Links to Paul Vander Klay’s Work

Justin Brierley might have sent you here. This blog is my online filing cabinet. I use this to dump links, articles, whatever it is I might want to quickly find later. You will find bits of writing going back a few years. Lots of things. I’ll create some links below to some of my more organized work.

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Ben Opting In the world Today

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Estuary Introductions

Estuary is a physical, in-person, space where we welcome everyone’s myopic mental meanderings, but where, over time, as friendships develop, and mutual trust grows, we may come to see in each other’s reflections more nuanced insights, which sometimes, as by some higher power, give way to truth, sometimes even actionable truth… John Van Donk

An estuary is a transitional zone where the fresh water of a river flows into the salt water of the sea. It’s a place of interchange where a wide variety of creatures come together. Unique, highly specialized species live there that can only survive in its brackish water. For the waterfowl that land there, estuaries are important breeding grounds and resting places. For marine fish species, they are nurseries. Migratory fish pass through estuaries on their journeys. Estuaries are among the most diverse, productive, and interesting biotopes and are very important for biodiversity. And as with anywhere else in the natural world, life in the estuary is dangerous. For there, in the untamed riverbed, with no protective levees or floodwalls, we find ourselves in the midst of the chaos of life-giving water that holds unimagined depths.

Estuary is a physical, in-person, space where we welcome everyone’s myopic mental meanderings, but where, over time, as friendships develop, and mutual trust grows, we may come to see in each other’s reflections more nuanced insights, which we would hope will inevitably lead to better action in our lives and communities regardless of political or religious beliefs or affiliations.

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Overtures for “Unity” What do you mean by “unity”?

Nothing Synod can reasonably do will likely satisfy many conservatives. EVEN if Synod passes the HSR complete with the “It’s always been confessional” statement there will not be a progressive which hunt through clergy and laity to exile anyone with affirming tendencies. It won’t happen. It’s not in the CRC way. Anything short of that I fear will not satisfy some conservatives and I suspect that for some they can’t even articulate a demand that could be reasonably met by the denomination in terms of where it’s at.

I expect Synod to pass the HSR as such and try to do some nuancing on “confessional” and/or “heresy”. It will hold to our basic position since 1973.

So, to those who lean progressive, how much REALLY do you want Synod to pursue “unity”? Do we do so by counting? Do we count noses and decide which “unity” we desire? My guess is that there are MORE conservatives in danger of being lost than progressives so such “Unity” would mean a hard turn to the right. That turn I don’t think the USS CRCNA can in any reasonable degree make.

Synod will ALSO try to do SOMETHING with GRE and Neland. It will be too little too late for the conservatives. EVEN if Synod issued an ultimatum to GRE to cease and desist it would be BY next year meaning that some conservatives won’t want to wait. See First Ripon CA.

What I hear is that any action taking against the progressives somehow violates “unity” and that the choice of “unity” is “the local option”. It’s a stretch to imagine a very libertarian political move to be “unity” when what you’re really asking for is “diversity” of vision and application in the hopes of NOT losing what is actually a smaller loss than a larger one.

Remember the PVK rule of church “unity”. Churches split right and leak left.

So, what “unity” are we talking about? Unity of perspective? We’re not close to that.

The only way to pursue that is to segregate ON perspective. That’s a VERY big split and realistically a dissolution.

If “unity” means “keeping the family together” that isn’t going to happen. People are going to “leave”. More will leave to the right than the left and they will leave AS churches. GRE and Neland won’t leave voluntarily.

What really are progressives asking for when they say “unity”? I’m not sure. It sounds like “keep participating in this institution, keep reading our books, keep ministry shares going, keep reading our stories about gay suffering at the hands of the tyrannical traditionalism until you are united with us in our evolved and evolving position.”

Conservatives has no such agenda for progressives. They’ve given up trying to change minds and heart and are looking to stop the “contamination” and have a more “pure” grouping of like-minded people so they can continue to teach their children and churches their position. They are looking to be united in their position. No evolved and evolving. Why? Look up “conservative” in the dictionary.

Conservatives are basically saying “we’re no longer going to be subject to your attempts to change our mind on the matter and we’re certainly NOT going to pay for your institutions that are facilitating the mind-changing”.

So whoever wants to promote “unity” is really going to have to tell us what they are talking about. pvk

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Ideals before Prohibitions

This was similar to a “compromise” that I suggested at the start. It’s in practice exactly what the status quo in the CRCNA is now. There are now likely, quietly, people who are members and even office bearers in the CRCNA who have closeted relationships and even marriages. I’m sure there are local churches that are quietly accommodating, adapting, looking the other way, keeping things quiet, etc.

While I’m sure there are conservatives that don’t like this it is likely something they can tolerate. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

I go back to my 3+ hour argument about ideals and lived reality. The ideal is M/W4Life. That’s what the church celebrates, elevates, promotes, pursues. Ideals are exactly that. They are also nested. Ideally there are children, fidelity, happiness, joy, sanctification, etc. Every marriage, even the M/W4L ones fall short of the ideal, but the church celebrates the ideal. Lots of other ideals in language, diet, ethics, etc. Ideals are vital for a community to agree upon and to strive towards. It’s part of the point of God’s Son. He’s the standard. He’s the judge.

M/F4L is the marriage ideal. We’re still in the grips of whether or not marriage is the ideal over singleness. There according to Paul it gets contextual. I’ll let that debate go for now.

Most of what we do in the church is to try to help people, as best they can, with the circumstances they find themselves in take steps towards ideals. This world is not ideal and none of us achieve ideals. We seek grace and betterment.

In ever pastoral situation we negotiate with less-than-ideals. We have lots of variables. Sometimes I give addicts a little bit of money. It’s less than ideal but I judge, rightly or wrongly in the moment whether or not it’s better than alternatives. My sermons are less than ideal. Lots of what I do are less than ideal, pretty much everything, but the maintenance and quest to know and attain the ideal is crucial for the shape of the community.

The LGBTQ liberation movement has become about destroying the ideal of M/F4L. It’s just that simple. And it’s evolving fast. Those who are seen as “out in front” of this movement can’t say what the ideal is. Increasingly “marriage” is not a part of the ideal because it is unattainable for many. We have forgotten what an ideal is, what it is for, and how it shapes life and even blesses those who can’t attain it. We see ideals as unjust because they judge those who fall short and there is no room for such judgment in the new world order.

Increasingly gender liberationists can’t even give a definition of “what is a woman” because again having such a definition is said to be “unjust” to people who claim to feel like a woman but have a penis. I agree that churches should have space for people who “feel like a woman but have a penis” but that is different from giving up on the ideal of what a woman is.

Nate was right when he said that the moment the CRC passes a local option the “cause for justice” will be to do what we all know will be done because we’re watching it in the public/political/corporate world. Monogamy itself will be seen as unjust because some people can attain it while others fail. Note this piece. Most Cis People Are Unwilling to Date Trans People According to This New Study | them.

It’s absolutely predictable. As if all of us don’t have friends and family who NEVER get a chance to date because for one reason or another they are unappealing on the dating market. Somehow the cause of justice must step in and denounce the bigotry of your own decision to NOT service the needs of others desires. Marriage vows usually include “forsaking all others”…

The “social constructionist” argument is that “representation matters”, and now the conservatives agree. The LGBTsQewing of America – The American Conservative

We are tremendously malleable in terms of sexual and romantic taste and desires. Ideals count a lot.

So Len, in many ways you’re advocating for what we’ve had BEFORE the progressives kept demanding Synodical report after report hoping that if we put enough nickels in this slot machine at some point we’ll inch our way into a more progressive position. The 2016 decision to “rig” the Synodical report slot machine should have signaled that the herd was getting nervous and that perhaps if progressives wanted to maintain the sublte “don’t ask don’t tell” status quo they should leave well enough alone, but the cry for “justice” must never be denied so push push push…

That might be overstating it a bit. “What do we do with the lesbian couple who comes into the church” is a fair question and it is CRC tradition to “seek advice from Synod”. But is that really how churches make up their minds these days? Underneath this process a certain corruption has also developed. Synodical reports also have the outcome of “moving the ball forward” or “binding the hands of our neighboring churches”.

Another example? How about the “elder marriage in the church but not the state because of retirement money” issue. I’m sure there has been plenty of “local optioning” on that score. Conservatives like the “Synodical report” game too. If we get our way we like it, and we do need order.

I do think shifting the focus from “that which is permissible” to “that which is ideal” helps on the pastoral front, but it’s clear that many people formed by the culture that see this as a “justice” issue (in the way that term has shifted) will NOT find compromise acceptable unless it is done so in the spirit of gradually “moving the ball forward” to a line they cannot nor will not be able to agree upon with those in their coalition. pvk

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CIS people don’t want to date trans…

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Jordan Peterson and the dilemma of the non-expert

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Normalizing the “Emergency Powers”

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David French on Civility

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Summer 2022 PVK Live Events

Upcoming live Events

Meetup event for June 7th:

Meetup event for June 8th:

Chicago Bridges of Meaning Meetup:

June 17 Estuary Church Leader’s Meeting at the Prince Center: Registration Link

June 18 Grand Rapids Estuary Meetup

German Estuary Festival August 2022

Thunder Bay Gathering September 2022–conscience-2138584969?

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David Brooks How Democrats can Win the Morality Wars

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