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Unread 09-14-2006, 09:31 PM
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J.Rees J.Rees is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

As Mike's team leader I am proud of him and Dylan for having the courage to stand up and ask this. I have known Mike & his brother for a number of years and I can assure you that he has never pushed his beliefs (or a pamphlet) in my face. If anything, he has let me know that we all need to be a little more observant of other's beliefs. I once tried to schedule a team meeting in the morning on the last Sunday before ship date. This was a bit insensitive, he let me know. We waited until after lunch to start.
My point is, that FIRST isn't just about robots. It is about helping people become the best they can be. For Mike & Dylan, & others that involves their religion. They just want to meet up with others like them. They won't push their religion on you anymore than you will push your robot designs on them. Just keepin' it friendly.
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Unread 09-14-2006, 09:40 PM
Mike Starke Mike Starke is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

On behalf of Dylan and myself, we thank you for your input! Please continue to do so!

This idea is still in the making, we don't have a "clear cut" plan of what we want to do as of yet, this is why we are asking for comments and suggestions. This "group" will never, ever pressure people into making decesions they don't want to. The goal of this group would be to provide a way of Christians that are involved with FIRST to meet other Christians. If non-Christians want to hang out too, that's totally fine! We want to make an environment that is open to all! We will never judge anyone. We want to show God's love, through us.

About the topic of praying at regionals. I know for sure that NASCAR opens thier races with prayer. It's like the concept of the "Pledge of Allegience", as well as the "National Anthemn". Even if you don't agree with the country, aren't a citizen, etc, you should still stand for respect. At hockey games, we stand for the Canadian song, and vis versa. I know however, that it is different when we talk about God. Im not saying that the prayer has to be over the loudspeaker, we would just like to be able to stand off to the side, (again, with only those who want to) to pray for the day, safety of all the people there, thank God for the opportunity to be there, etc.


Thanks for all the feedback! Please keep it coming!
-Mike
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Unread 09-14-2006, 10:51 PM
JaneYoung JaneYoung is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Mike and Dylan:
This is just a thought.
You might consider contacting the FIRST Senior Mentor in your neck of the woods and if you don't have one, contact your Regional Director - and ask for their input. I would do it in an email, privately. Gather some of your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and present them, asking for the mentor to either guide you as to the how-to's or to check into it.

Jane
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  #34   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-14-2006, 10:54 PM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Let's let FIRST bring us together as a whole rather than separate us into parts eh?
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Unread 09-14-2006, 11:55 PM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Just posting to let people know I still exist.

I'm actually a little suprised that there isn't already a group for this, with FIRST being as large as it is! All kinds of stuff goes on in the FIRST community, I thought there would be a Christian type group for sure. Just thought that I'd say that as a non-Christian I wouldn't be offended if there was a group like this.

Like everyone says, though, just don't do all of the obvious 'preaching' type stuff and we'll all get along fine.
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Unread 09-15-2006, 12:08 AM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Imho, being the atheist that I am, I would feel offended. The whole idea would seem like saying "Hey, we are here and we outnumber you, join us and have a good time or you can just sit there feeling segregated."

That is what I honestly would feel like. Just thinking about this really makes my heart sink down into my chest. I'm not saying I'm a wuss but I would feel alienated, and to stop this feeling of being alienated I have to join in? That just doesn't seem fair... thats all :/

Sorry if this post offends anybody, just wanted to post what I felt.
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Unread 09-15-2006, 12:48 AM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Dave_Lister
Imho, being the atheist that I am, I would feel offended. The whole idea would seem like saying "Hey, we are here and we outnumber you, join us and have a good time or you can just sit there feeling segregated."

That is what I honestly would feel like. Just thinking about this really makes my heart sink down into my chest. I'm not saying I'm a wuss but I would feel alienated, and to stop this feeling of being alienated I have to join in? That just doesn't seem fair... thats all :/

Sorry if this post offends anybody, just wanted to post what I felt.
Not to offend you or be rude but by all means why not go make a group of atheists and you guys meet up during a competition. And if you did don't you think that many other "groups" would feel alienated,"left-out", or even that same, "we're outnumbered, lets just join 'em so we aren't segregated" just my personal opinion though. (2 cents of info...)

And just one more penny, i don't see why we should say, "NO, you can't for a group because it will make people feel left out." If that were the case most every robotics group should also get "denied" because it is for a certain region of the country or some other way *exclusive* to an area or group of people. I mean don't you think the people in CA might feel left out cause they don't live in New England and therefore *can't* be apart of N.E.R.D.??? Just another thought...don't hold my 3 cents against me though...
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Unread 09-15-2006, 07:02 AM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

As I have stated on IRC last night any group in FIRST created and limits membership by non FIRST relative qualities should be eliminated. We already have groups based off of, geographical location, gender and now religion. That is only a few steps a way from race. It should have been stopped at geographical location, yet everyone thought, "Oh it is just one small thing, it is doing more good than it could possibly harm." Well now further down the road you see it built a foundation for other groups which can cause harm. Religion, gender and race are three things FIRST groups should never ever limit membership by. Geographical location is something people do not fight over yet it is the same principle.
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Unread 09-15-2006, 07:50 AM
Mike Starke Mike Starke is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Let me clear up something. This "group" will never limit who can and who can't be in the group. Say we start a website, or forums, we will say, "Anyone that wants to be a part of this can. Just please respect our God and each other." We're not out to segregate FIRST. Not in the least bit. That's what I love about FIRST, is that no matter where you go, if you find someone from FIRST, you always feel comfortable, and are able to talk to them. That's how Dylan and I started, before we knew each other were Christians, we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour about FIRST. We just want to take that one step further. We want Christian's to be able to meet up with one another (I'm not saying that when we meet, it's gonna be this huge blob that travels around together. It might be like that sometimes, but we are at Regionals, and Nationals to support our team. Dylan and I are both on Drive Teams, so our time is really limited)where they won't hear the profanities and all the other stuff that we normally hear. As I recall, there was a thread about profanities at Nationals. You can go to that thread here.

So the summary of this post is to say that this group is not going to pressure any others or make people feel left out if they don't join.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercury Rising
Religion, gender and race are three things FIRST groups should never ever limit membership by.
Again, we aren't going to limit who joins. This would be open to all people. If you were to join, we would just ask that you respect our God, our beliefs as well as others in the group.

Thank you for the continued feed back! It is greatly appreciated!
-Mike
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Unread 09-15-2006, 10:26 AM
GRaduns340 GRaduns340 is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Let me clarify the term respect as Mike stated in reference to our God. That doesn't mean we're going to force you to believe it, but we would certainly not appreciate anyone coming and throwing religious slanders out all over the place.

And it seems to me like a lot of the complaints against such a group are formed along the mindset that we would either be pushing into the other groups or separating us from them. That is not the goal. We don't want to be separate from FIRST in any way. We're there as FIRSTers first, then as anything else, in this case as a brotherhood of Christians. It's not like we're a church group invading a FIRST event, since we are still part of the FIRST community. We also wouldn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by forcing our views on them. At times that even destroys our witness more than anything else by scaring them away from any possible belief, which is something we would never hope to do.
  #41   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-15-2006, 04:58 PM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

I've always lived by the mantra that if you want to make (and keep) friends in life, don't bring up religion or politics. I really don't care what religion or political affiliation you are, and nor do I want to.

There is one reason and one reason alone why I would stand in direct opposition to this; and that the fact that generic rules can and will slowly mutate over time. It may not happen instantly, but if you allow religious groups to practice their beliefs inside the competition venue, you may see someone who says "If Christians/Jews/Muslims can express their religious beliefs, then how come I can't start a Democrat or Republican FIRST Group, and have all the Democrats/Republicans have a big meeting at a regional? After all, we're only looking to make friends with each other and not impose our beliefs..."

Once you bring religion and politics into things, it only goes downhill. Just look into the history books to see how many wars were started over differences in religion. Before you know it, you may have all different kinds of groups in FIRST Regionals for all their constituents, and after time they may slowly begin to degenerate the FIRST experience.

It's the same thing with noisemakers and saved seating. Sure there were people whose noisemakers were not that loud, and there were people who saved some seats for genuine purposes. And sure there are a large majority of people who think these are stupid rules. But FIRST had to enact these rules to prevent everything from getting out of control.

Even though I'm also Christian, I would stand completely against the idea of having this group meet inside the arena, but would give 100% support for the idea of meeting outside the arena (or in the lobby, as long as it's not blocking the entrance). I don't want to see religious or political groups get out of control in FIRST, and nor do I want to see people's religious beliefs quelled.
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  #42   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-15-2006, 05:44 PM
KenWittlief KenWittlief is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Dylan and Mike,

Its been very interesting reading this thread. As I said before, no group of people need permission or approvial to associate or assemble together for any given reason.

Reading through this thread I see many people saying they would be offended if groups of people got together on the sidelines of events to pray, or if Christians went off by themselves to socalize and fellowship.

There is somewhat of an engineering principle in effect here: feedback. People are giving you feedback and telling you how they will feel. So the question is up to you, how you will process that information, what you will do with it?

Are the benefits of Christian fellowship at FIRST events worth the cost of some team members feeling offended or alienated? Only you can answer that, no one can answer it for you.

From my personal experience, I can tell you when people pray in public in mixed company I feel very uncomfortable. We can talk to God any time we want, but I cannot resolve, when people feel the need to talk to God in the presence of others who do not share their beliefs, what are they really trying to accomplish?

Jesus had much to say about praying in public. Paul had much to say about what happens to your witness as a Christian if you do things that offend others. And here's the thing, it doesnt matter if your intentions are good, or if you dont mean to offend others - Feelings are like the laws of physics: if some one feels offended or alienated, then they are offended or alienated - it doesnt matter why you dropped a hammer, if it falls on someones head they will be hurt. You cant expect it to not hurt, because you did not intend to hurt them.

Its really up to you, what you decide to do. I have found that no matter where I go, and no matter how busy I am (at FIRST events) I somehow always manage to find one or two people that I connect with, people who share a common interest, people I can spend meaningful time with. I have never been compelled to have an annoucment made, or a prearranged meeting for all the Hobie Cat sailors to meet by the front entrance at 10AM, or all the ham radio operators...

The web site idea sounds like an interesting project, it would not be taking people away from their teams, or separating people at events (which several people in this thread have objected to), and it would allow Christians who are a part of FIRST to get to know each other on a year round basis.

Last edited by KenWittlief : 09-15-2006 at 05:50 PM.
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Unread 09-15-2006, 06:30 PM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

I can honestly say I didn't expect people would have a huge problem with Christians having an offical meeting or something...
I don't mean to make anyone uncomfortable. If such is the case let me know.
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Unread 09-15-2006, 07:02 PM
GRaduns340 GRaduns340 is offline
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

I can understand the perspective that most people seem to be taking here. However, I personally disagree. In fact, I feel as thought the opposite is almost the true case here. As a Christian in my rookie year on a FIRST team last year I had no connection at all with any Christians outside of my own team, or at least I had no knowledge of their faith. That's part of why I'm interested in this group.

To be quite honest, I am starting to feel that we are the ones being alienated, at least by the posts in this topic. People here seem to be saying "it's okay for you to form a group, but please don't meet at the venue because people can see you, and don't meet off-site because then you're removing yourselves from FIRST." I get the feeling that we're the ones who are being pushed aside. I would be more offended by this not happening because of these kinds of negative attitudes than most people would be by its presence at an event.

I understand criticisms will come with a topic like this, but please follow the example of some who have offered suggestions toward how to decrease the impact of their criticisms.

Last edited by GRaduns340 : 09-16-2006 at 01:14 AM.
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Unread 09-15-2006, 09:05 PM
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Re: Christian FIRST Group

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamSofa330
Not to offend you or be rude but by all means why not go make a group of atheists and you guys meet up during a competition. And if you did don't you think that many other "groups" would feel alienated,"left-out", or even that same, "we're outnumbered, lets just join 'em so we aren't segregated" just my personal opinion though. (2 cents of info...)

And just one more penny, i don't see why we should say, "NO, you can't for a group because it will make people feel left out." If that were the case most every robotics group should also get "denied" because it is for a certain region of the country or some other way *exclusive* to an area or group of people. I mean don't you think the people in CA might feel left out cause they don't live in New England and therefore *can't* be apart of N.E.R.D.??? Just another thought...don't hold my 3 cents against me though...
Making even more groups would start the creation of even more factions(sorry if I used this word in the wrong context, like Bush saying crusade or something.. -.-). And in the end we'll have segregation. Why can't we just focus on what we all love and hold close to our hearts. Robotics and engineering?

Why involve our personal opinions and lives into this?

Last edited by Cpt_Dave_Lister : 09-15-2006 at 09:11 PM.
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