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[Cfamily]One-on-One with John Kingston on ‘American Awakening’
« Reply #1728 on: August 10, 2020, 01:00:29 AM »

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One-on-One with John Kingston on ‘American Awakening’

Timeless truths guide the path to restoration of the soul, meaningful purpose and finding true community. 


Ed: In your book, you talk about how you and your family created a mission statement to define your purpose. How do you think we as individuals can find purpose?


John: We in modern society, including many Christians, mistakenly think that we are wired for happiness. We buy into the lie that the more successful we get, the happier we will be. But the reality is that we are wired for a much deeper and more meaningful purpose that God created us to fulfill when He placed us on the planet. Finding our purpose comes from understanding why God made us and who He made us to be.


Ed: In that same vein, you say that people need less than they might think. Can you give us an example of how more does not necessarily mean more?


John: Warren Buffet is an excellent example of this principle. He purchased his humble home in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1950s, and still lives there today. Even after the hundreds of millions of dollars he has accrued, he made the choice to not go bigger with his living. I think he is a man who understands that the chase for more and more stimulation is endless and can never truly satisfy us. As Americans, it’s so easy to become trapped in the idea that we will never have and can never be enough. For people of faith, we must cling to and live out the truth that God made us different. He is the Living Water. After we consume Him, we long for nothing else. Our thirst is quenched. He’s enough. We don’t need more of anything but only God.


Ed: How does this struggle for purpose and enough-ness play into our current COVID-19 world?


John: We’ve seen how the negative effects of COVID-19 have exacerbated different existing issues in American society, namely that we are depressed, isolated and anxious ...

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[Cfamily]I’ve Experienced This Cultural Moment Before … in Russia
« Reply #1729 on: August 11, 2020, 01:00:26 AM »
I’ve Experienced This Cultural Moment Before … in Russia

Why America today feels like Russia in the early ’90s and why that’s an opportunity for Christians.


The country seems to be divided as it has not been for a long time. The grand narrative that has united the country is being vigorously questioned. People cannot agree on basic values. Public discourse has become toxic. Deep divisions run through nearly every public institution. The media have become polarized. You can tell people’s political leanings by the media outlets they draw information from. People on the other side are not simply wrong on some issues, they are bigots, entitled elitists, foreign agents, ivory tower weirdos, or some combination of these. Reasonable discourse with them is not possible, so eventually they have to be shut out of public life.


It is becoming more and more challenging to have a calm, lighthearted conversation about public issues with friends who disagree. Tension is palpably in the air, and sporadic street clashes are beginning to erupt. There are some who call for peace and reconciliation, but their voices are drowned out by those who think that peace and reconciliation with their opponents are impossible. And, to make matters worse, a deadly contagious disease has arrived from another continent.


You may be thinking that I am describing the current state of affairs in the US, but I’m actually describing my experience of living in the Soviet Union during the final years of its existence. Lately, though, my experience of living in the US feels eerily similar.


As a seminary professor, I often wonder how Christians should respond to this situation. But divisions among Christians tend to mirror divides in society at large. Moreover, these divisions have seeped into my classroom, and sometimes they burst into the open. How should I react? Should I steer clear of discussing this subject? ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/qXlyeHRgyd0/ive-experienced-this-cultural-moment-before-in-russia.html
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https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/august-web-only/ive-experienced-this-cultural-moment-before-in-russia.html
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[Cfamily]Public Theology Isn’t Just for Academics
« Reply #1730 on: August 12, 2020, 01:00:09 AM »
Public Theology Isn’t Just for Academics

Our faith comes to life when we share our stories.


After the police shooting of Michael Brown in October of 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, Cornel West and other clergy organized an interfaith service to protest Brown’s murder. Yet young protestors in attendance rejected what they interpreted as theological platitudes offered from the stage, wrote Leah Gunning Francis. Allegedly, a seminarian asked the platform speakers to change their chant from “Show us what democracy looks like” to “Show us what theology looks like”—in effect, asking the ministers to publicly weave the structure of their faith into their activism. Don’t tell us, write about it, or preach it. Show us your theology.


This chant could apply to the many situations of oppression and abuse the church is witness to today. From the recent deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery to the ever-growing #MeToo movement, socially situated abuse and trauma continue to stump evangelical religious leaders reaching for a theological response. Many evangelical Christians are ill-equipped to respond to racism, abuse, and trauma with much more than time-worn words. And a recent Barna study showed that most pastors feel only “somewhat” equipped to help congregants with any kind of significant trauma.


Can we show each other, or even simply articulate to each other, what our theology looks like? Our shared stories—of trauma or otherwise—and what we do with them, can offer our listeners a path back to God.


In June 2019, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission released the Caring Well Report, detailing decades of sexual abuse within the SBC. I wrote the report’s introduction, which described my story of abuse by my youth minister ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/811wlviGB_s/public-theology-isnt-just-for-academics-codone.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/118780.jpg?w=460
https://www.amazon.com/Ferguson-Faith-Leadership-Awakening-Community/dp/0827211058
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[Cfamily]White Fragility: Sin, Redemption and the Gospel
« Reply #1731 on: August 13, 2020, 01:00:11 AM »
White Fragility: Sin, Redemption and the Gospel

An insufficient doctrine of sin and redemption cannot hope to resolve systemic injustice.


Though published in 2018, Robin DiAngelo’s #1 New York Times bestseller, White Fragility, has returned to the top of the bestseller list in the wake of the recent racial tensions and protests in America. In her book, DiAngelo unpacks the phenomenon of “white fragility,” the inability or unwillingness of white people to talk about race, and argues that it “is not weakness per se… [but] a powerful means of white racial control.” The book’s provocative thesis has prompted its share of critical reviews (p. 2). The book has been critiqued for its circular logic, its lack of empirical grounding, its problematic epistemological assumptions, its “dehumanizing condescension,” and its opportunistic nod to the trillion-dollar (white) wellness and self-help industry.


What has surprisingly been lacking from the growing cottage industry of White Fragility reviews is a theological critique of this flawed but culturally important work.


While it may seem unfair to subject a book by a diversity consultant to a theological critique, there are two reasons a review of this nature is overdue. First, this book has not only graced the NYT bestseller list, it has also appeared on numerous “recommended reading” lists posted by evangelical pastors and leaders. While Christians should read widely to engage culture, they should also think critically and theologically about what they read. Second, its topic—racism and white people’s reluctance to reckon with it—raises unavoidable theological questions. We simply can’t talk about racism without talking about sin and evil—concepts completely absent from DiAngelo’s book. And we can’t talk about white ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/dS1-ilqxCtg/white-fragility-sin-redemption-and-gospel.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/118768.png?w=460
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/06/18/white-fragility-is-real-white-fragility-is-flawed/
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/shatteringparadigms/2020/07/not-white-fragility-mutual-responsibility/
https://shenviapologetics.com/the-worldview-of-white-fragility/
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/dehumanizing-condescension-white-fragility/614146/?utm_source=feed
https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/social-justice-solipsism
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-sin-redemption-and-gospel.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=dS1-ilqxCtg:0TGxvNyw1Vk:yIl2AUoC8zA
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[Cfamily]White Fragility: A Conversation on Race and Racism Part Two
« Reply #1732 on: August 14, 2020, 01:00:13 AM »
White Fragility: A Conversation on Race and Racism Part Two

Beginning the second part of our series on Robin DiAngelo's 'White Fragility.'


Last week, we began a robust conversation about Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. With the wide range of responses we’ve received, it has only become clearer that engaging with this popular secular book is vital, particularly as we continue to face social and political unrest surrounding issues of race. As we have reached the conclusion of part one, we are taking a moment to pause and reflect on all of the contributions we’ve had thus far.


We began our series with higher education professional and author Allison Ash, with her article “White Fragility: Why this Book is Important for Evangelicals.” Ash provided a very favorable review of White Fragility, with some important caveats. Firstly, White Fragility is a book written for white people, specifically those who are at all invested in furthering racial justice and reconciliation. Its primary contribution is helping white people identify and describe white supremacy and to equip those same people to understand and overcome the difficulty that often arises when talking about these issues. Ash also presented a brief history of the complicity and often perpetration of racism within the Christian church. However, Ash considers White Fragility to be primarily a means to examine white supremacy as it exists today, something the white evangelical church has failed to do. Her hope for the way forward is that white evangelicals will glean the truth about racial trauma to then be empowered to provide hope through a gospel lens.


Next, we summarized a recent book review by George Yancey. Yancey is a professor of sociology at Baylor University. His take on White Fragility was far less positive. ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/OkWTMtKmryE/white-fragility-conversation-on-race-and-racism-part-two.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/118801.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-why-this-book-is-important-for-evangelicals.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-conversation-on-race-and-racism-part-two.html
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[Cfamily]Portland Is Still Protesting. Where Is the Church?
« Reply #1733 on: August 15, 2020, 02:05:26 AM »
Portland Is Still Protesting. Where Is the Church?

Christian leaders weigh when and how to engage in the city’s mounting clash over racial justice.


From rural towns to major metros, protests for black lives have swept the country in the wake of George Floyd’s horrific death at the hands of Minneapolis police. But none sustained the way they have in Portland, Oregon, which on Tuesday reached its 75th consecutive night of protests.


Even in a city known for its activist spirit and progressive politics, the recent protests over racial justice and policing represent unique circumstances.


Last month, after federal agents surrounded Portland’s downtown justice center, nightly protests intensified. As the hours grew later each evening, the front lines of the crowd pressed forward with walls of umbrellas and homemade shields, while the feds fired pepper balls and deployed teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protestors.


Every morning, the headlines chronicled the tit-for-tat violence, with national news featuring glimpses of the scene: speeches by Black Lives Matter activists, the festival-like atmosphere of volunteers handing out “Riot Ribs” and making art, and the “Wall of Moms” linked arm in arm to take the first round of teargas.


As the marches continue, local Christian leaders have weighed how or whether to get involved. Many care deeply about standing for black lives, yet the protests are complex and the goals and tactics of the participants vary widely.


The violence—stoked by a few—is real, but so is the dancing, music, kindness, and courage. Add in the concerns of some about the ideology of groups like Black Lives Matter and the moral ambiguity of joining a crowd of thousands to protest in the middle of a global pandemic, and many find themselves caught in a conundrum: How ought Christians fight for justice for the marginalized ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/LXhEE6TOw7c/portland-protests-pastors-church-black-lives-matter-justice.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/118832.jpg?w=460
https://www.koin.com/news/protests/portland-demonstrations-police-night-75/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/august/portland-protests-pastors-church-black-lives-matter-justice.html
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[Cfamily]Christian Colleges: God Wants You to Wear a Mask to Class
« Reply #1734 on: August 17, 2020, 01:00:12 AM »
Christian Colleges: God Wants You to Wear a Mask to Class

With new campus covenants, dozens of evangelical schools are extending calls to “love your neighbor” to apply to a range of coronavirus safeguards.


At Christian colleges across the country, incoming students pledge to comply with biblical standards for belief and behavior. This year, the appeals to love your neighbor and advance God’s mission have been applied to public health guidelines too, as schools ask students to promise to disinfect their dorm rooms, limit social interactions, and wear masks to class.


While all colleges reopening for in-person classes have issued new policies around the coronavirus, and several Ivy League institutions have similarly developed “social contracts,” the standard health precautions take on a spiritual significance at evangelical schools. The now-familiar instructions are framed by Christian values and lines from Scripture.


“We’re going to return in a way that Christians understand, but the secular world does not. We’re going to return in a covenant together,” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler said in a video introducing the document to be signed by faculty, staff, and students returning to the Louisville, Kentucky, campus this week and next.


Most evangelical schools list the common coronavirus do’s and don’ts: handwashing, keeping a six-foot social distance, wearing masks in class and inside, and monitoring for symptoms. But unlike the straightforward recommendations coming from government officials or medical professionals, the colleges’ policies say that complying is a Christian obligation.


“This is more than just a great idea (for health and safety), it’s something that should resonate deep within us,” said Robert Taylor, dean of students at Dordt University. The topic will also come up in chapel sessions. “We think it’s ...

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Source: Christian Colleges: God Wants You to Wear a Mask to Class

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It’s Not Enough to Broadcast a Service. Churches Need to Foster Community.

What pastors can learn from plummeting online attendance.


Since the coronavirus forced worship services to move online, nearly a third of church-goers have stopped attending church, according to new Barna research. Among millennials, it’s even higher: Half of those who used to go to church have stopped since the pandemic started.


It is not clear why. But when attendance plummets, we need to stop, reflect, and answer that question.


Perhaps people are “Zoomed out.” Even if people liked video conferencing before lockdown, weeks of online video meetings for work, school, and social gatherings have caused many to dread logging on for one more hour on Sunday morning. But could that really account for nearly a third of churchgoers?


It could be the music. Singing along at home in front of a screen is not the same experience as singing in church, surrounded by fellow believers. Lag time and occasional buffering glitches make it incredibly difficult to enter into the music and find that “flow state” many associate with good worship. But most churchgoers do not rate music as the most important part of their experience at church. The Christian author Gary Thomas identified nine “sacred pathways” that lead people to connecting with God. Only two of them prioritize music. North Point Ministries, similarly, found that musical worship is a top priority for maybe 14 percent of regular churchgoers.


Another reason could be that church members live in areas with low-bandwidth or non-existent Internet, making live-streaming services all but impossible. In 2018, the Federal Communications Commission  found that 18.3 million Americans lack access to broadband Internet. As commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel explained, it’s “not that they can’t afford ...

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Source: It’s Not Enough to Broadcast a Service. Churches Need to Foster Community.

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