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We're Equipping the Church to Address Sexual Violence and Harassment
« Reply #1064 on: November 06, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »

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We're Equipping the Church to Address Sexual Violence and Harassment

Next month, join Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Eugene Cho, and others as we begin to address #MeToo and #ChurchToo in our congregations.


Churches have struggled with how to address sexual abuse, harassment, and more.


Many leaders, attendees, and pastors alike find themselves living in the aftermath of not just what happened a year ago, but what’s actually been happening for decades. Trust has been broken, power has been abused, and most importantly, people have been hurt.


Many have been deeply wounded by the hands of others—more than we’d ever want to count.


For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, I’m talking about #churchtoo—an extension of the #metoo movement that took the media by storm a year ago. In #churchtoo, churchgoers shared their own experiences of abuse and harassment—and for many in the church, these things have been at best uncomfortable to hear; at worst, detrimental to the local community of believers.


You see, many of us would like to believe that the abuse of women (and men) is a purely secular phenomenon that happens in the outside world—a realm far beyond the comfortable pews and pulpits we call home.


But this is simply not the case. Sexual violence and harassment take place in churches, ministries, and more. It is past time all church leaders deal with it as we are called to.


If the stats are right and roughly 1 in 4 women have been sexually harassed or abused at some point, then this reality is everywhere, likely even in your local church.


In #churchtoo and elsewhere, it has been overwhelming to say the least to see so many women come forward and share things like, “I was raped,” “I was groomed by my high school youth pastor,” “The pastor didn’t believe my story,” and “My church held no one accountable.” I even have several staff members ...

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Do Methodists Have a Case Against Jeff Sessions?
« Reply #1065 on: November 07, 2018, 12:00:11 AM »
Do Methodists Have a Case Against Jeff Sessions?

Though the denomination is the least likely in the US to administer church discipline, critical voices have been swirling around its highest-ranking politician.


Earlier this week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interrupted by a Methodist minister in a clerical collar who shouted verses from Matthew 25 during a religious liberty event in Boston.


“Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist, I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others, you are wounding the body of Christ,” said Will Green, pastor of of Ballard Vale United Church in Massachusetts.


Green’s remarks, followed by another outcry from a Baptist pastor, led both clergy to be escorted from the event. The Trump cabinet member briefly responded, “Thank you for those remarks and attack, but I would just tell you we do our best every day to fulfill my responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States.”


In a news clip gone viral, Green said to Sessions’s face what some members of the nation’s second-largest Protestant body have articulated in statements, tweets, and casual conversation: They’re unsettled to see a fellow member of the United Methodist Church (UMC) enforcing policies their tradition opposes, specifically, the White House directive to apprehend and separate families crossing the US border.


United Methodist leaders have adopted resolutions in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and declared Sessions’s own zero-tolerance stance as “unnecessarily cruel.” More than 600 clergy and laypeople filed an official complaint against him with the UMC, though it was ultimately dismissed by his district this summer.


“I don't believe there's anything in the Scripture or anything in my theology that says a secular nation state cannot have lawful laws to control immigration,” ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/LfbC1BO5J7Q/jeff-sessions-attorney-general-methodist-discipline.html
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https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/413675-pastor-removed-after-interrupting-sessions-speech-with-bible
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/may/families-cross-border-separate-immigration-central-america.html
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Finding Light in Darkness: The Myanmar Tragedy
« Reply #1066 on: November 08, 2018, 12:00:07 AM »
Finding Light in Darkness: The Myanmar Tragedy

Darkness, in its many intimidating and frightening modes, is not the final word.


As I walked among the glistening gold-plated stupas of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma), it was hard to believe that just miles north, a genocide took place masterminded by the country’s military.


The Rohingyas, a people-name once unknown, is now a common point of our conversations. But even as we assume the worldwide accusations are self-evident behind the genocide of these ethnic Muslims in the heart of a Buddhist country, complexity rules—a fact of which the small Christian community there is well aware.


We wonder at the silence of the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. What are the factors in the social architecture of Myanmar that have contributed to this seemingly unforgiveable tragedy?


To begin, Myanmar is a country of 54 million people, divided into eight major ethnic races grouped by region, more so than language or ethnic affiliation. These regions camouflage its actual 135 distinct ethnic groups!


We too quickly assume that globalization is good, unifying people of all kinds of cultural strands. Democracy and human rights we value so highly are not necessarily embraced. Tribalism often rules, and Myanmar is a prime example. Mistreatment of ethnic or religious minorities is nothing new in what was formerly Burma. Internally, there are some 600,000 displaced persons, not counting the tens of thousands still in camps in Thailand and other surrounding countries.


The Military Rules


Although Myanmar is, nominally speaking, a country with a government of an elected parliament, it is still the military who rules. Myanmar held general elections in 2015; however, 25 percent of the seats in parliament are controlled by the military. ...

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God’s Call to a Reluctant Suburbanite
« Reply #1067 on: November 09, 2018, 12:00:09 AM »
God’s Call to a Reluctant Suburbanite

I craved life in a city center or a rural idyll. He wanted me to hunger after him instead.


On the day the moving truck pulled away, I was the last to leave. The walls were empty except for the black and white stripes we’d painted, and that little spot of white on the turquoise kitchen wall we covered up with a frame (thinking one day we’d get around to fixing it). There was no bump-bump of children running up and down stairs, no circles of noisemaking.


I stepped on the floorboard that always creaks—to hear it one last time. What was once something to fix was now dear.


I ran my fingers along the living room walls. “Thank you,” I said as I touched the walls that had seen so much life and laughter, so many tantrums and tears. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”


I walked around the room, blessing this house and caressing it like the lips of a lover. I prayed the house would be a sieve where our crazy would get caught and our love would pour out to the next owners, another pastor’s family.


This move from an urban neighborhood in Salt Lake City back home to the suburbs of Southern California was clearly where God was calling us next, but that didn’t prevent the leave-taking from feeling like a kind of death. This was the home we’d known the longest as husband and wife. We brought home half our children to this spot of earth. This was the house with the 15-year renovation dreams attached to it. This was the house with the bookshelves my husband, Bryce, built for me to hold the weight of my years of study.


We were leaving the creaking, 100-year-old floorboards Bryce had refinished to follow God’s call to plant a church in the land of plenty and cookie-cutter tract homes. Roots, when exposed to the light, quiver a little.


Markers of Belonging


At first, I scoffed ...

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Joni Eareckson Tada: Suffering Helps Me See Heaven
« Reply #1068 on: November 10, 2018, 12:00:11 AM »
Joni Eareckson Tada: Suffering Helps Me See Heaven

I used to wonder why Paul calls hardships “light and momentary.” Years of affliction opened my eyes to his insight.


“File this, Francie, and make copies of this letter, would you,” I said to my secretary without looking up from my desk. “And,” I sighed, “would you please pull out the sofa bed one more time?”


“Are you serious? Again?”


“Again,” I said.


For the fourth time that day, I needed to be lifted out of my wheelchair and laid down. Then I had to undress to readjust my corset. Shallow breathing, sweating, and a skyrocketing blood pressure signaled that something was pinching or bruising my paralyzed body. As my secretary tissued away my tears and unfolded my office sofa bed, I stared vacantly at the ceiling. “I want to quit this,” I mumbled.


Francie shook her head and grinned. As she gathered the pile of letters off my desk and got ready to leave, she paused and leaned against the door. “I bet you can’t wait for heaven. You know, like Paul said, ‘We groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling’” (2 Cor. 5:2).


My eyes dampened again, but this time they were tears of relief. “Yeah, it’ll be great.”


In that moment, I sat and dreamed what I’ve dreamed of a thousand times: the hope of heaven. I recited 1 Corinthians 15 (“The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable”), mentally rehearsed a flood of other promises, and fixed the eyes of my heart on future divine fulfillments. That was all I needed. I opened my eyes and said out loud, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”


This experience often occurs two or three times a week. Physical affliction and emotional pain are, frankly, part of my daily routine. But these hardships are God’s way of helping me to get my mind on the ...

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CCDA President Noel Castellanos Resigns
« Reply #1069 on: November 11, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
CCDA President Noel Castellanos Resigns

Allegations of hostile leadership at community development ministry came to a head at last week’s Rooted conference.


Last week’s national conference of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) was entitled “Rooted,” but it left some attendees feeling the opposite—confused, torn, and disconnected—amid allegations of hostile conduct surrounding the urban ministry’s top leadership.


The concerns, which centered on CCDA president Noel Castellanos, were referenced by speakers on stage, on unsanctioned flyers distributed during the sessions, and in a statement of repentance posted on the CCDA website.


Then, on Tuesday morning, CCDA announced that Castellanos had resigned prior to the 30th annual gathering, but the ministry’s board decided to wait until afterwards to announce his departure in a “sincere effort to keep the focus on this tremendous milestone as well as honor the life and commitment of our founder, Dr. John Perkins.”


Castellanos, who led the Christian justice ministry for more than a decade, spent the past two years engaged in a reconciliation process with former coworkers, according to CCDA.


“While my resignation was offered in part due to our inability to resolve the conflict with former staff, it was also a decision that I have been contemplating for the last year to allow me to pursue other passions and opportunities,” he wrote in his resignation letter.


“My heart is full of gratitude for the immeasurable number of friends I have made along this journey and hope to continue in the future.”


The CCDA board privately accepted Castellanos’s resignation at a regularly scheduled meeting on October 31. The next day, the beginning of the three-day annual conference in Chicago, corresponded with the launch of a public campaign from six former staff ...

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The Parable of the Caravan
« Reply #1070 on: November 12, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
The Parable of the Caravan

We need to pay attention to love’s deep call on our lives.


Jesus’ parables aren’t just stories to be read; they are meant to read us. Parables aren’t meant to affirm our rightness and everyone else’s wrongness. They can sneak past our personal armor to show us a better way to be. They can hold up a mirror (“Oh no, I’m the prodigal son’s big brother!”) or puncture our delusions (“Oh no, I’m the debtor who has been forgiven much but am unwilling to forgive a little!”), then show us where by grace we can grow in love.


The “migrant caravan”—as the large group of children and adults from countries like Honduras and Guatamala currently headed toward the US border seeking safety and better lives have been dubbed by the media—is excruciatingly real.


But in ways, the frenzied political debate about the caravan isn’t real because they’re so far from our border. Instead, what should be real is the opportunity to pay attention to love’s deep call on our lives.


One helpful way might be through the lens of a modern-day parable—and consider how it is reading us. Let’s call it the Parable of the Caravan.




* * *



Once upon a time, the world’s most powerful kingdom enjoyed a record-low unemployment rate and record-high stock market prices.


Other countries much poorer were hosting millions of refugees, but this kingdom did all it could to keep these refugees out. Then one day, a thousand miles away, a few thousand people in danger in their own land joined together with the unrealistic dream of walking—yes, walking—a thousand miles to safety and jobs in the powerful, far away kingdom.


Moms and dads and children joined this “Caravan,” though even if they somehow ...

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Source: The Parable of the Caravan

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/ubTSUMu1XWg/parable-of-caravan-immigration-jesus-ed-stetzer.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/84249.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/november/parable-of-caravan-immigration-jesus-ed-stetzer.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ubTSUMu1XWg:GTlz34ltXZQ:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/ubTSUMu1XWg
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Love and Marriage Goes Together Like….
« Reply #1071 on: November 13, 2018, 12:00:09 AM »
Love and Marriage Goes Together Like….

A few thoughts on the keys to a good marriage.


Love and marriage is a topic that always seems to be trending.


Many people, particulary when they are young, look forward idealistically towards marriage, as if their partner will complete them and fulfill them in fairytale-like ways.


I love being married. Donna challenges me to grow and loves me unconditionally in many ways. But marriage is not the perfect picture many grow up and dreaming.


After 30 years of marriage, I have found that marriage is both better and harder than I expected.


A few minutes ago, Donna and I came back from a lunch date. We talked about the challenges and blessings of marriage. As we talked, we did find that our challenges tended to be in a few key areas. Maybe they might be of help to you.


Communication


One of the key areas of marriage that is both better and harder than I expected is communication. It is essential in a healthy marriage to be in clear communication with your spouse. But this communication may not always come naturally. You may have different preferred methods of communication.


Sometimes your spouse may mean one thing in what he or she says and you may receive it as something completely different. Or you may even have different ideas about what needs to be communicated.


For example, I’ve been very busy lately with my new role at Wheaton College and with Mission Group. We have grown our team so that I now have about about 60 people on my different teams and in different roles. It requires a lot of delegation. My wife mentioned to me a few months ago that it felt as though I was delegating tasks to her the way I delegate tasks to my team.


Now, I think I delegate well to my team, so that’s not the point.


But I asked her to tell me more. I listened, because after decades of marriage ...

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Source: Love and Marriage Goes Together Like….

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/U8lwEPVN4AA/love-and-marriage-goes-together-like-ed-stetzer.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/84239.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/november/love-and-marriage-goes-together-like-ed-stetzer.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=U8lwEPVN4AA:M7pn_1u_aO4:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=U8lwEPVN4AA:M7pn_1u_aO4:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=U8lwEPVN4AA:M7pn_1u_aO4:V_sGLiPBpWU
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=U8lwEPVN4AA:M7pn_1u_aO4:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=U8lwEPVN4AA:M7pn_1u_aO4:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/U8lwEPVN4AA
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