Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 660566 times)

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[Cfamily]People Are Being Discipled by Their Cable News
« Reply #1800 on: October 23, 2020, 01:00:09 AM »

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People Are Being Discipled by Their Cable News

How do we disciple in good as we disciple out the wrong?

In an interview on immigration with Steve Inskeep on NPR’s Morning Edition, I concluded by talking about discipleship. It was a bit tricky because I was a little unsure about mentioning the idea of “discipling” in that context.

Inskeep specifically asked me whether evangelicals were hitching their wagon to the wrong horses. I explained, cautiously using the term “discipleship” on NPR’s flagship program:


Well, it’s a fair question. The challenge is a lot of people are being discipled—or spiritually shaped—by their cable news choices. I think ultimately evangelicals need to be known for what they are for rather than what they’re against; and, showing and sharing the love of Jesus seems like a better thing to hitch ourselves to over the long term as evangelical Christians.

I may have been unsure at first, but I am glad that I could use the word “disciple” in that context. Discipleship highlights a fundamental issue for followers of Jesus right now: there are certain things that are in us and need to be discipled out of us and other things that need to be discipled in us and aren’t there currently.

Three Things to Disciple Out

Some things need to be discipled out of believers.

The first is fear. In John 20:19, we read how the disciples were hiding behind closed doors because of fear. Two thousand years later, a lot of people are hiding behind closed doors because of fear. We not only fear the coronavirus; we are also fearful of the future.

Today, people hiding behind closed doors because of fear have something that humanity didn’t always have: The Internet. We’re hiding behind closed doors, fearful for ourselves and others, and spreading that ...

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In the Bible, ‘Individualism’ and ‘Collectivism’ Aren’t Neat and Tidy Categories

Characters in Scripture don’t “follow their dreams.” But some do stand out from the crowd.

I love watching Bollywood movies. What could be better than three hours of delightful singing and dancing, colorful settings and costumes, sappy romance, and a dash of slapstick humor? Every Indian knows you watch these films for the music and dancing, not the plot. Most of the time, the plots are the same: A guy falls in love with the girl from the wrong side of town (or vice versa) and can’t marry her because his parents arranged for him to marry someone in his social class. Somehow, the story eventually gets to a happy ending, but however that happens, the guy always has to reconcile with his parents.

Why? Because family comes first—before love, before business, before “following your dreams.” Indians (and Indian Americans like me) get this, but some of my white American friends wonder what all the fuss is about. Be yourself! Listen to your heart! Follow your dreams!

E. Randolph Richards and Richard James have written Misreading Scripture with Individualist Eyes to help educate modern Western Bible readers about the collectivist value system of the biblical world. The underlying assumption behind this book is that many moderns interpret the world through a lens that centers on the desires, needs, and values of the individual. (Richards and James insightfully quote A. A. Milne’s Piglet in his distinctive dialect: “The thinks that make me different are the thinks that make me ME.”) Whereas collectivist societies in antiquity and around the world today orient their values around the family and the people group.

Collectivist Dynamics

Richards and James lay the foundation for understanding collectivist cultures by emphasizing how these cultures use honor and shame as tools for reinforcing ...

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[Cfamily]The Early Church Saw Itself as a Political Body. We Can Too.
« Reply #1802 on: October 25, 2020, 01:00:09 AM »
The Early Church Saw Itself as a Political Body. We Can Too.

A Christian vision of the public square starts with being a different kind of people.

In the days after the 2016 election, one statistic became the story: the notorious 81 percent. Though this data has been debated and the reasons behind it are murky, it’s clear that a vast majority of white evangelicals voted for Trump.

Cards on the table, I think this is one of the most damaging events for the mission of the American church in the last few decades.

In his article “Young Evangelicals Are Defying their Elders’ Politics,” Kyle Meyaard-Schaap writes, “Because no political party can completely capture the fullness of the values [an evangelical] was taught, her community’s embrace of partisan politics creates in her dissonance and disillusionment.”

I bear witness to this disillusionment daily. I regularly hear from younger Christians wondering aloud how the good news of Jesus can be true if the church is marred by racism, injustice, partisanship, and pettiness.

Many of us who work among these disillusioned young people find ourselves holding our breath till November. We are anxious to see if this election shows a more complex and less partisan engagement among evangelicals—one that better reflects a surprising group of people who love the weak, care for creation, honor life from conception to death, attend to justice, and seek the welfare of our neighbors.

But as important as this election is, focusing on it alone is foolish.

Public activism has long been part of evangelical identity, motivating our leadership in abolition, women’s suffrage, and the labor movement. Over time, however, we have seen a slow disintegration of faith and politics. Most of us now aren’t sure how theology should influence our public life. Therefore, whatever we profess to believe, ...

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[Cfamily]As a Mixed-Race Christian, I Used to Think Diversity Was Enough
« Reply #1803 on: October 26, 2020, 12:00:11 AM »
As a Mixed-Race Christian, I Used to Think Diversity Was Enough

How I came to see the value and beauty of gatherings exclusively for people of color.

My mixed-race identity is so much a part of me that when asked to bring an object that represented me to a group interview icebreaker, I came in with a blender.

Perhaps my own disparate ancestries—my father is Chinese and Hawaiian, and my mother is Caucasian—make me more curious to know and connect and mix with others from all sorts of backgrounds. I love hosting parties, I flit around networking events, and I somehow always find ways to connect with strangers.

My social personality, as well as my Bay Area upbringing, meant that I felt comfortable in different settings, from my majority-minority Catholic high school to my largely white Christian college. But there, I began to notice that fellow students of color mostly just hung out with each other, and the school’s programming seemed to reinforce this enclave.

Raised in white evangelicalism, I had the vocabulary and references to get along with white classmates at college. Because I was so comfortable there—and could largely pass as white, as I realized when someone asked if my last name was “Lee, like Robert E. Lee”I didn’t recognize how draining it would have been for other minorities to socialize, live, and learn in this setting.

Despite being three hours from New York City and two hours from Philadelphia, a surprising number of my white classmates had spent little time in the city. When I traveled home to visit their communities over Thanksgiving and Easter holidays, I noticed few lived in racially diverse communities, attended multiethnic churches, or had friends outside their race. I grew up with a handful of childhood friends whose parents were also white and Asian, but I didn’t meet a single other person in college ...

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[Cfamily]Died: Luci Swindoll, Who Believed in God’s Grace and Being Herself
« Reply #1804 on: October 27, 2020, 12:00:14 AM »
Died: Luci Swindoll, Who Believed in God’s Grace and Being Herself

Woman of Faith speaker celebrated life of singleness.

Luci Swindoll, a devotional author and popular speaker known for her celebration of life and commitment to being herself, died this week after contracting COVID-19. She was 88.

Swindoll wrote a popular book on Christian singleness in the 1980s and became one of the first Women of Faith speakers in the 1990s when the organization launched as a counterpart to the men’s ministry Promise Keepers. Swindoll, the older sister of prominent preacher Chuck Swindoll, had a message about God’s grace.

“Legalism is the worst thing that ever happened to the church,” she said. “When I realized that God deals in grace … it set me free to be who I really am.”

It was a theme she returned to frequently as she urged Christian women to find joy and be who God wants them to be, not who others expect them to be. She told jokes and laughed a lot, which she said was a witness to the work of Christ in her life.

“Everything changed because of grace,” Swindoll said. “Now all we have to do is know him, trust him, see what he does with our lives, and love people into the kingdom. I don’t think it’s our place to tell people how to live. … We can’t make people believe, but if they see in the believer love and fun and joy and just the thrill of being alive, they say, ‘What is it they have that I don't have? I want it.’”

Swindoll was born in 1932 in El Campo, Texas, the middle child and only daughter of Earl and Lovell ...

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[Cfamily]Will $335 Million Peace with Israel Secure Sudan’s Religious Freedom?
« Reply #1805 on: October 28, 2020, 12:00:13 AM »
Will $335 Million Peace with Israel Secure Sudan’s Religious Freedom?

Sudanese religious leaders and American human rights experts examine the latest and symbolically powerful Arab normalization agreement with the Jewish state.

Sudan’s Christians are relieved—and concerned.

Their nation’s historic agreement, announced Friday, to normalize relations with Israel does not directly impact their minority community, nor the trajectory of their burgeoning religious freedom.

But the symbolism is powerful, particularly to the North African nation’s majority Muslims.

Sudan was once the champion of Palestine.

In 1967, the Arab League convened in the capital city of Khartoum to adopt three No stances concerning Israel.

No peace. No recognition. No negotiation.

Reversing course is the type of decision that can make or break a nation. And Sudan is in the middle of a post-revolutionary transition, mired in economic malaise. Inflation has exceeded 200 percent.

The agreement to normalize relations followed the United States’s announcement to lift Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Assigned in 1993 during the 30-year Islamist dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, the accompanying sanctions starved Sudan of foreign investment and business development.

Massive popular demonstrations removed Bashir from power in April 2019. A series of reforms followed, including steps to improve religious freedom.

But the designation was removed only after Sudan agreed to pay $335 million to the US, earmarked for American victims of terrorism launched from Sudanese soil.

Sudan is now eligible for relief on its $60 billion debt, with access to global finance. Negotiations are already underway with the International Monetary Fund.

Initially, American policy linked removal of the terrorism designation to follow after a normalization agreement with Israel. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok strenuously objected, saying Sudan’s transitional government ...

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[Cfamily]Paula White: Of Course Evangelicals Should Vote for Trump
« Reply #1806 on: October 29, 2020, 12:00:13 AM »
Paula White: Of Course Evangelicals Should Vote for Trump

Paula White, Spiritual Advisor to the President, makes her case for reelection.

Never before in the history of our nation, have we been at this type of a crossroads. There are two very distinct visions for America. At the end of the day those who we elect into office will legislate what happens to our children and future generations. A very beautiful and compelling opportunity is in our hands and we get to decide what America, and specifically the church in America, will be like in the coming years and decades. Your voice and vote will make that decision in just a few days.

I have had the opportunity and privilege to know President Trump up close and personal for over 19 years, and to work with him and his family as a faith leader in their lives. I’ve seen him firsthand as a father, a husband, a leader, a businessman and now the President of the United States of America. I also recognize most people have secondhand information that mischaracterizes the man I know. Therefore, I will talk about the “good fruit” (or what we call in politics -- “policy”) that has come from this “good tree” -- President Trump.

Here are ten reasons you should give the president four more years.

  • He has reset our courts for a generation. The president promised to appoint originalist judges to our Supreme Court who would protect our religious freedoms and not legislate from the bench. He has now appointed more than 200 of them, including three Supreme Court justices. He has flipped three of the Circuit Courts and given us a super majority on the Supreme Court. Biden has made it clear that he’s considering “packing the court” - fundamentally altering our third branch of government - and he will appoint progressives to the court in the vein of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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From Persecuted to Polarized: What US Evangelicals Can Learn from Colombia

In the Western Hemisphere’s longest armed conflict, suffering has often inspired evangelical solidarity. Now the body of Christ is succumbing to self-harm.

For 70 years, Colombia has been a nation at war with itself.

Marxist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, drug cartels, and national police and military have ripped families limb from limb and scarred the national consciousness, running up a death toll of over 1 million souls and driving more than 8 million people from their homes—just in the past generation.

In late 2016, for a brief moment, the international community thought that the violence might be nearing an end as a delegation from the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) guerrillas signed peace accords with the government of then-President Juan Manuel Santos.

Cameras flashed. Santos got a Nobel Peace Prize. And the killings continued.

Year to date, there have already been 68 massacres in Colombia. Since the peace accords were signed in Havana, Cuba, more than 440 community leaders have been murdered. Many of these community leaders are themselves pastors, whose resistance of violence and advocacy in favor of dispossessed campesinos (rural farmers) put them in the crosshairs of armed groups.

Their stories have begun to be told, most recently in “The Role of the Evangelicals in the Colombian Conflict,” a report submitted to the Colombian Truth Commission earlier this month. Nevertheless, this landmark report, which chronicles events from 1959 to 2016, is just the tip of the iceberg.

About 1,800 years ago, the church father Tertullian pointed out how Christianity had flourished in spite of vicious imperial persecution, defiantly declaring, “We multiply when we are reaped by you: the blood of Christians is seed” (Tertullian, Apologeticus 50.13). Since the blood of believers has soaked Colombian soil, by Tertullian’s logic ...

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