Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 10811 times)

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Offline John

Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #176 on: May 25, 2016, 08:36:55 AM »

C-Family @ Faithwall

C-FAMILY ~ C MORE @ Faithwall.co.uk


Depends what is meant by 'priest'?
Is it a mediator between man and God or a trained teacher/preacher?

Christianity has no need of human mediators as we have a devine mediator.
We have a great need for trained, spiritual teacher and preacher and pastors.

C-Family @ Faithwall

C-FAMILY ~ C MORE @ Faithwall.co.uk


CFamily

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Interview: Kenneth Bae: My Story of Faith in a North Korean Prison Camp
« Reply #177 on: May 26, 2016, 07:00:40 AM »
Interview: Kenneth Bae: My Story of Faith in a North Korean Prison Camp

Has a persecuted Christian ever had an unlikelier champion than Dennis Rodman? The eccentric former NBA star made a bizarre cameo in the drama surrounding Kenneth Bae, an American missionary accused of plotting to overthrow the North Korean government and condemned to 15 years of hard labor. Shortly after the April 2013 sentencing, Rodman—who has made several visits to the isolated nation and claims friendship with its reclusive leader, Kim Jong-un—took to Twitter with an urgent request: “I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim,’ to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.” (The mercurial basketballer later denied his support during a testy CNN interview.)


At the time of his capture, Bae was visiting North Korea for the 15th time in two years as a guide for his North Korean tour company. Under the Nations Tours banner, about 300 Christians had visited Rason, a special economic zone that allowed international investment. Bae hoped to expose them to the country and encourage them to begin praying for it, all while bringing investment income to the government. Bae’s arrest came after he entered the country with an external hard drive filled with files and photos documenting missionary work. Authorities seized on references to Operation Jericho, a prayer mobilization plan that invoked military metaphors, to justify charges of insurrection. Released in November 2014 after intense American lobbying, Bae was the longest-serving US prisoner in North Korean history. He spoke with CT assistant editor Morgan Lee about his imprisonment, his ongoing love for the North Korean people, and his new memoir, Not Forgotten (Thomas Nelson).


What led you to become a missionary?


In 1984, I attended a retreat with the theme “A Vision in Christ.” I started asking God what I should become, and the word I received was shepherd. But I wasn’t sure what that meant.


After graduating high school, I attended a retreat organized by some Chinese churches. The speaker invited anyone willing to dedicate their life for mission to China to come forward. There were 500 people in the hall, and I was first on the stage. Ever since, I’ve known God was calling me to be a missionary to China.


Growing up in South Korea, What did you learn about North Korea?


We were taught the evil of communism. Between 1997 and 2003, I learned from Western and South Korean media about [the great famine] in North Korea, especially about people dying from hunger. It was shocking to hear from defectors and missionaries that [South Korean Christians] had been working there. In 2005, I visited a Chinese border city called Dandong. That’s when I first felt a special calling for North Korea.


Were you scared entering North Korea the first time?


I’d been living in Dandong for a couple years, but I’d never been across the border. I was nervous. But once I could show I had an invitation from the government, it wasn’t as tense. My next visit was to explore the idea of bring ing tourists into North Korea. This was a little scarier. It was just me, my wife, and another couple. But we still had direct approval from the government.


What was labor camp like?


At first, it didn’t sound that bad. I had been in solitary detention in Pyongyang for five months—I didn’t see anybody except the guard and the prosecutor. What I had heard about labor camp was pretty horrible, but at the same time, I thought, at least I’ll have other people in my cell. When I got there, I was the only prisoner. I was given a room by myself, divided into three sections: a small living area with a TV and desk, a bedroom, and a bathroom. In the morning, I’d get up at six, wash, and get ready for a meal. Then I had one hour before being sent to work in the field. Every day I would put on the full armor of God by reading the Bible, worshiping and praying, and asking the Lord for strength and protection.





Source: Interview: Kenneth Bae: My Story of Faith in a North Korean Prison Camp

C-Family - C-More








http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/11300-interview-kenneth-bae-my-story-of-faith-in-a-north-korean-prison-camp
https://twitter.com/dennisrodman/status/331826019747127297
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nJ0wIPvJG8
http://ai.christianitytoday.com/cti/adclick/viewid=36635466/site=ctmag/area=article/position=network_1/size=HTML/category=/keyword=UnitedStates,Books,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed
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http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

CFamily

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Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians
« Reply #178 on: May 27, 2016, 07:05:29 AM »
Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians

Last year, sales of coloring books in the US shot up from 1 million to 12 million units. The sales spike quickly prompted a slew of articles asking whether our culture is collectively stressed out and/or reverting to childhood hobbies. I, too, mocked the trend right up until I started coloring this year as a therapy tool and discovered that it settles my mind and helps me focus.


Now Christian publishers are jumping on board with “Christian adult coloring books" and even Bibles you can color in. Half of the top ten best sellers for May in the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (EPCA) are coloring books. The website for book No. 5 on the list, Whatever is Lovely, offers a playlist to “help set the perfect mood for worship, contemplation, and creative expression” when using the book. Similarly, Christian writer and Bible teacher Margaret Feinberg wrote the adult coloring book Live Loved. The pages are filled with elaborately designed Scripture verses that she hopes will help users “unleash the creative talents” God has given them. “Color and sketch,” she says on her website. “Whisper the words aloud, commit them to memory, and learn how to live loved in a tangible way.”


Is this all just smart marketing and an attempt to make money, or can Bible-themed coloring books actually aid spiritual discipline? I think they can, but like any tool, it depends how we use them.


Coloring has been used as a stress-reliever since Carl Jung, and agenda-based or “study” coloring books are not new, either. One of the first and still most popular adult coloring books is Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden, an “inky treasure hunt” so detailed that it’s an all-consuming task to color.


For many, coloring is considered a channel to mindfulness (being "present") because your mind can wander away from the task, but not too far. Craig Sawchuk, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic, told The Washington Post that coloring can help relieve stress, but that like yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques, it’s only as good as the discipline that goes with it. “New habits are best learned when you set aside routine time each day to focus,” he said.


I have often struggled to find time to catalogue the positive aspects of my day. Now, my new coloring habit helps me to follow and focus on true, pure, and praiseworthy things. The payoff comes not in a decorated page but in the peace of mind that accumulates over time. I don’t have to be artistic. I don’t need books marketed to Christians or complex, detailed books. The simple process of coloring becomes a meditation tool that allows me to choose what to focus on—whether it’s meditating on God, mentally organizing my to-do list, or processing a difficult conversation.





Source: Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians

C-Family - C-More








http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/11334-why-adult-coloring-works-for-christians
http://qz.com/650378/the-sad-reason-american-adults-are-so-obsessed-with-coloring-books/
http://www.christianbook.com/page/arts-and-crafts/adult-coloring-books
https://www.tyndale.com/p/inspire-bible-nlt/9781496413734#.VkEUmflVhBd
http://publications.ecpanews.org/t/ViewEmail/r/EE81FE3951FE4C7D2540EF23F30FEDED/75E621F66A08A4ACF1E87EB810D8F10A
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/538425/whatever-is-lovely-by-waterbrook-press/
http://margaretfeinberg.com/adult-coloring-book/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/coloring-for-stress_n_5975832.html
https://newrepublic.com/article/126580/radical-history-1960s-adult-coloring-books
http://www.johannabasford.com/book/4
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/adult-coloring-books-are-not-just-a-fad-for-some-they-are-a-lifesaver/2016/05/02/47449320-f8c2-11e5-a3ce-f06b5ba21f33_story.html
http://ai.christianitytoday.com/cti/adclick/viewid=21504958/site=ctwomen/area=article/position=network_1/size=HTML/category=/keyword=/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed
http://ai.christianitytoday.com/cti/nserver/viewid=1/site=ctwomen/area=article/position=network_1/size=HTML/category=/keyword=/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

CFamily

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Ken Starr Fired? Baylor Reviews Investigation into Football Sex Scandal
« Reply #179 on: May 28, 2016, 07:04:40 AM »
Ken Starr Fired? Baylor Reviews Investigation into Football Sex Scandal

Reports circulated today that Baylor University has decided to fire its leader, Ken Starr, after a months-long scandal involving charges of rape and assault against five football players.


Baylor denied the rumors.


“Ken Starr is president and chancellor of Baylor University,” Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman told CT. The Board of Regents is currently reviewing findings from an outside investigation into the school’s response to the incidents.


“We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the university will provide it,” Fogleman told CT. Once deliberations are completed, the university expects to make an announcement by the end of next week.


“Since the briefing, the board has been in the process of considering the information presented and asking additional questions,” board chair Richard Willis stated. “This is a very critical issue for Baylor, and the board is going to make sure to take the appropriate time to determine the right course of action."


"We are certain the actions that result from this deliberative process will yield improvements across a variety of areas that rebuild and reinforce confidence in our university,” Baylor stated. “We are saddened when any student, including a student-athlete, acts in a manner inconsistent with Baylor's mission or is a victim of such behavior."


Starr, famous for his investigation of Bill Clinton, has led the nation’s largest Baptist university since 2010. From 2009 to 2016, at least six students reported they had been raped or abused by players on the Bears football team. Last month, Shawn Oakman became the third Baylor football player arrested for rape in the last four years, according to Sports Illustrated. Former players Tevin Elliot and Sam Ukwuachu were both previously charged and found guilty.


ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that at least some Baylor officials knew about the incidents but delayed investigating them and issuing punishments.


Baylor Marketing & Communications


There has been speculation that head coach Art Briles, who led the football program to four winning seasons, two Big 12 titles, a Heisman trophy for Robert Griffin III, and a $266 million new stadium, would take the fall for the scandal. But Horns Digest, the Texas sports outlet that broke the news of Starr’s alleged removal, reported that Briles would continue unless there was proof he was involved in covering up the allegations. Briles makes $4 million a year as the coach with the third-highest compensation in the conference.


“As a Baylor grad I'm sickened @ the culture that has been allowed 2 perpetuate there—mainly in athletics,” tweeted Shannon Sedgwick Davis, a human rights advocate profiled by CT. On Tuesday, Davis, along with other alumni, called on the university to remove Briles. “All who allowed this culture & didn't respond MUST go,” she said.


Baylor’s nationally recognized football program, popular among its 14,000 undergraduates and many more alumni fans, sets it apart from most Christian colleges. The current scandal involving several football players has led the Baylor community to question whether its devotion to the sport is to blame for reportedly mishandling a series of assault cases.


Last week, Alan Jacobs—a professor in Baylor’s honors program and former English professor at Wheaton College—referred to collegiate football success as “the most jealous of gods.” He wrote on his blog, “It will tolerate the worship of no other deities, and there will be no end to the sacrifices it demands.”


Baylor is associated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which provides funding for the university and appoints a quarter of the leaders on its board of regents. At the convention’s board meeting last night, executive director David Hardage issued a call to prayer for “healing, redemption, restoration, and harmony for Baylor University.”


Media have detailed accusations that Baylor leadership was slow to respond to complaints:


  • After one woman was raped by a football player off-campus, Baylor’s campus police said there was nothing they could do to help, and the student health center told her she could put her name on a waitlist for counseling, Outside the Lines reported.

  • It took two years for Baylor to investigate two other incidents, finally kicking tight end Tre’Von Armstead off the football team and expelling him, according to Outside the Lines.

  • Another victim told football team chaplain Wes Yeary that her football player ex-boyfriend had assaulted her twice when they were together, yet he was never disciplined, she told Outside the Lines.

Last September, two weeks after Ukwuachu was convicted of rape, the Board of Regents asked law firm Pepper Hamilton to “conduct an independent and external investigation of the university’s response to reports of sexual and interpersonal violence,” the Baylor press office reported.


In February, thousands of students and alumni held a vigil outside Starr’s house and launched a petition calling for more robust, transparent responses from the university. Starr stated, “Let me be clear: Sexual violence emphatically has no place whatsoever at Baylor University.”


Baylor then announced a plan to “prevent acts of sexual violence on campus and to improve treatment and services for all those impacted by interpersonal violence.” The school said it would increase the space for counseling and the number of counselors. It also mandated annual Title IX training for all upperclassmen, faculty, and staff.


“We know we can and must do a better job to confront interpersonal violence in our campus community,” said Starr at the time.


Baylor was making headlines with sports scandals before Starr arrived.


In 2003, Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson murdered teammate Patrick Dennehy. Ensuing investigations found “widespread rules violations,” including drug use among players and the illegal funneling of money to student athletes and prospects by coaches. Several basketball coaches and staff also blocked investigations by providing “inaccurate information” and “falsifying documents.” Baylor self-imposed some punishments, and the NCAA came down even more harshly, including placing the program on a five-year probation.


Baylor fired its last president, John Lilley, after two years when he was unable to “unite the various Baylor constituencies,” the board’s then-chair Howard Batson said. Lilley replaced Robert Sloan, who came to a “mutual” agreement with the board to step down in 2005 after an 85 percent “no confidence” vote from faculty.


During his time as president, Sloan developed an ambitious plan for the university, seeking to further acknowledge “its Christianity identity while also pushing for top tier research university status,” then-Baylor doctoral student Hunter Baker wrote for CT. Sloan had narrowly survived a regent confidence vote after receiving their overwhelming support just six months prior to his departure. (CT covered why Sloan’s departure wasn’t bad news and why all Christians had a stake in his resignation.)


CT spoke with Starr when he took the Baylor presidency, getting his take on the relationship between sports and academics (“My own goal and aspiration, which is deeply rooted in Baylor's traditions and the institutional DNA, is excellence in all things, including sports”) and on being the school’s fourth president in five years (“I think there's an extraordinarily deep reservoir of goodwill and an eager desire to move forward. What has happened in the past is now in the past”).


Baylor’s incidents follow a string of high-profile rape cases involving student athletes. Last year, two former Vanderbilt University football players were convicted of aggravated rape, and in 2013, a pair of high school football players in Ohio were punished for raping a classmate. Writing for Christ and Pop Culture, football fan Valerie Dunham recently said:



I wish I could say I was surprised when I read of the scandals that are shaking the foundations of Baylor’s community. I wasn’t…we have, for too long, paid for the enjoyment of athletics with injustice. Sports have made fools of us, not because they are “just games” or juvenile, but because we have held them so high that a commitment to justice has seemed less worthy.



In 2010, CT ran a piece by a Baylor University Press author—and professor emeritus of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro—decrying the importance of sports in Christian higher education. In 2012, CT asked professors and administrators, “Should Christian colleges build top-ranked football teams?





Source: Ken Starr Fired? Baylor Reviews Investigation into Football Sex Scandal

C-Family - C-More








http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/11346-ken-starr-fired-baylor-reviews-investigation-into-football-sex-scandal
http://www.si.com/college-football/2016/05/24/baylor-bears-board-regents-expected-remove-president-ken-starr
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/05/24/kenneth-starr-reportedly-to-be-removed-as-baylor-president-amid-football-scandal/
http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2016/05/baylor_president_ken_starr_fir.html
http://www.si.com/college-football/2016/05/18/baylor-bears-sexual-assault-violence-allegations
http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/15562625/waco-police-records-reveal-additional-violence-allegations-baylor-football-players
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/70706.jpg?h=155&w=240
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/june-web-only/is-robert-griffin-iii-new-tim-tebow.html
http://www.scout.com/college/texas/story/1672296-sources-bu-regents-preparing-oust-starr
https://twitter.com/shannonsedg/status/732993399939207168
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/januaryfebruary/meet-mom-who-stopped-joseph-kony.html
https://twitter.com/shannonsedg/status/735099950095163393
http://blog.ayjay.org/uncategorized/15988/
http://texasbaptists.org/
http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/14675790/baylor-officials-accused-failing-investigate-sexual-assaults-fully-adequately-providing-support-alleged-victims
http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/15191102/baylor-investigate-sex-assault-claim-football-players-more-two-years-lines
http://www.wacotrib.com/news/higher_education/baylor-hires-philadelphia-firm-to-investigate-sexual-assault-cases/article_e1db4a63-aa27-533a-a4f5-e9ca4f71c5ce.html
https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=168855
https://sojo.net/articles/baylor-students-alumni-call-changes-schools-response-sexual-assaults
https://www.baylor.edu/president/news.php?action=story&story=165607T/&_ga=1.170803176.977987700.1463971537
http://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=165807
http://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=34679
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/07/25/baylor-fires-its-president
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/januaryweb-only/55.0b.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/november18/5.62.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/juneweb-only/6-21-42.0.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/mayweb-only/5-17-32.0.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/septemberweb-only/9-8-51.0.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/march/9.70.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/marchweb-only/20-41.0.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/february/our-pride-our-hearts-and-vanderbilt-rape-case.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2013/march/steubenville-and-society-whats-happened-to-human-dignity.html
http://christandpopculture.com/touchdown-jesus-baylor-need-for-a-lingering-repentance/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/february/sports-fanatics-football-shirl-hoffman.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/should-christian-colleges-build-top-ranked-football-teams.html
http://ai.christianitytoday.com/cti/adclick/viewid=66146177/site=ctmag/area=article/position=network_1/size=HTML/category=gleanings/keyword=/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=
http://ai.christianitytoday.com/cti/nserver/viewid=1/site=ctmag/area=article/position=network_1/size=HTML/category=gleanings/keyword=/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=
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CFamily

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Meet the New Apocalypse (Same As the Old One)
« Reply #180 on: May 29, 2016, 07:10:44 AM »
Meet the New Apocalypse (Same As the Old One)

The following contains some spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse.


Last month, director Bryan Singer described Apocalypse, the latest villain in his X-Men franchise, to Collider’s Adam Chitwood:



The way I describe him the most, the best is he to me is the God of the Old Testament and all that comes with that. If there isn’t the order and the worship then I’ll open up the Earth and swallow you whole, and that was the God of the Old Testament. I started from there and when Oscar and I met we began discussing, since he isn’t really God, he’s the first mutant perhaps, but he’s not God necessarily, he’s imbued with certain unique powers. Some of them may or may not be from this Earth, we don’t know.



Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'



Singer went on to describe, at some length, his childhood interest in religion and “cults and things like that” as a kid, a fascination stoked by reading the X-Men comics. His interest in religion translates onscreen in X-Men: Apocalypse more successfully than the ponderously literalist Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which left a number of people wishing for more religion, not less. If there were beings with superpowers living among us, don’t you think cults would spring up to worship them?


Well, X-Men: Apocalypse does, to my relief. It’s overlong (147 minutes) and garnering mixed reviews, but it’s a solid enough crowdpleaser: the audience at my screening broke into applause four or five times. There’s little point in describing the plot except to say that as you may have gathered from the subtitle—or from virtually any superhero film we’ve dutifully seen in the last 15 years or so—the world is about to end because of the bad guys, and the good guys have to save the day if they can.


Michael Fassbender in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

Michael Fassbender in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'



The villain Apocalypse—played by Oscar Isaac, slathered in CGI—can take various shapes, though in his latest iteration he’s been locked away since antiquity and into the 1980s; when he emerges, he discovers, well, the 1980s, and gets annoyed with humans for worshipping false gods like consumerism and empire-building. Burn it all down, he bellows, and start over again. He’s done this before.


But sometimes it’s best if movie directors just keep their mouths shut about theology. Singer has actually loaded his film with a fascinating theological subtext, one that has nothing to do with this “God of the Old Testament” who demands “the order and the worship.” (That caricature is popular with people who haven’t really read the Old Testament, so it’s not Singer’s fault.)


In Apocalypse, Singer’s drawn a solid portrait not of an Old Testament God but of an Old Testament Satan, or maybe some parallel character: Lucifer, Baal, Beelzebub. (Significantly, Apocalypse’s origin story is in ancient Egypt.) Apocalypse’s main draw for the mutants is the offer of power, a neat parallel to the New Testament story recounted in three gospels, He wants to destroy human systems and institutions (structures that, when healthy, help distribute power), and instead hoards it to himself, doling it out to his Four Horsemen (get it?) when it suits his purposes. Like Satan, Apocalypse’s big problem is that he’s not God: specifically, he’s not omnipresent, and that gets in the way of his plans.


Typically in stories like this, when the Satan character needs smacking down, God shows up to do it. But there’s an interesting theological twist in X-Men: Apocalypse, and though it’s a bit tangled by the end, you can follow the thread if you’re paying attention.





Source: Meet the New Apocalypse (Same As the Old One)

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/11360-meet-the-new-apocalypse-same-as-the-old-one
http://collider.com/bryan-singer-x-men-apocalypse-interview/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/70740.jpg?h=131&w=250
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/holy-week-batman.html
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http://ai.christianitytoday.com/cti/adclick/viewid=74544669/site=ctmag/area=article/position=network_1/size=HTML/category=movies/keyword=Film,MoviesandTV/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed
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CFamily

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Living in a (Nominal) Religious Context
« Reply #181 on: May 30, 2016, 07:04:53 AM »
Living in a (Nominal) Religious Context

Many American Southerners still possess a religious terminology that expresses they were saved at the age of 8, baptized at the age of 10, and are on the membership roll at the Crooked Creek Pentecostal Church or the Sugar Creek Methodist Church. Many of these individuals based their salvation on being moral, decent, and upstanding citizens, who love their families, their country, and even their God.


Living in such a nominal religious context presents some dangers, difficulties, and directives for believers who are passionately committed to king Jesus.


Dangers of Living in a Nominal Religious Context


The dangers of living in a nominal religious context aren’t the same as living in a zealous violent religious context like regions in the Middle East. Living in those areas can cost one their life. Living in a nominal religious context may not put one’s life in danger, but if not careful it can endanger a believer in other ways that are just as costly—just on a different scale.


There’s the danger of embracing a comfortable Christianity.


One thing about nominal “Christians” is that their faith doesn’t cost them anything. Their faith or belief is like a trinket or badge they wear. It doesn’t prompt them to give up guilty pleasures, to give generously of their time, talents, or treasures to the Lord or His church, or to vulnerably share their faith with someone else.


If not careful, passionate believers can allow such comfort to influence them so that they too become comfortable.


There’s the danger of domesticating the gospel. Lesslie Newbigin was one who landed on this idea when he came home from forty years of faithful mission work in India. Upon his return, he saw that the church, and thus the gospel, had been imprisoned by the cultural milieu. As a result, the gospel had been domesticated, stripped of its transformational glory.


Today, in many nominal contexts, something similar has transpired. The Bible has been turned into a self-help informational book rather than the divinely inspired book written by God for our transformation and His glory. Jesus has been relegated to a Captain America type of savior who came and died to save us from hell rather than a King who came to save us in order to reign in and through us.


Difficulties of Living in a Nominal Religious Context


Beside dangers to sound Christian theology and practice in a nominal religious context, there are difficulties to living in such a context.


Evangelism


There will be an evangelistic difficulty.


Because nominals are moral, they think they behave rightly; because they are theistic and biblical, they think they believe rightly; because they are Christian by name, they think they belong rightly; and because their life is fairly simply, they feel as though they are blessed rightly.


In short, they base their salvation on what they do and experience, not what Christ did. Sharing the gospel with people who already think they “have it" will prove to be difficult.


Relational


There can be relational difficulty.


When trying to call nominals towards a deeper understanding of Scripture and the gospel, they may become easily offended and agitated. They may feel as though they are being judged or attacked. As a result, relational strain and marginalization occurs. More specifically, friendships can dissolve. People leave or becoming angrier at the church.


Revitalization


In some places there will be revitalization difficulty. In churches where nominals may be present and in positions of leadership, there will be a stronghold of spiritual lethargy, gospel indifference, and missional paralysis. Leading and navigating change and transformation will be slow, methodical, intentional, messy, and possibly even intense.


Directives for Living in a Nominal Religious Context


The situation is not hopeless because there is power in the gospel. These directives, empowered by the gospel of Jesus Christ, will serve as antibodies that will ward off the virus of nominal, or weak, Christianity.


We must be gospel-centered. The gospel should be the sun around which the planets of our lives orbit. Everything we do—personally, emotionally, relationally, maritally, parentally, socially, culturally, vocationally, etc.—should revolve around the good news that Jesus Christ has saved us, redeemed us, and made us a part of His glorious kingdom. Being gospel-centered means that we constantly ask ourselves the following question: Is my life bringing glory to King Jesus?


We must be mission-oriented. We are not only saved from our sin and ourselves, but are saved to and for a mission. Being in Christ means that we are His means of advancing His mission in the world. Thus, we enact a posture towards the world for the glory of God. As a result, we come to live a life on mission—intentionally using how we live, where we go, what we do, and what we say as a means to share and show the good news of Jesus with the world.


We must be church-minded. The church isn’t a place we attend but a people we belong to. When Christ saved us, He made us a part of His family. Christ cares about His family—their transformation into His image as well as their participation in His mission. If Christ cares for His family, we should too. If Jesus is committed to His family—in that He will never leave nor forsake them—we should be too.


Nominalism doesn’t save. It's the equivalent of those in the New Testament who not only wouldn't enter the kingdom of God themselves, but got in the way of others who wanted to enter.


Nominalism can kill. But, Jesus, as Peter reminds us, "has the words of life," and He is the better way.



Source: Living in a (Nominal) Religious Context

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Just a Vessel: Actor Malachi Kirby on ‘Roots,’ Kunta Kinte, and God
« Reply #182 on: May 31, 2016, 07:02:46 AM »
Just a Vessel: Actor Malachi Kirby on ‘Roots,’ Kunta Kinte, and God

Malachi Kirby in 'Roots'

Malachi Kirby in 'Roots'



Though he’d had roles in EastEnders and Doctor Who, landing the role of Kunta Kinte in the History Channel’s new production of Roots was the last thing Malachi Kirby expected. The twenty-six year old English actor was reportedly chosen by executive producer LeVar Burton—who played Kunta Kinte in 1970s production, a runaway hit in the United States—for the role.


But as Kirby tells the story, his casting is all God’s doing. And in taking on the physically and emotionally demanding role of a young man captured in Gambia and brought in chains to a plantation in Virginia a hundred years before the Emancipation Proclamation, Kirby learned more than he’d bargained for. The newly reimagined show covers the same ground as the 1977 series, but incorporates several decades of research done since the previous version aired. Along with Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anna Paquin, and others star.


Kirby spoke to Christianity Today from London by phone about his botched first audition and what followed, and what he learned from playing the character.


The following transcript is Kirby’s words, slightly edited for clarity and length.


The Worst Audition—and the Best


Where do I begin? In January 2015, I had my first audition—January or February. I remember hearing about the audition and then thinking, why are they doing this again? Why are they making this project again? I was a bit scared of it, to be honest. Then I got an audition, and I spent most of the time worrying about what would happen if I got the part, rather than actually preparing for it.


I had the first audition, and it was easily one of the worst auditions of my life. Everything went wrong. I got there about half an hour late, sweating, and I'm not usually late for things. I learned my lines, but when I got in the room I didn't know anything. I'm trying to read off of the script and it's like I'm illiterate—I can't speak properly, everything's just fumbled. I'm supposed to do it in a West African accent and it was anything but that. I think it was Australian at one point, and I can't even do an Australian accent. It was just ridiculous, and I just basically kept apologizing to the casting director.


And then I left.


Five months later, they got back in touch. My agent calls me, and he says, "Oh, you must have done something good in there, because they want to see you again." I'm like, "Dude, you don't even know!" I'm thinking, oh, they must be really desperate.


So I go in again . . . And that actually was one of the most incredible auditions I've ever had. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I definitely felt like something else was happening in that room that I wasn't in control of. I felt everyone else feel it, too. I felt like a vessel.


Then something really strange happened. I was in my room, a few days after the audition, and I was praying. Whilst I was praying—it was actually a prayer of repentance at the time—God spoke to me, in a way that I have never heard his voice before. He told me that I've received this part, and he said to declare it in advance before it comes to pass, that he'd be glorified.


I went back-and-forth, thinking it's just my imagination, I'm not going crazy. I kept praying and it was clear as day. He told me to tell my agent. My agent's supposed to tell me I've got the part, and God said to tell him.





Source: Just a Vessel: Actor Malachi Kirby on ‘Roots,’ Kunta Kinte, and God

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How Urban Christians Failed President Obama
« Reply #183 on: June 01, 2016, 07:12:00 AM »
How Urban Christians Failed President Obama

In my community, I hear Christians discussing their political and social values in a way that is distinct from the spirit of the day. Most other urban Christians I know tend to be more traditional than secular, more social activist than reactionary. We neither celebrate recent liberal gains nor internalize conservative losses. We stand apart, loathing both the lack of timeless conviction and the lack of compassion, respectively.


The Obama administration’s directive ordering transgender bathroom access in all public schools has called this urban Christian sociopolitical posture into question. While the bullying and dehumanization of transgender people is completely unacceptable, the stealth advance of this new ideology raises questions and should be subject to debate. By failing to assert our convictions, we have failed our president and our country.


Family Business


In years past, black leaders, such as Fannie Lou Hamer, fought against conservatives on segregation and against the secular left for the sanctity of life. Speaking truth to power wasn’t a matter of partisanship, but a matter of right and wrong. Classic values like the importance of marriage, the sanctity of life, charity, and parental responsibility were just as important as social justice. But the former has been plainly absent from urban politics as of late. While social justice fills the inner city's sociopolitical narrative, classic values fly under the radar. Our beliefs aren’t hidden so much as they are dormant, privately professed but recused from the larger social debate.


I too was compelled by the historic nature of President Obama's election. As a certified Obama apologist, I still smile in the glory of this collective prize. A culture of reverence and loyalty were aroused to historic proportions by a man who achieved the impossible. Not much more can be written about the historic nature of Obama's election. The rejoicing mirrored the completion of a revolutionary effort. Reverence for a hero was immediately labeled sacred, and enshrined.


But the reward wasn't without a price for black and Hispanic Christians. While our social concern was given voice, our values were muffled and dismissed. These slights were overlooked as we focused on protecting our protagonist from the far right. By code, we will condone our leader's flaws before conveying the slightest hint of dissension to outsiders. That, after all, is family business.


Biting Our Tongues


This steadfast sense of loyalty held by urban Christians forms a protective shield around our leaders. It’s dependable, almost unconditional. Our loyalty stabilizes our leaders and offers assurance in a country that has stripped much of their dignity, and too often their lives. But it can also stifle accountability, making them more susceptible to their own faults.


We happily manned the front lines as Obama fought for the poor and underserved. We held our noses when he championed policy contrary to our beliefs. The unspoken, but understood call was to stand down lest we undermine our brother and empower his enemies. And stand down we did, submitting to the Obama Effect.


When Louie Giglio “withdrew” from events in Washington for having the audacity to question the orthodoxy of popular culture, we bit our tongues. When pastors in Houston had their sermons subpoenaed by the mayor, we didn’t demand that our President weigh in and condemn this gross injustice. Instead, we watched tainted and tone-deaf conservatives clumsily fight battles that belonged to us.





Source: How Urban Christians Failed President Obama

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/11375-how-urban-christians-failed-president-obama
http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/january/louie-giglio-withdraws-from-inauguration-over-past-sermon.html
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