Re: petition to amend ASA Constitutional Objectives?

From: Joe Carson <>
Date: Wed Nov 30 2005 - 23:34:08 EST


I invited people to push back, hard, because putting a little "zing"
into it helps concentrate the mind. I'm a crappy messenger, but the
message, I suggest, is valid. It's perfectly okay if you do not like me.

Am I understanding you to say that you think ASA's objectives have
been reviewed at any time in recent past, in a collective and
intentional way, by Christian scientists, engineers, theologians and
others with a consensus achieved that they adequately reflect God's
will for an auxiliary professional society for Christian in science
and engineering? I have been associated with ASA for about 15 years
and am unaware of any such review in that time.

In contrast, the engineering professional societies to which I belong
(ANS, ASME, and NSPE) have all engaged in searching reviews of
themselves during that time, reflecting the changing landscape of the
engineering profession.

Having 5% of ASA members sign a petition proposing a change to the
ASA Constitutional Objectives means ASA members will vote on it, not
that 2/3 (of necessary 1/3 ASA membership that needs to vote) will
approve it. But would it stimulate prayer, study, and conversation
about how ASA can advance God's will (what other ultimate purpose can
a Christian organization have?) in light of "facts on ground," other
general revelation, special revelation, tradition, common sense,
etc? I think so

Are you saying that status quo should remain unexamined, because it
has been demonstrated to be adequate? What was the process for
verifying it adequate and if it is adequate, why does ASA so
regularly ask me for money?

I suggest that ASA's current objectives do not adequately reflect
God's will, not in 2005. I suggested ASA objectives that should
result in an objective process to ascertain, document, and advance
God's will via ASA. That process, if implemented, could lead us to
right back to where ASA now is, but at least then the status quo
would have been more rigorously examined. So I do not think I'm
trying to impose any particular outcome, I disagree with an assertion
that I am. It could well be that the effort would lead to a
conclusion that God's will is simply too inscrutable for ASA to have
any objectives that could reasonably be claimed to reflect his will,
so go back to the tried and true because they worked, as least for a
few (2000 members is, in my mind, only a "few") Christians in science
and engineering professions.

But I understand it to be your will that you oppose any effort to
intentionally and collectively ascertain God's will for ASA, because
by your will ASA is just fine. If only ASA would stop asking me so
many times for money contributions above the dues because somehow
(the letters never say anything like "in ways that are too
inscrutable to be described"!) God will is being advanced by ASA's
objectives. Perhaps ASA letters of solicitation should say, "please
give money to ASA because "Jim's will is being advanced via ASA objectives.""


  09:53 PM 11/30/2005, Jim Armstrong wrote:
>My, my! It's apparent that you have a problem with ASA, but this
>hot-under-the-collar approach isn't likely to elicit any positive
>response to your proposal.
>It seems to me that ASA is what it is, and does what it sets out to
>do. What is the basis for concluding then that its objectives and
>actions are NOT expressions of God's will?
>The responses you are critical about are only part of the landscape
>of Christian life and stewardship.
>What you seem to be asking is that the organization redefine itself
>into tunnel vision in a particular direction, different from the
>role it has defined for itself.
>Why should that be necessary? It occupies a niche role for discourse
>and exploration of ideas and understanding. ASA is not the only
>organization of Christians with a specialized agenda that is not
>explicitely evangelistic, or benevolent, or whatever, but
>nonetheless enriches and livens Christian community and its
>engagement of the world around us.
>It is a horizontal networking and conversation tool, not a vertical
>power center. It may not push salt and light precisely as you wish,
>but it does permit its participants to be more informed and have
>stronger resources as they individually or in smaller groups go
>about BEING light and salt in their communities.
>It seems to me that you are asking the whole landscape of
>Christianity and its stewardship to become narrowed (more sterile if
>you will) by abandoning this discourse.
>I personally think it important to discuss and understand certain
>contemporary dynamics in churches and schools which are alienating
>many young people from a life of faith, just at that crucial time
>when they are about to enter the workplace and begin the journey to
>positions of future leadership that will set directions for the
>churches, companies, and even nations of the future.
>It's not the only conversation, or activity of merit, but it is an
>important one... or so it seemeth to me. JimA
>Joe Carson wrote:
>>Hello? Paul, are we on the same planet?
>>The Pope and Catholic bishops have no authority to tell their
>>congregants what they must do to be Catholics?
>>ASA has no right to require its members agree to a statement of faith?
>>ASA has no right to have objectives in its Constitution?
>>No profession has no right to adopt and enforce a code of ethics?
>>No religious leader has no right to dictate to anyone in their
>>faith community what God wants them to do?
>>Let's go forward with the change in the ASA objectives, because
>>maybe the results of the effort will be exactly what you say, then
>>there will not be as much question about it.
>>Engineering is secular as it ought to be, but does that mean God is
>>indifferent to it and indifferent to whatever Christians do within it?
>>We are called to advance God's glory, in our stewardship of planet
>>earth - with our minds, our bodies, and our mouths - that is much
>>more relevant to our vocational identities, than "witnessing to the lost."
>>Salvation is meaningless absent Creation - what did Christ come to
>>save? So we have been restored to our original mission - advance
>>God's glory by advancing His creation on earth, by employing our
>>"image of God" powers of conscious thought, imagination,
>>communication, abstraction, etc, while enjoying fellowship with Him.
>>As we go about this, we are also to witness, not vice versa.
>>That takes, I suggest, intentional and collective action by
>>Christians in their spheres of influence (i.e. salt and light) -
>>both individual and collective. But that can take putting oneself
>>at risk in a most vulnerable way in a market economy - his/her
>>career. That is something , that ASA members do not want to do, so
>>we make rationalization after rationalization about it, we talk
>>past one another, or claim God is too inscrutable to even
>>collectively pose and respond to the question "what is God's will
>>for the science/engineering profession and its Christian members."
>>ASA is, now as ever, sterile by definition. No one can point to
>>anything different in the engineering and science professions
>>because ASA exists. Not one thing, because ASA has never
>>intentionally done anything to be a salt and light influence in
>>them. Not once in 60 years, not in a world awash with weapons of
>>mass destruction, a world in which religious persecution is
>>widespread, a world in which 2 billion people live on $2/day or
>>less, etc. Nothing - what a witness.
>>ASA will not even state that Christian faith is a valid reason for
>>a Christian scientist or engineer to intentionally and collectively
>>work with others in their profession to uplift and advance their
>>profession and its service to humanity and the created order.
>>ASA will turn itself into a pretzel to evade any rigorous effort to
>>ascertain and advance God's will for it and its members, because it
>>knows it may well get an answer it doesn't want to hear.
>>At 06:25 PM 11/30/2005, Paul Greaves wrote:
>>>I think you may be missing the point... I think the issue is that no one has
>>>the right to dictate to someone else what God wants them to do. The best we
>>>can do is to try to ascertain what God's will is for ourselves, and discuss
>>>it amongst fellow believers. Your suggested wording implies a more
>>>subversive approach to engineering, trying to impose a "Christian" set of
>>>goals onto the science and engineering professions.
>>>I think that is the wrong approach... I think we are called to be witnesses
>>>for Christ, reaching out to others in hopes of sharing our faith with them.
>>>(Isn't here a Bible verse or two along those lines?) It is only through
>>>reaching their hearts that we have any real hope in changing their actions.
>>>I see the ASA as a venue for us Christians to discuss amongst ourselves what
>>>God's will is for our lives and our professions, not as a vehicle for
>>>political change. (So I like the old wording better...)
>>>-Paul Greaves
>>>----- Original Message -----
>>>From: <>
>>> > I appreciate the response, but disagree that God is so unscrupable,
>>>random, and capricious that any effort to collectively and intentionally
>>>ascertain His will is presumptuous...
Received on Wed Nov 30 23:36:53 2005

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