Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 435804 times)

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[Cfamily]Curiosity Propels My Toddler to Learn. Will Computers Ever Compare?
« Reply #1136 on: January 15, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »

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Curiosity Propels My Toddler to Learn. Will Computers Ever Compare?

How our relationship to God makes us unique from our robot imitators.

My son saw a shark today.

In his two short years, this was the first time he beheld the creature. His eyes went wide. Would he fear the thing?

His head tilted a few degrees left, betraying a smile. Not knowing what it was or its name, he christened it himself. Pointing, he proclaimed, “Agu dalpha!”—his toddler parlance for “alligator dolphin.”

As a linguist and translator, I was charmed. What a peculiar name. What a sensible name.

He saw the creation, and he named it, tapping into that ancient stream of humanity flowing back to our first ancestors.

In mere fractions of a second, his mind sifted his entire knowledge base. Visual, motor, linguistic, and associative information danced across the trillions of synapses in his brain, pivoted in his frontal cortex, then flew back through the Wernicke’s area, arcuate fasciculus, and Broca’s area and was ultimately heralded out by the motor cortex controlling his speech articulations.

These so-called “basic” mental processes are extremely complicated. Legions of academics and corporations toil round-the-clock to teach computers to approximate just one of these steps. The who’s who of star tech companies together spend billions to crack even a sliver of the great problem of true intelligence.

But my toddler, unbidden and unsupervised, does this entirely of his own agency. He is an analog masterpiece. And he is not unique in this. In his young mind, unsupervised learning meets unsupervised creation. These are hallmarks of human intelligence.

Currently, we are the only created beings in the universe that can do these things—at least that we know of. Computers cannot perform unsupervised learning like we do. Even their supervised ...

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[Cfamily]Going Dutch: Netherlands Imports Nashville Statement Controversy
« Reply #1137 on: January 16, 2019, 12:00:16 AM »
Going Dutch: Netherlands Imports Nashville Statement Controversy

Latest translation of US evangelical document on LGBT issues divides Dutch Bible Belt and leads to criminal threats against a Christian politician.

When the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) debuted its treatise on gender and sexuality at a Southern Baptist conference in 2017, the mayor of Nashville condemned its affirmation of traditional marriage and biological sex as well as its use of her city’s name.

A year and a half later, government officials 4,300 miles away are debating the legal ramifications of the document in The Netherlands, where 200-plus evangelical Protestants recently signed a Dutch translation of the Nashville Statement.

The country’s public prosecutor began investigating this week whether backing the “Nashville Verklaring,” as a Christian political party leader has done, violates anti-discrimination measures in the Dutch constitution. Among its 14 points on sexuality, the Nashville Statement declares that same-sex marriage, gay identity, and transgender identity do not reflect God’s design for humanity.

The conservative Christian proclamation hasn’t gone over smoothly in the Netherlands, which became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001 and where just 15 percent of the population believes in God. LGBT advocates in government buildings, businesses, and affirming churches and Christian colleges flew rainbow flags yesterday to oppose the Nashville Statement.

While more conservative Protestant leaders repeat the defense made by their counterparts in the US—that the document represents the church’s longstanding position on marriage and sexuality—fellow Christians worry that they have divided the church by bringing American culture wars onto Dutch soil.

“This document undoubtedly brings deep divisions among Christians in the Netherlands,” wrote Jan Wolsheimer, ...

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1138 on: January 16, 2019, 10:02:51 AM »
Shows that Christian truth will not be accepted in secular society.

The shame is that only half the dutch pastors signed the nashvill statement.

Here is a thought.
Would you sign it, even though that would be a 'criminal act'.


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[Cfamily]Spiritual Revolutionaries in an Age of Despair
« Reply #1139 on: January 17, 2019, 12:00:12 AM »
Spiritual Revolutionaries in an Age of Despair

These practices of Anna and Simeon kept them faithful in a time of seeming hopelessness.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. (Luke 2:25)

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36–38)

Anna and Simeon lived in a time of seeming political hopelessness and division, much like our own. Nonetheless, they persisted in faith when many of their contemporaries abandoned the God of Israel. God rewarded their persistence in faith by making them among the first witnesses of the Messiah.

There are many who look upon the church’s apparent infatuation with political power and indifference to corruption and wonder if there is a faithful way forward that remains connected to the great tradition and is able to speak a relevant word in the present moment. I do not pretend to have all the answers, but the testimonies of Anna and Simeon carry within them the spiritual practices necessary to wait for his second coming in hope.

Anna and Simeon at the Turn of the Ages

Before the arrival of the Messiah, the faithful of Jesus’ day had every reason for cynicism. With the fleeting exception of the troubled Hasmonean rule, Israel had been passed from one foreign ruler to the next. Herod was a well-known rogue who owed his position to an equally morally bankrupt Roman hierarchy. In his day, he was most famous for ...

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[Cfamily]Why I’m Optimistic Amidst a Cultural Crisis
« Reply #1140 on: January 18, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
Why I’m Optimistic Amidst a Cultural Crisis

Hope never emerges from easy answers to the questions of a broken world. Hope comes from a Person.

We are prone to naivety in regard to reading our current cultural moment. You’ve likely heard someone recently—either in person or online—decry the fact that “society has never been in worse shape,” or that “things are spiraling out of control like never before.” Such clichés ignore the reality of our history that includes centuries of wretched conditions that we have devised while following our depraved hearts. While some things may indeed be bad, in terms of historical perspective, we have often seen much, much worse.

This reality, in reverse, is what C. S. Lewis had in mind when he lamented the “chronological snobbery” of his day. Lewis noted that those alive in his day often spoke and acted in ways that suggested their culture epitomized the high-water mark of human development. Lewis challenged the hubris of this notion by pointing out that human progress will never equate to a utopic movement. Nor is the opposite trend defensible. The modern age, though rife with brokenness and moral deconstruction at every level, does not mark a new low in the devolution of human society.

We have been here before.

No Simple Answers

Missionary disciples paving the way into the future must embrace the tension between these two realities. We must avoid overlaying a blissful airbrushed caricature of this present moment, nor suggest a romanticized, excessively glib sense of what might come in the future. Such proposals will always leave the next generation discouraged when the difficult reality of mission in North America fails to live up to our rose-colored proposals. If the path to missional effectiveness was easy, more churches would risk the status quo of perpetual reinvestment ...

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[Cfamily]The Top Reasons Young People Drop Out of Church
« Reply #1141 on: January 19, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
The Top Reasons Young People Drop Out of Church

Even with 1 in 4 leaving over politics, college kids are more likely to return after a hiatus than leave for good.

Slightly fewer young adults are dropping out of church after high school, but those who do have more serious reasons for leaving than a decade ago.

In a 2017 LifeWay Research survey released today, 66 percent of Americans between 23 and 30 years old said they stopped attending church on a regular basis for at least a year after turning 18, compared to 70 percent in 2007.

Most young churchgoers skip out on Sundays at some point amid their transition to going to college, moving away from home, or starting their first jobs. LifeWay has found that historically about two-thirds of dropouts return to services once they get older.

But these days, young Christians are more likely to cite weightier political and spiritual concerns as pushing them away from the church, with 70 percent listing such beliefs as a reason for their departure in 2017 compared to about half (52%) 10 years before.

Moving for college remains the top reason young people stop attending church in both surveys, which are based on responses from more than 2,000 young Americans who attended a Protestant church regularly (twice a month or more) for at least a year during high school.

Other popular reasons to include: a perception that church members were hypocritical (32%), disconnect with church life (29%), and lack of student ministry opportunities (24%).

Political rifts between young Christians and their congregations are growing. A quarter (25%) of recent dropouts said disagreements over their church’s stance on political and social issues contributed to their decision to stop attending, compared to 15 percent in 2007.

The follow-up survey came in the wake of the 2016 elections, with partisan divides over President Donald Trump’s victory adding to Generation ...

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[Cfamily]Preoccupied with Love: Lifting High Evangelism Again
« Reply #1142 on: January 20, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
Preoccupied with Love: Lifting High Evangelism Again

"In Christ, we are never alone in an ultimate and enduring sense, and that is great news to the lonely."

Ed: It’s hard to deny that we are living in challenging times culturally. The church’s influence is fading, and we are struggling to find answers to some hard questions. What’s your take on the health of the church today, especially as it relates to our witness?

York: What’s hard is that witness as a category itself seems to be disappearing. I find myself struggling with pastors and lay leaders in their understanding and acceptance of our role as witnesses. I feel that the church growth movement of the 1990s into the 2000s did so many great things for the church. That era developed the category of leadership in the church, created new standards of excellence in worship and platforming, and changed modern-day preaching forever.

At the same time, witness gravitated toward something lay people did by merely bringing others to church programs. The idea that an average, everyday Christian could simply explain the good news of Jesus to another person and call that person to a decision has all but disappeared in our churches.

Many Christians need to be persuaded that personal witness is a good and dutiful part of their relationship with God. I believe we need a witness revolution, a basic conviction that the gospel is good news for those around us.

Ed: Evangelism has especially fallen on hard times. It seems that everything else—even good things like discipleship—has overwhelmed our passion for sharing the love of Jesus with others. What does evangelism look like today and how can we begin to develop a passion for showing and sharing the love of Jesus on a daily basis?

York: The challenge is that for most Americans, times are great. We sit and sip our $6 lattes and people-watch at our favorite coffee ...

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[Cfamily]Running from the Light—and the Snakes
« Reply #1143 on: January 21, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
Running from the Light—and the Snakes

An opera heroine’s conflict with her faith and family has dangerously high stakes.

Serpent-handling churches are, for obvious reasons, perpetually fascinating to those outside them. They’ve been the subject of books, documentaries, songs, photography exhibits, and a reality show.

But opera?

Indeed, Taking Up Serpents, a new hour-long opera commissioned by the Washington National Opera as part of the American Opera Initiative (AOI) Festival, had its world premiere this month at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. To its creators, the fringe religious practice was a more natural fit with the art form than you might expect (though they did choose not to have actual snakes onstage).

“This story is operatic in that the characters’ faith imbues the world with meaning that is larger than life,” explains composer Kamala Sankaram in her program notes. Additionally, the musical format allowed her to incorporate the shape note singing integral to the kind of charismatic church featured in the opera, and rockabilly-infused tunes inspired by the Appalachian region around it. Certain scenes even feature people singing in tongues.

The rough and jagged sounds of this music help shape the gritty story of Kayla (played in this premiere by Alexandria Shiner), a young woman who broke away from her father’s charismatic church in Birmingham, Alabama, only to find herself stuck in a dead-end retail job a couple of hundred miles south. Her escape hasn’t done much for her, emotionally or spiritually. She’s longing for some kind of comfort and certainty, “tired of runnin’ from the light.”

But an unexpected call from home is a painful reminder that the faith Kayla left was anything but safe and comfortable: Her father (Timothy J. Bruno) is dying from a snakebite received during ...

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Source: Running from the Light—and the Snakes

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