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How Christian Leaders Should, and Should Not, Speak in This Kavanaugh Moment
« Reply #1024 on: September 30, 2018, 01:00:10 AM »

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How Christian Leaders Should, and Should Not, Speak in This Kavanaugh Moment

How can we spiritually lead our people struggling to respond in a culture charged by political polarization and fed a diet of cable news and social media?


We’ve all seen them. Accusations. Denials. A nation divided. Social media upheaval.


It’s not new. In fact, to some it may be getting so disturbingly ‘normal’ that they have tuned out.


This time we are dealing with accusations against Supreme Court nominee and judge Brett Kavanaugh. At a time when the dam continues to break on decades of sexual assault and harassment allegations, the political import of the nomination has taken an already challenging issue and supercharged it with political tribalism.


The result is that many church leaders are unsure how to respond. Yet this is precisely the time when pastors and ministry leaders need to stand with courage in leading their people.


The question is: leading them to where?


So how do we respond? Or, for that matter, should we?


Scrolling through my twitter feed, I see a nation and church divided. Do we speak out on issues such as the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh or in defense of his accusers, Professor Ford or Deborah Ramirez?


Or do we keep silent?


How can we spiritually lead our people struggling to respond in a culture charged by political polarization and fed a diet of cable news and social media?


Let me share just a few considerations for church leaders navigating this issue.


First, you don't have to say anything, and that may be the right decision.


We live at a time that unless leaders instantly respond to current events on social media, they are hiding or ignoring the issue. There is a sense that we have to speak into everything. The truth is we just don't.


You are not a senator. You are a Christian leader. You have a calling to lead your congregation, not to comment on the news. Don’t demean the importance of the former in favor of an impulse ...

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CFamily

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Azusa Pacific Okays Gay Romance (But Not Sex and Marriage)
« Reply #1025 on: October 01, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
Azusa Pacific Okays Gay Romance (But Not Sex and Marriage)

Christian university is also now hosting a formerly underground LGBT student group.


Azusa Pacific University (APU) has dropped a policy preventing students from engaging in “romanticized” same-sex relationships.


The Southern California member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) also dropped longstanding language from an eight-point statement on human sexuality which had declared: “homosexual acts” (among others) are “expressly forbidden” by Scripture; “heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships”; and “humans were created as gendered beings” in order to be fruitful and multiply.


The Christian school, which still requires celibacy of unmarried students, now has a shorter six-point statement that more succinctly states that marriage is between “a man and a woman, which Jesus reaffirms,” and refers to humans as created “male and female” instead of “gendered.”


The new statement drops a list of sexual behaviors prohibited by the Bible. It also drops the word sin from its concluding sentence, which previously read: “Any deviation from a biblical standard of sexual behavior is sin and therefore is an opportunity for repentance, grace, and redemption, so that as a community we might honor one another and glorify God.”


“APU believes in a biblical definition of marriage as defined as between one man and woman,” Rachel White, a school spokesperson, told CT. “All others living outside of that definition are called to abstinence.” (APU does not offer married housing.)


“A change in policy does not change practice,” the university said in a written statement, which also says the new sexuality statement “strengthened” ...

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Source: Azusa Pacific Okays Gay Romance (But Not Sex and Marriage)

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https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/83607.jpg?w=460
https://www.apu.edu/about/sexuality/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/september/azusa-pacific-university-lgbt-sexuality-statement-apu.html
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CFamily

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Being Cordial Even When We Think Differently
« Reply #1026 on: October 02, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
Being Cordial Even When We Think Differently

We must walk in the footsteps of Jesus. To do this, we will learn to love those we disagree with.


Have you noticed the trend away from thoughtful conversation, civility, and compassion? Have you been struck by the increasingly combative nature of communication in the media, the political realm, the online world of social media, and culture in general?


It seems like people have a very hard time disagreeing while still respecting and loving each other.


In a growing number of situations, it seems like people believe that if we don’t agree on specific topics, we must be angry with each other. Or when we stand on the opposite side of the aisle, we hate each other. If we have an honest disagreement, it must ignite into some kind of combat.


I grew up in a home, and a time of history, when people could disagree and still love each other. I remember a time when people could talk civilly, express divergent points of view, and still have lunch, laugh, and do life together. As a matter of fact, I watched my dad and mom disagree with strong and articulate words on many topics and still love each other deeply.


My dad was a strong and articulate Republican. He believed what he believed and would express his views with clarity and conviction. My mom was a staunch Democrat. She headed up the local teachers’ association of the public schools and expressed her convictions openly and with passion and precision. I had the honor of doing my parent’s renewal of their wedding vows at their 50-year anniversary, just a few years before my mom passed away.


I can still remember my parents heading out to vote together, hand in hand. My dad would say something like, “We’re heading out to cancel each other’s vote.” He meant it. He knew that their votes would end up being a net zero because of their antithetical ...

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https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/september/cordial-think-differently-kevin-g-harney-disagree-in-love.html
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CFamily

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One-on-One with Keith Getty on the Sing! Conference and the Importance of Song, Part 2

The Sing! Conference is about creating a new song and a new hymnal for churches.


Ed: In addition to the family hymnal, you also dropped the North Coast Sessions at the last Sing! Conference. Is that focused on the Psalms? And if so, why is that?


Keith: Yes, that’s true. Really, a lot of the Sing! Conference is about creating a new song and a new hymnal for churches—that's a big part of where we're going with everything we're doing. One of the things we're doing is this first collection of hymns and songs that were inspired, in part, by the Psalms. The album was actually recorded right on the Northern coastlines of Ireland.


When was the last time you were in Ireland, Ed?


Ed: About three or four years ago. You were in Northern Ireland, Keith, but my ancestors are actually from the city of Drogheda in, well, Ireland.


Keith: Yes, Drogheda. You have to drive through Drogheda to go to Dublin. We once drove through Drogheda to go the Dublin Airport. But when we were up in the North Coast, I remember looking over Scotland, and would you believe this, but we actually started the whole North Coast Sessions album with an old Scottish sound tune. The tune is called, "Martyrdom Left the Miserable Scots Call Home Miserable Names to Their Songs." Our piper, Patrick, was with us in a little harbor town called Port Braddon and as he was playing, he was looking straight across at Scotland.


This project marks our first attempt at a collection of songs. We took 80 days out of this year alone just to study the sounds and study the music. It's just an incredible experience. Honestly, it’s been probably the most transformative writing experience of my career.


Ed: My oldest daughter (who is studying opera) prefers a church that's much more traditional— she does not like what ...

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Source: One-on-One with Keith Getty on the Sing! Conference and the Importance of Song, Part 2

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/JDRjX-YSpKY/interview-keith-getty-sing-importance-song-part-2-ed-stetze.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/83634.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/september/interview-keith-getty-sing-importance-song-part-2-ed-stetze.html
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Azusa Pacific University Changes, then Trustees Reinstate, Policy on Student Same-Sex Relationships

The trustees of Azusa Pacific University “reaffirm our responsibility to steward the Christ-centered mission” of APU.



Dear APU Alumni and Families,


Today, as a board, we reaffirm our responsibility to steward the Christ-centered mission of Azusa Pacific University. We commit the following to each member of the APU community and to all who share in the more than 2,000-year legacy of Christianity that forms our bedrock:



     
  • We remain unequivocally biblical and orthodox in our evangelical Christian identity. The Bible serves as our anchor.

  •  
  • We stand firm in our convictions, never willing to capitulate to outside pressures, be they legal, political, or social.

  •  
  • We affirm God’s perfect will and design for humankind with the biblical understanding of the marriage covenant as between one man and one woman. Outside of marriage, He calls His people to abstinence.

  •  
  • We advocate for holy living within the university in support of our Christian values.

  •  
  • We declare that our clear mission to equip disciples and scholars to advance the work of God in the world is more necessary today than ever before.


Last week, reports circulated about a change in the undergraduate student standards of conduct. That action concerning romanticized relationships was never approved by the board and the original wording has been reinstated.
We see every student as a gift from God, infinitely valuable and worthy in the eyes of our Creator and as members of our campus community. We believe our university is the best place for earnest and guided conversation to unfold with all students about every facet of life, including faith and sexuality. We embrace all students who seek a rigorous Christian higher education and voluntarily join us in mission.
We pledge to boldly uphold biblical values and not waiver in our Christ-centered mission. We will examine how we live up to these high ...

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Source: Azusa Pacific University Changes, then Trustees Reinstate, Policy on Student Same-Sex Relationships

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/MOrgAdlFqmM/azusa-pacific-university-statement.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/83669.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/september/azusa-pacific-university-statement.html
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Azusa Pacific Reverses Approval for Gay Student Couples
« Reply #1029 on: October 05, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
Azusa Pacific Reverses Approval for Gay Student Couples

Board of Trustees never sanctioned the recent code of conduct change. Now the wording's back to before.


Days after Azusa Pacific University (APU) dropped a ban on “romanticized” same-sex relationships from its code of student conduct, its board of trustees reversed the changes.


“Last week, reports circulated about a change in the undergraduate student standards of conduct. That action concerning romanticized relationships was never approved by the board and the original wording has been reinstated,” the Southern California Christian university’s board said in a statement on Friday.


The school’s much-discussed shift on same-sex relationships had been approved by APU’s administrative board, but not the board of trustees, ZU Media, a campus newspaper, reported.


The student code change was accompanied by a new on-campus program for LGBT students designed to “reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging,” APU told CT.


The board of trustees’ announcement did not address the future of any LGBT support efforts. APU does not require their students to be Christian—only about one-third of schools in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) ask students to sign a faith statement—though it comes out of a Wesleyan tradition and ascribes to a biblical statement of faith.


APU had also recently dropped longstanding language from an eight-point statement on human sexuality, which declared “homosexual acts” (among others) are “expressly forbidden” by Scripture; “heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships”; and “humans were created as gendered beings” in order to be fruitful and multiply. Those initial revisions remain on the website and were not specifically addressed ...

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Source: Azusa Pacific Reverses Approval for Gay Student Couples

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/NZLEC-2YciY/azusa-pacific-apu-reverses-gay-lgbt-student-conduct.html
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https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/september/azusa-pacific-university-lgbt-sexuality-statement-apu.html
https://zunews.com/2018/09/azusa-pacific-reinstates-ban-lgbtq-relationships/
https://www.apu.edu/about/faith/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/azusa-pacific-apu-reverses-gay-lgbt-student-conduct.html
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More Than 200 Teens Dead in Indonesian Bible Camp Mudslide
« Reply #1030 on: October 06, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
More Than 200 Teens Dead in Indonesian Bible Camp Mudslide

Update: Pastors open Sulawesi churches to assist earthquake victims.


Update (Oct. 4): When a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi last Friday, residents were preparing for an annual weekend festival that draws a half-million tourists to the coast of Palu. But instead of enjoying cultural rituals, traditional music, and a paragliding competition along the beach, Christian leaders in Central Sulawesi province were suddenly coordinating relief efforts for the tens of thousands of people displaced by the disaster.


Their churches, mostly shaken but still standing after the 7.4 magnitude quake, became places of refuge for their congregations as well as their Muslim neighbors. (Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and only about 1 in 6 residents in Central Sulawesi are Christian.)


Three local Protestant leaders reported to CT that 86 church buildings in Palu have been established as aid centers for victims across the province.


“Even so, the refugees who came to take refuge there were also Muslims. They blend in supporting each other both [materially and psychologically],” wrote Yuberlian Padele, rector of Tentena Theological Seminary and former general chairperson of the Central Sulawesi Christian Church (GKST); Ika Kulas, pastor of the Central Sulawesi Christian Church in Tentena; and Set Tolage, another Tentena pastor.


“The church yard is a safe haven [for] thousands of people who are still hoping for help,” they said.


CT previously reported (below) on a few churches that had opened up as health centers and kitchens in the wake of the disaster.


Denominational leaders are still taking in the extent of the damage, studying satellite images showing where roofs collapsed, highways fell onto buildings, and whole villages appear ...

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Source: More Than 200 Teens Dead in Indonesian Bible Camp Mudslide

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/isfsWVlKj8E/indonesia-sulawesi-tsunami-kids-bible-camp-palu-earthquake.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/83709.png?w=460
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Breaking Bread with Broken People Brings Wisdom
« Reply #1031 on: October 07, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
Breaking Bread with Broken People Brings Wisdom

Scripture calls us to seek God’s goodness in community, not in private.


There’s a small note pinned to my refrigerator asking me to bring ham biscuits to the church dinner. It’s signed with a quick heart and a simple B. It’s also two years old.


Although my husband and I both grew up in rural communities, neither of us grew up in the one where we now live, having moved here when Small Brick Church called him as pastor. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to live here long term. It was only an hour from his parents, and our children were beginning to need the kind of stability that comes from living with the same people for years rather than months. So we bought a house and started to put down roots.


But knowing that we wanted to live with this community is not the same thing as the community knowing whether they wanted to live with us. The established rhythms and distinct identity that we find so appealing of small communities also have a way of keeping outsiders at arm’s length. Ours is the kind of community where children attend school in the same building their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and even grandmothers and grandfathers once did—the kind of community to guard who brings the ham biscuits to church dinners. I have hope that our children will eventually be able to lay claim to it, but my husband and I will always be from Somewhere Else.


Besides being an outsider, I don’t think I’m what folks had in mind for a pastor’s wife. Sure, I can make pie and play the piano and wear my pearls. But I also grew up just far enough north of the Mason-Dixon Line to not know how to say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” convincingly. I can be pretty stubborn when the moment calls for it. And my work as an author and speaker ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/rZ9fOyg_4yo/breaking-bread-with-broken-people-brings-wisdom.html
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