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[Cfamily]Living with Bacteria, Dying to Self: My Life with Crohn’s
« Reply #1416 on: October 07, 2019, 01:00:28 PM »

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Living with Bacteria, Dying to Self: My Life with Crohn’s

An ordained scientist reflects on God's grace and his gut biome.


Eight years ago, my intestines stopped working. They’d been grumbling for years, but who really expects their body to go on strike. It was painful and, occasionally, messy. My body ached and my life contracted. Doctors told me it was stress, or the flu, or food poisoning, but the pain grew worse and I started missing work. My personality changed.


After three years, I got a diagnosis: Crohn’s disease. Communication can break down between the immune system and bacteria living in the gut. We usually get along with these “symbiotes,” these creatures living with us and within us. Even the famous E. coli usually lives in harmony with human hosts, part of a vast digestive ecosystem. Countless tiny organisms—bacteria, archaea, and protists—help us tackle our food. Except, sometimes they don’t.


In Crohn’s disease, something disrupts the delicate balance, causing inflammation and allowing bacteria to grow out of control. In severe cases, they eat their way out of the intestines, cutting holes that doctors have to stitch together. More often, drugs can keep them contained, though no one knows exactly how. Much of biology, even human biology, remains a mystery. Five years experimenting with medicine and diet restored some normalcy, but I have become more mindful of “my” body and my relation to it.


Body and Soul


At first, the Christian view seemed simple. My earthly body is a temporary home for my eternal soul. When everything worked, I viewed my soul as a mind, driving a body. Like my car, my body might be unresponsive, but I always knew the difference between me and it. Didn’t Jesus say that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41)?


But with Crohn’s, ...

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Gen Z Evangelicals Still Express Their Faith at School, But Few Others Pay Attention

Teenage “nones” are less likely to notice Bible-reading, prayer, or evangelistic outreach in public schools.


Has faith faded from public schools, or do today’s religiously unaffiliated teens simply overlook it?


Evangelical students notice far more Christian expression in US public schools than their peers do overall and are more willing to engage in conversations with their friends about what they believe, according to a new report out today from the Pew Research Center, the first of its kind.


The release coincides with Focus on the Family’s sixth Bring Your Bible to School Day, when half a million teens are expected to bring a Bible to school as a way to celebrate First Amendment freedoms and share their faith. If the survey is any indication, evangelical public school students are far more likely than their religiously unaffiliated peers to notice the flood of Bibles.


Pew found that evangelical teens are six times more likely than religiously unaffiliated teens to notice students reading Scripture in school outside of class (18% vs. 3%) and nearly three times more likely than the unaffiliated to witness student prayer before lunch (25% vs. 9%) or to see someone invited to a youth group or worship service (45% versus 17%).


“There are substantial differences in what [religious expressions] students tend to see in public school depending on the student’s religious affiliation,” Pew’s report states. But “it is not completely clear what accounts for such large differences.”


Evangelicals’ heightened awareness of faith expressions could be influenced by a “tendency to have religiously similar friendship circles,” according to Pew researchers. Alternately, “religious and nonreligious teens may perceive the world somewhat differently: What may appear as a religious expression ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/54QEZndkyYQ/pew-evangelical-expression-prayer-public-schools-bring-bibl.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/92320.jpg?w=460
https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/03/for-a-lot-of-american-teens-religion-is-a-regular-part-of-the-public-school-day/?utm_source=adaptivemailer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=19-10-03%20religion%20in%20schools&org=982&lvl=100&ite=4697&lea=1073522&ctr=0&par=1&trk=
https://www.focusonthefamily.com/about/newsroom/news-releases/bring-your-bible-to-school-day/
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Judge: U of Iowa Officials Have to Pay for Repeated Discrimination Against Christian Groups

The recent ruling in favor of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was the second time the court called out inconsistent policies on campus.


For the second time this year, an Iowa federal judge has ruled that the University of Iowa violated students’ First Amendment rights when various religious student groups lost their official status.


And this time university administrators will be held financially liable for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s fight to stay on campus.


Last Friday, federal judge Stephanie M. Rose determined that the university inconsistently applied its Human Rights Policy by exempting campus groups like fraternities, sororities, and some affirming faith-based groups while penalizing certain religious groups—including InterVarsity—that require its leaders to agree to its statement of faith.


While the university argued that administrators Melissa Shivers, William Nelson, and Andrew Kutcher had qualified immunity in this case, Rose disagreed. The three Iowa officials—vice president for student life, associate dean of student organizations, and coordinator for student organization development—will have to pay any damages awarded to InterVarsity at a trial currently set for January.


Almost 40 student groups—including the Sikh Awareness Club, the Chinese Student Christian Fellowship, the Imam Mahdi Organization, and the Latter-day Saint Student Association—were also expelled by the university along with InterVarsity in July 2018. The university temporarily reinstated the groups after InterVarsity filed suit the following month. The recent ruling allows them to keep their campus recognition even if they require leaders to sign a statement of faith.


“We must have leaders who share our faith,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity spokesman. “No group—religious or secular—could survive ...

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https://www.becketlaw.org/media/uiowa-officials-personally-liable-religious-discrimination/
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[Cfamily]For Catholics and Protestants, Amazon Fires Fan Partisan Flames
« Reply #1419 on: October 10, 2019, 01:26:29 PM »
For Catholics and Protestants, Amazon Fires Fan Partisan Flames

Brazilian Christians divided over rainforest blazes and President Jair Bolsonaro’s response.


Fires in the Amazon come every year during dry season, but reports indicated that this year’s were particularly severe, some saying the worst in a decade. While international attention turned toward the burning rainforest in August, the Christian community in Brazil was divided in its reaction.


Now, the Catholic Church will revisit its environmental concerns in the region as 100 bishops meet at the Vatican’s Synod for the Amazon, starting Sunday.


Amid rising global climate concerns, the fires have drawn scrutiny toward Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, whose pro-business policies were said to be responsible for spurring an uptick in farmers’ and loggers’ slash-and-burn efforts across the world’s largest rainforest.


The conservative, populist politician initially dismissed the outcry before political pressure led him to declare a 60-day ban on land-clearing fires in late August—but not before Catholic authorities in Brazil criticized Bolsonaro’s leadership on the issue, and the Ecumenical Forum ACT Brazil, a blend of Protestant and Catholic leaders, blamed the administration’s policies for “a surge in devastation of the environment.”


Yet many evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the country’s population, have come to the president’s defense, dismissing the fires as normal rather than the crisis international officials and media have made them out to be. (Bolsonaro, a Catholic, is married to an evangelical and attended a Baptist church for a decade.)


While Catholic leaders assert pressure on Bolsonaro’s regime to bolster protections of the Amazon jungle—one archbishop called the scorching a “true apocalypse”—and the papal ...

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/podcasts/the-daily/amazon-rainforest-fires-brazil.html
http://www.synod.va/content/synod/it/attualita/synod-for-the-amazon--preparatory-document--amazonia--new-paths-.html
https://religionnews.com/2019/08/28/amazon-fires-deepen-a-split-between-brazils-evangelicals-and-their-fellow-christians/
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/the-evangelical-takeover-of-brazilian-politics/551423/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/october/for-catholics-and-protestants-amazon-fires-fan-partisan-fla.html
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[Cfamily]Grit and Faith in Hispanic Church Planting
« Reply #1420 on: October 11, 2019, 01:02:08 PM »
Grit and Faith in Hispanic Church Planting

Are prerequisites of the dominant planting culture depriving Latino planters of the opportunity to use their strengths?


As a Latino who has invested most of my ministry life (over 30 years) to church planting, I am deeply grateful to the Send Institute at the Billy Graham Center and Lifeway Research for investing in the much-needed Hispanic Church Planting Research Project and giving us a glimpse into the missional impulse of Latino-led church planting in the U.S.


As a New York-born Dominican (Dominican York) committed to seeing gospel movements develop and mature in key influential cities of America, this research confirms what I have been experiencing as a church planting catalyst in New York City. It also challenges some assumptions and practices I see within the “church planting enterprise” in America, mostly governed by criteria and metrics established by the dominant culture.


The research highlights two fundamental traits that are a must for church planting initiatives to move beyond surviving and into thriving, especially in highly dense urban contexts: grit (resolve, tenacity) and faith.


As the study shows, I believe Christian Latino pastors and planters can write the book on both perseverance under extremely challenging circumstances as well as the need for an uncommon belief and reliance on the supernatural for what is a primarily spiritual endeavor—birthing a church.


Most Latino pastors and planters I relate to are bi-vocational, poorly funded (if at all), have limited formal theological education, and are facing threatening socio-political-economic challenges (systemic, generational, and cultural) within their ministry contexts. Yet they keep at it and manage to not only survive, but even to thrive!


Recently, I had the privilege of participating in an assessment organized by one of the most significant church planting ...

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[Cfamily]Down in the Dirt with a Soil-Splattered God
« Reply #1421 on: October 12, 2019, 01:02:36 PM »
Down in the Dirt with a Soil-Splattered God

Our Heavenly Father is immersed in the mess and muck of life. How often do we notice?


All Shall Be Well, the latest offering from Catherine McNiel, is a very dirty book. Before you question the four stars above this review or cover your child’s eyes, let me rephrase my claim: All Shall Be Well is a dusty, dirty, soil-splattered work that is both lovely and wise. It is a book I wish I’d had as a young woman, am grateful to receive in my middle years, and will turn to again with new urgency if I am given the privilege of growing old.


The cover image resembles the floor of my garden shed or that one particular desk drawer where my sons stash their treasure horde of sticks and stones and snakeskins. There are a few pretty flower petals along the edges, but I suspect the flowers were placed less prominently than the spiky seedheads and iridescent insects because pretty, floral book covers are so readily associated with a female readership. McNiel’s first award-winning book Long Days of Small Things focused on motherhood, but make no mistake—this new book is for everyone.


Sleepwalking Through Life


Like her first, this is a book about small things—ordinary things tiny as a seed or a robin’s egg—but long before I turned the last page I had become convinced that McNiel’s subject was nothing less ambitious than every single thing that matters most in life. As McNiel gently but persuasively argues, the natural world doesn’t only offer up metaphors for our spiritual lives. It is the very real stuff—quite literally the earth—of which we are made. The life cycle of something as small and ordinary as a bean seedling sown by a schoolchild in a paper cup can teach us more than a shelf brimming with theology books, but this fact is only ancillary to McNiel’s ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/tr2VFH4owH4/catherine-mcniel-all-shall-well-awakening-gods-presence.html
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Supreme Court Cases Challenge LGBT Rights-Religious Liberty Balancing Act

Legal experts worry that ruling in landmark workplace discrimination cases can’t provide the nuanced exemptions evangelicals have advocated for.


The United States Supreme Court was debating the meaning of the word sex on Tuesday when Chief Justice John Roberts brought up religion. He called it “that other concern”—religious liberty.


Roberts asked: How can the government protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees in the workplace and the rights of religious groups to employ people who agree on issues of sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity?


Three current cases before the court all raise this question—but might not answer it. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia; Altitude Express v. Zarda; and Harris Funeral Homes v. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


In all three, the court is considering whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people from getting fired. Title VII of the law says employers cannot dismiss people “because of sex.” The court has to decide whether sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity.


The defendants—Gerald Bostock of Georgia, Don Zarda of New York, and Aimee Stephens of Michigan—say it does.


Bostock was a child welfare services coordinator for the Clayton County, Georgia, juvenile court system, who said he was fired for his sexual orientation after his employer learned he joined a gay men’s softball league. Zarda—who died before his case got to the Supreme Court—was a skydiving instructor who lost his job after he told a female student he was gay. Stephens was a funeral director for R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes and got fired after coming out as a transgender woman. Stephens’ employer said she was in violation of the dress code, which requires men to wear suits. ...

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Source: Supreme Court Cases Challenge LGBT Rights-Religious Liberty Balancing Act

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/3ouRxj1ZVBY/scotus-lgbt-rights-religious-liberty-bostock-zarda-harris.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/92385.jpg?w=460
https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/17-1618_7k47.pdf
https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-1618/48357/20180525170054025_36418%252520pdf%252520Sutherland%252520br.pdf
https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/18/18-107/54903/20180720114759748_USSC%2520Petition%2520for%2520Writ%2520of%2520Certiorari.pdf
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/october/scotus-lgbt-rights-religious-liberty-bostock-zarda-harris.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=3ouRxj1ZVBY:ZYN06i6zmLM:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/3ouRxj1ZVBY
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[Cfamily]Is There Value in Your Work?
« Reply #1423 on: October 14, 2019, 01:01:55 PM »
Is There Value in Your Work?

Martin Luther believed that God works through our work.


As a pastor, I’ve had countless instances of the following situation: someone comes up to me at some point in his or her Christian life, usually during a particularly vibrant season. It’s clear that the person loves Jesus and wants to honor him through his or her work, saying, “Ed, I’m praying about going into full-time vocational ministry. I’m trying to discern if God wants me to become a pastor/minister/missionary.”


It seems to be completely normal in church. People who think this way also typically think that if they really love the Lord, they need to serve him full-time, which is true—we do need to serve God full-time.


But constantly serving God does not always mean going into ministry. Right now, I want you to think of a person in your life who is a consistent, faithful follower of Christ. Although you may be thinking of your pastor or a leader in your church, I’d bet that many of the people who come to mind have a job outside of ministry.


One issue today that often leads us to separate glorifying God from our work is that many people see work as a way to make money. The bigger purpose behind a career—glorifying God—is easily lost in the busyness of paying bills and providing for our families. Work is almost transactional now: we do our assigned tasks, we get paid, we repeat the cycle. It has become much more difficult to keep God at the forefront of work.


Another issue is that people today generally think of work as being hard. They typically see it this way because of Genesis, when humans are assigned by God to “toil the land” after the Fall (Gen. 3:17). I think it’s important for us to recognize that work is actually part of life before the ...

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Source: Is There Value in Your Work?

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/ptJfALnG9pg/is-there-value-in-your-work.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/92419.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/october/is-there-value-in-your-work.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=ptJfALnG9pg:luYZ6EwF8SU:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/ptJfALnG9pg
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

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