We Believe...

BLEND Fredericksburg founding leadership, believing a measure of agreement is essential to working together closely and healthily, agree regarding the following things about God, life, ourselves and others.

  1. GOD: We believe there is one true and living God (Holy Taurat, Book of Deuteronomy 6:4). This one God is not a simple unity but a complex unity, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some have described God like this: “God is three ‘Who’ s and one ‘What’ .” (Many things we experience are one in some ways and multiple in other ways. So while this is impossible to understand fully, it’s easy to understand that it is not self-contradictory. After all, it is logical to expect that the God Who created this complex world of complex unities would be more complex than His creation!)
  2. JESUS’ NATURE: The Honorable Jesus Christ Messiah is God, the Living Word (Holy Injeel, Book of John 1:1; Qur’an 3:45 concurs). He always existed; He did not begin to exist when He became a man. He became a man through miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and birth by the Virgin Mary. He is now perfect deity and true humanity united in one person.
  3. THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit applies Jesus Messiah’s saving work to men and women. He convicts and draws sinners to Jesus, gives new life, and continually lives in the believer. It is the privilege of those who are born again by the Spirit to be assured of their salvation when they trust Jesus as their Savior. Every believer is called to live by the Holy Spirit’s power instead of according to his or her own desires. True biblical faith will not liberate a person to sin but will liberate a person from sin by the power of the Spirit (Romans 6).
  4. JESUS’ ACTIONS: The Honorable Jesus Messiah lived sinlessly, performed miracles, and chose to obey the Father by dying on the cross as the substitute sacrifice (qurbani/fedaa) for the sins of men and women. This brought atonement and freedom from shame, guilt, and fear for all who trust in Him alone. Jesus then rose from the dead, becoming the Victor over Satan (Shaytan) and death, and ascended in His body into heaven. There He is the only mediator between God and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25). He will come again to the earth personally in His body to judge mankind.
  5. THE HOLY BIBLE: The Holy Bible, consisting of the Old Testament (containing the Holy Taurat and Holy Zabur) and New Testament (containing the Holy Injeel), is the Word of God, Who does not allow His Word to be corrupted. (Historical, manuscript, and archeological evidence demonstrate the reliability of the Holy Bible, and Qur’an 6:115, 6:34, and 18:27 concur). The Holy Bible is thus the rightful final authority in the lives of believers.
  6. MANKIND: God created men and women in His own image and with a perfect relationship with Himself (Genesis 1-2). But mankind sinned by disobeying God, and this sin broke his relationship with God and brought shame, fear, and guilt (Genesis 3). All people sin, so every person needs spiritual birth (John 3) and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Even prophets and leaders sin; there are no exceptions except the Honorable Jesus Messiah. (Muhammad himself said in Qur’an 46:8-9 that he didn’t know if he was going to heaven or hell.)
  7. SALVATION: All sin brings death, so even a little sin is enough to separate mankind from God and condemn a person to hell. But Jesus Messiah’s sacrifice brings forgiveness and His resurrection brings new life, so even a little faith in Him is enough to save a person from sin so they can spend eternity with God in heaven. The salvation of people who turn from their own way and place their faith in Jesus is a work of God’s free grace and not the result of human good works or merit. God shares Jesus’ righteousness with those who put their faith in Jesus alone for salvation, justifying them (making them right) and restoring their relationship with God.
  8. JESUS MESSIAH’s PROPHETHOOD: For salvation from God’s judgment in hell, it is vital not only to believe “in” Jesus but to believe He is who He said He is and He did what God said He would do. Otherwise we are calling God a liar. Honoring Jesus Messiah as a prophet but rejecting His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead is a rejection of God’s words and therefore of God Himself. Specifically, Jesus Himself prophesied repeatedly while He was living on earth as a man that He would be killed and rise again three days later (Mark 8:31-21, 9:30-32, and 10:32-34). Jesus Messiah even called His friend and companion named Peter “Satan” when Peter honored Jesus as Messiah but rejected believing in Jesus’ death (Matthew 16:13-23). Likewise hundreds of years before, God had prophesied that His Messiah would be killed like a sacrificial lamb, carrying the sins of people (Isaiah 53:5-11). Therefore calling Jesus a prophet but rejecting His death and resurrection is a dishonoring slap in the face to God.
  9. EVANGELISM and MISSIONS: The Lord Jesus Messiah commanded all believers to proclaim the Gospel message (“Gospel message”: The Good News that salvation from sin is available by turning from one’s own way and believing in Jesus Messiah’s deity, death, and resurrection) throughout the whole world and to disciple men and women from every nation (Matthew 28:18-20). Since this Gospel is Good News about a salvation that is needed by all mankind to escape hell (#7 above), sharing the Gospel is not an act of cultural or religious domination but of love and concern for the eternal destiny of others. By analogy, if there is a snake in the backyard, it is an act of love not of domination to warn others not to go there. Such is the act of sharing Jesus and warning mankind that Jesus’ sacrifice provides the only escape from hell. While it is the free choice of those who hear the Gospel message whether to place their faith in Jesus Messiah, it is the responsibility of every genuine follower of Jesus (“Christian”) to share this opportunity. This sharing should always be with persuasion but without any hint of coercion.
  10. SACRIFICIAL LOVE and CULTURAL SENSITIVITY: The Holy Bible commands voluntarily denial of oneself and one’s rights and preferences, cultural and personal, out of concern for others, including the unsaved and those of other cultures (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 1 Corinthians 10:32). That is, the obedient Christian sacrifices his or her own rights in order not to offend others. This cultural sensitivity is an act of love done in imitation of Jesus Messiah, who sacrificed Himself for the needs of others (Philippians 2:5-11).

All BLEND Fredericksburg leadership, including Board members and those serving our clients directly, must agree with the Belief Statement above in its entirety in order to serve in the organization as leaders. Non-leadership volunteers must read the statement and specify either agreement or lack thereof. Which roles are considered leadership is listed in our founding documents, which are available upon request.

Because of our leadership’s Belief Statement #10 above, all who serve with BLEND Fredericksburg in any role or capacity whatsoever are asked to abide by this separate “Policies and Practices” statement, regardless of whether they personally agree with our Belief Statement or not. The purpose of these requirements is to avoid cultural misunderstanding, represent our founding values in a unified fashion, and cultivate an environment of healthy relationships that foster mutual respect. (Thus specific cultural factors shape these guidelines, which include matters BLEND leadership don’t see as moral but as cultural. A few cultural tidbits illustrate our rationale, below the list.) We are glad to search for another organization through which those whose lifestyle varies from these policies can serve!

Out of love for people of other cultural backgrounds and in order to avoid offending or driving a wedge between those of various cultures, BLEND Fredericksburg leaders, staff, and volunteers (“representatives”) commit to the following, all day every day unless otherwise noted. 

  1. ATTITUDE of CULTURAL OPENNESS: We commit to cultivating curiosity and seeking to learn about and adopt some elements from others’ cultures insofar as doing so does not compromise our own beliefs or convictions.
  2. GENDER IDENTITY: Those BLEND representatives born as biological males represent themselves and identify as males, and those born as biological females represent themselves and identify as females.
  3. SEXUAL PRACTICES: Sexual activity is not engaged in by BLEND representatives outside of marriage defined as a covenant between one biological male and one biological female.
  4. TREATMENT of OBJECTS and PEOPLE frequently Considered Sacred: We avoid treatment of objects (such as books considered holy by any religion) and people (such as living or historical people regarded as prophets or special figures) that we believe would offend or be considered disrespectful by those we are serving. Examples could include placing such books on the floor, writing or marking in such books in front of Muslims, or utilizing a beat-up Bible instead of a clean or electronic copy in the presence of friends from other cultures.
  5. DRESS CODE: Understanding that clothing styles vary vastly between cultures and wanting to avoid offense to any, BLEND leadership, staff, and volunteers all adhere to the following guidelines during those specific hours they are serving with us. (I.e., while at a BLEND activity or with clients of BLEND – not all day every day!) These sometimes sacrificial choices are guided by 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 and 10:32 and are upheld for cultural, not moral, reasons, without any condemnation of other styles of clothing.
    • Women: Sleeves at least covering the elbow; a high neckline with no cleavage exposed; non-tight rear-end coverage ideally including a long shirt that extends over the buttocks or a loose skirt; full-length  pants, jeans or skirt (i.e., no capris, pedal-pushers, waders, mini or midi skirts, etc.)
    • Men: Except at athletic or sporting events, full-length pants (rather than shorts) are worn.
    • All: No political messages are conveyed by our clothing or accessories.
We are saddened to lack the contributions of those unwilling or unable to abide by these Policies and Practices, but we have chosen to prioritize the experience of cultural newcomers over Americans’ own desire to serve. Moreover, these requirements for service with us do not express personal or moral judgment on anyone. Rather, they are embraced as a shared foundation for cross-cultural friendship, in order to promote strong relationships built on cultural hosts sacrificing their rights in order to welcome cultural newcomers in a way more likely to be intelligible to our specific clients, who have historically been largely Afghan. Three cultural tidbits will illustrate. First, in Afghan culture as in many, shorts are only for small children or in some instances sports. Therefore adult men wearing shorts in a non-athletic context may not only be deemed immodest or sexual, but it may also communicate childishness and therefore lessen the mutual respect in the relationship. A cultural analogy could be wearing swim shorts alone to court or church – people would get strange impressions and not be likely to be drawn to the shorts-wearer. Second, we believe volunteers practicing homosexuality would not be accepted and may even be subjected to the disdain of our Afghan clients due to historical events including homosexuality’s role in propelling the Taliban 1.0 to power. (Homosexuality is widely practiced by Afghan military men except Taliban, while being broadly despised in the culture at large. One Afghan general’s proud and public practice of homosexuality during the civil war of the early 1990s prepared Kabul’s population to welcome the original Taliban/”purity movement” takeover of the mid-90s, leaving a lasting and negative impression on Afghans in general). Third, writing notes or marking such as highlighting in a book regarded as holy is seen by some to be a disrespectful elevation of oneself to God’s level, by failing to distinguish between His words and human words. While we could explain that we don’t mean marking in a Bible as disrespectful, it is simpler and clearer to avoid doing so altogether when with friends from other cultures who may understand our actions differently. We are happy to search for an alternate organization for those who cannot commit to these Policies and Practices who wish to serve immigrants in Fredericksburg, VA!