Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 440089 times)

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[Cfamily]Singled Out
« Reply #208 on: June 20, 2016, 07:02:49 AM »

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Singled Out

Singlism: the stigmatization of uncoupled adults, whether divorced, widowed, or ever single.[1]

I picked up the vibe right away. We were standing in a hallway waiting for one or two people from a different department to join us for a casual lunch. As we circled up to make introductions, I noticed that one person quickly shifted his shoulders and denied eye contact.

The man in question was probably in his late twenties. Moderately attractive. No wedding ring. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that he was just reserved. After observing his lively dialogue with other members of our group, I was forced to alter my assessment. Not reserved. What is his deal?

Halfway through lunch, he had still not so much as looked in my direction when the words “my fiancée” drawled slowly from his mouth.

I struggled to hold back a bemused chuckle. Of course! He was engaged! Acknowledging my existence was totally out of the question. As you know, if he had looked me in the eyes or started a conversation with me, I could not have helped myself from falling instantly in love with him.

As humorous as I found my colleague’s ignoring the unmarried intern from the tenth floor, I couldn’t ignore the feeling that a total stranger had wrongly categorized me based on no other data than my bare ring finger.

That was my first taste of singlism.


Culturally, we are growing in our ability to recognize and condemn prejudice, which usually stems from making assumptions about a person or group of people based on external factors. We are making progress in eliminating body shaming, de-stigmatizing disability, and defeating racial prejudice in its varied forms.

While we could turn on any news station and see that we still have a long way to go, awareness is always the first step to change. One area that still seems very much in the dark, especially in Christian circles, is what psychologist Bella M. DePaulo coined singlism. The term refers to the generalizing, stigmatizing, and oppressing of uncoupled individuals.

If you think that oppression is too strong a term, you have probably never been told, “‘Be fruitful and multiply’ is not a suggestion; it’s a command.” Perhaps you have never felt the pang of newly married friends moving on to “couple friends.” Ruptured friendships can leave the abandoned person feeling oppressed.

Perhaps, with tongue-in-cheek, we can at least agree that the endless questioning and advice giving of the coupled is oppressive. “Met anyone special since I saw you last week?” “Maybe you should lower your standards a little bit.” “Don’t you want to get married?”

Writing about her experience as a single woman in her 20s, sociologist Janet McKeown[2] sheds some light on a key factor that leads to the marginalization of the unmarried: singlehood represents a deviation from the norm.

Coupling is normative across cultural and religious lines. It is obviously necessary for procreation, but it also tends to demonstrate maturity and stability. Thus, those in a committed romantic relationship represent the socially privileged group. Those who don’t currently choose or enjoy that status are at least expected to strive after that position of power because, in it, lie happiness and fulfillment.

As believers, we would refute the idea that romantic partnerships can satisfy the longings of the soul. We know that only Jesus can do that. It’s interesting, then, that many of our words and behaviors reflect an underlying belief that without a romantic relationship, we remain incomplete.

Jesus is enough to bring wholeness to the married and single alike.

Indicative phrases, used by marrieds and unmarried alike, include “my season of singleness,” “the right one will come along at the right time,” and “God’s got somebody for you!” As if all of this time spent without a partner is merely a 90-minute queue in 90-degree weather, soon to be forgotten once the roller coaster of real life begins.

Of course, from a Christian worldview, it’s easy to understand the nearly universal elevation of couple-hood. God created marriage for good purposes—namely, to demonstrate to a broken world the committed love with which He loves us. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.”[3] That’s a big calling, and it is meant to serve as an example of how all believers, male and female, are the Bride of Christ, loved sacrificially and eternally. Thus, the desire to enjoy and participate in God’s plan for marriage is a good desire.

The problem occurs when the church preaches that romantic relationships are the only way to be fulfilled or to fulfill God’s purposes here on earth. That isn’t true. Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9, 10:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority. (NASB)

Jesus is enough to bring wholeness the married and single alike.

Where do statements like “marriage is God’s ultimate plan for sanctification” leave the unmarried? Is a wedding ring my ticket into the VIP room of holiness? Or, what about those ministry jobs that a single guy would be perfect for—if only he were married?

Even as we applaud God’s design and gift of marriage, we must fight the temptation to see marriage as the only means to accomplish God’s will, understand His plan for humanity, or experience true intimacy with Him.

Perhaps if we acknowledge that those views devalue and discourage unmarried brothers and sisters, we can begin to re-frame how we approach singleness in the church, from our ministries to our conversations.


[1] DePaulo (2006): Singled out: How singles are stereotyped, stigmatized, and ignored, and still live happily ever a er. St. Martin’s Press: New York.

[2] McKeown (2015): “I will not be wearing heels tonight: A feminist exploration of singlehood, dating, and leisure.” Journal of Leisure Research 47(4): 485-500.

[3] Ephesians 5:25

Source: Singled Out

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #209 on: June 20, 2016, 01:13:56 PM »
College, different department show that this is about secular employment which is then strangly applied to church social life. Why does that follow?
That there is a problem for the singles in church family life is something that each church comunity has to solve for each generation.
But drawing parales with singlesness in secular enployment or society is not the way to raise awareness or to find solutions.


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[Cfamily]Missional Hymns—An Interview with Keith Getty
« Reply #210 on: June 21, 2016, 07:03:23 AM »
Missional Hymns—An Interview with Keith Getty

Ed Stetzer: Tell us a little bit about how you put together the album in the first place. It’s very diverse.

Keith Getty: It all comes out of the Facing a Task Unfinished hymn, written by Frank Houghton, 1931, in the context of mass persecution in China. He writes this hymn as a call to 200 people to come preach. China, the context, was very anti-Christian, the minimizing of Christian rights, the murdering of Christians and indeed worldwide global recession.

A lot of things actually quite similar to our own times, but serious persecution.

So, he writes this hymn, sends it round as a call to missionary commitment. He gets a response of 204 people to go.

ES: Response to go as missionaries?

KG: That’s right.

He understood—foundationally—that what we sing affects profoundly how we think and how we live. So deep Christian songs, sung by real believers to each other, breeds and helps contribute to breeding deep believers.

ES: A lot of church have gone with simpler choruses, rather than hymns, with streamlined music, simple tunes, and a more concert-driven sort of worship.

Are they wrong?

KG: We have to remember that all of us as individuals are at different stages of growth in our lives and similarly and by extension all of us as churches have different strengths, different weaknesses, and have different stages of growing.

What I’ve noticed about most church movements as they have grown and deepened, so has the songs they sing.

I’m a child of the modern worship movement like you as well. And so we have to understand that we’re all kind of in a stage of growing rather than standing on some self-righteous soap box somewhere. I don’t really see that as being appropriate, or even authentically Christian.

The challenge for us (and our children) is going to be greater than it was for us. That’s I think fairly indisputable. So, for us to actually build believers who are going to survive, never mind flourish, never mind fund the next Harvard, cure the world of slavery, write the next Brandenburg concerto, we’re going to have to build deep believers.

So we have to ask—how do we build deep believers?

Part of that is being able to sing songs that are deep and rich about Christ.

That doesn’t mean they’re boring. That doesn’t mean they’re all from the 16th century. That doesn’t mean you certainly have to read music to sing them.

So for me as a writer that’s a constantly a challenge because my music is very much inspired by classical hymnody. With this project we took a lot more global influences and worked with some of my friends who have been real masters in the modern worship song, like Chris Tomlin, Jonas Meyer, and these kind of guys.

They were great helping me re-shape my songs a little bit to make them a little bit more communicative. But it’s an exciting point—I think it’s the most exciting point in history to be born.

I was interviewed at a choral convention a few years ago and actually they said actually the same thing. They said, "Well done Keith; if you’d been born in a different generation, you’d be a multi-millionaire.”

I said well you know what I’ve never wanted to be born in another generation because the opportunity for global witness, and the need for a global hymnody, at this moment in history, greater than ever.

Here’s the video of Facing a Task Unfinished compiled from churches worldwide during the Global Hymn Sing. After watching, check out For the Cause (written by the Gettys and Stuart Townend), the new official hymn of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Source: Missional Hymns—An Interview with Keith Getty

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Cox Killing Shows Why Brexit and Trump-Clinton Need 'Civil' Religion

I have been involved in British politics for more than a decade. Suddenly, everything has changed.

One week before the United Kingdom votes whether to continue its membership in the European Union (EU), Jo Cox, a Labor member of Parliament (MP) representing a constituency in Northern England, died after being stabbed and shot in the street in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

I’ve worked in parliament, been a lobbyist, and now help evangelical Christians engage in politics. I’ve never known anything like these past few months as the UK prepares to vote in the EU referendum, popularly called “Brexit.”

The wrangling of recent weeks pales into insignificance in the wake of the death of a public servant who was doing what MPs regularly do: meeting with constituents to hear their concerns. These one-on-one meetings, which take place up and down the country in offices, town halls, and local libraries, are the front line of politics.

Political systems where a single person represents a constituency foster this sort of connection. But alongside the value, it brings incredible vulnerability.

Michael Deacon, paid to write political sketches for the Daily Telegraph, gave one of the most poignant tributes: “We aren’t ruled by a cabal of the evil, greedy, and callous. We’re served by human beings who make mistakes, and get no end of grief even when they don’t.”

Cox’s husband, Brendan, found the words—I do not know how—in the immediate aftermath to sum up her life: “Jo believed in a better world, and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”

The campaigns to either leave or remain in the EU had reached fever pitch in recent days. The claims from rival camps had ramped up to the most divisive, distorted, destructive levels.

It went from the bitter to the bizarre. MPs were backstabbing colleagues they usually sided with because they backed different sides of this particular vote. A former prime minister described members of his own party as “hungry pythons.” We’ve even had rival flotillas on the Thames River.

Claims of the costs of staying and the consequences of leaving have bounced from billboard to campaign bus. It was the most toxic political environment I have ever encountered.

Sadly, this seems a common theme in contemporary politics. It resembles the heated political campaign in the United States, where two polarizing candidates with historically low favorability ratings are battling for president.

This final weekend before the critical Brexit vote, I am speaking at a church about the EU referendum and how Christians should engage in it. It is a crucial vote, and evangelicals in good conscience find themselves on both sides of the debate. My role is not to tell people how to vote, but to help Christians think through a few key themes and look beyond the headlines and superficial slogans that have dominated the campaigns.

Ahead of the UK’s general election last year, prime minister David Cameron pledged that the people would get a say on whether we stayed in the EU. With polls putting the vote on a knife’s edge, both campaigns became more strident in their tone, more passionate in their conviction, and more extreme in the predictions of what would come to pass if the other side won.

And yet these claims today seem as valuable as dust, swept away in the vacuum left in British politics by the death of a woman not particularly known beyond her constituency, her colleagues, or her sector.

Source: Cox Killing Shows Why Brexit and Trump-Clinton Need 'Civil' Religion

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #212 on: June 22, 2016, 08:53:00 AM »
Sorry the writer is completly wrong.
There is no need for a 'Civil religion' we already have that its called secularism.
The need is for real Christianity being lived out in thje lives of Christians in all walks of life.

Why was Jo Cox such an effective MP, because she cared about people and her area. But why did she care? Why would anyone spend their time struggling to improve the lives of strangers?
Atheism, secular humanism, evolutionist all cannot give a reason for this only Christianity gives a satisfactory reason for serving others.

Maggie said, " If you want the fruits of Christianity in society, you must cultivate the root, belief and practise of Christianity."


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[Cfamily]Weekend Edition—June 17, 2016
« Reply #213 on: June 23, 2016, 07:25:37 AM »
Weekend Edition—June 17, 2016

Southern Baptists Split With Donald Trump On Refugee ResettlementSarah McCammon

Tips for helping a loved one after a tragedy, from a Christian disaster expertJamie Aten

My Marriage to an Undocumented ImmigrantSarah Quezada

Let’s Love FirstMarty Duren

4 Ways Pastors Enable Dysfunction in their ChurchesJoel Rainey

Want to read a weekly digest of The Exchange blog? Click here to subscribe to Christianity Today's Newsletter for The Exchange to get weekly wrap-ups direct to your inbox.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the The Exchange Podcast in iTunes. Click here to listen to my interview with Dr. Bruce Ashford.

Earlier this week on The Exchange

Singled Out

The Dangerous Divide Between Theology and Practicality

3 Ways Suffering Produces Sanctification

The Future of Southern Baptist Evangelism: A New (Closing) Series

Saturday is for Seminars—Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting

More Church Planting—Not Less—Is Needed

Church Signs

There are a couple of “uh, no” levels in this one.

I like truth in advertising as much as the next guy, but really?

Then there are the ones that make you smile and shake your head at the same time.

Thanks to Larry Butts, Millon Threatt, and Matt Smith for this week’s signs. As always you can tweet your church signs to @EdStetzer.

Source: Weekend Edition—June 17, 2016

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[Cfamily]Some SBC Reflections—a Short Series
« Reply #214 on: June 24, 2016, 07:16:12 AM »
Some SBC Reflections—a Short Series

The SBC annual meeting is the human equivalent of a potluck dinner. A unique assemblage of small and large church pastors, deacons, heads of local church WMUs, bi-vocational pastors, seminary professors, mission board presidents, and “everyman” church members, with every business session an Open Mic Night at Laugh O’Rama with at least one motion—guaranteed—that makes absolutely no sense to anyone in the room, and at least one resolution nearly everyone wishes hadn’t been offered.

Some years it’s easy to look back after two days of preaching and two days of business and reports and think, “Did we do anything of eternal value at all?” Other times it’s clear God has done a work and we were privileged to be a part of it.

This year, we were blessed to be in the second category.

The Pastors Conference

This year a group of small church pastors proposed a different strategy a couple of months before the annual meeting: small- and medium-sized church pastors would make up the entirety of the program. No “celebrities” would be on the card, nor would any non-SBC pastors.

They hoped to reflect the makeup of the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches.

They ultimately drafted Iowa pastor Dave Miller (who moderates the blog where the proposal was first made public). Miller won the election on the first ballot, to the surprise of many in SBC leadership.

Now, I think Dave may have a tiger by the tail, since an event like this costs hundreds of thousands of dollars (and the pastors conference does not charge attendees), but it’s a reminder that Southern Baptists are a denomination of small, rural church pastors. Sometimes leaders can forget that and this should be an important reminder.

This was the first of several surprises.

“We Are Resolved”

The annual meeting typically has two kinds of actions presented by the messengers. The first, which I’m not going to talk about now, are motions. These have to do with the actual business of the convention.

The second are resolutions. Resolutions are public position statements that may address almost anything. There may be a resolution thanking a city or organization for a particular action; a resolution stating a position on a moral issue; a resolution condemning certain government behavior; a resolution calling for an emphasis of some kind.

This year among many resolutions, there were two that stood out to me.

First, there was a resolution of prayer and support for Israel. In itself, this was nothing new. The SBC has traditionally been in support of the state of Israel in large part due to the historic theological reasons, but also due to some important geopolitical realities. Although I cannot say for sure, I would be surprised if such resolutions ever garnered past discussion to any degree. This year was different.

A pastor from Arizona who identified himself as an Arab-Israeli spoke against the motion. This Arab-Israeli Southern Baptist pastor spoke against the support Israel resolution due to, among other things, some theological and missiological concerns. This brother had to know his position was not popular, but everyone listened graciously and attentively.

Then a second pastor (from Vermont) spoke against it.

The resolution, as expected, passed with a smattering of “those opposed.” As I think through the opposition I can’t help but wonder if it’s the first time some Southern Baptists have publicly considered our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They, too, deserve our prayer and support, even while Southern Baptists clearly support Israel.

Then was the most contentious of the resolutions. That Southern Baptists should stand with decisions that have been made to lower the Confederate battle flag.

If you know the history of the SBC it’s founding was in support of slavery. Northern Baptists didn’t support slave-owning while Baptists from the South did—thus the birth of the Southern Baptist Convention. While the SBC officially apologized many years ago for that racist stained beginning, it’s still a hammer of criticism swung by others in the culture at large.

What’s interesting is that the SBC took a position that actually was a minority view in culture, since most Americans see the flag as a symbol of cultural pride rather than racism.

There were a couple of messengers who favored the motion and spoke fervently in support. Then Georgia pastor, messenger, and former SBC president James Merritt was recognized to speak. Rather than explaining what happened next, here’s the video.

Following Merritt’s impassioned mic-drop, the convention voted to pass the strengthened version of the resolution by an overwhelming amount. I’d estimate it was over 90%.

Now, this is not the end all of issues regarding race and Southern Baptists, but it is a good step. Still, too many have been silent at other key times and around other important issues.

However, with its history, if there was ever a denomination that needed to repudiate the Confederate battle flag, it was Southern Baptists. The SBC did—overwhelmingly. And I’m glad.

The presidential election

JD Greear of North Carolina, Steve Gaines of Tennessee, and David Crosby of Louisiana were the candidates for president this year. To win outright in a 3-way race a candidate needs 50% +1 vote is needed. The last time this had happened was in 2006.

A majority was not achieved on the first ballot, so JD Greear and Steve Gaines went into a run-off.

Gaines, in the mind of many, is of the more traditional wing of the SBC. He pastors a historic Baptist church with a storied line of Baptist leadership. Greear would have been one of the youngest presidents in the history of the SBC. He’s among the more innovative thinkers in the convention. His church has grown to several thousand in attendance on multiple campuses under his leadership.

In addition to this, Gaines and Greear were seen by many as non-Calvinist vs Calvinist candidates.

Both have a passion for a renewed focus on evangelism, which is essential in the world in which we live.

But, as only Southern Baptists can do it, a two-person race produced no winner. (The details are boring, but believe me it happened.)

Praying that night and into the next morning, Greear—who had received slightly less votes in the second round—decided to withdraw, eliminating the need for a second run-off. This humble move was well received by the messengers, as was Gaines’ humble acceptance of election by acclamation.

The most important thing that an SBC president does is appoint agency trustees—it sets the direction of the denominational agencies. During an interivew for the SBC Executive Committee, I asked Steve Gaines about his plan for appointing trustees (and I’ll write more about that later). That is the biggest impact of SBC presidents and worth the attention of Southern Baptists.

At LifeWay, we’ve had amazing trustees for years, because of the good choices of SBC presidents over the years. I trust that will continue.


I’m convinced that the primary thing the SBC should be about is missions. In other words, the focus should be on God’s mission to the nations. If you think the SBC is about motions, resolutions, you may miss the bigger point. That bigger point will be addressed in the remainder of this series.

Source: Some SBC Reflections—a Short Series

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[Cfamily]News: Gleanings: July/August 2016
« Reply #215 on: June 25, 2016, 07:06:28 AM »
News: Gleanings: July/August 2016

Baylor Shakes Up Staff Amid Abuse Investigation

After a months-long independent investigation into Baylor University’s response to allegations of physical and sexual abuse by its football players, its Board of Regents fired head football coach Art Briles and demoted president Ken Starr. Starr, who gained fame for investigating Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, later resigned as chancellor but will remain a tenured professor in Baylor’s law school. During his six-year presidency, female students complained of abuse from five football players. (Two athletes were charged and found guilty; another has been arrested.) The investigation found that administrators ignored and sometimes discouraged complaints. The Division I school and private Christian university isn’t new to sports scandals. The NCAA put Baylor’s basketball team on a five-year probation after one player murdered another in 2003 and the ensuing investigation uncovered players’ drug use and coaches’ illegal payment of athletes. David Garland, former dean and professor at Baylor’s seminary, will serve a second stint as interim president.

Supreme Court Questions Contraceptive Mandate

After hearing arguments on whether or not religious groups are required to include birth control in their employee health care coverage, the US Supreme Court asked both sides for ways employees might access free birth control through insurance without impinging on the employers’ freedom of conscience. The religious organizations included Little Sisters of the Poor, GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, and five members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The Court remanded the cases back to lower courts, noting that both sides had confirmed that compromise was possible. Conservative Christians see the decision as a victory, since it means the Little Sisters and other groups won’t have to pay fines for not including birth control in their health care coverage.

Ukraine: Megachurch Pastor Stays on Despite Multiple Affairs

The controversial founder of Europe’s third-largest Protestant church is battling other pastors over his alleged affairs. According to two Pentecostal networks, Sunday Adelaja, a Nigerian pastor heading the charismatic Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations in Kiev, admitted to affairs with multiple churchgoers. He was ostensibly “defrocked” and removed from preaching by a group of 200 pastors. Several close to him have accused him of thwarting attempts to help or discipline him. In a letter obtained by CT, Adelaja’s mentor, Ulysses Tuff, withdrew from their relationship after chastising him for dodging the “sins you committed against those innocent women.” The director of the church’s missionary center stepped down, saying Adelaja “categorically rejected [the elders’] help.” And 11 Ukrainian evangelical leaders declared that Adelaja is “not a clergyman in the evangelical sense” for refusing discipline. Adelaja denied the allegations to Nigeria’s Punch newspaper, saying it was a “leadership tussle” from church leaders who disagreed with his decision to “hand over the church” and “return to Africa.”

Kenya: World’s Largest Refugee Camp to Close

More than 300,000 Somali refugees live in Dadaab, a sprawling refugee camp in Kenya and the largest in the world. Now it’s time for them go to home, Kenyan interior minister Joseph Nkaissery announced. The camp has become a hotbed of al-Shabaab terrorism activities, as well as a place to smuggle contraband trade and illegal weapons, he said. This isn’t the first time Kenya has considered closing Dadaab; after terrorist attacks at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 and at a Garissa university in 2015, proposals were floated to shut down the camp. But Kenya’s deputy president said the government won’t change its mind this time, and asked that any donations go toward stabilizing Somalia. World Vision has more than 70 staff in Kenyan refugee camps, and alongside 10 other relief organizations has asked Kenya to reconsider. “Shutting down the refugee camps will mean increased protection risks for the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers—the majority of whom are women, children, and unaccompanied minors,” they wrote.

Source: News: Gleanings: July/August 2016

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