Q&A

Big Questions

Calling

Q I have been looking for a job and sending out resumes for nine months with no results. I am very discouraged and don’t really know what to do any more.

A Surviving the trough between jobs is a major challenge on multiple levels: psychologically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. I suggest that you take a break for a few days to catch your breath. You’ll need strength to continue what in actuality is a walk by faith—believing that God does have work for you to do and that he will open a door when none is apparent.

You'll need strength to continue what in actuality is a walk by faith.

Upon returning to the job search, I recommend altering your approach. What you have been doing can be described as pre-recession job searching—responding to job openings in a reactive way. You can continue to apply in this fashion, but I would recommend adding proactive measures such as the following: keep your skills current by attending topic-related lectures or training events (often free at local colleges and universities), get out of the house and volunteer, set up an account on LinkedIn and maximize it, start your own blog or respond to questions posted by other bloggers, do some informational interviewing, send out thank-you or other types of personal notes to people you’ve met along the way.

And finally, expand your life focus beyond simply finding a job, as important as that is, to interacting with and encouraging others. As a result, you will be buoyed up in the process.

—Bonnie Speyers

Outreach

Q How can I best negotiate changes in my faith? I have been reading and growing, but I’m a bit frightened. How can I be sure I’m in touch with the Spirit of God while I’m also shifting into a new way of living and believing?

A Great questions and important ones. Change is never easy, particularly regarding the things we hold most dearly, such as our concepts about God and faith. That said, a sign of true faith is that we are growing, shifting, and learning in our walk with God. If our faith hasn’t changed at all in 10 years, perhaps stagnancy or complacency has taken root.

 Being able to hold your faith at a distance, to look at it, turn it over in your hands, and see it with new eyes is an important thing to do from time to time. It allows what is true and whole to remain, while allowing externals to drop away.

We must also remember that we do not walk new and unknown roads alone. Jesus noted that the Spirit would teach us “all things” and be our constant guide and companion on our journey. Additionally, our faith communities should be spaces where we are allowed to learn, grow, and explore, while also being there to affirm and discern what is of God and what is not.

—Bryan Berghof

Church

Q Can a person who is a Mason or Shriner or lodge member join the CRC? Also, should Christians vote for a political candidate who is a Mason running for the Republican or Democratic Party, or should we waste our votes by casting ballots for a smaller party that has no hope of winning a seat?

A Lodge members may not join the CRC because we have declared that “any member of the lodge, by virtue of the oath he has taken, has at least tacitly identified himself with the false religion of the lodge” (Acts of Synod 1977, p. 104). 

Our denomination made that decision even though both the majority and minority of the synodical advisory committee expressed disappointment with the work of the study committee. Undoubtedly, we will address this issue again, especially as we seek a closer relationship with the Reformed Church in America, which permits each congregation to make its own decision on this matter based on the faith commitment of the person seeking membership.

When voting, we should not “waste” our vote. We should select the candidates we believe will govern best in all the areas for which they will be responsible. Whether that person is a Mason, a Jew, a Muslim, or a homosexual—or where the candidate stands on a single issue—should not be the deciding factor.

—George Vander Weit

 

About the Authors

George Vander Weit is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.

Bryan Berghoef is an ordained CRC pastor and church planter. He lives in Holland, Mich., and works remotely supporting online contemplative learning and curating social media content for the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C.

Bonnie Speyers is a career counselor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
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