Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 437695 times)

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[Cfamily]‘Big Little Lies’ Tells the Truth
« Reply #496 on: March 15, 2017, 07:03:29 PM »

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‘Big Little Lies’ Tells the Truth

How the new HBO murder-mystery series gets motherhood right.

Big Little Lies is a lot of things: an adaptation of one of Oprah’s favorite beach novels, a miniseries produced by its stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, an excuse for innumerable shots of the coastline near Big Sur, a murder mystery unfolding in flashback, a satire of the privileged class and helicopter parenting, a melodrama about midlife crises, and a meta-commentary on how Hollywood’s female roles are comparatively less complex than the series’ characters.

While the plot of this new HBO series is moved forward by intertwined tales of mystery and friendship, its clearest preoccupation is the complexity of women’s identities, especially as they approach midlife. In the second episode, Reese Witherspoon’s character, Madeline, gazes thoughtfully toward the ocean when her first grader asks why Mommy so frequently stares at the sea. She answers, “The ocean is powerful. Mostly it’s vast. It’s full of life, mystery. Who knows what lies out there beneath the surface?” “Monsters?” asks Chloe. “Monsters? Maybe,” responds Madeline. “Dreams. Sunken treasure. It’s the great unknown.”

Their exchange works as a metaphor for how this narrative imagines its female characters: lasting but changeable, teeming with life, but maybe hiding beasts in the depths beneath the eye-catching surface.

Set in the town of Monterey, California, the story puts in motion a series of slights and confrontations that resemble a real-life “mommy war.” Central characters Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), and Renata (Laura Dern) are a veritable pantheon of mom types. Witherspoon is the over-involved “alpha” of the ...

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Russell Moore Still Has a Job, Though 100 Churches Have Threatened to Pull SBC Funds

Meeting between ERLC president and Southern Baptist leader Frank Page results in ‘mutual understanding,’ not a firing.

Russell Moore still has his job, after today’s much-discussed meeting with Southern Baptist leader Frank Page.

“We deepened our friendship and developed mutual understanding on ways we believe will move us forward as a network of churches,” wrote Moore and Page in a joint statement.

“We fully support one another and look forward to working together on behalf of Southern Baptists in the years to come,” they stated. “We will collaborate on developing future steps to deepen connections with all Southern Baptists as we work together to advance the Great Commission of our lord Jesus Christ.”

Today’s consternation on social media over Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), came after more than 100 churches threatened to end their donations to the SBC’s Cooperative Program, which supports Moore’s ERLC but also the denomination’s six seminaries, two missions agencies, and other efforts.

The churches represent less than 1 percent of the 46,000 congregations that make up America’s largest Protestant denomination. But they also represent the most complaints on any issue “in recent memory,” according to the SBC’s Executive Committee, which is investigating the problem in search of “redemptive solutions.”

The highest-profile threat has come from Prestonwood Baptist Church, led by past SBC president Jack Graham, which stated it would escrow up to $1 million from the Cooperative Program. Such a sum would only represent less than 1 percent of the program’s approximately $190 million budget. But the decision captivated the Baptist blogosphere. (Ed Stetzer, past ...

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[Cfamily]Gleanings: April 2017
« Reply #498 on: March 17, 2017, 07:03:07 PM »
Gleanings: April 2017

Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our April issue).

Sudan: Czech missionary gets life sentence for spying

A Czech aid worker has been sentenced by Sudan to life in prison for spying and waging war on the Muslim nation. Petr Jasek was arrested in December 2015, along with three Sudanese pastors, after attempting to help a Sudanese man get treatment for burns suffered during a student demonstration. Jasek was accused of “tarnishing Sudan’s image” by documenting persecution. Two of the accused pastors were sentenced to 12 years in prison for espionage and stoking sectarian strife; the third pastor was found innocent and released. Sudan ranks No. 5 on Open Doors’ list of countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian.

[Update (Feb. 27): Sudan frees Czech missionary imprisoned for life]

Brazil: Prosperity pastor’s prosperity investigated

Police in Brazil are investigating a prominent pastor accused of using church accounts to help launder stolen mining royalties. The biblically named Operation Timoteo included 16 searches and raids, 12 arrests, and the seizure of $21 million in assets. One raid was at the home of Silas Malafaia, a former Assemblies of God vice president who broke away to build a televangelism empire. Malafaia, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $150 million, said it was impossible to keep track of all his donations. “Does it mean that if someone is a bad guy and gives me an offering without my knowing the origin, I’m the bad guy?” he asked his 1.3 million Twitter followers. He told reporters that if the Brazilian government can prove the money was illegal, he will return it.

Russia: Protestants challenge anti-evangelism law

Six months after Russia restricted evangelism as part of anti-terrorism efforts, more ...

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[Cfamily]The Strange Encouragement of the Church’s Appalling History
« Reply #499 on: March 18, 2017, 07:01:52 PM »
The Strange Encouragement of the Church’s Appalling History

The lives of our greatest heroes often undermined the gospel they so eloquently preached.

In the last year, the greatest challenge to my faith has been reading about the church’s history (mainly from Diarmaid MacCulloch’s A History of Christianity). In many ways, the story of Christianity is full of light—mission, education, art, healthcare, abolition, compassion, justice—and I have read, taught, and loved that story for many years.

But there is an undeniable dark side: attacking, burning, crusading, drowning, enslaving, flogging, ghettoizing, hunting, imprisoning, Jew-hating, killing, lynching, and so on through the entire alphabet. What makes this difficult to stomach is that the people involved, as far as we know, have loved God, followed Jesus, and received his Spirit.

This poses several problems for believers today. There is an apologetic problem: If God is real, and his church is the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we really ought to be doing better. There is a practical problem: The consequences of our actions continue to sour the world, blighting efforts to cultivate peace and justice. There is a theological problem, namely that we are standing on the doctrinal shoulders of some who behaved appallingly. There is even a personal problem, in that the numerous specks in our ancestors’ eyes mean that there must be at least one or two logs in ours.

A short while ago, I had a bonfire in my garden, and as I threw more wood onto the blazing mound, I couldn’t help thinking, “We used to do this to people. God forgive us.” Considering our failures can be upsetting. Yet it can also be instructive, challenging, and even encouraging to reflect on what the dark side of our history teaches. We can learn a lot about our shape from our shadow.

The first thing to ...

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[Cfamily]The Church’s Three-Part Harmony
« Reply #500 on: March 19, 2017, 07:01:09 PM »
The Church’s Three-Part Harmony

Why evangelical, sacramental, and Pentecostal Christians belong together in one body.

Christ prayed that his followers would be one (John 17:11, 22). But the global church is clearly and deeply divided—the Catholics broke from the Orthodox, then the Protestants broke from the Catholics, and now the Protestants are endlessly divided among themselves.

American evangelicals are currently engaged in some soul searching about what precisely constitutes an “evangelical”—and whether that designation is even worth keeping. Many gen-Xers and millennials, unsatisfied with the consumer-style churches favored by their parents, have departed for more liturgical forms of worship characterized by creeds, incense, and rituals. And all the while, especially in the global South, Pentecostal churches continue to grow, though not without creating controversy along the way.

In such an unsettled environment, how can Jesus’ prayer for church unity possibly be fulfilled?

Gordon T. Smith, president of Ambrose University in Canada, has an exciting and promising proposal in his book Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal: Why the Church Should Be All Three. Smith has fashioned a beautiful vision for the unity and interdependence of these major streams of the church.

Smith’s descriptors obviously need some teasing out. By evangelical, he refers to those churches characterized by a high regard for Scripture. By sacramental, he has in mind churches—Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopalian—that place a great deal of weight on the significance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. By Pentecostal, Smith means churches that seek the immediate presence of the Holy Spirit and aim to recapture the spiritual vitality of the apostolic age.

What Smith offers is no airy-fairy ecumenical project. His point ...

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Interview: An Inside Look at China’s Remarkable Religious Resurgence

Journalist Ian Johnson sees faith on the rise where it was once ruthlessly suppressed.

Under Mao Zedong’s dictatorship, Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism suffered persecution and near-extinction. In recent decades, however, they have each made an astounding comeback. In The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, Ian Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author who has covered China for The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and other publications, offers an intimate look at this remarkable recovery. CT editor at large Rob Moll spoke with Johnson about the reasons for spiritual ferment among the Chinese people.

What spurred your interest in China’s religious resurgence?

When I first went to China in the 1980s, I thought there was probably no religious belief at all. The Cultural Revolution had ended just eight years before, and there were almost no churches, temples, or mosques open. It seemed like religion had just been wiped out. In retrospect, this was completely wrong. The public practice of religion had been wiped out, but for many religions, the first 30 years of Communist rule were almost like a crucible. And this was especially true for Protestantism. Religious life was forced underground, and then it grew. And when the Cultural Revolution ended, it just took off. That became clearer when I came back to China in the 1990s.

If you want to understand China, it’s not enough just to understand the political and economic system or the foreign policy. All of these are important, but you also need to look at the inner life of the country. And the more time I spent there, the more I could see the vital importance of religion for the Chinese people. Many people sensed a spiritual vacuum and a confusion about what their society stands for morally—and they turned to religion ...

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[Cfamily]The Diffusion and Influence of Contemporary Worship
« Reply #502 on: March 21, 2017, 07:09:57 PM »
The Diffusion and Influence of Contemporary Worship

How does worship music style relate to congregational growth?

In the past half century, perhaps no other Christian ministry innovation has been more influential and polarizing than contemporary worship. It has been maligned, celebrated, blamed for church splits (especially during the “worship wars” of the 1990s), credited for congregational growth, accused of fostering shallow, religious consumerism, praised for catalyzing spiritual revitalization among individuals and movements, and so forth. Another example of its contemporary significance is how worship commonly delineates one Christian community from another. Arguing that the choice of worship style has become as defining marker of evangelical communities and functions as a veritable ichthus, Greg Scheer posits:


…denominational loyalty has all but eroded, replaced by music style. It used to be that a family would move to a new town and look for the nearest Baptist or Episcopal church, but now they look for the nearest ‘contemporary,’ ‘blended’ or ‘emerging’ church. And how do they know that the Methodist church down the road is an Evangelical boomer community? Because it advertises a ‘contemporary’ service (95).

In part one of this short series exploring research related to the diffusion and influence of the contemporary worship, I will point to some recent findings as it relates to current congregational practices and correlations to congregational growth.

But before we get to the research findings, we begin with the arduous task of defining what we mean by “contemporary worship” (let alone the confusion about what worship means!). In their forthcoming book, Lovin’ on Jesus, Lester Ruth and Swee Hong Lim provide a helpful and concise history of contemporary ...

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #503 on: March 21, 2017, 10:15:02 PM »
A case is made for 'contempory worship' and some aspects of contempory worship are a vital neccesity in worship, but
What the article goes on to major on is, music and singing.
The evidence for young people leaving in droves from our churches is over whelaming and is overwhelming in that the reason they leave is they are not being taught that Christianity is historically true and factual or how to defend their faith.
Interestingly this is one of the higher requirements of contempory worship yet is not tackled in the article.

read this link for a thorough review of scholarly articles and books documenting the full bodied flight of the young from churches:-

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