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[Cfamily]Wheaton College, Controversial Speakers, and Some Factivism
« Reply #1144 on: January 22, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »

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Wheaton College, Controversial Speakers, and Some Factivism

Ryan Bomberger brings up another controversial speaker, but it just distracts from the real issue.

Yesterday, I shared an article entitled “Abortion, Black Lives Matter, and Wheaton.” I was responding to several articles from Ryan Bomberger, who spoke at Wheaton College in November of last year. (Be sure to read the original article before this one.)

As I explained in that article, several students were concerned about some things Bomberger said. Those students went to their elected student reps, and the Wheaton students worked with their staff contacts to send an email to their peers. Then, Bomberger started writing multiple articles saying he was silenced, slandered, and more.

Contrary to Bomberger’s comments, this is not about Wheaton “silencing” or “slandering.” It’s about a disagreement between Bomberger and several students concerning a conversation they had after his speech. He strongly objected to the email the student government leaders sent to other students.

As I’ve acknowledged previously, I don’t know exactly what was said—only Bomberger and the students do, since it happened after the video stopped. Perhaps we’d like to hear more, but Bomberger sent an email to several people (including some of the students) saying his organization would talk to their attorneys about whether to pursue this “defamation,” so they may be (not surprisingly) reticent to jump into such conversations now.

Of course, I would be happy to chat with Bomberger anytime. I am not happy, however, to watch him go after the school where I serve without some clarity about what happened.

Why Now?

This was a talk in November—two months ago—so why in the world am I writing now?

Well, because Bomberger continued his writing after the first round, publishing ...

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Source: Wheaton College, Controversial Speakers, and Some Factivism

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[Cfamily]What Humans Have That Machines Don’t
« Reply #1145 on: January 23, 2019, 12:00:12 AM »
What Humans Have That Machines Don’t

How a theology of personhood cuts against the mechanical metaphors we use to describe ourselves.

As a literature and theology teacher, I train my students to see and hear metaphors, which are not just a matter of language. As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson argue in The Metaphors We Live By, “our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.” A metaphor, in classical Greek, means “a carrying or bearing across,” which is why in present-day Greece, metaphora designates a moving van.

Metaphors efficiently transport meaning when literal language fails us. The poet Emily Dickinson compares hope to “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.” The economist Adam Smith compares the free market to “an invisible hand” that promotes social welfare despite the natural selfishness of individuals. As C. S. Lewis claims in Miracles, “The truth is that if we are going to talk at all about things which are not perceived by the senses, we are forced to use language metaphorically.”

For much of Western civilization, there was a consensus among Christian and non-Christian thinkers about the material and spiritual nature of human beings. The Genesis creation story memorably captures this dynamic harmony when “the Lord form[s] a man from the dust of the ground and breathe[s] into his nostrils the breath of life” (2:7). But the materialism of our time diverges from this consensus, insisting that we are only brains and bodies—nothing more.

When I recently taught Mere Christianity, I was surprised that Lewis frequently deploys a mechanical metaphor for human beings. He is typically alert to imperfect illustrations. And nothing, in my estimation, ...

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Source: What Humans Have That Machines Don’t

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[Cfamily]How to Lead Well as a Church Planting Leader
« Reply #1146 on: January 24, 2019, 12:00:14 AM »
How to Lead Well as a Church Planting Leader

Three tips from my own experience as a church planting leader.

Many frequently joke about the turnover rate in church planting leadership. It seems that whenever I’m at a conference or church event, someone new will come up and say, “Hey, Ed. I’m the new leader of church planting at [insert denomination name].”

To be fair, this issue happens across denominations—it’s not just certain ones in certain parts of the country. It happens at the district, network, and denominational levels.

Church planting requires a certain set of skills—organization, initiative, patience, and passion, just to name a few. These skills are especially required for a church planting leader. To last long term in this capacity without burnout requires some forethought and consideration. Here are some thoughts on how to lead well in this position

First, dedicate yourself to being an advocate.

As a leader of church planting, it’s important to remember that you are not actually a church planter; the roles are different. You aren’t the official doer of all things church planting—you are, by definition, the one who helps organize and oversee the work being done by church planters out on the field.

Church planting leaders who enter into the territory of their church planters in a micromanaging sort of way ultimately undermine their own authority at one time or another. Simply put, if you find yourself frequently saying to the church planters you oversee, “this is what you should do” or “this is how I did it” and “this is how I’m going to do it,” know that this approach is unhelpful in the long term.

For many who work under the leadership of a denomination, your advocacy has to be directed upwards. It’s your job to work ...

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Source: How to Lead Well as a Church Planting Leader

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[Cfamily]Our Response to the Eschatological Dream of Martin Luther King Jr.
« Reply #1147 on: January 25, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
Our Response to the Eschatological Dream of Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King had a hope that was out of this world.

Today, we remember the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—a man who sacrificed much to advance the causes of the civil rights movement in the mid-twentieth century.

It was a time in history when most African Americans living in the states weren’t given their due as U.S. citizens or image bearers of God.

After the Civil war in the late 19th century, Jim Crow laws were established in the south keeping them from accessing the same basic public goods (education, public facilities etc.) as whites living in their town. In addition, voting rights were limited by voter literacy tests that were clearly put in place by states as a means to prevent African Americans from getting to the polls each election cycle.

But King saw all of this—a messy mass of racism, discrimination, and untold abuses of power—and still could somehow utter the words, “I Have a Dream.” His dream was founded on a scriptural understanding of justice and our response to the Kingdom of God at hand. In his famous, often quoted, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, King referred back to the prophesies of old, calling for a day to come when justice would “roll on like a river” and righteousness like a “never failing stream” (Amos 5:24).

For years, King paddled up that stream with the currents of culture and legal precedent pressing towards him. He dealt with insults, abuse, imprisonment, and ultimately death for the sake of the cause he cared for so deeply. Despite the many forces fighting against King and his companions, their relentless pursuit of justice ultimately gave way to many of the governmental and societal reforms they had hoped for.

What about White Clergy?

King had to push other (white) ...

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Source: Our Response to the Eschatological Dream of Martin Luther King Jr.

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[Cfamily]For Christian Women, Persecution Looks Like Rape
« Reply #1148 on: January 26, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
For Christian Women, Persecution Looks Like Rape

Around the globe, female followers of the faith suffer sexual violence, forced marriage, forced abortions, travel bans, and trafficking.

For years, Nigerian doctor Rebecca Dali has cared for her country’s poor and widows. But it was her most recent efforts—reintegrating former Boko Haram captives—that won her the United Nations’ 2017 Sérgio Vieira de Mello humanitarian award.

Dali offers psychological support and practical skill training for Christian girls and women who are often suffering from intense trauma brought on by kidnapping and sexual assault. Many of them have children or are pregnant by their rapists. Because of the stigma this carries, she’s had to talk women out of abandoning their children. And because of their Boko Haram ties, these girls and women are often ostracized by their own communities. As a result, Dali advocates on behalf of survivors whose families and husbands refuse to take their daughters and wives back.

Dali’s work serves but a tiny number of the millions of women around the world who suffer from persecution. Of the 245 million Christians attacked for their faith last year, many are women and girls who are specifically and most frequently targeted through forced marriage, rape, and other forms of sexual violence. These are the findings of Gendered Persecution, an Open Doors report that examined the differences in persecution by gender in 33 countries for women and 30 countries for men. (An updated report will be released this March.)

While forced marriage is the “most regularly reported means of putting pressure on Christian women” and “remains largely invisible,” when analyzing the data on female persecution, researchers Helene Fisher and Elizabeth Miller found that

Among all forms of violence… the one most often noted [for women] was rape. The research ...

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Source: For Christian Women, Persecution Looks Like Rape

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[Cfamily]‘I Was a TSA Agent, and You Fed Me’
« Reply #1149 on: January 27, 2019, 12:00:12 AM »
‘I Was a TSA Agent, and You Fed Me’

Ten places where churches are helping unpaid and furloughed federal employees during the partial government shutdown.

“Rise mercifully upon our darkened hearts, and deliver us from the trench warfare of yet another government shutdown,” Senate Chaplain Barry Black prayed on the final day of the outgoing Congress at the start of the year.

Three weeks into the longest partial shutdown of the US government in history, he continued his petition before the Lord and the legislature on Tuesday. “As hundreds of thousands of federal workers brace for another painful payday, remind our lawmakers they can ease the pain,” said Black, a Seventh-day Adventist who’s served as the Senate’s spiritual coach for 15 years and through three government shutdowns.

The delay in approving the remaining third of the congressional budget comes as a double-blow to some segments of the population—the 800,000 federal employees forced to go without a paycheck as well as those across the country who rely on federally funded government services, from food banks to public transit, that have scaled back as a result of the pause in grant money.

But churches, as they join in prayer for a legislative solution, have also stepped up to support community members affected by the budgeting stalemate. Here are 10 places where Christians are reaching out to love their furloughed and unpaid neighbors:

Washington, DC: It’s impossible to ignore the shutdown in the DC metro area, where churches have been praying for the government, their communities, and their own for weeks. McLean Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia has hosted shutdown lunches to pray for affected federal employees and their families over a meal. The Presbyterian Church in America congregation has also made its deacons fund available for families in need of financial support. ...

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Source: ‘I Was a TSA Agent, and You Fed Me’

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Jamie Aten on ‘A Walking Disaster’
« Reply #1150 on: January 28, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
One-on-One with Jamie Aten on ‘A Walking Disaster’

"It is through our weakness that we are able to experience God’s strength more fully."

Ed: How did you first get involved in doing disaster work?

Jamie: I didn’t set out to do disaster work. While I was studying to be a psychologist, I had planned on studying rural mental health disparities. I took a job at the University of Southern Mississippi right out of graduate school in hopes of getting to help churches in underserved areas address mental health gaps. Then, just six days after my family and I moved into South Mississippi, Hurricane Katrina struck our community. I witnessed first-hand the important role that faith and churches play in times of disaster.

Within weeks I was studying faith and disaster resilience and supporting church recovery efforts.

Ed: In your book, you write about your personal disaster experience with cancer. Can you share some about that?

Jamie: At the age of 35 I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. I was completely caught off guard. About a year before my diagnosis, I had seen a specialist about my symptoms but was misdiagnosed. Then, about a year later, the symptoms returned along with shooting pain in my legs and lower back.

The doctors discovered I had tumor in my colon and that it had spread to a mass sitting on a nerve bundle that was causing a lot of the discomfort. Learning I had cancer turned my world upside down. I was devastated.

When Katrina threatened, my family and I were able to evacuate. But what was so scary about cancer was that there was no way to evacuate. This time the disaster was happening inside me. By all accounts, I was a walking disaster. I ended up going through a year-long period of cancer treatments that included radiation, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and surgery.

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Source: One-on-One with Jamie Aten on ‘A Walking Disaster’

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[Cfamily]Margaret Feinberg: Scripture Is My Food for Thought
« Reply #1151 on: January 29, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
Margaret Feinberg: Scripture Is My Food for Thought

A conversation with the author of ‘Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers.’

Margaret Feinberg longs to see Christians awaken to the culinary themes in Scripture. “Once you start looking for food in the Bible,” she says, “you discover that it pops and sizzles on nearly every page.”

Her spiritual-gastronomic journey began a decade ago, as she researched her book Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey. Through conversations with a vintner, a shepherd, and a beekeeper, Feinberg found that their close connection with these agrarian products transformed the ways they understood certain passages in the Bible. Their responses, in turn, brought new depth to her own reading, too.

Sensing that her work with food was not yet finished, Feinberg probed Scripture for more edible themes. She learned about salt and figs, olives and 18-minute matzoh. Feinberg recently spoke with Christianity Today about her most recent book, Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers and the travels she took to research it.

Give us a quick overview of your research process. Where all did you travel in your research?

I went 410 feet down into a salt mine, harvested olives on the coast of Croatia, spent time with one of the world’s premier fig farmers, fished on the Sea of Galilee, and traveled to Yale University to bake matzoh with an expert in ancient grains. With each of these individuals, I opened up the Bible and asked, “How do you read passages related to the food that you plant or procure or process or prepare, not as theologians, but in light of what you do every day?”

Each of these adventures was both a spiritual and a culinary adventure. I got to know the foods—more about their history, more about how they are planted ...

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Source: Margaret Feinberg: Scripture Is My Food for Thought

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