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         Sider Endorsement - On Power - Wheaton Professor - Rev. Youngblood - Community Organizing 
         Community Development


Doing Community Organizing with
Those Who Differ with Us in Doctrine


Note: On May 19, 2002 at the CSCO annual meeting, Rev. John Heinemeier presented this list of ten ways that evangelicals, Pentecostals and holiness Christians are involved with non-Christians in the world of their experience. Therefore, they should take faith-based organizing seriously.


1. Whether we like it or not, we live in a pluralistic world. We always have and always will. In that world we need to find a God-pleasing balance between tolerance and the need to convert.

2. Most faith-based communities agree on certain basic values: justice seeking, the democratic process, respect for those with whom we disagree, the injunction to love. We can work with others within those commonalities.

3. Working collaboratively for justice need not compromise the doctrinal, worship, education or evangelism positions of any congregation.

4. Sufficient safeguards can be agreed upon in this interfaith collaboration for justice. E.g., we agree in advance that there are certain issues that we cannot organize around, like abortion, gay and lesbian issues, etc.

5. Relationship building, the basic groundwork of organizing, even with people with whom we disagree, is a good thing. In fact, we are commanded to do so by our Lord. It may also help us both clarify and critique our own positions.

6. Systemic change requires powerfulness, and this is best achieved by diverse coalitions. "Sitting it out," or being unconcerned for system change, is not an option for the church of Jesus Christ.

7. We already collaborate now with groups with whom we may disagree; e.g. in any tax-funded venture.

8. Clergy and theologically acute lay leaders continue to guide and temper this work and tie it to the faith traditions. This work is not led by value-less persons., but by a tightly knit clergy caucus.

9. There needs to be a balance between "purity" of doctrine and love/seeking justice. Jesus regularly came down on the side of the latter, placing human well being above various legalisms.

10. This work too is part of the church's focus on the Kingdom of God, with justice and love at its center

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