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Lessons from Evangelicalism’s PR Guru
« Reply #1200 on: March 17, 2019, 12:00:14 AM »

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Lessons from Evangelicalism’s PR Guru

Mark DeMoss represented Christian organizations through highs and lows, but we’re all tasked with representing Christ.


I’ve spent my entire professional life at the intersection of two fields increasingly held in low esteem by much of society: public relations and Christianity.


In January, nearly two years removed from cancer treatment, I announced my decision to close the PR firm that bears my name, after occupying a front-row seat for so much evangelical history. Having worked with some 200 ministry organizations and Christian-owned companies over the past 35 years and following the religion news and trends around them, it seems I’ve seen everything.


I’ve helped tell the stories of millions who professed faith in Christ through evangelistic outreaches, an estimated million men gathered for a solemn assembly on the National Mall, more than 150 million needy children around the globe receiving gift-filled shoeboxes at Christmas, hundreds of thousands of incarcerated men and women and their children being ministered to, a world-class museum dedicated to the Bible erected in our nation’s capital, and the death of the Christian giant of my lifetime, Billy Graham.


Unfortunately, I’ve also been privy to much of the underbelly of evangelicalism. From moral failure to financial scandal, questionable ethics to outright criminal conduct, and lack of love for nonbelievers to blindly partisan political engagement too often detached from the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself”—I’ve observed many of the reasons Christianity (at least the conservative evangelical brand) is viewed so cynically by so many today.


But throughout my career, I felt called to advance and protect kingdom work, inspired by the Exodus 17 account of Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses as he raised the staff of God ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/yjC3PtgHAhM/mark-demoss-evangelical-public-relations-firm-closing-lesso.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89921.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/april/mark-demoss-evangelical-public-relations-firm-closing-lesso.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/yjC3PtgHAhM
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CFamily

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Transhumanism and the Cult of ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’
« Reply #1201 on: March 18, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
Transhumanism and the Cult of ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’

Why the church should resist technologies that aim to liberate us from ordinary, embodied life.


Amid the pop-culture detritus of my childhood, one unforgettable fragment is the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. For the children of the 1970s, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) was our first cyborg, fitted with a “bionic” eye and limbs after a nearly fatal accident. Every episode began by retelling his origin story, as a voiceover intoned: “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.”


Those opening lines have stuck with me. They were a kind of boyhood liturgy—a ritual repeated weekly as I watched the latest episode. They compress into a few sentences a great deal of what makes technology the central ideology of our age.


It begins with repair (“We can rebuild him”). The Enlightenment philosopher Francis Bacon urged his contemporaries to unlock the secrets of nature for “the relief of man’s estate”—the treatment of injury and illness and the end of material poverty. Who would not welcome, after a major accident, the comforting words “We can rebuild you. We have the technology”?


But the liturgy quickly moves from repair to enhancement—“better than he was before.” After all, if you have the technology to repair someone, why not make some improvements while you’re at it? This, of course, requires a fixed definition of “improvement”—what makes someone “better” than they were. And this the liturgy also supplies in a series of synonyms: “better, stronger, faster.”


In one sense, the vision of The Six Million Dollar Man is coming true. We are able to rebuild human bodies in ever more sophisticated ways. (Just to name one especially ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/D27FiaxNdHA/transhumanism-image-god-modern-technology-human-future.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89924.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/april/transhumanism-image-god-modern-technology-human-future.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=D27FiaxNdHA:i0LAcSvn-pI:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Offline John

Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1202 on: March 18, 2019, 12:37:57 PM »
And in a far greater sense it is still fantasy.
Have a read of this scifi cartoon series, they have nanobots in them, used to 'boast' their natural ability and to preserve life.

Question, how is something so small programmed?
Where and what sensors do they have?
how do they communicate?
how are they controlled?
how do they store the information about the body and navigate around it?

es we can make artificial limbs, eyes etc but they are not self repairing like real limbs, organs and an enormus assumption is being made that the 'pinical of evolution' can be improved!

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African American Students Respond to Southern Seminary’s Slavery Report
« Reply #1203 on: March 19, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
African American Students Respond to Southern Seminary’s Slavery Report

After an unflinching look at its racist past, SBC’s flagship seminary aims to honor a more diverse population on campus.


After overhearing a tour guide honoring the early leaders of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary buried in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, Latevia Priddy felt like she had to speak up.


“It’s like you’ve given a one-sided version of the history of Southern,” Priddy, a biblical counseling student, explained later to a staff member at her campus job. “These men did some very awful things and refused to recognize people who looked like me as actual people but viewed them as property—and we’re praising their names. That’s not a fair assessment of history.”


When Priddy was asked to share more about her concerns, it marked a significant moment in her experience as an African American at the flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), where she led a student group promoting racial reconciliation. “What’s fair and good and right is for us [Christians] to be truthful about what happened in the past,” she said.


Last December, Southern Seminary publicly owned the truth of its ugly racial history in a 70-page report chronicling the institution’s ties to slavery and claims of white superiority, including details down to how many slaves its founders owned and quotes from leaders’ theological defenses of inequality.


Though the SBC confessed and condemned the denomination’s early support of slavery in an official resolution in 1995, Southern’s reckoning “goes much further,” said Thomas Kidd, a Baptist historian at Baylor University. “It names names. It gets much more specific about who committed what sins and how.”


Several black students at Southern told CT they already knew about slave ownership among ...

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Source: African American Students Respond to Southern Seminary’s Slavery Report

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/ouSb7o7mXrI/african-american-southern-seminary-report-racism-sbts.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89914.jpg?w=460
http://www.sbts.edu/southern-project/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1995/august1/5t9053.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/april/african-american-southern-seminary-report-racism-sbts.html
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CFamily

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Court Overturns Atheist Victory Against Pastors’ Best Benefit
« Reply #1204 on: March 20, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
Court Overturns Atheist Victory Against Pastors’ Best Benefit

Seventh Circuit rules Clergy Housing Allowance is constitutional, despite challenge by Freedom from Religion Foundation.


For the second time, a popular tax break for pastors has been judged permissible under the US Constitution, despite efforts by an atheist legal group to prove otherwise.


Today the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s 2017 ruling that the Clergy Housing Allowance violates the First Amendment.


Offered only to “ministers of the gospel,” the 60-year-old tax break excludes the rental value of a home from the taxable income of US clergy, CT previously reported. GuideStone Financial Resources has called it the “most important tax benefit available to ministers.”


The allowance is currently claimed to the tune of $700 million a year, according to the latest estimate by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.


The October 2017 decision by Wisconsin district judge Judge Barbara Crabb had been a victory for the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), which “jeopardized the benefit for clergy in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin … and many predicted similar consequences nationwide,” wrote CT’s sister publication, Church Law & Tax (CLT) in an analysis.


In today’s ruling, a panel of three judges again refuted the claims of FFRF attorneys, deciding that the allowance passes muster according to two related Supreme Court rulings, Town of Greece v. Galloway and Lemon v. Kurtzman.


“FFRF claims Section 107(2) renders unto God that which is Caesar’s,” wrote circuit judge Michael Brennan. “But this tax provision falls into the play between the joints of the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause: neither commanded by the former, nor proscribed by the latter.”


The FFRF told the Associated Press it is reviewing its options. ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/wOyqZXg0rYM/clergy-housing-allowance-seventh-circuit-ffrf-constitutiona.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89946.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/october/atheists-get-clergy-housing-allowance-unconstitutional-ffrf.html
https://www.churchlawandtax.com/blog/2019/march/seventh-circuit-clergy-housing-allowance-is-constitutional.html
http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2019/D03-15/C:18-1280:J:Brennan:aut:T:fnOp:N:2309033:S:0
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/march/clergy-housing-allowance-seventh-circuit-ffrf-constitutiona.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=wOyqZXg0rYM:lafC7vMa0fk:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Five Churches that Shouldn’t Reproduce
« Reply #1205 on: March 21, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
Five Churches that Shouldn’t Reproduce

There is legitimate reason to caution against a universal plea toward blind reproduction.


There is a growing awakening to the need of a multiplying church movement within North America, as the best—and likely only—means to bring the gospel within proximity to those who desperately long for good news.


As an advocate of this for many years, both as a church planter and as a pastor of a multiplying church, I am in complete agreement with this idea. I cannot envision a future where the gospel is accessible to all without the permeation of community after community with an Acts-esque behaving church.


But I would caution against a universal plea toward blind reproduction. In the clarion call to church planting, I have observed the launching of new congregations that have not necessarily been, from my limited perspective, a kingdom win.


There are some church ideas that, when are reproduced, actually seem to become more of a missionary liability than a gospel-engaging asset. Let me suggest five churches that, for the sake of the kingdom, should never be reproduced or exported. Please.


1. The Covetous Church: Those whose growth strategies comes at the expense of other churches. When a church planter’s sole idea is to gather the already evangelized in order to acquire critical mass (translation: a salary) and then theoretically execute a plan for the evangelization of his community, that planter is both imprudent and unrealistic.


Although the darkness emanating from the school of church growth has reduced a covenantal commitment to community into a transactional commodity within a free market religious economy, this is not a culture to be perpetuated.


Just because I can sustain a burst of grandeur to launch doesn’t mean my launch should come at the expense of existing churches. Covetous marketing schemes ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/bUAQT0bzRD8/five-churches-that-shouldnt-reproduce.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89955.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/march/five-churches-that-shouldnt-reproduce.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=bUAQT0bzRD8:IovIyA_IpoA:yIl2AUoC8zA
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When Loving Your Neighbor Means Fighting Hookworm in Alabama
« Reply #1206 on: March 22, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
When Loving Your Neighbor Means Fighting Hookworm in Alabama

In the Black Belt—once cleared for cotton plantations—rural black communities suffer the consequences of poor land stewardship.


In 2013, the septic system at Jesus Christ Church of God the Bibleway failed and sewage began leaking into a neighbor’s yard—not uncommon for rural Alabama, an area plagued by sewage problems and a related upsurge in hookworm cases. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the church’s pastor, Bishop Ira McCloud.


The public health department accused McCloud of failing to fix the problem after multiple warnings. But McCloud had actually been trying to resolve the problem for months by connecting the church to a city sewer line; it would be cheaper and easier than buying a new septic system. The city, however, wasn’t making it easy.


When McCloud heard there was a warrant for his arrest, he immediately turned himself in. “I walked into the station and didn’t know what to do, so I put my hands up,” he recalled. “I had tears in my eyes when they took my picture.”


McCloud, fortunately, didn’t have to spend a night in jail. The sheriff’s department told him to go home; they weren’t in agreement with the state’s orders to make the arrest. With the problem unsolved, the city later threatened to shut off the church’s electricity and take the property away.


Leaking sewage systems—and the subsequent legal problems they cause—aren’t unique to Alabama and can be understood with a deeper “reading of the landscape,” an exercise recommended by ecologist Kristen Page, a faculty member at Wheaton College. She references Job 12: “… speak to the earth, and it will teach you.” It can help us understand our role as a part of creation and our connection and responsibility to our neighbors, she explained.


“Christ will ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/1iPqIqDzzZM/when-loving-your-neighbor-means-fighting-hookworm-alabama.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/89898.jpg?w=460
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/22/opinion/alabama-poverty-sewers.html
https://www.troymessenger.com/2014/09/29/church-protests-pastors-arrest/
https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/center-for-applied-christian-ethics/cace-faculty-article-series/2015-16-cace-faculty-article-series/kristen-page/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/march-web-only/when-loving-your-neighbor-means-fighting-hookworm-alabama.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=1iPqIqDzzZM:88CgWraQRbQ:yIl2AUoC8zA
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CFamily

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Preoccupied with Love: One-on-One with CJ Rhodes
« Reply #1207 on: March 23, 2019, 12:00:08 AM »
Preoccupied with Love: One-on-One with CJ Rhodes

“Unbelievers needs to see that we care for them, not just their postmortem souls but all of who they are as fallen image-bearers of God.”


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?


CJ: Eddie Glaude, a Princeton University professor, wrote a Huffington Post article in which he declared that the black church as we know it is dead! This controversial statement elicited much consternation as it was interpreted as a pronouncement of death of the church.


Actually, Glaude’s statement was a reality check on our romantic ideas about the heroic black church that was engaged in evangelism and activism during the Civil Rights Movement. Glaude called us to rethink our revisionist history and our unrealistic expectations, while also encouraging us to be the change we want to see in the church and the world.


I believe this sobering word is one not just for the black church, but for all churches of which Christ is the head. There has been much lamentation about the decline of Christianity in America; fears that we are soon becoming like god-less Europe abound.


Some of these concerns are warranted, but I believe that what we are seeing is the death of Christendom, not the way of Jesus Christ. Cultural Christianity is giving way to an authentic faith worth living and dying for, a faith expressed through good works.


Indeed, there are many local congregations that are dying or ready to die. Like the church at Sardis in Revelation 3, those churches needn’t die if only they hear and obey what the Spirit says. My hope is that we will certainly see the death of racialized, tribalized, and commercialized religion and the resurrection of a supernatural ...

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Source: Preoccupied with Love: One-on-One with CJ Rhodes

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