Jan 302015
 

missionary-tag-elderThe half cord of wood had been delivered, now it must be split and stacked.

I’d put it off as long as possible…the weather was cold and I was tired.

 

That’s when the “elders” walked up as I was surveying the task in front of me.

I wasn’t in the mood…

I told them I knew who they were, what they were doing, and that I wasn’t interested in the discussion.

“We just want to help”.

They informed me that they would love to split and stack this wood in their crisp white shirts and appropriately conservative ties.

You had to admire their dedication…

I told them that was a pastor, a Reformed pastor at that, and their efforts would be pointless.

“We just want to help”.

I informed them that they could help by not irritating me any more and that they should go irritate the neighbor next door who had been playing some form of meditation chants late into the night and into my bedroom window.

“We just want to help!”

I said very well…you can help.

Split and stack the wood, then I have some landscaping that needs finished, my truck needs cleaned, and my cat desires to be groomed…slowly.

“No problem!”

I continued…while you guys are doing all that, I’m going to go in my house and rest.

I’m not going to work, because all the work will either be already done or is being done for me.

“That’s a great deal for you…you rest and we’ll do all the work.”

“That is the Gospel”, I replied.

I explained that I was resting in the finished work of Christ, while they were trying to earn what can only be a gift.

They would never cease from their works, but the work I needed done was finished a long, long time ago.

They too could rest by simply receiving the gift of the work already done…what a great deal, indeed.

They could never work hard enough or long enough to earn what had already been given.

They declined the offer.

They didn’t stay to stack my wood, either.

Make your own application…

Jan 292015
 

randall24-2The headline was “Local pastor trusting God to heal wounds left by sex abuse allegations”.

Tom Randall is expert in the use of humble Christian quotes  and uses them once again to portray himself as the victim in the ongoing story of child abuse in the Philippine orphanage he supervised.

The more correct headline would have been “Whistleblowers trusting God for the truth to come out about sex abuse allegations”.

The real victims get short shrift in the article, while Randall and his wife try to come off as persecuted saints of the Lord.

They speak of the “pain of betrayal”…but the pain of children betrayed is not mentioned.

The reporter didn’t ask the real questions that need answers.

Why did Randall fold his enterprise into Joe Coffeys church?

The cynics among us suspect it is because it also buries their financial records from public scrutiny.

Why did Coffey and Randall lie to the church and repeat the lie through social media that all the charges had been dropped in this case?

Even their mouthpiece at the newspaper wrote;

“The charge of obstruction of justice against Randall subsequently was dropped. The two workers — orphanage manager Perfecto “Toto” Luchavez and his son, Mark “Jake” Luchavez, were released on bond the same day Randall returned to Northeast Ohio. The Luchavezes still face charges related to violating Filipino anti-human trafficking laws.”

I suppose I should thank the “journalist” for verifying what I wrote here.

The story that the newspaper didn’t cover was in the comment section.

Joe Mauk wrote:

“In a best-case scenario, Tom Randall has become a “Joe Paterno” of missions. A beloved, well-respected man of great achievement (and my personal best friend for 30 years) who failed to handle abuse reports concerning a subordinate properly. However, Joe Paterno never engaged in the denial that any abusive behavior took place nor did he engage in discrediting the ones reporting. It is sad that somehow Tom was implicated in accusations of being personally involved in abuse, there is zero evidence of this. However the evidence that abuse was commonplace at his institution (and well hidden from him) is quite substantial.”

John Shepherd;

“Once again all we here is about what happened to Tom.. He never explains why he and the Luchavez men were arrested.. Tom I am sure had done nothing wrong but strongly denied that HIS children were abused by the two men who cared for the kids ad now are facing a trial.. My wife was the principle at the school at the Sankey Orphanage and I retired and moved from Australia as my wife was unable to get a spouse visa because she had a Autistic son.. she is Filipino.. We built a house on Sankey property ( big mistake ) so we could be close to the Sankey kids and the school.. The time we first found out there was a problem when one of the girls asked my wife if she knew what was happening at Sankey.. she started to tell about the abuse and that a few of the boys use to be beaten and that the director was a womaniser.. Then a teacher who was living in with the older girls was told by the them about what happened and 2 girls wrote letters which were smuggled out by the teacher to Joe Mauk’s daughter.. this same teacher received threats so she was advised to leave Sankey.. About this time bout 10 of the girls but not all together would to our house on the Sankey property and talk about their abuse to my wife and me.. We feel that with us they could trust us to tell their stories.. Most of the workers were related to the Luchavez’s.. After the raid/rescue we were blamed by Karen Randall as she believed we were a part of it.. My wife received death threats and our daughter was bullied because the staff told the school kids not to play or talk to her.. We had to leave and return to my wife’s home town.. Tom said he would pay us a fair price for our house.. over 12 months and we are still waiting.. Why is he paying o much for the kids.. sending them on trips that he has never done before.. He is paying for the defense of the Luchavez’s.. many orphaned and street kids in the Philippines he could be helping.. so all I can say now is ” I was there and Tom is hiding something “.

You can get all the background and  details on this story in the articles and interviews we have already done .

Just in case there are any “real” journalists who seek the truth…

Jan 282015
 

The final oral arguments in this case will be held today.

A ruling is expected soon thereafter.

My prayers are with Alex, Tim Taylor, and their families.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Calvary Chapel pastor and accused child molester, Rev. Bob Grenier and attorney to appear before the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno, California, for oral arguments in landmark Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) wherein victims are requesting relief from the Appellate Court in an effort not to be silenced and intimidated by the accused.

FRESNO, California (January 25, 2015) – Long-time, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Visalia, Rev. Bob Grenier (plaintiff), and appellate attorney, Todd W. Baxter, and Alex Grenier (defendant), and appellate attorney, Mark Goldowitz, (California Anti-SLAPP Project), will appear for oral arguments at the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno, California, on Wednesday, January 28th at 9:00 a.m.

Goldowitz has specialized in First Amendment and anti-SLAPP issues since 1993, and has written and lectured widely on the California anti-SLAPP law. He is a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School and a member of the California Bar. Nine of the cases that Goldowitz prevailed in are published appellate opinions, including the first such opinion by the California Supreme Court. In addition, his status as an expert in anti-SLAPP law has been recognized in four appellate opinions.

Defendant Alex Grenier was sued for defamation of character, slander and libel by plaintiff Rev. Bob Grenier for speaking out and blogging about the physical child abuse he suffered as well as his brothers, Geoffrey Grenier and Paul Grenier. In addition to the physical child abuse, Paul Grenier, not a party in the suit, submitted a declaration in the lower court, under penalty of perjury regarding the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Rev. Grenier.

Alex Grenier says, “The issue of physical, mental and sexual child abuse related to victims who were abused by persons in positions of leadership and authority is an issue our society cannot turn a blind eye to. As a victim of such crimes, I will advocate for the rights of other victims to share their stories in a forum where they feel they can adequately dialogue regarding the tremendous weight of the abuse they have carried with them for years. Furthermore, the issue at hand in this particular case is that any victim is well within their 1st Amendment right to exercise free speech in any forum they choose to do so. Victims of abuse at the hands of people in power shall no longer be silenced, yet given a voice to tell their story in an effort to help others heal.”

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Paul Grenier says, “While I am not a party to this suit, I will not stand by and let my brother, Alex Grenier, stand alone in this matter. The declaration I submitted in the lower court regarding the physical and sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of Rev. Grenier speaks in detail for itself. For many years I did not have the courage to speak out as I felt I had no voice and recourse for justice. In particular, this case deals with a person, Rev. Grenier, in an absolute position of power and authority to abuse his victims. I believe anyone who has been abused is constitutionally protected to speak out about their experience. Incendiary and fear based lawsuits brought against victims as is the case at hand, is nothing more than an attempt by Rev. Grenier to try and victimize the abused all over again. My advice to any victim of abuse would be to speak your mind even if your voice shakes.”

The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat. The difficulty is that plaintiff (Rev. Bob Grenier) does not present himself to the Court admitting that his intent is to censor, intimidate or silence his victims. Hence, the difficulty in drafting SLAPP legislation, and in applying it, is to craft an approach which affords an early termination to invalid abusive suits, without denying a legitimate day in court to valid good faith claims.

The U.S. state of California enacted Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16 in 1992, a statute intended to frustrate SLAPPs by providing a quick and inexpensive defense. It provides for a special motion that a defendant can file at the outset of a lawsuit to strike a complaint when it arises from conduct that falls within the rights of petition or free speech. The statute expressly applies to any writing or speech made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law, but there is no requirement that the writing or speech be promulgated directly to the official body. It also applies to speech in a public forum about an issue of public interest and to any other petition or speech conduct about an issue of public interest.

To win an anti-SLAPP motion, the defendant must first show that the lawsuit is based on claims related to constitutionally protected activities, typically First Amendment rights such as free speech, and typically seeks to show that the claim lacks any basis of genuine substance, legal underpinnings, evidence, or prospect of success. If this is demonstrated then the burden shifts to the plaintiff, to affirmatively present evidence demonstrating a reasonable probability of succeeding in their case by showing an actual wrong would exist as recognized by law, if the facts claimed were borne out.

The filing of an anti-SLAPP motion stays all discovery. This feature acts to greatly reduce the cost of litigation to the anti-SLAPP defendant, and can make beating the motion extremely difficult for the plaintiff, because they effectively must prove their case has at least a basis of visible legal merit and is not merely vexatious, prior to discovery.

If the special motion is denied, the order denying the motion is immediately appealable. Defendants prevailing on an anti-SLAPP motion (including any subsequent appeal) are entitled to a mandatory award of reasonable attorney’s fees. After an anti-SLAPP motion has been filed, a plaintiff cannot escape this mandatory fee award by amending its complaint. More than 300 published court opinions have interpreted and applied California’s anti-SLAPP law.

 

 

Jan 282015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like” the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

Jan 272015
 

 

Calvin's Corner headerPastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens “Deflate Gate” and the guys answer a listeners question about “Sinners Prayers” “Altar Calls” and whether either is even Biblical and the guys agree that Systematic Theology by Charles Finney isn’t very good theology.

Jan 272015
 

timthumb.phpThe ten most influential churches of the last century…

The history of inerrancy…

The prosperity gospel is the worst…

Hell, judgment, holy war…

How to battle for hearts and minds…

At what point do we get to say parts of Christianity are not Christian…

Discussions about creationism and science…

Rethinking the Sabbath…

Scripture, tradition, and church…

What happens to the soul after death…

When someone is in a storm…

Why do we treat small churches as problems…

Talking about the historical church…

The legacy of Thomas Merton…

Walking the world like the pardon of God…

The greatest danger facing the church…

Pope tries to put the kibash on proselytsm and competition…

Jan 262015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The popularity of the film “American Sniper” is taking much of the media and indeed, the country, by surprise. While it’s not a film I’m interested in (I’m saving up for the new “Avengers”) I do believe it’s popularity says something worth taking note of.

That being, that this country is still fundamentally conservative, based on Judeo-Christian values by osmosis and by faith. A lot of folks have voted with their wallets in regard to this movie and I believe those same folks are growing weary of being told what to think in regard to their values. It may well be the first shot in a much bigger cultural backlash…

2. Beware of the teachers who preach “grace” as if they were the ones who bought it…

3. Biblical grace is always offered with an expectation of obedience when accepted. The truth that grace covers our disobedience doesn’t negate the weight of that expectation…

4. Looking for “balance” in theology is a fools quest…there is no balance, there is “tension” and that tension is meant to be held and expected to remain unresolved…

5. Christians have their own “fads”. In my lifetime, spiritual warfare, eschatology, and even Calvinism have become part of our pop theology. Now it’s all about “grace” and I pray that we don’t do it the harm we’ve done to every other doctrinal fad…

6. Pauls vision of the church in passages such as Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12 is antithetical to the American evangelical way of doing church…when was the last time your spiritual gifting was recognized and used in the assembly?

7. Why are the signs of the times always negative? The incredible advances in technology, medicine, communication, and transportation have to have some biblical significance as well…even if it’s just to praise God for what He’s given.

8. “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?””(Matthew 16:15 ESV) The answer to that question is what divides the orthodox from the heretic…

9. I was going to write an amusing line about “Deflategate” and under inflated balls, but I’ll just think it and chuckle to myself…

10. Miss Kitty likes to go about the house and neighborhood spraying out her territory as if she owns it. The problem is that she has the wrong equipment and no spray…reminds me of some preachers I know.

 

Jan 252015
 

thumbnail.aspxLord, I saw the sea attacking the rocks, sombre and raging.

From afar the waves gained momentum.

High and proud, they leapt, jostling one another to be the first to strike.

When the white foam drew back, leaving the rock clear, they gathered themselves to rush forward again.

The other day I saw the sea, calm and serene.

 

The waves came from afar, creeping, so as not to draw attention.

Quietly holding hands, they slipped noiselessly and stretched at full length on the sand to touch the shore with the tips of their beautiful soft fingers.

The sun gently caressed them, and they generously returned streams of light.

Lord, grant that I may avoid useless quarrels that tire and wound without getting anywhere.

Keep me from these angry outbursts that draw attention but leave one uselessly weakened.

Keep me from wanting always to outstrip others in my conceit, crushing those in my way.

Wipe from my face the look of dark, dominating anger.

Rather, Lord, grant that I may live my days calmly and fully, as the sea slowly covers the whole shore.

Make me humble like the sea, as, silently and gently, it spreads out, unnoticed.

May I wait for my brothers and sisters and match my pace to theirs, that I may move upwards with them.

Grant me the triumphant perseverance of the waters.

May each of my retreats turn into an advance.

Give my face the light of clear waters.

Give my soul the whiteness of foam.

Illumine my life that it may sing like sunbeams on the surface of the sea.

But above all, Lord, may I not keep this light for myself, and may all those who come near me return home eager to bathe in your eternal grace.

Quoist, Michel (2014-09-05). Keeping Hope – Favourite Prayers for Modern Living: Selected Inspirational Prayers from World-Renowned Theologian Michel Quoist (Kindle Locations 1238-1243). Gill & Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

 

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