Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 435768 times)

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[Cfamily]Your Empty Nest Is God’s Opportunity
« Reply #1088 on: November 29, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »

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Your Empty Nest Is God’s Opportunity

Four ways to rethink your post-parenting years in light of the Great Commission.

Recently, I sat with a friend who uttered the tear-filled words, “I am no longer a mother.” She explained that her children had gone to college in different states, her nest was empty, and her heart felt saddened by the radical change. Given that most of her daily life revolved around children for almost two decades, it came as no surprise that she needed time to grieve the loss.

Many Christian women who no longer have children at home find themselves in the same place. The reassuring news is that motherhood is not a short-term commitment—it’s a lifetime covenant. Mary the mother of Jesus was present throughout his ministry and mentioned among those who witnessed his crucifixion. In fact, one of the last things Jesus did before his death was to ensure that his mother was recognized and taken care of (John 19:25–27). If Mary is our model, motherhood is not limited by age or proximity.

Although our homes or “nests” might seem empty when our children leave, the act of parenting extends well beyond the childhood years and well beyond our own walls. As we seek to reimagine our nests—especially with the holidays around the corner—we might do well to consider these four insights:

1. Think of your nest as open, not empty.

The term “empty nester” sometimes carries connotations of hollowness, hopelessness, and loss of identity. But those who have raised children and launched them into the world carry special wisdom, knowledge, and grace. We are full, not empty, and the hard-won wisdom of our years is a tool that God can use as we evangelize and disciple those around us. As the writer of Job says, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” ...

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[Cfamily]My Swaddled Savior
« Reply #1089 on: November 30, 2018, 12:00:09 AM »
My Swaddled Savior

Jesus' life began and ended in earthly fetters. Who better to understand ours?

E. B. White once lamented, “To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year.”

I wouldn’t want to argue with the beloved author of Charlotte’s Web. Yet I have an affection for Christmas wrapping precisely because it helped me perceive Jesus through a fresh lens.

Several years ago, I decided to write a daily Christmas post on our church blog during the month of December. Saying something fresh about the Nativity every single day had me reaching far and wide for ideas. In my grasping, for one entry I decided to tackle the theology of Christmas wrapping. I vaguely recalled that some cultures use cloth instead of paper to wrap gifts, which sounded intriguing.

So I dug in. That’s when I first learned about the ancient Japanese art of furoshiki. Feudal lords needed a practical way to bundle their belongings while using the shogun bathhouse, and they displayed their family crests on the outer cloth to identify whose was whose.

Over the centuries, people adapted furoshiki into a beautiful means of presenting gifts. The cloth is folded and tied in deliberate, creative ways, inviting the recipient to pause and appreciate the thoughtfulness behind the packaging before opening it.

What’s more, unlike paper, the material can then be reused over and over again, which has made furoshiki a popular, eco-friendly alternative. When Yuriko Koike was the Japanese Minister of the Environment, she praised the benefits of furoshiki, saying, “It’s a shame for something to go to waste without having made use of its potential in full.”

I realized that Jesus came to us in furoshiki, wrapped in cloths. And while the strips of swaddling served their original purpose ...

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[Cfamily]Where We Got It Wrong
« Reply #1090 on: December 01, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
Where We Got It Wrong

CT’s greatest essays of old still speak today. But on civil rights, we failed our readers.

In many traditions, the weeks leading up to Christmas are considered a season of self-examination and repentance. At Christianity Today, this period of reflection comes after the November online release of our complete archives, encompassing every issue of CT since the magazine first published on October 15, 1956.

This is a cause for gratefulness to God; so many articles and editorials ring true today. For example, we advocated creation care at the outset of the modern environmental movement, decades before climate change became a national conversation. Note the April 23, 1971, editorial: After arguing biblically that “to fail to respect life and all other environmental resources is to demean creation and to violate biblical principles of stewardship,” the editorial concludes with a bracing word:


The task is staggering. We are talking here of terracide, the stupid, senseless murder of the earth, man’s killing himself by killing the environment on which he depends for physical life. Were Christians of today to take on the challenge of persuading men to change, they would be performing the greatest work in the Church’s history.

Among my other favorites: a few articles on Karl Barth’s theology, many by Geoffrey Bromiley, translator of Church Dogmatics; an interview with French theologian Jacques Ellul; and a 1958 symposium, “Theologians and the Moon,” in which Barth, C.?S. Lewis, Paul Tillich, F.?F. Bruce, and Carl Henry, among others, weigh in on how “recent developments in astronautics” affect Christian faith.

There are also moments that make an editor in chief wince. Nine (mostly anti-communist) articles by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who we later learned seriously abused ...

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[Cfamily]Judge Releases Over 100 Iraqi Christians Detained by ICE
« Reply #1091 on: December 02, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
Judge Releases Over 100 Iraqi Christians Detained by ICE

Chaldeans in Detroit celebrate the coming return of scores of community members facing deportation.

About 130 Iraqi Christians detained last year and slated for deportation will be back home with their families in Detroit for Christmas.

Last week, a federal district court in Michigan ruled that the government has a month to release the detainees still awaiting unlikely repatriation to Iraq.

Many of them are members of the Chaldean Church who were taken into custody during US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in June 2017 and face persecution if returned to their homeland, where the small Christian community was nearly wiped out by ISIS.

The Michigan federal judge presiding over the case, Mark Goldsmith, had previously halted deportations based on a nationwide preliminary injunction requested by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and ruled in January that the detainees had the legal right to bond hearings. About half of the detainees were released on bond, according to the ACLU, and the rest will be eligible to return home under the latest order.

“The law is clear that the Federal Government cannot indefinitely detain foreign nationals while it seeks to repatriate them, when there is no significant likelihood of repatriation in the reasonably foreseeable future,” reads the Hamama v. Adducci court order, which condemns the extended jail time as unconstitutional.

About 121,000 Chaldean Catholics live in Michigan, making it the faith tradition’s largest concentration of members outside of Iraq. More than 100 of them, who faced deportation due to criminal records dating back as far as three decades, were detained by ICE a year and a half ago, unsettling their families, communities, and churches.

“Families have been shattered,” Goldsmith wrote in the order, blaming the government ...

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1092 on: December 03, 2018, 12:17:38 PM »
And is there a point to this.


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[Cfamily]John Chau, Missions, and Fools
« Reply #1093 on: December 05, 2018, 12:00:11 AM »
John Chau, Missions, and Fools

We now have more information about John Chau, but mission work is still the work of fools.

On November 17th, John Allen Chau was killed by the tribesmen of the remote North Sentinel Island while attempting to share Christ with them.

His death made world news and sparked mostly negative and antagonistic reactions towards the idea of missions in general and Chau in particular.

From the initial accounts, and the news reports that followed, it appeared like a rogue fanatic rushed onto a protected island without preparation or care for what might happen to him or the people he might endanger with disease, and was killed. Many online comments have even celebrated his death as taking another crazed religious zealot off the planet and out of the gene pool.

New Information

However, new information released yesterday has shaped a much more complex picture of this man who was killed on the beaches of North Sentinel Island. In an interview for Christianity Today, Mary Ho, Executive Leader of All Nations (the missions agency that Chau was affiliated with), shared that Chau was intentionally preparing for many years by getting a degree in sports medicine, training as an EMT, and studying at a respected linguistic institute in order to learn this previously undocumented language.

Furthermore, it appears that Chau was not unaware of potential health risks his presence could pose to the tribe (which has been a major point of criticism) and planned his trip accordingly. According to the interview, Chau had received multiple vaccinations, and intentionally quarantined himself for many days prior to his multi-day trip to the island.

Let me encourage you to listen to the entire interview here.

Delaying Is Sometimes the Best Course

I do not think that I have some unique insight here, but several people had asked me to write on the situation. ...

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Good News in Rural America: There’s More to the Story than Poverty and Disappointment

Jesus is alive and active in rural America.

For quite a while now we’ve heard about how rural America is hurting. How jobs are leaving and young people are following them to coastal cities and hipster hotbeds like Austin or Seattle.

We’ve heard that the opioid epidemic is ransacking sections of our country like Appalachia harder than almost anywhere else. We’ve heard about hopelessness. We’ve heard about Mountain Dew mouth and obesity. We’ve heard about declining numbers in rural churches. We’ve heard a lot that is, well, pretty disheartening.

I’m not going to argue with demographic or economic statistics, but I do want to say clearly that this tale of hopelessness—all-too-often told by folks who have left or never really lived in rural America—misses a lot and skews our thinking about rural America in general and specifically the future of rural and small town ministry.

I know because I’ve lived and told this story a few times myself.

As I’ve mentioned before on The Exchange, my wife and I grew up outside a town of about 1,100 in rural northwestern Pennsylvania before moving to a couple different cities to pursue our education. In the summer of 2016, we moved back to the region we grew up in to plant Oil City Vineyard Church in the (somewhat confusingly named) small town of Oil City.

Initially, when we felt God calling us to Oil City, we saw the town, like most who live in the region, in terms of needs. Generational poverty was high, as was substance abuse and unemployment. The problems seemed both a bit overwhelming and yet surprisingly motivating to us as church planters.

While we never thought we as either individuals or a single church could fix the problems, we did (perhaps a bit subconsciously) think ...

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[Cfamily]What We Long for the Church to Know about Sexual Violence
« Reply #1095 on: December 07, 2018, 12:00:14 AM »
What We Long for the Church to Know about Sexual Violence

Abuse can skew more than just a survivor's relationship with the church.

Papers, crayons, vanilla wafers, and juice. Toys, toys, and more toys. Brightly-colored flannel-graph Adam and Eve figures hiding behind bushes. Banners hanging on the walls which read: “Scars of love: He bore your pain” and “Jesus loves the little children.” Musical crescendos, quiet prayers, stirring sermons, bread and wine, kneeling, reciting Scripture, raising hands.

These religious images and experiences convey comforting considerations for some, but for others they are haunting reminders of being sexually violated by individuals who represent God (Schultz & Estabrook, 2012).

As mental health clinicians, we have collectively listened to thousands of stories of sexual violence in the lives of women, men, adolescents, and children we have counseled. These violations include a wide array of nonconsensual sexual acts such as rape, child sexual abuse, incest, intimate partner sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual innuendos, unwanted sexual contact, and trafficking.

Moreover, many of these egregious forms of trauma have been carried out by every imaginable kind of trusted individual from inside and outside the church.

Journeying with individuals as they share these stories is a sacred privilege. Over the years, we have gleaned much wisdom from brave individuals who have dared to share their anguish with us.

First and foremost, we have witnessed that no two survivors of sexual violence are impacted in the same way, or to the same extent. Nor can individuals be reduced to the violations and evils that have been done to them.

Survivors of sexual violence have taught us that they have encountered wounds and express strength. They have suffered from posttraumatic stress and recount experiences of posttraumatic ...

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