The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No. #PulseNightclub," while Zack Ford at Think Progress repudiated Christian attempts at sympathy, saying, "If you want us to feel love, then do not tell us our sexuality is wrong or that the only way to be right is to be celibate." Orlando Pentecostal Pastor Gabriel Salguero begs to differ; his church has modeled what Christian compassion looks like, even with those with whom we deeply disagree.

I spoke about the hazards of identity politics last week, and Brenden O'Neill at Spiked shows how this plays out in Orlando commentary:
Across the media, and in gay-rights circles, observers have insisted we refer to [the victims] as 'queers' first and avoid turning them into 'disembodied, undifferentiated and abstract "human" lives', as one academic put it.... To allow their murder to be 'generalised', to refer to their slaughter as 'an attack on humanity', is wrong, commentators insist, because doing this erases their specific identities and the specific reason they were killed: their gayness. This is all meant to sound PC, and gay-friendly, an attempt to uphold the truth about what happened in Orlando; but in fact it exposes the profound anti-humanism of identity politics.
Maybe the intensity is due to the fact "the best way to understand the Orlando aftermath in terms of cultural politics is as a religious war," as Rod Dreher argues.
If the struggle for gay rights has taken on the qualities of a religious war, then that explains why people like Zack Ford spurn expressions of sympathy from religious conservatives like Russell Moore. No matter how much love and solidarity he expresses towards the suffering in Orlando and those who mourn, he is tainted by the impurity of his beliefs.
I mentioned in a recent editorial that, indeed, there are starkly different world views at play:
Both religious conservatives and LGBT activists ground their respective claims in metaphysics. To simplify: The first group believes that sexual mores are rooted in God-given teaching and the natural order. The second group believes every individual has the right to determine how to live sexually, and we each are duty bound to be true to ourselves, however we conceive the self. Each side champions what it considers a righteous cause that transcends mere personal interest. It is no wonder emotions are running so high, and so much righteous anger is in the air.
I think Dreher's suggestion that this increasingly is not just a philosophical difference but is taking on a religious aura might be more to the point.
Can Anything Good Come from a Big Mac?
On a lighter and more uplifting note, there's McDonalds. Apparently, it's the glue that holds [some] communities together. Three cheers for Big Macs.
The Best Thing to Do for Your Kids
Finally, some indirect Father's Day advice from Frederica Mathewes-Green: "The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife." There wasn't much that she said that didn't apply to me as a husband. And what exactly does that have to do with Father's Day? Precisely this: as has been often said, the most important thing we do in raising our kids is showing them what a good marriage looks like.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Marriage to an Undocumented Immigrant

11 Portraits of Charleston Survivors' Grief and Grace
CT sent a reporter and a photographer to be with the family members of several victims.
Reporting by Bob Smietana; portraits by Jonathan Hanson
Two unfathomable things happened, more quickly than almost anyone could have imagined, one year ago this June. First, the terror: A young man named Dylann Roof, armed with a .45-caliber handgun, sat through almost an hour of the Wednesday night Bible study at Charleston, South Carolina's venerable "Mother Emanuel" AME Church. Then he opened fire. Within minutes, nine—Depayne Middleton Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson—were dead. Five survived.... continue reading >>

Southern Baptists Hold First of Three Evangelical Events on Racial Reconciliation
Ferguson and Charleston prompt white and black Christians to seek unity.
The Exchange
3 Ways Suffering Produces Sanctification
Suffering for the believer is never without purpose.
The Local Church
What My Church Gained—and Lost—When We Stopped Renting
I never thought I'd miss it . . .
Where We Stand
A Meditation on the Orlando Shooting
This latest attack is part of a pattern, and the pretext for a remarkable prayer.
My Marriage to an Undocumented Immigrant
I lived with the threat of my husband's deportation. Here's what I learned about immigration.

At Mother Emanuel AME Church, a congregation is healing

A year after the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church, the congregation is healing from its own unique and often overlooked loss. And the hand of God is moving still, says the church’s pastor.  Read more

God weeps over Orlando

From Orlando, Emanuel AME pastor calls for stricter gun laws and unity after mass shooting
The (Charleston, S.C.) Post & Courier: Days before Charleston commemorates the anniversary of the Emanuel AME Church shooting, the church's pastor is in Orlando, Fla., to stand with a community reeling from a gun-related tragedy of its own.

Florida Catholic bishop: 'It is religion, including our own,' that targets LGBT people
The Washington Post: The women and men who were mowed down Sunday were all made in the image and likeness of God, says St. Petersburg bishop. "We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that."

God weeps over Orlando
Religion News Service: God saw what happened during the attack on the nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and God wept, says Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin.

I've studied radicalization - and Islamophobia often plants the seed
The (London) Guardian: Evidence shows that alienating an entire religious community will make us less safe. There are better ways to fight extremism, says researcher Sarah Lyons-Padilla.

Muslim villagers donate money to build church for Christian community in Pakistan
The (London) Independent: Muslim villagers in Pakistan are helping to fund a new church for their neighbors in a show of religious solidarity six years after the Christian community was attacked by mobs in the area.

FirstFruits NEWS June 2016 Issue

FirstFruits NEWS
June 2016 Issue
"A Quality Fruit Company Committed To Bearing Fruit...Fruit That Will Last"  
(John 15:16)

Training Servant Leaders at Broetje Orchards

At Broetje Orchards, our mission statement guides our work: to be both a quality supplier of apples and cherries while also providing
opportunities for individuals to understand their purpose and live into God's dream. 
In early 2016, As part of our on-going work to develop our organization's ability to raise the capacity of our employees, our new Human Resource team enrolled in our local leadership formation course in servant leadership
For 5 months this group met weekly to learn more about  themselves and each other. In so doing, they have deepened their understanding of how to come together as a team to better help individuals. This group  graduated that course on June 1!
People who participate in servant leadership development learn how to share their life stories, examine their personalities, explore their gifts and special interests and support one another through our hard times so that each can be their best to those served. Congratulations to our H.R team, for your commitment to this course and the powerful ways you invest yourselves in the work God has chosen us to do together!
For more information on Servant Leadership and Center for Sharing please visit:
For a short video link to see this class in session go to:
Communities of Practice: Vista Hermosa

Cheryl Broetje

Happy Father's Day 
As Father's Day approaches on June 19th, we take this day to recognize every father out there for the hard work that goes into being a dad.
To pass on a message of thanks, this year we thought it best to ask our Vista Elementary  School students to give us some input. They were posed the question: "What does your dad mean to you?"  Here are some of their responses:
My dad is important to me because he teaches me to be responsible.
-Miguel , Kindergarten
My dad is important to me because he helps me learn and teaches me to be nice.
-Omar , 1st grade

My dad is important to me because he takes care of me.
-Valeria, 2nd grade
My dad is important to me because he help me on my homework and is always there for me when I get hurt and taught me how to ride my bike. He helps my mom cook.
-Julieta , 3rd grade
My dad is important to me because he has taught me to always work hard. He also works very hard to provide things for us.
-Maria , Director of Extended Programs

Happy Father's Day!

Community Service: Finding the Time

Increasingly, our lives are becoming overloaded. Our days are filled with work, family life, and for some, school. It can be tough to juggle so much in one day, but we do it time and again.
It's important though, that we take a step back and reflect on other ways we can contribute to our communities. So what does it mean to give back to your community? To some, community service is simply picking up garbage or donating to a local charity. To others, it is an
 opportunity to work along peers working towards a common good.
Our First Fruits Scholars, of the Vista Hermosa Scholarship Program, are all asked to fulfill 10 hours of community service for every month they are attending school. They are encouraged to commit this time to an organization or cause to which they are passionate. All of our scholarship students are doing great work, but for this article we'd like to introduce Diana Reyes.
Diana is a mother of four beautiful children working towards a degree in Nursing at Columbia Basin College. Although she is a very busy mom and student, Diana is finding time to help the Pasco School District in their afterschool Adult ESL program. Having previously been an ESL student herself, Diana is now using her gifts to help an underrepresented population find their voice. She understands that helping these individuals become stronger in their English skills will ultimately have remarkable impact at home and in their community. Diana says, "It's important that these parents understand and can effectively communicate in English so that they can help their children with homework, and are able to know their rights and con contribute their ideas with others".

We are proud of the work that Diana Reyes is accomplishing and proud of all of our First Fruits Scholarship recipients. 

Guadalupe Mendez, Scholarship Coordinator
Cherry Harvest Update

Cherry season is here in both Prescott and Wallula orchard locations. The high temperatures of this past spring accelerated a lot of Washington State's crops.

Cherries were 2 weeks ahead of schedule with Wallula beginning the last week of May and finishing the first week of June. Prescott Orchards began picking the first week of June and is expected to finish in the end of June.
The unpredictable weather of our Spring had both orchards face several obstacles including rain and high temperatures which can cause splits in the cherries.

We would like to thank all the crews and Managers who endured late nights and early mornings to protect and harvest these First Fruits of the season.-

Tyler Broetje, Communications
Supporting Communities around the Globe  

Broetje Orchards has a tradition of supporting employees as they give together to serve vulnerable communities in Mexico. Employee funding has made a difference providing housing, education and mentoring to vulnerable children.
In 2010, a group of employees formed Paisanos Unidos and focused their giving on Miramar, Oaxaca; supporting agriculture, livelihood and education projects. The group then decided to support the community of Nuevo Paraiso Tzotil in Chiapas, Mexico. 
Thanks to the generous support of 75 Broetje Orchard employees, Laura (pictured here) and 30 other young people from Nuevo Paraiso Tzotzil in Chiapas, Mexico will have the opportunity to go to school and have a safe place to learn and play. The community is so grateful for the support:  for 17 years this community had fled political violence and been living as refugees.  As a result, youth never had the opportunity to go to school and don't speak Spanish. This will change that! 
Together, employees raised $12,500 which will be matched by Broetje Orchards, for a combined donation of $25,000. These funds will go towards the construction of the school, equipment, and training costs. The community members will provide the labor for construction and have agreed to serve as volunteer teachers. Amextra, a nonprofit in Mexico, has committed to providing ongoing support to the project and wider community. We are thankful to partner with the people of Nuevo Paraiso as they work towards their goal of providing youth and children with education.
If you would like to learn more about this project or support Paisanos Unidos, please talk with Melanie Lopez in the office or call her at 509-749-8178. To learn more about Amextra, visit their website at 

Melanie Lopez-Grewal-  International Grants and Communications Coordinator

Monday, June 13, 2016

Be careful what you pray for

Psalm of wrath
Why a gory piece of scripture keeps surfacing in American politics
Be careful what you pray for
Read more

With evangelicals, Trump plays it safe

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