Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Your Initial Input (April 2011)

What do you think of the PETRA People web site and the PETRA Statement?

What do you suggest is a good way forward for dealing with the NCI case?

"As people work together to share factual and professional materials on this site,
the church-mission community will be healthier
and better equipped to deal with corruption."

Click on the comments below to read and respond.
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  1. "Note: We are all entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts. So please use the Comments feature in the weblog responsibly."

    Mr O'Donnell - did you take the above note into consideration when posting some of the strongly slanted 'facts' on this website? I do not believe you are as objective and truth seeking as you might wish to appear. Knowing your background and the background of this case, I am fully aware that you are driven by a vindictive spirit and are out to cause damage - not repair. This website is merely an extention of that aim.

  2. We appreciate the work you have done in creating an insightful website. Some parts are fascinating and some links take time to understand, but it is good you have made so much raw data available to readers.

  3. Unfortunately, many Christian organizations are run along similar paths as secular corporations. Easy to lose track of who they work for and their purpose and objectives. Money can influence so easily many of God's people's decisions in ways that are more self edifying than God centered. I pray your decisions and motives to pursue this case here are not vindictive but along lines of the pursuit of truth, which I believe they are. God's grace and peace be with you. MO'D

  4. Going deeply: Here are some relevant quotes from Kelly and Michele O'Donnell on another weblog: CORE Member Care.

    "We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because non-co-operation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is co-operation with good." "...we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love." Martin Luther King Jr.
    Our hearts go out to the people in the MENA region and all those who are willing to peacefully confront, risk, and even die for social justice. We must learn from them. There comes a time when we too, in our respective spheres of influence, must no longer keep looking the other way in the face of wrongdoing, pretending that corruption and injustice do not really exist, and basing ethical decisions on convenience, self-protection, and self-interest (Philippians 2:21). We say this not because we are paranoid, or have a psychological disorder, or are on a moral crusade, or have a poor history of relationships, or are obsessed, or are insubordinate—or any other silly accusation that has been levied against us. Rather we say this because we will not “relinquish our privilege and obligation to love” as we seek to promote good practice/health in the mission-member care community.]
    Note: The link below will take you to three potent entries on the CORE Member Care weblog, mostly realted to corruption. Hope you will also enjoy the multimedia links and especially Dougie MacLean's song that is linked at the end of the third entry: Ready for the Storm.


  5. I second Ruth's: "Those who have nothing to fear should welcome an open investigation into all of these matters. Why not if nothing is amiss?" Ruth Van Reken

    Does anyone have any comments on the money flows documents? Have a look at 3. NCI Documents - they are pretty enlightening.

    As for the Anonymous comment 27.4, having known Dr O'Donnell for over 15 years, he is one of the most professional, straight-talking people I have ever known - completely the opposite of a 'vindictive spirit'. One who is very considerate of others on a personal and professional level and very good at empathising and walking in the shoes of others. DAS

  6. Ruth E. Van Reken7 July 2011 at 11:49

    I am saddened by that some of the negative comments here are made by those who choose to remain anonymous. This fact alone seems to verify the need for transparency. Why should there not be openness in all who wish to make comments, let alone in financial dealings of all faith based and charitable organizations for there is nothing to fear if all is well.

    Sadly, members of my extended family were defrauded of $300,000 after believing the "pitch" of a financial counselor brought to their US church (likely in good faith) by their pastor but I have never seen warnings published for other churches to beware since that happened. I have watched those who initially reported sexual abuse in the context of various faith communities be maligned as "troublemakers." The sad fact is, unless we are willing to look at all these reports of abuse, be they financial or sexual, perpetrators are free to prey on others.

    Thankfully, the process of disclosure has begun in this situation. The courts in Sweden have shown that at least one person has been convicted of setting up an illegal investment scheme. I agree completely that simple fact alone doesn’t mean all who were involved with him, or even promoted his plan, knew it was a fraud. But now that we do know that, another issue is raised.

    The main question for me is what is the Christian response, not the legal response? The Bible tells us we should be beyond reproach in our actions and activities. If we come together as a community of Christ followers, how would that look in this situation?

    To me, it seems relatively simple. Those who have nothing to fear should welcome an open investigation into all of these matters and be the first to open their books to the public, both individuals and organizations who were sadly caught up in this mess, “winners” and “losers” alike. If this reiterates the New Era Ponzi scheme that happened a few years ago, undoubtedly some individuals and organizations profited while others lost simply because of the nature of a Ponzi scheme. As we all know, these schemes keep going because initial investors do, in fact, receive money received from the next investors down the line. Again, the presumed fact that some gained in this scheme doesn’t imply legal culpability or any sort of complicity for those who received gain. But we have a good model with the New Era scheme. There all involved met and set up a formula so those who had gained at the expense of others could share in some equitable fashion with the losses by returning a portion of the gains. Why could there not be such an attempt in this situation?

    This, then, is my bottom line question for all involved…Petra People, those they question, all NCI financial ”winners” and “losers” alike, the Christian community itself. What would Jesus do here? Surely the Shepherd who Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life wants to lead us all into a place where He is glorified and the work of darkness defeated.

    May the questions raised on this site and the responses generated be part of that process. Ruth Van Reken

    Ruth E. Van Reken
    Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds Revised Edition