Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 633307 times)

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[Cfamily]Want a Healthy Society? Support Moms
« Reply #1640 on: May 12, 2020, 01:00:16 AM »

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Want a Healthy Society? Support Moms

How politicians and leaders on both the Left and Right fail to adequately aid mothers.

Every election cycle, women’s issues are a flashpoint in the public square. This year is no exception: Candidates on both sides are debating abortion, equal pay, family leave, and maternal mortality.

These political clashes often hinge on deeply held views about who women are, how they’re wired, and what they need. One of the most salient aspects of female identity is our maternal nature—the inclination (broadly speaking) to foster enduring ties with our offspring. Gender essentialism is fraught with land mines and dangerous generalities, and not all women experience the maternal pull. Nonetheless, most of us would agree that women’s biology is in fact distinctive, and the innate potential to bear children and bond with them not only carries great weight for the family but also shapes our commonwealth.

The political Left and Right mishandle these maternal instincts in different ways. For hard-line progressives, female “nature” is a social construct to embrace or escape—it doesn’t serve a normative purpose. We see this view play out legislatively. Liberal Democrats rightly pride themselves on defending family-friendly policies. But they concurrently promote pro-abortion policies that treat a woman’s bond with her child as entirely voluntary and even arbitrary—severed here, supported there. “To Planned Parenthood, an undesired life is no life at all,” writes Russell Moore in National Review.

Those on the Right have a nearly inverse enigma. Both center-right and far-right Republicans tend to value a woman’s distinct maternal nature and the children who come with it. But that helping hand comes up short in other arenas, as mothers are too often left to ...

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[Cfamily]Interview: Overcoming the Panes of Loneliness
« Reply #1641 on: May 13, 2020, 01:00:20 AM »
Interview: Overcoming the Panes of Loneliness

A pastor identifies three pieces of glass that isolate us from our neighbors and communities.

Glass has many uses, most of them morally neutral. It helps us let in sunlight, sharpen our eyesight, see our reflections, and sip our beverages, among other commonplace conveniences. But glass has also enabled a series of social and technological revolutions that fuel increasing isolation from our neighbors and physical surroundings. Eric Jacobsen, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington, takes stock of these transformations in Three Pieces of Glass: Why We Feel Lonely in a World Mediated by Screens. Writer Ashley Hales, author of Finding Holy in the Suburbs, spoke with Jacobsen about regaining a sense of place and rebuilding habits of embodied interaction—even during the present pandemic.

Can you describe the three “pieces of glass” and how they have contributed to isolating us from people and places?

Let me start with what I would have said before the onset of the pandemic.

I think we’re all fairly aware of the way that smartphones have changed our social interactions and trained us to look at our screens rather than each other’s faces. What I’m trying to do with this book is trace that pattern back to a couple earlier cultural developments that encouraged screen-mediated interaction above face-to-face interaction.

The first of these occurred around 70 years ago, not with the invention of the automobile but with the rise of a culture and an infrastructure in which you really needed to have an automobile to get from place to place. We treat each other differently when we’re driving our cars. You see another driver not as a human being but as a competitor. So the car windshield is the first piece of glass.

This led fairly quickly to the second piece of glass—the ...

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[Cfamily]Nominate a Book for the 2021 Christianity Today Book Awards
« Reply #1642 on: May 14, 2020, 01:00:14 AM »
Nominate a Book for the 2021 Christianity Today Book Awards

Instructions for publishers.

Dear Publisher,

Each year, Christianity Today honors a set of outstanding books encompassing a variety of subjects and genres. The CT Book Awards, along with our “Beautiful Orthodoxy” Book of the Year, will be announced in December at They also will be featured prominently in the January/February 2021 issue of CT and promoted in several CT newsletters. (In addition, publishers will have the opportunity to participate in a marketing promotion organized by CT’s marketing team, complete with site banners and paid Facebook promotion.)

Awards Categories:

1. Apologetics/Evangelism

2. Biblical Studies

3. Children and Youth

4. Christian Living/Discipleship

5. The Church/Pastoral Leadership

6. Culture and the Arts

7. Fiction

8. History/Biography

9. Missions/The Global Church

10. Politics and Public Life

11. Spiritual Formation

12. Theology/Ethics

13. CT Women*

14. The Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year**

*Learn more about CT Women.

**Beautiful Orthodoxy is the core philosophy guiding CT’s ministry. It describes a mission, across all our publications, to proclaim the truth, beauty, and goodness of the gospel in a gracious, non-antagonistic tone. Learn more about the cause of Beautiful Orthodoxy from former CT editor Mark Galli, in this essay and this interview .


To be eligible for nomination, a book must be published between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020. We are looking for scholarly and popular-level works, and everything in between. A diverse panel of scholars, pastors, and other informed readers will evaluate the books.

Publishers can nominate as many books as they wish, and each nominee can be submitted in multiple categories. To enter your nominations, you will fill out and submit ...

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[Cfamily]No Joyful Noise as German Churches Reopen Without Singing
« Reply #1643 on: May 15, 2020, 01:00:16 AM »
No Joyful Noise as German Churches Reopen Without Singing

Lockdown measures eased, but Christians struggle with coronavirus restrictions.

Franziska König always enjoys getting a note from her pastor. Even so, she never expected to get one like she did last week.

“The message started out normally, asking me how I am doing,” König said, “how I am fairing in these terrible times and so on.”

Then, her pastor told her that their small evangelical church in Berlin was going to reopen after being closed for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That was good news.

“But it was weird when he said I would have to make ‘reservations’ for my family to have a spot on Sunday,” said König. “That’s certainly never happened before.”

König and her congregation are not alone in navigating a “new normal” for worship gatherings as lockdown limits ease across Germany.

While Germany’s federal government makes plans for tracing infection chains and reopening public facilities, churches across Germany are developing their own plans for how to restart worship with new regulations such as compulsory face masks, prohibtion of physical contact, and restrictions on congregational singing.

Questions about singing, more than anything else, has caused consternation among evangelicals in Germany. Perhaps this comes as no surprise. It was the German reformer Martin Luther, after all, who said that “next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise.”

However, Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s top health research organization—the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)—strongly advised against communal singing of any kind while there are still fears about the spread of the coronavirus. Wieler explained in the official biweekly COVID-19 press conference that “evidence ...

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[Cfamily]The Pivot in Our Mission: Convert Retreat into Advance
« Reply #1644 on: May 16, 2020, 01:00:13 AM »
The Pivot in Our Mission: Convert Retreat into Advance

As we creep slowly forward, we dare not miss this opportunity to turn "retreat into advance."

At his inaugural address in 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke to a nation rocked by the Great Depression. He took the opportunity to turn the dire times into a more noble response.

He said in part, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Roosevelt saw the opportunity to take a difficult circumstances and pivot toward the future. This perspective is helpful for the church as well.

You and I have not lived through a time like this in our lives. We can all agree we aren't going to miss terms like "self-quarantine," "social distancing," and "shelter at home" once this finally passes.

But as we creep slowly forward, we dare not miss this opportunity to turn "retreat into advance."

If you are a church leader, no doubt you were thinking at the start of the year about how to help your church be more effective in the work of the gospel in your community. You likely had conversations with staff and other leaders about how to minister to the marginalized in your community as well. Maybe you were focusing especially on the coming Easter season as key to your plans when everything changed.

A renewed vision

It's easy to see the pandemic as a great interruption to be endured and forgotten instead of the great opportunity to pivot toward a renewed vision for ministry. We can learn much in this case from the life of Jesus.

When you read the Gospels, you see that so much of his earthly ministry was based on responding to the opportunities that presented themselves to him: encountering fishermen as he walked ...

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[Cfamily]Are Great Novels a Thing of the Past?
« Reply #1645 on: May 17, 2020, 01:00:20 AM »
Are Great Novels a Thing of the Past?

Or are reports of their death greatly exaggerated?

Whenever anyone writes a book, as Joseph Bottum has, lamenting that things just aren’t what they used to be, critics predictably rise up to decry the crotchety old author and his take. And Bottum’s provocative new offering, The Decline of The Novel, seems tailor-made to elicit just such reactions. No doubt more than a few skeptics will feel compelled to list any number of “good” or even “great” novels written in recent years, laying to rest any anxieties they might have about the obsolescence of this particular art form.

Now, it seems likely that Bottum would disagree strenuously with many of his critics about what constitutes excellence in novel writing. But he’s not really interested in arguing that no good novels are being written today. At the very least, that’s not his primary claim. His point is more that even if these good novels exist, nobody’s reading them.

But let me back up a little. Before I say anything more about The Decline of the Novel, you have to understand what Bottum thinks a novel is. (Here’s where things get interesting.) The entire premise of Bottum’s book is that the novel, as a genre of prose fiction, is “Protestant, all the way down.” He has a number of ways of expressing this thought: that the novel is Protestant in essence, for instance, or Protestantly inflected. Elsewhere, he calls Protestantism the “genus of the modern novel.”

What he means, I think, is that the rise of the novel as the modern genre of fiction and the growth of Protestantism go hand in hand, and that the novel, consequently, has certain features that tie it closely—integrally, even—to the Protestant faith. The most important of ...

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The Pivot in Our Mission: Find the Evangelism Style That Excites You

How can we create momentum for evangelism that will cause believers to engage?

If you find yourself enjoying chips, cookies, and sugary cereal more than you should during the pandemic, you aren't alone. What you may not realize is how many millions of dollars of research in the food science field is aimed at making really bad-for-you-food surprisingly attractive to you.

The perfect soda fizz, the right combination of crunch in a chip, or the meticulous attention given to making french fries crunchy on the outside and smooth on the inside are all products of a lab and resemble little to nothing of the food sources created by God in nature.

If I've just made you hungry for a piece of pizza, crisp crust and gooey top, sorry. But it does illustrate a point: we are drawn to things that we enjoy, which is why a bag of Oreos sounds— and tastes—better than a bowl of kale.

In Part One of this series, I talked about the importance of a mindset of advance, renewing our mission and looking toward gospel outreach and care.

Here, I want to look specifically at ways you might share the gospel in your community. Let's be honest; for a lot of Christians, evangelism is more like kale than comfort food. How can we create momentum for evangelism that will cause believers to engage?

Start Where People Are

We do so by looking at ways that fit our people and their gifts and abilities. In a conversation with Rick Warren some time ago, he observed the biblical truth in John 14:6 that there is only one way to come to the Father, and that is through Jesus. Then he added,

But, there are a lot of ways to Jesus. People come to Christ for different reasons. Some come out of fear. Some come out of questions. Some come out of hunger. Some come out of pain. Some come out of suffering. Some come out of guilt, or worry, ...

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Where Do White Evangelicals Get Their Coronavirus News? The White House

While most agree with the response from public health officials, confidence in the Trump administration outweighs the news media.

With claims of a “plandemic” and other conspiracy theories swirling, the need to communicate accurate, trustworthy information about the coronavirus is becoming more crucial.

Leaders like Ed Stetzer have called on Christians to be discerning in what they believe and share, worried that promoting false information “can end up harming others and … hurt your witness,” as he wrote on his CT blog The Exchange.

So where are believers looking for information on the spread and risks of COVID-19? Recent survey data indicates that white evangelical Protestants’ go-to sources don’t always line up with the rest of the population.

While a majority of both evangelicals and the population overall believe public health officials have gotten a lot right in their response, evangelicals are more confident in the Trump administration’s response and less confident in the media than non-evangelicals are, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last month and provided by the Roper Center.

Evangelicals were more divided over how the media has covered the pandemic, with 60 percent saying it was covered well and 40 percent saying it was not covered well. (Among the rest of the population, the split was closer to three-quarters and one-quarter, respectively.)

Overall, white evangelicals were more likely to believe that the severity of the COVID-19 threat had been exaggerated by a range of sources.

Around two-thirds of white evangelicals said the news media had greatly or slightly exaggerated the risks posed by COVID-19. Just under half (44.5%) said the same of Democrats in Congress.

Almost two thirds of white evangelicals, though, believe that President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus ...

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Source: Where Do White Evangelicals Get Their Coronavirus News? The White House

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