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[Cfamily]Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
« Reply #40 on: February 29, 2016, 12:00:25 AM »

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Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump

Max Lucado is a pastor in San Antonio and a bestselling author of 32 books, including the most recent Glory Days. In a 2004 piece, Christianity Today dubbed Lucado “America’s Pastor,” alluding to his broad appeal to mainstream Americans. Part of that appeal can be attributed to his approach to politics: typically, he stays out of it. He never endorsed or opposed a presidential candidate. Then Trump happened.

In a recent blog post, Lucado chose to speak out against what he calls Trump’s “antics,” insisting that, “such insensitivities wouldn’t even be acceptable even for a middle school student body election.”

We talked to Lucado about his motivation for speaking up and how Trump has changed his attitude toward pastoral involvement in politics.

Prior to you publishing your post, “Decency for President” this week, how would you describe your typical approach to politics as a pastor?

I don’t even put a candidate’s bumper sticker on my car. People don’t attend church to hear my views on a presidential candidate.

I would have absolutely no right to speak up except that he repeatedly brandishes the Bible and calls himself a Christian.

In this case, it’s not so much a question about particular policies or strategies about government or even particular opinions. It’s a case of public derision of people. It’s belittling people publicly. It would be none of my business, I would have absolutely no right to speak up except that he repeatedly brandishes the Bible and calls himself a Christian.

I wrote this article and sent it to the Trump team in hopes that they would respond. But they never did. I cannot imagine what their world must be like. Who knows? It probably got lost in some email basket out there. But I tried because I felt that that would be more appropriate to do.

It’s a high stakes thing from my perspective because people make decisions about Christ on the basis of Christians and how we behave. If he’s going to call himself a Christian one day and call someone a bimbo the next or make fun of somebody’s menstrual cycle, it’s just beyond reason to me.

So the tipping point for you came when Trump made outright claims of being a Christian and associated himself with evangelicals?

Yes. There was one occasion he held up a Bible. On another occasion, at Liberty University, he read from Scripture. On multiple occasions he’s said “Of course I’m a Christian.” There was a time in Iowa when he said “I’m a Christian,” and somebody asked about forgiveness and he said “I’ve never asked God for forgiveness.”

I can’t imagine that. I’m just shaking my head going “How does that work?” Does a swimmer say “I’ve never gotten wet?” Does a musician say “I’ve never sung a song?” How does a person claim to be a Christian and never need to ask for forgiveness?

Is it fair to say that you wrote this without thinking through what the fallout might be?

There is no strategy to this. It is what it is. It’s a statement. I have a webpage as you probably know and most of the things I write about are Christian life. The post that preceded this was about living a life of contagious joy. I don’t get into controversy well. I certainly don’t enjoy it this much.

Source: Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #41 on: February 29, 2016, 12:25:44 AM »
O trump is about money equals power and if you agree with him then you idenify with him and make a covenant...

You get dragged along with his lifestyle and image

Its a  story as old as time itself

Image sells as do idols - why not buy into this image ? as you do the record or the dvd.

It is the nearest thing to politics .......

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #42 on: February 29, 2016, 07:38:21 AM »
O trump is about money equals power and if you agree with him then you idenify with him and make a covenant...

You get dragged along with his lifestyle and image

Its a  story as old as time itself

Image sells as do idols - why not buy into this image ? as you do the record or the dvd.

It is the nearest thing to politics .......

You got me thinking. Is it always about image? Do some people buy into (whatever they buy into) due to some perceived substance? - or even a set of ethics/values? (whatever) and as for a record/dvd- maybe just because they like the music?

Hhmmmm to put a different twist on it - what causes someone to join a forum? Does it mean I've chosen to make a covenant with this site? :wink:

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #43 on: February 29, 2016, 11:22:46 AM »
I'm not a clever-clogs, neither do I follow the ins and outs of US politics that much (I probably should take more interest, really) - but what I do know is that some people, politicians or not, will say what *they think* are the right words to convince their hearers that they are genuine and good people.  Trump, in my opinion, is one of those people.

He hasn't a clue what being a Christian is really all about.  He just spouts the things he thinks people want to hear.  I'm with Max on this one.  A Christian cannot, in any sense of the imagination, say he is a Christian but that "I've never asked God for forgiveness". 

Without forgiveness, you remain in a state of sin, and alienated from God. 


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Interview: Q+A with Oscar Nominee: What’s So Funny About the West Bank?

The plot to Ave Maria is as improbable as it is provocative. A Jewish settler family crashes their car into a statue of the Virgin Mary at a Palestinian Carmelite monastery in the West Bank.

Bound by the onset of Sabbath, the Jews can do little to get home. Bound by a vow of silence, the nuns can do little to help. Bound by mutual distrust and annoyance, the odd couple pairing can do little but bicker. Fortunately, spellbound by the comedic touch of 34-year-old producer Basil Khalil, critics around the world can do little but laugh.

This 14-minute short (trailer below) already won top prizes at film festivals in Grenoble, Montpellier, and Dubai before securing a nomination for best live-action short film at this year’s 88th Academy Awards.

Ave Maria is Khalil’s second comedic venture into the deeply divisive and often somber portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict. His 2005 Ping Pong Revenge illustrated the cycles of misery each side inflicts on the other, but in the style of a satirical musical.

Khalil’s short film is not the only recent cinematic foray into the lives of Middle East Christians. The widely acclaimed documentary Open Bethlehem is a passionate account of efforts to intervene in the city’s tragic decline. May in the Summer mirrors Ave Maria‘s mix of religious tension and comedic drama as a successful Jordanian Christian author returns home to marry her Muslim fiancée and runs headlong into deep-seated cultural taboos.

Basil Khalil

Basil Khalil

Khalil knows them well. The son of a Palestinian-Israeli father and British mother, he grew up in Nazareth, near a Carmelite monastery not unlike the one in his film. Oddly enough, he was not allowed to watch movies as a child, developing a love of storytelling from his mother’s reading classic tales to him instead. His father is an evangelist in the Brethren church and runs the well-known Emmaus Bible School in Arab Galilee.

The London-based director developed an international perspective after studying filmmaking in Scotland and living in Italy and Spain. Though his upbringing was fused by faith, Khalil confesses to growing more cynical toward organized religion. CT interviewed him about regional issues, his religious motivations, and the film TheNew York Timescalled "the Middle Eastern answer to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’”

In the United States the conversation about the Arab-Israeli issue is usually in terms of politics, tension, and conflict. What led you to produce a comedy?

I wanted to make a film that’s entertaining, approachable, and that people would come out with some new information. Through comedy, people are more likely willing to sit through it than a heavy preachy political drama.

As I watched the film, though I appreciated the humor and humanness of the characters I also sensed their deep frustration. Is such frustration inescapable given social and political realities?

There is frustration for sure. The man-made rules these two sides have taken upon themselves get in the way of the most basic tasks, talk. On the other hand you have the issue of the master and the servant, where the occupiers and master of the land now needs help and is at the mercy of the people they are used to be in control of. I can’t imagine a more awkward situation for someone to be in.

Given the critical acclaim for Ave Maria, do you think the audience is clamoring for a different take than the typical Hollywood approach to Middle Eastern issues?

I didn’t set out to patronize or criticize, but just display realities, as absurd as they may be. I let the situation play out in front of an audience who identify with the issues the nuns and settlers face because they are also universal issues—lack of communication and extreme religious rules.

Source: Interview: Q+A with Oscar Nominee: What’s So Funny About the West Bank?

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[Cfamily]Did Will Smith Deserve an Oscar Nomination?
« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2016, 12:00:11 AM »
Did Will Smith Deserve an Oscar Nomination?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences appears to have defused the #OscarSoWhite controversy—for now. There are still no actors or actresses of color nominated in this weekend’s ceremony, but changes to the nomination and voting procedures have blunted the movement to boycott the ceremony or lodge some kind of protest.

What about viewers? Should they skip the ceremony to express solidarity with the performers they feel have been slighted? Actors I spoke with—professionals, teachers, and students—expressed dissatisfaction with this slate of nominations but also deep ambivalence about a potential protest. A boycott potentially hurts the individual performers the ceremony is designed to honor more than it helps undervalued artists gain the recognition they are striving for.

A better way to effect change might start with examining the craft of acting so that arguments about awards are informed by something more than name recognition and studio ad campaigns.

Many critics and viewers agreed that actors such as Will Smith (Concussion) and Michael B. Jordan (Creed) deserved to be nominated, especially in the relatively weak field of nominees for Best Actor. But in the wake of their anger and disappointment, an important question was left largely unasked.

That question is this: what does it even mean to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance?

Acting—unlike directing or cinematography—seems like the one part of film production we all think we are qualified to evaluate, whether or not we’re actors. But there’s got to be more to it than sleeping in a bear hide. If we’re going to honor actors and actresses for their work and artistry, and if young actors and actresses want to learn their craft from watching the masters, what should we be looking for?

Seeking answers, I asked a number of actors to talk about the performances that were nominated for an Academy Award this year, one high-visibility performance that was not, and how non-actors can recognize a great performance.

Honesty, Truthfulness, and Emotional Commitment

Carmen Lamar (One Life to Live) is both a professional stage and screen actress and Junior School Director at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, where she teaches Theatre History. Three of the qualities that Lamar values in a performance are “honesty, truthfulness, and emotional commitment.”

Those elements were also prized by others I spoke with. Teal Louis-Segal Barber (Troop 491), a graduate of the Thomas Duke High School for the Performing Arts, says simply, “I look for believability.” Jacob Christian Berger, a Theater Student at Campbell University fleshes out what might make a performance believable: “[Does] the actor’s choice of dialect [and] physical movement make sense? Would a character of a certain culture, social status, et cetera, talk or move the way the actor does?”

While the actors are unanimous in emphasizing credibility as an acid-test for a performance’s acceptability, Lamar adds another important factor to what might make it award worthy—the “difficulty” of the work. “Last year Eddie Redmayne gave a wonderful performance in the The Theory of Everything, but it was Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in The Imitation Game that I feel should have received the award,” she said. “Cumberbatch’s performance was more nuanced and emotionally restrained, moving, and dramatic. Eddie Redmayne’s was more physically challenging and he is an incredibly charming actor, and therefore more noticeable.”

Source: Did Will Smith Deserve an Oscar Nomination?

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[Cfamily]Contact With Mystery
« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2016, 12:00:14 AM »
Contact With Mystery

'The Revenant'

'The Revenant'

The plot of Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant is pretty straightforward: travelers lose their way, complications arise, and Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is separated from his band—but not without a grueling reason to avenge the only thing he really had in the world.

The protagonist’s desire is straightforward: kill Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). It’s the resolution of this want that startles us by the time the credits roll. The ending leaves us wondering what, exactly, was resolved. It isn’t sloppy storytelling, but brilliant mystery: an Iñárritu trademark.

Desire for revenge isn’t the only thing that motivates Hugh in the beginning—his dead wife appears as a sort of Beatrice figure, guiding him through his hell on earth. But somewhere in the bitter cold, Hugh starts following his enemy instead of his guide. The dark desire propelling him then amplifies his list of threats.

The film is marketed as a battle against weather and wilderness, but the “fire” that keeps Hugh alive more than any warm carcass or coaxed flint is the revenge that smolders inside him. The emphasis on fire as a physical and metaphorical lifeline echoes another dark survival tale—The Road (John Hillcoat’s 2009 film based on Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel).

'The Road'

'The Road'

But in The Road, the fire keeps the protagonists alive because it points to something outside of themselves—something beautiful and good. In TheRevenant, the blaze inside Hugh fuels him toward something that will not keep anyone alive or bring anyone back from the dead.

In The Road, the Man keeps the fire alive so that he can send someone into the world (that is, his son). Hugh keeps the fire alive so he can take someone out of the world. The Man in The Road goes to his death to save someone, but Hugh Glass comes back from the dead to kill someone.

The fire is a powerful force.

Both men let go of their agency in the end, but one in peace and one with fear and trembling. Both movies are about surviving in a freezing world full of lurking dangers.

In the endings though, something invisible seems to sustain or save the protagonists. The Road offers a solution to evil through the persistence of “keeping the fire.” The Man and Boy must act to bring about the solution—it takes belief in what is unseen and unlikely. The fire is a flickering “evidence of things hoped for” that might be snuffed out at any moment.

'The Road'

'The Road'

While The Road’s defense against darkness is a murky and desperate faith, The Revenant offers no solution to evil except surrender—another form of faith. The Revenant’s “climax” is about not acting: a surprising coda to such a gritty pursuit.

We usually think of protagonists forming around the choices they make. But Hugh’s surrender wasn’t something he considered and then achieved—rather, it happened to him. This sweeping away of human agency is more commonly found in the beginning of films than at the end.

Iñárritu doesn’t offer a deus ex machina solution to a problem his protagonist can’t solve. Rather, the climax is a form of grace that reveals a better resolution than Hugh determined to achieve. Usually the end of a story is about a giant choice that changes everything. Hugh makes a passive choice rather than an active one.

He lets go.

'The Revenant'

'The Revenant'

Because Hugh’s only motivation is inside of him, the redemption must come from outside of him. Something must snatch away the action that gave him purpose. Someone else must do what he wanted to do.

Source: Contact With Mystery

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[Cfamily]The Secrets I’ve Learned from 30 Years of Church Planting
« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2016, 12:00:11 AM »
The Secrets I’ve Learned from 30 Years of Church Planting

It’s been 30 years since I planted my first church, and I’ve learned a lot since then. I wrote my first book on church planting, I’ve worked denominationally in church planting, I wrote my PhD dissertation in church planting, I’ve consulted with a lot of other denominations and networks in church planting, and now I’m leading—a resource for church planters and multipliers—alongside Daniel Im.

The fact is I love church planters and I love church planting. That’s why I want to share with you a few of the secrets that I’ve learned from my thirty years of experience. They have proven to be true across denominational traditions, so my hope is that these secrets will prevent unnecessary heartache and help you in your journey of planting and multiplying.

1. Evangelism is more important than administration until administration is needed for evangelism.

The reality is you can plant a church in the western world today without sharing the gospel in a way that is transformative. In other words, many pastors have learned administrative skills that have resulted in successful congregational metrics. You may know how to structure a teaching series or the way a congregation worships, but not know how to evangelize a church into existence. To evangelize a church into existence, you need to start by planting the gospel through evangelism, which leads to disciple-making, which then leads to congregational formation—this is by far the healthier way to go about planting churches.

Most failed church plants are related to personal issues.

2. Failure is overstated, but most failure comes from personal issues.

After decades of observing church planters I’ve seen failure over and over again. You may have heard someone say that 80% of church plants fail in the first year—well, that’s wrong; it’s misinformation. I’ve talked with the people who came up with the statistic, and they know it’s wrong and they don’t even use it anymore.

What we discovered though is most failed church plants are related to personal issues. The stress cracks in many marriages—already present before planting—tend to be magnified after planting. I’ve learned that you have to manage yourself, pastor your family, and prioritize the personal things in order to avoid failure.

Other personal issues can include an inability to manage money, anger issues, adultery, internet porn, and ignoring one’s kids. The list is endless, but each one is a prospective ministry killer.

3. Conferences can inspire and undermine you at the same time.

Great stories at conferences are inspirational, but whenever you hear those great stories the temptation is to think that they’re normal. So the next time you go to a conference, please don’t compare yourself to those outliers that planted and grew their church to 6000 people in three years. The normal experience in church planting is under 100 people in attendance the first four years. Remember this: church planting is a long hard slog that leads to some beautiful and wonderful results—just don’t let conferences become illusions that distract you from the real and wonderful thing.

The normal experience in church planting is under 100 people in attendance the first four years.

Essential Church Planting Course

Because I love church planters and church planting so much, Daniel and I recently brought together church planting practitioners and developed a course to help you plant and multiply. It’s called Essential Church Planting.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people who have gone and planted churches without taking courses on it or reading books on it. It’s absolutely bizzare and absurd. Would you wire a house without having or obtaining knowledge of electricity, building codes and structural soundness? This is a word for someone who would do such a thing, and it isn’t a nice one. So why, on such a crucial matter as planting a church, would someone choose to remain unlearned?


Instead, go to Essential Church Planting and get the first three sessions—taught by yours truly–absolutely for free, handouts and all. I think you’ll be encouraged:

  • Module 1: The Secrets I’ve Learned from 30 Years of Church Planting

  • Module 2: The 5 Things Every Church Planter Needs to Know

  • Module 3: Church Planting Autopsies: Lessons from Failed Church Planters

Source: The Secrets I’ve Learned from 30 Years of Church Planting

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