Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 439439 times)

0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
[Cfamily]Churches in America—Part 2
« Reply #232 on: July 12, 2016, 07:01:35 AM »

C-Family @ Faithwall


Churches in America—Part 2

Mainline Protestants

Mainline Protestants (those in the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA], Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.], American Baptist Churches, United Church of Christ [UCC], and The Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]) have fared poorly in recent decades. While Christianity overall is not dying in America, Mainline Protestantism is getting closer. According to the GSS, 28% of Americans identified with a mainline church in 1972. By 2014, that number had dropped to 12.2%.

A recent report from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) corroborates this trend. The report looked at church statistics from 2002 to 2013. The denomination reported net membership losses each year. In 2002, the denomination shrank by 41,812 members. This number peaked in 2012 when they reported a net loss of 102,791.

Mainline Protestantism as a whole is hemorrhaging and is facing an existential crisis.

Other Mainline denominations faced similar declines due to several factors, including aging membership, falling birthrates, a lack of theological clarity, and a shortage of new churches. Mainline Protestantism as a whole is hemorrhaging and is facing an existential crisis. If the current trajectory continues, some Mainline denominations could cease to exist in the next four to five decades.


Evangelicals have remained steady for the most part, according to the polls. The GSS found that evangelical affiliation and reported church attendance peaked in the 1980s and 1990s, then declined, then rebounded. In 1972, 17.1% of Americans self-identified as evangelical. In 2014, this percentage increased to 22.7. Similarly, the number of Americans regularly attending church increased from 7.9% to 12.5%.

Evangelicals are experiencing both a success story and a “glory days of old” story. The success is that more Americans identify as evangelicals, and that more people attend evangelical churches. But evangelicals remain uncertain about the future. There’s essentially a “The Sky Is Falling” fear that forecasts doom for the future. Christian Smith of Notre Dame refers to this trend as “Evangelicals Behaving Badly with Statistics.”

The fact is that more than one-third of Americans are evangelical by self-identification. Furthermore, evangelicals attend church now more than ever. The 2014 GSS reported that in the last two years of the study, a greater percentage of evangelicals were attending church than any other time in the last four decades. Fifty-five percent of evangelicals attend church nearly every week. According to the Pew data, about half of American Christians claim to be evangelical or born again. According to Greg Smith of Pew Research:

Evangelical Protestantism constitutes the largest single religious tradition in the United States. Currently, one-quarter of U.S. adults identify with evangelical Protestant denominations. The share of Americans who identify with evangelicalism has ticked downward slightly in recent years (from 26% in 2007 to 25% as of 2014), but the number of evangelicals in the U.S. grew over this period.

Today, about 62 million U.S. adults identify with evangelical Protestant denominations, up from 60 million in 2007. Evangelicals, unlike Catholics or Mainline Protestants, have also benefited when people switch their religious identity. There are 1.2 adults who have converted to evangelicalism after having been raised in another faith (or no faith) for each person who has left evangelicalism for another religion (or no religion).

Still, there are challenges. Christian Smith of Notre Dame suspects evangelicals, especially white evangelicals, may decline in the future:

(Evangelicalism) grew long term in part because it had higher fertility by adopting birth control more slowly than mainliners and partly because it was attractive to many more Americans as a faith. It seems that many internal divisions that have always been in evangelicalism are growing stronger and more clear, less able to keep in the background. Also, internally, in its culture, evangelicalism seems to have become so acculturated that it has some growing identity crises, I think.

Internal division, an identity crisis, and lower birthrates may lead to a decline among evangelicals in the future. Also, just as mainline Protestants found their way into evangelical fellowships, many of them—and their children—may find their way back to other traditions, if even for a short time. Still, the evangelical movement has shown surprising resilience, say researchers Byron Johnson and Gordon Melton of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor:

Southern Baptists have declined, but overall Evangelicalism is showing the largest growth in American religion. This important and fascinating story has been almost completely overshadowed by the preoccupation of the supposed rise of the Nones.

Johnson and Melton argue that many of the Nones are attending non-denominational churches, another overlooked segment of the church.

Source: Churches in America—Part 2

C-Family - C-More

C-Family @ Faithwall



  • Guest
Does This New Bill Threaten California Christian Colleges' Religious Freedom?

Later this year, California governor Jerry Brown may sign legislation with numerous harmful repercussions for the Golden State’s Christian colleges. The state is currently moving closer to adopting a bill that would subject religious higher-education institutions to regulations forbidding them to act on their religious tenets if their students receive state grants to support their studies. SB 1146 “could destroy the ability of numerous faith-based colleges and universities to pursue the mission for which they were created,” warned Ed Stetzer, the executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, in a recent post reporting on an earlier draft.

The bill has received considerable criticism from legislators and college presidents. Fresno Pacific University president Richard Kriegbaum wrote in early June that the bill “would severely restrict the free and full exercise of religious freedom granted by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.” According to Asuza Pacific University president Jon R. Wallace, the bill “significantly reduces religious freedom” and “would effectively eliminate faith-based institutions as a choice for California’s most disadvantaged students.” “SB 1146 seeks to divest us of our religious distinctives,” and “weaken the rich educational diversity of our state” wrote Biola University president Barry H. Corey in letter to faculty and staff.

In spite of that critical response, a newly revised version of the proposal passed a legislative committee last week and will likely reach the final stages of approval in a few weeks. Just what exactly does it say, and what would be its effects if it passed?

What’s the point of this bill in the first place?

The bill’s primary goal is to prevent colleges that receive state funds from enforcing codes of student conduct that reflect the college’s religious beliefs about sexual identity and the confining of marriage to male-female relationships.

Historically, California’s higher-education law, which includes requirements against discrimination based on sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity, has had an exemption allowing a religious college to follow policies based on its religious tenets. The bill would largely undo that exemption, preserving it only for programs “preparing students to become ministers of the religion or to enter upon some other vocation of the religion.” The apparent intent is that colleges that provide a general education from a faith-based perspective will no longer be protected. This includes schools like Biola University, Azusa Pacific University, and Fresno Pacific University.

The bill’s chief sponsor, state senator Ricardo Lara, has said that his goal is to protect LGBT students at religious colleges. The bill’s proponents cite accounts of students being expelled from school, allegedly for coming out as gay or transgender, which consequently causes them to lose time or money invested in that school. Proponents also want to prevent a religious college from, for example, assigning transgender students to housing based on their biological sex at birth or denying married-student housing to same-sex couples. Proponents see these policies as examples of sexual-orientation, sex, and gender-identity discrimination that should not occur in state-funded programs.

Source: Does This New Bill Threaten California Christian Colleges' Religious Freedom?

C-Family - C-More,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed


  • Guest
[Cfamily]What Do You Preach After a Week Like This?
« Reply #234 on: July 14, 2016, 07:00:56 AM »
What Do You Preach After a Week Like This?

In the past week, three cities have been rocked by gun violence. Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Philando Castile was killed by police Wednesday during a traffic stop outside St. Paul, Minnesota.The next night, a dozen police officers and two civilians were shot during a protest in Dallas.

The back-to-back tragedies led to a national outcry, including from Christian leaders.

Evangelicals are among the groups least likely to support Black Lives Matter, according to a 2015 Barna Group survey. Yet plenty of pastors joined the chorus of fear, frustration, and grief on social media and also plan to address the recent events in church on Sunday.

CT asked pastors near Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas how they plan to minister to their congregations after this week’s incidents.

Donald Hunter, New Beginning Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Donald Hunter, an African American pastor in the city where Alton Sterling was killed, said he’ll be preaching this Sunday on Psalm 11:5: “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”

“Most of us have a misconception about Christianity, and that is if you’re a Christian, you’re not supposed to have trouble in your life or community,” he told CT. “But look at Christ—he had trouble from the day he was born.” Hunter said he’ll also draw from Psalm 34:19: “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

“When we endure such things as murder—whether it's police officers or we kill one another—the challenge we have is whether we will submit ourselves to God and allow that incident to cause something good to be born out of it.”

Some in Hunter’s congregation are angry, he said, and some are patient “because we’ve tried very hard to put all of this under the light of God.”

“We live in a low-income neighborhood, the same type as Brother Alton was killed in,” he said. “We can’t sit idly by and see things happen. We have to try to address them. We’re working.”

Obie Bussey, Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas

Just a couple of weeks ago, Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church—an African American congregation in Dallas—invited a white, Presbyterian pastor to preach. He was part of a coordinated “pulpit swap” among 100 pastors in the area the church orchestrated last year as a way to build interracial relationships.

Obie Bussey, who directs the church’s rehab ministry, said the church will keep praying for healing, racial reconciliation, safety for law enforcement, and unity as they gather this weekend.

“It seems like no one is standing in the middle to say, ‘I understand the fear and distrust in the African American community, and at the same time, I see that police have a hard job, stepping into these communities,’” he said. “I believe that’s the role of the church.”

In light of the shootings in Dallas, Bussey recalls the teachings of Ephesians 6:10-11 (“Be strong in the Lord… put on the full armor of God”) and Romans 8:28 (“In all things God works for the good of those who love him”). “We have to let people know that we feel them without belittling,” he said. “They have a right to be hurt. They have a right to be afraid.”

Source: What Do You Preach After a Week Like This?

C-Family - C-More,ChurchLifeandMinistry/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed,ChurchLifeandMinistry/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed


  • Guest
[Cfamily]The Church at Its Racial Turning Point
« Reply #235 on: July 15, 2016, 07:04:23 AM »
The Church at Its Racial Turning Point

The resounding dissonance left by the deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and five police officers in Dallas represent a dark moment for America. A surge in violence against police suggests that society stands on the brink of a chaotic response as a result of racial turmoil unmatched since the 1965 Watts Riots, which resurfaced in the 1992 Rodney King riots. The current crisis highlights the disconnect between black and white perspectives on race relations and exposes a growing impatience in minority communities with persistent and systemic forms of racism. The potential for positive change seems more distant now than any time in recent memory.

Yet, despite a pervasive sense of gloomy pessimism, the light of opportunity continues to flicker. Recent events offer the potential of generating a new, meaningful and action-inspiring conversation on race in America. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”

In this moment, American churches face the challenge and opportunity of addressing what some consider America’s “original sin.”

In this moment, American churches face the challenge and opportunity of addressing what some consider America’s “original sin.” A 2012 survey found that most evangelicals believe “one of the most effective ways to improve race relations is to stop talking about race.” More and more Christians realize that in order to do something, we cannot avoid these discussions or remain silent as society around us grapples with such an imbedded issue.

Nearly all American evangelicals—94 percent in a Barna Research survey earlier this year—believe that the church has an important role to play in racial reconciliation. For many, the desire to act abounds, though direction remains unclear. The most pressing question facing Christians today in the area of race relations is “Where do we go from here?” The church has potential as a catalyst for God-honoring, positive social change in the area of race, and taking several steps can help us realize that potential.

1. Learn About the Experiences of Ethnic Minorities

Ignorance about the realities facing ethnic minorities serves as one of the most challenging barriers to productive racial dialogues. Well-meaning brothers and sisters often respond to allegations of racism by attempting to refocus the situation on black-on-black crime, fatherlessness, or the need for personal responsibility. These are serious issues to address, but focusing on such topics to reorient a conversation regarding racial reconciliation and social change clearly illuminates a misunderstanding of the problem. For example, the “absent father” persists as one of the most dominant stereotypes of black men like myself. Though growing up without a father in the home has been linked with various social risks, research suggests a more nuanced picture. Psychologists Rebekah Levine Cooley and Bethany L. Medeiros found that among fathers of children living in broken homes, black men are more likely than any other demographic to remain involved in their child’s life. More than that, African American dads were reported to “increase their efforts at providing involved and responsible parenting when their children show escalating problem behaviors.”

When it comes to systemic racism related to law enforcement—the targeting of communities of color, unlawful arrests, police brutality—most would not be solved through paternal presence as such. As a black youth, I did not receive a pass on harassment because my father was present in the home. Michelle Alexander’s powerful book The New Jim Crow offers a well-researched perspective on the deep, structural inequalities in the criminal justice system. She points out, “African Americans are not significantly more likely to use or sell prohibited drugs than whites, but they are made criminals at drastically higher rates for precisely the same conduct.” The disproportionate mass incarceration of poor African Americans in particular has effects across the entire community and, she writes, unfairly bolsters the label of black men as criminals. That is a stereotype that black men, regardless of their own criminal, educational, or economic background, are up against. Alexander’s book and Taylor Branch’s Pulitzer Prize-winning trilogy on the civil rights movement serve as excellent starting points to learn more about the contemporary realities and historical foundations of race in America.

Source: The Church at Its Racial Turning Point

C-Family - C-More,ChurchLifeandMinistry,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed,ChurchLifeandMinistry,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed

Offline John

  • Awarded Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3016
Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #236 on: July 15, 2016, 10:20:05 AM »
The author should read:-
and a post by an x police officer:-

Both show the reasons behind violence and police action.

How is this stuation to be resolved?  It's not going to be solved by violence. i don't have an answer, but I believe Christianity among all parties would go a long way to rsolving it.


  • Guest
[Cfamily]Christians Don't Want to Stop Serving Their LGBT Neighbors
« Reply #237 on: July 16, 2016, 07:08:36 AM »
Christians Don't Want to Stop Serving Their LGBT Neighbors

America’s culture wars show little sign of letting up. In recent years the federal government’s executive and judicial branches have heated the battle by pressing hard on controversial LGBT issues, including the right to marry. Some state legislatures have followed suit. California and Iowa, for instance, are presently weighing new laws designed to pressure recalcitrant faith-based organizations to get on board.

Unsurprisingly, those who believe their religious rights are being infringed by these developments have pushed back. A series of southern states have passed laws they say are needed to protect religious freedom. These laws in turn have generated some push back of their own: state boycotts by a collection of high-profile individuals, companies and organizations. Not to be outdone, the U.S. Department of Justice fired off a lawsuit against North Carolina’s law in particular—to which North Carolina quickly responded with a countersuit against the Justice Department. Thus do the battle lines in this dispute seem more entrenched than ever.

The battle lines in this dispute seem more entrenched than ever.

What should we make of all this pushing and shoving? Inevitably in our digital world, a cacophony of commentators have offered their counsel. Virtually all of America’s major media outlets have declared themselves on the issues. I view myself as reasonably sympathetic to both tensions in this anti-discrimination/religious freedom divide, so what I have looked for are treatments that do justice to both sides. So far, however, I have been disappointed.

One-Sided Justice

Mainstream media commentators tend to treat this two-sided dispute as if it were about only one thing: unfair efforts on the part of intolerant people to “limit anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.” Listening to these analyses one might never suspect that there are genuine “first freedom” issues at stake. The religious freedom tension in this debate often comes off as unworthy even of acknowledgement, much less respect.

In this regard, this conflict reminds me of the abortion debate. Major media voices typically treat the abortion debate as if “a women’s right to control her own body” is the only relevant issue. Yet this is not the only issue, nor even the chief issue. A woman obviously has a right to control her own body; one could scarcely conceive a more fundamental human right. Reasonable people on both sides agree on this crucial point—which is the best indicator that this is not what the debate is about.

The dispute in the abortion debate is about the rights of the unborn. No human right is absolute, not even one so fundamental as the right to control one’s own body. If I am convicted of a crime, society has the right to incarcerate my body, contrary to my will; if the police suspect me of smuggling drugs through the airport, a competing set of interests may justify probing my body’s cavities for contraband, contrary to my will. The core issue in the abortion debate is whether (or not) there are any such competing interests—that is, those of the unborn—that society must insist on negotiating with the acknowledged rights of the mother. This is the issue that lies at the center of the abortion dispute.

But if this is so, one would never glean it by listening to America’s leading media outlets. They persistently portray abortion in terms of only one side of the moral tension: the rights of the mother. Abortion is treated almost exclusively as a “women’s issue.” And of course, if this is the only lens through which the dispute is viewed, the result is a foregone conclusion. But that result will be deformed by society’s failure to give due attention to the other moral tension.

Source: Christians Don't Want to Stop Serving Their LGBT Neighbors

C-Family - C-More,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed,PoliticsandCurrentAffairs/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed


  • Guest
[Cfamily]Where Evangelicals Stand on Transgender Morality
« Reply #238 on: July 17, 2016, 07:03:07 AM »
Where Evangelicals Stand on Transgender Morality

As politicians debate restroom access, employment protection, insurance coverage, and military service for transgender people, questions of morality have emerged.

Is it morally permissible for a doctor to remove healthy organs? Is it acceptable to give puberty-delaying drugs to children who feel gender conflict? Is it ethical for society to require people to live as one gender if they identify strongly with the other?

Most Americans with evangelical beliefs would say no, according to the latest survey from LifeWay Research.

LifeWay asked 1,000 Americans whether they thought that changing one’s gender or identifying with a different gender is morally wrong. Respondents also had the option to select “it’s not a moral issue.”

Overall, more than half of Americans (54%) said it was wrong to switch genders by taking hormones or having surgery.

Evangelical believers are almost twice as likely (61%) as non-evangelicals (32%) to say using surgery or hormones to change birth gender is morally wrong. Compared to evangelicals, significantly fewer Catholics (29%), those of non-Christian faiths (41%), or the nonreligious (21%) believe it’s wrong to alter gender by medical means.

Excluding evangelical believers, three-quarters of Americans cite no moral qualms about changing gender identification.

That’s because Americans don’t see moral significance in being born male or female, said LifeWay Research executive director Scott McConnell.

“A majority of Americans reject the view of a creator giving them a gender that shouldn’t be changed,” he said. “We freely change many things about ourselves—we have cosmetic surgery, we use teeth whitener, we dye our hair, we get tattoos. Many Americans view gender as one more thing on that list.”

Americans are even less concerned about identifying with a different gender.

While more than half of evangelical believers (54%) said it’s wrong to identify with a different gender, just 35 percent of Americans share that view.

Only about a quarter of Catholics (26%), a third of those in non-Christian faiths such as Judaism or Islam (35%), and a fifth of the nonreligious (20%) say identifying with a different gender is wrong.

“Evangelical Christians are clearly in the minority on this issue,” McConnell said.

More than 1 in 10 Americans said identifying with a different gender isn’t a matter of morality at all (14%), and almost as many (11%) said it isn’t a moral issue to alter one’s gender through hormones or surgery.

“This reflects a changing worldview,” McConnell said. “A growing percentage of Americans don’t believe in right and wrong. They don’t believe there’s absolute truth—and if there’s no absolute truth, then they’re reluctant to talk about morality.”

Those who personally know a transgendered person are much less likely to consider gender change morally wrong, according to the survey.

Among the 71 percent of Americans who said they have no transgender acquaintances, almost half (48%) said it is wrong to change genders using surgery or hormones, and nearly 4 in 10 (39%) said it is wrong to identify with another gender.

Those numbers drop by more than a third among the 27 percent of Americans who said they know a transgendered person. Only about a quarter of this group said changing gender by medical means (28%) or identifying with a different gender (25%) is wrong.

Acquaintances of transgendered people are also significantly more likely to believe changing gender through surgery or hormones isn’t a matter of morality. About one in six (16%) said such medical intervention is not a moral issue, almost twice as many as those who don’t know a transgendered person (9%).

Evangelicals are less likely than others to know a transgender person (20%) and more likely to have moral objections.

Young adults (18- to 24-year-olds) are most likely to report knowing a transgender person and less likely than others to consider gender change immoral. In that age group, 41 percent have a transgender acquaintance, and 31 percent said it’s wrong to alter gender through surgery or hormones.

More women than men say they know someone who is transgender (32% vs. 21%), but their beliefs about the morality of gender change are similar.


The phone survey of Americans was conducted Sept. 14-28, 2015. The calling used Random Digit Dialing. Fifty percent of completes were among landlines and 50 percent among cell phones. Maximum quotas and slight weights were used for gender, region, age, ethnicity, and education to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,000 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.6 percent. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based, evangelical research firm that specializes in surveys about faith in culture and matters that affect the church.

Source: Where Evangelicals Stand on Transgender Morality

C-Family - C-More


  • Guest
[Cfamily]Cafe Society
« Reply #239 on: July 18, 2016, 07:11:47 AM »
Cafe Society

Woody Allen has come under concentrated fire in the time since his (very bad) last movie, An Irrational Man. I don't want to ignore or downplay the allegations of abuse brought against him by some of his children. (If you're baffled, here's a New York Times article from the Cannes Film Festival.)

But I believe works of art are both generated by and stand apart from their creators, and this year's Allen film is Cafe Society. Allen is the very definition of prolific; by my reckoning, he's made a movie every year, since I've been born. The last truly great one was 2013's Blue Jasmine.

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in 'Cafe Society'

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in 'Cafe Society'

So what is there to say about Cafe Society? It stars Kristen Stewart—and if you're still scoffing at Stewart post-Twilight, the time to stop has long since past. Stewart is a critical and audience darling for a reason: she can do anything, from art film to mainstream movies, and in Cafe Society she works wonders with a pretty thin script. She lives and breathes, and everyone else on screen—including Jesse Eisenberg, the film's ostensible protagonist—seems shot in monochrome by comparison.

In some ways Cafe Society is a movie about nothing, a paean to Old Hollywood glamour that has the unfortunate luck to come out the same year as a much better film about the same thing, the Coen brothers' delightful Hail, Caesar! There is a love triangle between Bobby (Eisenberg) and Vonnie (Stewart), who's also having an affair with Bobby's uncle/big-time Hollywood agent (Steve Carell). That's just the start of the story, and after the fallout, it continues apace.

But the best scenes in the film belong to the cast of Bobby's New York Jewish family members, and one scene in which his parents discuss the afterlife is just about worth the price of admission. Judaism doesn't have an afterlife; Bobby's gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll), faced with the electric chair, converts to Christianity for its promise of an afterlife, to the consternation of his family.

Blake Lively in 'Cafe Society'

Blake Lively in 'Cafe Society'

Maybe the buoyancy of those scenes in particular distracted me from whatever Allen's point is, if he had one at all. But he's an old man these days, and he's been contemplating his mortality for a long time. So maybe I'm not crazy: I think Cafe Society is really a bittersweet contemplation of the idea of an afterlife—a peculation supported by the fact that most of the film, shot by Vittorio Storaro, is bathed in a glow that's both nostalgic and downright heavenly. The movie is about the choices we make, and how they limit what happens in the future.

And what's the afterlife, if not that?

Alissa Wilkinson is Christianity Today's critic at large and an assistant professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City. She is co-author, with Robert Joustra, of How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World. She tweets @alissamarie.

Source: Cafe Society

C-Family - C-More,MoviesandTV/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed,MoviesandTV/platform=/status=guest/visit_source=feed

C-Family @ Faithwall



SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal