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This Church Mother Comforted the Grieving with Scientific Thinking
« Reply #1192 on: March 09, 2019, 12:00:12 AM »

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This Church Mother Comforted the Grieving with Scientific Thinking

Macrina’s famous brothers approved the words in the Nicene Creed: ‘maker of all things visible and invisible.’ But she explained why it matters.


In AD 379, Basil the Great, one of the men who contributed to the Nicene Creed, died. Basil and his brother Gregory of Nyssa were two of the three Cappadocian Fathers­—men responsible for major theological decisions made in the early life of the Christian church. What is less well known is that they also had an older sister, Macrina. She was deeply precious to them for her love, her insight, and her wisdom; they even called her “Teacher.”


Macrina, who was also on her deathbed at the time, summoned up her last reserves of strength to reassure her struggling brother Gregory that he need not despair; the three of them would one day be together again. Amazingly, in order to provide evidence for this hope of resurrection, Macrina chose a topic that even today remains one of intense scientific scrutiny: the precise form and the objective reality of the mind.


As a matter of fact, this subject—and its cousin, the so-called “problem of consciousness”—has enjoyed a resurgence among philosophers, biologists, and even physicists in the last two decades. Are we humans, as possessors of “minds,” somehow more than just the sum of our parts? The debate has raged one way and the other, but the experts are no nearer a consensus today than they ever have been. It would seem therefore that Macrina, in grappling with the issue nearly 2,000 years ago, was more than a little ahead of the curve.


Intending to offer her grieving brother a hope of reunion, Macrina decided to prove to him that the very essence of a person—their mind—is not just real but eternal. To do so is a tough task; especially when we consider the awkward fact that we cannot physically detect this “mind” ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/EG-ycCV90c0/macrina-church-mother-comforted-grieving-science.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89714.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-51/hammer-struck-at-heresy.html
http://www.philosophy.uw.edu.pl/wp-content/uploads/D.Chalmers-Facing-Up-the-Problem-of-Consciousness.pdf
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/21/-sp-why-cant-worlds-greatest-minds-solve-mystery-consciousness
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/february-web-only/macrina-church-mother-comforted-grieving-science.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=EG-ycCV90c0:ssMbAr1N3Kw:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/EG-ycCV90c0
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One-on-One with Kadi Cole on ‘Developing Female Leaders’
« Reply #1193 on: March 10, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
One-on-One with Kadi Cole on ‘Developing Female Leaders’

“This book will educate and inspire you to better maximize the leadership potential of the women in your church.”


Ed: Why did you write this book?


Kadi: Over the course of my career as a leadership and organizational consultant, I have worked with churches and leadership teams in a variety of denominational settings. Recently, I’ve noticed a significant shift in the conversation around women in leadership roles.


Previously, when I would present at an event, the few women present would seek me out to get advice about being a female church leader. Surprisingly, last year, male pastors started to approach me, asking how they could best develop the female leaders on their teams.


I could tell they were genuine in their desire to learn. Unfortunately, many of the things they were trying weren’t actually helping. In fact, as I talked with the women on their teams, they often felt the opposite – that their perspective was not welcome and there was no further way for them to grow or contribute in a more significant way.


But I knew this wasn’t how their senior leaders saw them. There was a disconnect of some kind. That distance between what these high-level male leaders were doing to help women grow and what those women were actually experiencing was problematic and fascinating to me. I set out to research why this was happening and what we, as church leaders, could do about it.


After conducting in-depth interviews with 30 high-level female church leaders, surveying over 1,200 women in various church leadership roles, and collecting research from academic, marketplace, and ministry settings, ‘The Eight Best Practices’ for churches surfaced.


Ed: In the church today, we tend to divide our views of female leadership into cookie cutter categories based on denomination and theology. How do you address this in the book? ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/ntLgQAnx1QI/one-on-one-with-kadi-cole-on-developing-female-leaders.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89725.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/march/one-on-one-with-kadi-cole-on-developing-female-leaders.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ntLgQAnx1QI:8QpkUFeapM8:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/ntLgQAnx1QI
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Girl, Get Some Footnotes: Rachel Hollis, Hustle, and Plagiarism Problems
« Reply #1194 on: March 11, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
Girl, Get Some Footnotes: Rachel Hollis, Hustle, and Plagiarism Problems

“Girl, Stop Apologizing” strikes a chord with women. But its message of success hits the wrong note and borrows heavily from others.


Something funny happened after I finished the new book from multimedia business mogul Rachel Hollis, best known for the massive 2018 bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. After marking up my copy with marginalia, I nibbled at the bait: I pulled a notebook out of my desk, wrote “GOALS” on the front, and made a to-do list of accomplishments to focus on for 2019. And, wow, it felt good.


At this point, a tiny blonde woman appeared on my shoulder and said, “You go, girl!” before inviting me to attend the next RISE conference, which, okay, is sold out, but I could definitely be added to the email newsletter list and maybe get some VIP swag. I was a momentary convert to the religion of self-help—that durable American belief that with enough hard work and positive thinking, anyone can be the captain of her own destiny.


As Hollis writes in Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals (HarperCollins Leadership), “you can be whoever you want to be and achieve whatever you want to achieve.” It is Hollis’s ode to hustle—to “the desire to work as hard as you can to chase down a goal.” In three parts, with lots of practical tips and personal stories, Hollis names excuses to let go of, behaviors to adopt, and skills to acquire in order for women to get everything they want out of life.


According to the book’s reassurances, it doesn’t really matter what you want in life as long as you’re willing to work for it. “Embracing the idea that you can want things for yourself even if nobody else understands the whys behind them is the most freeing and powerful feeling in the world,” Hollis writes. As such, the book offers a ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/qCIs9Jx-5cY/girl-stop-apologizing-rachel-hollis-get-some-footnotes.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89749.jpg?w=460
https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Stop-Apologizing-Shame-Free-Embracing/dp/1400209609/?tag=christtoday-20
https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2018/april/lord-save-me-from-my-side-hustle.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2019/march/girl-stop-apologizing-rachel-hollis-get-some-footnotes.html
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Exploring the Growing Trend of Taking a Gap Year before College
« Reply #1195 on: March 12, 2019, 12:00:12 AM »
Exploring the Growing Trend of Taking a Gap Year before College

When chosen wisely, a gap year can meet a student exactly where they are and provide what they need to thrive in college.


Each year, between 80 and 110 future Harvard students choose to take a gap year. They’re encouraged to pursue this option straight from the Admissions office. Why would one of the most prestigious schools in the country encourage high school grads to wait to go to college?


Harvard isn’t the only school encouraging its applicants to consider this option. Wheaton College was just ranked as being one of the friendliest higher education institutes for gap year students.


The growing trend in higher education is to put matriculation off for 4-12 months. This “gap” in the educational treadmill is called a gap year. It can be taken at any time during college, but students typically use the break between their senior year of high school and their freshman year of college.


There is no one best way to do a gap year—the possibilities are endless. When used well, a gap year allows a student to broaden their worldview while deepening their faith. Students have the space to learn new skills – both “hard” skills like language acquisition and “soft” skills like conflict resolution (needed today more than ever, I’d say.)


Gap years are growing in popularity for good reason. When chosen wisely, a gap year can meet a student exactly where they are and provide what they need to thrive in college. Charlie Goeke, Director of the Vanguard Gap Year of Wheaton College, says this:



 

We have every kind of student at Vanguard. By design, the program meets each where they stand. We introduce both to an academic environment outside of textbooks and tests – a space that encourages outdoor adventure, Christ-centered community, and inquiry-led learning.



The truth is, taking a gap year doesn’t ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/a6bFU-4DALM/exploring-growing-trend-of-taking-gap-year-before-college.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89734.jpg?w=460
https://www.wheaton.edu/honeyrock/vanguard-gap-year/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/march/exploring-growing-trend-of-taking-gap-year-before-college.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=a6bFU-4DALM:wo-2t5Hwp2U:yIl2AUoC8zA
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The Church Growth Gap: The Big Get Bigger While the Small Get Smaller
« Reply #1196 on: March 13, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
The Church Growth Gap: The Big Get Bigger While the Small Get Smaller

The US congregations most likely to grow are the 10 percent that already have more than 250 worshipers.


In many congregations in the United States, new faces in the pews have become rare.


A new study from Exponential by LifeWay Research found 6 in 10 Protestant churches are plateaued or declining in attendance and more than half saw fewer than 10 people become new Christians in the past 12 months.


“Growth is not absent from American churches,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But rapid growth through conversions is uncommon.”


The research gives a clear picture of the state of Protestant churches in America today. Most have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday (57%), including 21 percent who average fewer than 50. Around 1 in 10 churches (11%) average 250 or more for their worship services.


Three in five (61%) pastors say their churches faced a decline in worship attendance or growth of 5 percent or less in the last three years. Almost half (46%) say their giving decreased or stayed the same from 2017 to 2018.


More than 2 in 5 churches (44%) only have one or fewer full-time staff members. Close to 9 in 10 pastors (87%) say their church had the same or fewer number of full-time staff in 2018 as they had in 2017, including 7 percent who cut staff.


In 2018, few churches added new multi-site campuses (3%) or were involved in some form of planting a new church (32%). Sixty-eight percent say they had no involvement in church planting. Around 1 in 10 (12%) say they were directly or substantially involved in opening a new church in 2018, including 7 percent who were a primary financial sponsor or provided ongoing financial support to a church plant.


“The primary purpose of this study was to obtain a set of objective measures on churches’ reproduction and multiplication ...

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Source: The Church Growth Gap: The Big Get Bigger While the Small Get Smaller

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/qisQ4wHAvKA/lifeway-research-church-growth-attendance-size.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89766.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/march/lifeway-research-church-growth-attendance-size.html
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What Shakespeare Taught Me About Ash Wednesday
« Reply #1197 on: March 14, 2019, 12:00:15 AM »
What Shakespeare Taught Me About Ash Wednesday

On the first day of Lent, I’m reminded of a love that “alters not” and “bears it out even to the edge of doom.”


Many years ago this winter, I published my first novel. That was a proud day for me. I had a sense of maybe having achieved something of lasting significance. The novel sold reasonably well, made it into a second and third reprinting, and was even brought out again in mass-market paperback. But three or four years after it first came out, my publisher told me the novel was going out of print. There were a few thousand copies left over, and the publisher would either destroy them or send them to me for the cost of shipping.


Of course, I couldn’t bear to see my babies slaughtered like that, so I sprung for the shipping cost and my brother offered to store them in the hayloft of his barn in Oregon. As President Bush used to say, leave no child behind.


Like the rich man in the parable, I had my harvest stored in a barn. Every summer, I visited my brother in Oregon, sometimes taking a box of books home with me. As summer followed summer, however, I noticed my treasure was showing some signs of wear and tear.


It rains a lot in Oregon, and water had come through a leak in the roof and soaked some of the boxes through. Other boxes had holes chewed through the corners by mice, which also liked to digest the books themselves. The occasional box was torn open by someone curious to take a copy, which was fine with me, but the rest of the books in the open box were left to collect dust and hay and pigeon droppings. Now, after years of careful storage, my literary legacy to the world doesn’t look like much. Last I heard, my brother was using the last of the pulpy remnants to fire up his woodstove.


In the Renaissance they called this the problem of decay, the decay not only of our possessions but inevitably of our own lives. ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/seFae_5iCp0/ash-wednesday-lent-what-shakespeare-taught-me.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89768.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/march-web-only/ash-wednesday-lent-what-shakespeare-taught-me.html
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This Fantasy Novelist Showed Me What It Means to Fear God
« Reply #1198 on: March 15, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
This Fantasy Novelist Showed Me What It Means to Fear God

How Lois McMaster Bujold’s Hugo Award–winning stories depict reverence in the face of divine mystery.


The fear of the Lord,” says Proverbs 1:7, “is the beginning of knowledge.” Indeed, God’s scriptural appearances are often terrifying. Moses sees only God’s cloaked back and is nearly undone by the sight (Ex. 34:4–8). Isaiah sees God’s throne room, complete with disturbingly inhuman angelic creatures, and is devastated by the gap between his impure language and God’s pure goodness (Isa. 6:1–5). Angels appear with the cry of “do not be afraid”—precisely because their appearance can easily inspire fear.


Even in the New Testament, divine appearances are often far from conventionally comforting. Paul is stricken with blindness (Acts 9:3–9), the apostles see tongues of flame appear on their heads (Acts 2:3), and Jesus’ glory itself is only revealed to his three closest three friends (Matt 17:1–8). Each of these moments testifies to God’s profound goodness—but it is an un-cozy goodness, a goodness so far beyond us that it fills us with awesome fear. Indeed, one of the Ten Commandments exists purely to prohibit us from cheapening our images of God, turning him into the likeness of a created thing.


If God is necessarily cloaked with mystery and awe (lest we be destroyed by the sight of his goodness), what is the Christian artist to do? In the visual arts, this debate has led, in the East and the West, to a series of iconoclasms—moments when all images of God were destroyed, lest they fall afoul of the Second Commandment. In literature, there has been less direct fear about depictions of God, but writers have confronted similar dilemmas.


The most successful depictions of God in modern writing tend to be indirect. Novelists, like ...

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Source: This Fantasy Novelist Showed Me What It Means to Fear God

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Making Missions Count: How a Major Database Tracked Thailand’s Church-Planting Revival

A movement in Southeast Asia shows how real-time reporting is building Great Commission connections.


Dwight Martin can tell you the exact number of churches in Thailand. At the start of 2019, his site reported 5,805. By the next week, the number would be different.


While missionaries overseas, and even Western churches, often rely on broad estimates, he can calculate exactly how many subdistricts in the Buddhist kingdom have no churches at all (5,509) and how many people live in communities without any Christian neighbors (62.5 million).


The American missionary-kid-turned-IT-guru oversees the most comprehensive national church database in the world, with corresponding maps indicating exactly which corners of the colorful Southeast Asian country are most desperate for the gospel.


Fluent in Thai from his childhood, Martin had presented his findings dozens of times to church leaders and missionaries over more than a decade serving as the official research coordinator for the Thai church.


When he initially shared the data with the founders of a growing Thai church-planting movement, they balked, wondering why a white man was trying to make them feel bad about the outlook for the church in their country.


But the Free in Jesus Christ Church Association (FJCCA) eventually invited Martin to give his presentation to 60 of their top leaders, a third of whom had converted to Christianity less than a year before. Once they saw Martin’s maps, with data drilled down to the village level, they realized just how unreached their own nation remained.


After 190 years of Protestant ministry in Thailand, 95 percent of 80,000 villages in the country still didn’t have a church. While their humble house church movement had begun to multiply across their province in Central Thailand, provinces all over the region—and to the east and ...

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Source: Making Missions Count: How a Major Database Tracked Thailand’s Church-Planting Revival

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