Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 435781 times)

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[Cfamily]Let's Be Honest: Labor Is Trauma
« Reply #240 on: July 19, 2016, 07:01:03 AM »

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Let's Be Honest: Labor Is Trauma

By now, many of you have seen the photo floating around Facebook. In the foreground, a beaming dad relaxes on a hospital bed, holding a capped, burrito-wrapped baby and giving the camera a thumbs-up as he snaps a selfie. Shirtless, her back to the camera, the newly delivered mother stands facing the window, clad only in the disposable underpants and large absorbent pads familiar on the maternity ward.

28-year-old Amanda Bacon posted this image of herself to Facebook last week, calling it “Motherhood Uncensored.” In her original post, Bacon said she shared the photo because she wanted to show how “raw, stunning, messy, and freaking hilarious” motherhood is, and because “the realities of postpartum life” are too often taboo.

The post resonated with many and garnered well over a half million likes and tens of thousands of shares and comments, with numerous media outlets covering the phenomenon. “A lot of women were tagging their friends and saying, ‘this is what you have to look forward to,’” Bacon told People magazine. “It was really neat, like a bonding experience.”

As a doula, I’m all for unashamedly embracing the earthiest aspects of childbearing. There will be blood and other fluids. There will be leaking. Many aspects of childbirth and postpartum life are not particularly pretty. So the enthusiastic response to Amanda Bacon’s photograph—with its honest, humorous, and even celebratory take on childbearing—shouldn’t surprise us. It’s a form of female solidarity and a way of warning other women about what to expect when their time comes.

Well, sort of.

Something unsettles me about Bacon’s photograph. I discussed it with Megan Hill, another CT contributor, and she put her finger on it: there’s a striking disconnect between the calm and beaming dad in the foreground and the nearly naked, diapered woman in the background. In her interview with People, Bacon emphasized that she thought it was “hilarious” that her husband took the photo. She edited her Facebook post to make clear that it was she, not he, who published it on social media.

Even so, she’s captured in a vulnerable moment, and something in me wanted to cover her up. Yes, we need female solidarity, and it’s helpful to acknowledge and embrace the earthy realities of childbirth, but maybe not quite like this.

Although I may sound curmudgeonly when I say this, too much levity about the indignities and fleshiness of childbirth worries me. While it is not recognized as such in the DSM-V, the so-called “bible” of mental disorder diagnoses, many women experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in childbirth’s wake. I’m one of them.

Source: Let's Be Honest: Labor Is Trauma

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #241 on: July 19, 2016, 05:33:41 PM »
Labour is trauma? I don't think the Conservatives are that much better as they've also been in turmoil of late.


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[Cfamily]Weekend Edition—July 15, 2016
« Reply #242 on: July 20, 2016, 07:01:44 AM »
Weekend Edition—July 15, 2016

The Pastors Out to Save Millennials’ SoulsAmanda Abrams

Great reminder of the need for planting churches in difficult areas.

The Church at Its Racial Turning PointTheon E. Hill

Thankful for the churches that are stepping up and praying that more will do so.

Russia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of ChurchKate Shellnut

Russian seems to be heading back to USSR views on religious freedom.

Reflections on Amplify 16: a Fantastic WeekAlvin Reid

Thankful for my friend Alvin and appreciate these meaningful remarks.

My Church Is Having A Cookout This WeekendJay Sanders

This rural Georgia church isn’t waiting for the government to “do something about race relations.”

Don’t forget to subscribe to the The Exchange Podcast in iTunes. Click here to listen to my interview with Jason Peters.

This Week on The Exchange

Learning to Recognize the Shepherd’s Voice

Two Statistics Every Church Planter Needs to Know

Leadership Development According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Di-ver-si-ty: Overcoming Homogeneity in Our Churches

Alcohol Abuse, Perry Noble, and the Church's Response—What Now?

Church Signs

Good thing the law has been fulfilled.

“Lovelutionaries”? That’s not a word, right?

Bring your car, too!

Thanks to Randall Bach, Tim Brister, and Alan Hirsch for this week’s church signs. As always you can tweet your signs to @EdStetzer.

Source: Weekend Edition—July 15, 2016

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[Cfamily]Saturday is for Seminars—Church of God LEAD
« Reply #243 on: July 21, 2016, 07:16:08 AM »


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[Cfamily]Trends in Church Architecture, Part 1
« Reply #244 on: July 22, 2016, 07:12:38 AM »
Trends in Church Architecture, Part 1

Facilities are important to churches—that’s self evident. In this article—the first in a series on trends in church buildings—I will make a few philosophical observations about church facilities and their importance.

Much ecclesiological conversation these days indicates a love-hate relationship with church and church buildings. Yet historically, many people find and follow God in sacred places and spaces.

I have the privilege of preaching in a variety of facilities over the last few years. Every facility I visit has unique designs and values. Maybe that is why I’ve noticed the importance of worship space over the course of my ministry. From Pentecostals in the U.S. South to Westminster Chapel in London, the diverse facilities were as stunning as their diverse traditions and values.

Buildings can be a telling of God’s story to our culture. If we are going to have buildings—which is actually neither a biblical requirement nor always helpful—then we should at least use them well, leveraging them for maximum influence needs to be part of our strategy.

As such, I’m asking, what can we learn about buildings? Certainly the series will from my (limited) vantage point, and I am not an architect so that is all I have, but maybe it will be help.

In his book Desiring the Kingdom, James K.A. Smith points out the importance of facilities and atmosphere in ritually shaping our habits and desires by showing us what is important in life. Using the shopping mall as an example, Smith demonstrates that how we move through a space and what we experience in that space has a formative impact on us. I believe the same thing is true of our church buildings.

The following are four philosophical reasons of why our buildings are important to our overall church strategy.

1. Worship Facilities Can Suggest a Theological Tradition

Church buildings have been traditionally designed to highlight certain aspects of the churches theology. As one moves through these facilities, the important and distinct aspects of that particular congregation become apparent.

The beautiful building in which the Christ Church in Plano, Texas worships is a wonderful example of this theologically-driven architecture.

Like many other Anglican churches, Christ Church highlighted their beliefs by constructing a sanctuary that reflects the cross of Christ. The central space of worship is often designed to highlight certain aspects of the churches beliefs.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to preach at Fairhaven Ministries, a Dutch reformed megachurch in Grand Rapids, MI. The centrality of God’s word in their worship service is highlighted by the architecture. The central focal point of the worship space is the pulpit. Minimal ornamentation avoids visual distraction and keeps the sacred desk the focus. (That’s very Dutch Reformed, trust me.)

2. Worship Facilities Can Reflect a Philosophy of Ministry

For some churches, their use of space reflects their philosophy of ministry. Worship buildings are designed to intuitively move people from one space to another, often communicating what is important to that particular church family.

If you have ever visited North Point Church in the greater Atlanta area you have experienced this. At North Point, the goal is to move people from the foyer (where people are welcomed as guests), to the living room (where people connect with the ministry), and then to the kitchen (where people serve in the ministry). The actual worship facility of North Point physically moves people through an intentional process built around their philosophy of ministry.

3. Worship Facilities Can Evoke a Posture of Worship

If you have ever walked into a high (liturgical) church, the atmosphere and ornamentation in the facility, more than likely, had an effect on your physical posture. The intricate design, religious paintings, stained glass, and worship elements evoke a sense of the transcendent. It is quite unlikely that worship will open with an electric guitar solo in a contemporary worship song. It is almost intuitive that when one enters into a space such as this, a posture of reverence and quietness is understood.

West End UMC in Nashville (pictured at the top) is just such a building.

Churches that evoke the transcendent are quite a contrast from walking into a warehouse space that has been redesigned to house a modern church. In most cases there will be no religious symbols or ornamentation in the architecture at all. Much of the worship atmosphere is created by lighting and digital media. In reality, these differences in architecture do not necessarily change ones worship, which is a matter of the heart. However, they do reflect differences in intentional use of space.

4. Worship Facilities Can Communicate A Cultural Engagement

We could jump in my car right now and I could drive you to a low income part of town where most of the houses and business show the effects of hard financial times. Interestingly enough, situated in these areas it is not uncommon to find a pristine church facility built from exquisite materials resting on a well-manicured lawn. The contrast may cause some to scratch their heads.

On the other hand, we can also find church facilities that reflect the context in which they are situated. In these situations, the church buildings become part of landscape as a whole. Visually, they belong there and communicate they are part of the community.

Other churches have found ways to include their surrounding geographic landscape in the worship experience. Saddleback Church is an example. It feels like a southern California church. In order to include elements familiar to their worshipers, the architects included several glass walls that allow the exterior geography to become part of the visual aesthetic of the worship center.

In a very real way, the view of the countryside reminds the worshipers they are part of a specific church family in a specific cultural context. (Full disclosure, it was: distracting to me when I preached there—I kept thinking how nice the outside looked!)

A philosophy of church facilities is something many Christians and many pastors overlook until they walk into a worship space that brings purposeful architecture to the forefront of the worship experience.

Does your building correspond with your philosophy of ministry? I’m not saying you should do any of these things, but I am saying you should think more than just about the four walls.

More on that next time…

Source: Trends in Church Architecture, Part 1

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[Cfamily]Star Trek Beyond
« Reply #245 on: July 23, 2016, 07:02:42 AM »
Star Trek Beyond

In the latest installment from the rebooted franchise, the gang is back at it, trekking amongst the stars—though if you thought their bold going where no man has gone before might reach new heights in this movie, you're out of luck. The Beyond in Star Trek Beyond was probably just something someone came up with because it sounded cool. That's its only real flaw: that it's a trenchantly conventional take.

Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban in 'Star Trek Beyond'

Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban in 'Star Trek Beyond'

But that might be okay. In a summer top-heavy with ponderous apocalyptic superhero movies and depressing underachievers, Star Trek Beyond is a breath of fresh air—not a clever or innovative movie, but one with at least an idea in its head and the dose of optimism we all need right about now.

In this installment, Kirk (Chris Pine) is getting a little tired of life out among the stars (in a wink at the audience, he narrates in a log that life feels like it's getting kind of episodic). He's applied for a job as a vice admiral, which would ground him a bit more. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is feeling a similar impulse. Neither of them are telling each other.

The crew is called in to rescue a stranded ship, but soon realize it's an ambush. The crew is separated and must find each other on the planet, while dodging various dangers and meeting Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), who's been living on the planet for a while and is the key to helping them get out alive.

That's because Krall (Idris Elba) is after them. Krall is a headscratcher of a villain for a good deal of the movie, apparently just inexplicably bad to the bone. Eventually we find out his backstory, though, and it underlines the movie's main idea: that there is “strength in unity,” as Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) tells Krall at one point. The Federation, they claim—even despite its faults—is a good thing, and it promotes peace, and it is worth preserving. We are stronger together than apart.

Sofia Boutella and Simon Pegg in 'Star Trek Beyond'

Sofia Boutella and Simon Pegg in 'Star Trek Beyond'

You can guess where it goes from there: this is, after all, still a summer blockbuster, and the usual things have to happen involving a number of innocent lives being in danger and Our Hero swooping in to fight the villain and save the day. But it’s a blockbuster for nerds who think it’s fun to hear characters straightfacedly hollering coordinates and sectors and (I presume invented) technological orders.

Science fiction is a marvelous vehicle for exploring political and social concerns, and Star Trek has a tradition of promoting pluralism and tolerance through its stories. Beyond's insistence that strong alliances and friendships are our best bet at survival is timely—especially released against the backdrop of the American political party conventions marked by internal warring, as well as heightened tensions between citizens and police. Beyond also suggests that sometimes that unity fails and leaves the weak behind, and that the consequences of this are dire and sobering.

The film's faith in people's ability to work together for the greater good is, at times, a bit utopian—but it's a welcome, and even optimistic, relief from usual summer fare. That the characters still address one another, even during the moments of greatest peril, with the honorific “mister” before their last names fills me with a rosy golden-age nostalgia, and I’m okay with that.

Source: Star Trek Beyond

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[Cfamily]We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve
« Reply #246 on: July 24, 2016, 07:04:13 AM »
We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

I met these words scrawled on the bathroom wall at a diner in the Twin Cities about a year ago. I found the statement so confronting, so profound, that I felt its truth before I had the chance to process it. All I could do was take a picture of the words, then return to my late night eats with my friend. We talked and people watched into the early hours.

I learned later that the statement came from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Days, weeks, months afterward, the words wouldn’t leave me alone. These words invited me to dig deeper. What kind of love have I accepted? What do I think I deserve?

I reflected on earlier chapters of my life and different kinds of love I’d accepted in relationships and friendships. I sometimes accepted a love that required that I gave much more and accepted a lot less in return. When that love was withdrawn, I was distraught. I’d work hard to change, to improve. I felt I needed to prove I was worthy to receive that love again. I was insecure—and it was exhausting.

That was then, this is now . . . isn’t it?

I reflected on my relationship with God. His love found me before I knew I was lost. He paid a debt I couldn’t pay, gave me peace instead of punishment. Mercy. A love I know I don’t deserve. Grace.

When I accept the love God actually has for me, I’m overwhelmed by its disorienting, relentless abundance. Love fills in the cracks in my heart. It satisfies and secures. Then it overflows, defining my relationships and my worldview in entirely new ways.

Yet there are still moments when I interpret God’s love through human filters: cultural pressures and echoes of past brokenness. Fear and shame, scarcity and insecurity, dictate the kind of love I think I deserve: a love that says God will love me more if I pray harder, read the Bible more, give more money and time and effort. A love that says that yes, I’m forgiven, but it’s not forgotten, so just to prove how sorry I am I’ll not quite forgive myself and try to overcompensate for my past failings. A love that’s proud of me when I do well in Christian things and live the “right” way.

It’s exhausting.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Those words weren’t just scrawled on a bathroom wall; they’re written all over the walls of my heart.

They were a timely reminder of the truth that I’ve been completely loved before I could even try to deserve it.

They remind me of the way that grace overcame my guilt and my striving, my need to prove to earn, to improve.

They return me to a love that heals and cleanses and satisfies—that overflows into how I live and love and grow.

They tell me that I don’t need to look back.

That was then. Grace is now.

This article is used by permission; it originally appeared on Get to know Jo by checking out her podcast, Lead Stories.

Source: We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

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[Cfamily]Becoming the Woman I Already Was
« Reply #247 on: July 25, 2016, 07:00:38 AM »
Becoming the Woman I Already Was

“What if Charity is actually a man and hasn’t told Dad?” one of the boys said at the table one evening during dinner. Another chimed in, “Yeah, I think Charity is really a man.”

“I’m not a man,” I protested. “I’m a woman. I dress like a woman. I’m married to your dad.” I sighed, hardly believing I was having this conversation with my stepsons.

“Are you going to chime in here?” I asked Steve. He just smiled.

“I’m not even going to acknowledge those comments with a response,” I said. I feigned offense while chuckling under my breath. I know they were teasing. If there’s one thing I still marvel at after two and a half years of being a stepmom, it’s the vast range of entirely inappropriate comments that preteen and teenage boys can come up with in the name of humor. Calling their stepmom a man disguised as a woman fell firmly into that category.

But their teasing hinted at a question I have been wrestling with for years. I am a woman, but what makes me so? Besides my obvious anatomical features and apart from the “F” on my birth certificate and driver’s license, how else would I defend who I am?

Am I a Woman if I’m Not a Wife or Mother?

For the forty-two years I was single, I struggled even more to answer this question. Some of the obvious ways society might identify me as a woman—being wife or mother—were off the table for me. I didn’t even date much, and by the time I was thirty-seven, cancer had rendered me surgically sterile.

Most of my days were spent in contexts in which my gender didn’t seem to matter. Men and women both performed the same job duties I did. I had platonic friendships with men and women. I lived by myself and took care of my home, my lawn, my car, and my bills all on my own. There was no obvious distinction between me and any of the men or women I encountered each day. We all existed in a state of suspended genderless-ness.

Or so I thought.

Cultural Norms: Doors, Dresses, and Dishes

Every once in a while, I would interact with boys or men in a way that would remind me I was different. When a stranger helped me carry large bags of ice to the car or my best friend insisted her seven-year-old son hold the door open for me, I was confronted with the ways our society often distinguishes between the sexes. I know some women who would be offended by such gestures of male chivalry and it wasn’t that I was looking for a knight in shining armor. But somehow I craved anything that defined me specifically as a woman. Contrast seemed the most obvious way.

Source: Becoming the Woman I Already Was

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