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Died: Peter Berger, Prominent Sociologist of Religion
« Reply #576 on: July 07, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »

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Died: Peter Berger, Prominent Sociologist of Religion

(UPDATED) His work 'made all the theologians just want to be sociologists when they grew up.'


Peter Berger, an “incurable Lutheran” who became one of America’s most respected sociologists of religion, has died.


Boston University (BU) announced the passing this week of the 88-year-old professor emeritus, who founded the school’s Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs in 1985 and led it to become a leading source of scholarship on “religion in an age of globalization.”


An opponent of the “God is dead” movement popular in academia, Berger became “something of a rock star among Christ-following academics,” Gordon College president and sociologist Michael Lindsay explained in a CT tribute.


Southern Seminary president Al Mohler praised Berger as “perhaps the most influential social thinker of our times” and “one of the individuals I cite most frequently.”


Berger’s writing was “so good that it made all the theologians just want to be sociologists when they grew up,” stated Gregory Thornbury, president of The King’s College, in a tweet that also praised scholar Rodney Stark.


“There have been few scholars as independently-minded and as influential,” tweeted Hunter Baker, author of The End of Secularism and a professor of political science at Union University.


Berger was revered among evangelical scholars, though not an evangelical himself.


“This is not my community. I’m evangelisch but not evangelical,” he told Gordon College’s Center for Faith and Inquiry (CFI) in a 2013 interview. “I usually describe myself as incurably Lutheran, but I’m very comfortable with evangelicals. And between evangelicals and mainline Protestants, I prefer evangelicals for reasons theologically.” ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/77695.jpg?w=460
https://www.bu.edu/pardeeschool/2017/06/28/rip-founding-director-of-cura-prof-peter-berger-dies-at-88/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/us/obituary-peter-berger-dead-theologian-sociologist.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/june-web-only/why-christian-scholars-loved-peter-berger.html
https://twitter.com/albertmohler/status/880225748245770244
https://twitter.com/greg_thornbury/status/880419215240568832
https://twitter.com/hunterbaker/status/880274828103741440
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/june/died-peter-berger-sociologist-religion-secularization-theor.html
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What the Single in Your Pew Needs from You
« Reply #577 on: July 08, 2017, 01:00:53 AM »
What the Single in Your Pew Needs from You

Singles are on the rise. Here’s what forward-looking churches need to know.


According to recent Pew data, the number of married Americans is at its lowest point since at least 1920. In 2015, only half of Americans ages 18 and over were married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Put another way: Singles are on the rise and beginning to outnumber marrieds. The church, however, doesn’t reflect those numbers. According to a recent Barna study, while more than half of Americans (54%) between the ages of 18 and 49 are single, only 23 percent of active churchgoers are single. “Your church should be filling up at least half of your pews with single people,” writes Joyce Chiu for Barna Trends. “So what will get them there?”


In my recent book, One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church, I share my own experiences as well as those of many other single Christians with whom I’ve talked over the past several years. What emerges is a portrait of an evangelical church that is still firmly family-centered even while the demographics within it have shifted. Single people make up more and more of the church body, which means forward-looking local churches benefit from understanding us and incorporating us meaningfully into community life. Although single and married believers are in the same boat together—we’re all at church to worship and serve God—nonetheless singles have unique needs. We want to be visible; we want to belong. We also have unique contributions to make in advancing Christ’s kingdom.


So how can your local church create a welcoming space for singles?


Recognize that single people’s needs may look different from yours.

When a single person talks about feeling lonely, it’s common for a married person to counter that he or she often ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/ovATpruWegw/what-single-in-your-pew-needs-from-you.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/77626.jpg?w=460
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/13/5-facts-about-love-and-marriage/
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/06/new-census-data-show-more-americans-are-tying-the-knot-but-mostly-its-the-college-educated/
https://www.barna.com/single-minded-church/
https://www.amazon.com/One-Welcoming-Singles-Your-Church/dp/080107293X
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/june/what-single-in-your-pew-needs-from-you.html
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CFamily

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Buffet Discipleship: Picking and Choosing in Unbiblical Proportions
« Reply #578 on: July 09, 2017, 01:00:52 AM »
Buffet Discipleship: Picking and Choosing in Unbiblical Proportions

The root of being a disciple is discipline.


The allure of a well-stocked buffet is that you can load up on the foods you love and avoid those you dislike. For most of us, this means plates over-laden with entrees and desserts and void of foods we find unpleasant. We don’t include foods we don’t like, such as (for many of us) brussel sprouts, or even foods we think are boring, such as cottage cheese or gelatin. When faced with so many gastronomic options, we lack the discipline to fill our plates with well-balanced choices or to avoid sugary treats that really aren’t good for us. What we eat is based on our personal preferences, not based on the guidelines set forth by the USDA.


Arguably, many of us treat our spiritual lives like a buffet. Instead of following the entire menu of spiritual disciplines, we pick and choose what biblical guidelines we will or will not follow. While we know God prescribes a balanced diet of numerous disciplines, we tend to pick and choose in our spiritual lives just as we pick and choose in a buffet. Correspondingly, just as continually ignoring certain types of food at the buffet will result in us being physically malnourished, so continually ignoring mandates from God will result in us being spiritually malnourished.


Here are some reasons we suffer from spiritual malnourishment.


1. We don’t understand what we need to be healthy.


Since their inception, the USDA dietary guidelines have been presented in wheels, squares, pyramids, and plates. The recent iteration, My Plate, was launched in 2011, when the USDA abandoned the rainbow-banded pyramid that festooned our cereal boxes. After almost 20 years of redesign, they discontinued the graphic because people just didn’t understand what the pyramid meant in relation ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/77701.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/june/buffet-discipleship-picking-and-choosing-in-unbiblical-prop.html
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CFamily

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Why Christian Scholars Loved Peter Berger
« Reply #579 on: July 10, 2017, 01:00:59 AM »
Why Christian Scholars Loved Peter Berger

His sympathetic treatment of faith made him a rock star among Christ-following academics.


In 1966, a Viennese-born sociologist, not quite 40 years old, produced a scholarly work that changed the world. Or more precisely, it changed the way we see and shape the world.


The Social Construction of Reality, named one of the top five sociology publications of the 20th century by the International Sociological Association, became required reading for graduate students around the world soon after its publication. Moreover, Peter Berger (who coauthored the book with Thomas Luckmann) became one of the most recognized social scientists of the last century.


On June 27, Berger passed away at his home in suburban Boston, concluding a lifetime of scholarly influence and a career that made him one of the most notable scholars of his generation.


It was Berger’s fascination with religion that made him and his work so significant to evangelical Christians. He called himself an “incurable Lutheran,” and his liberal Protestant theology might have placed him at odds with many evangelical leaders 100 years ago. But in our increasingly pluralistic world, Berger’s sympathetic treatment of spirituality and faith made him something of a rock star among Christ-following academics.


In the 1960s and 1970s, Berger’s work underscored the importance of social structures—and how they come to be through human actions (what social scientists refer to as individual “agency”). Culture, he argued, is most powerful when it is taken for granted. In The Sacred Canopy (1967), Berger explained how religion helped people make sense of the world by providing a “sheltering” tent under which all of life could make sense.


But over time (in Europe, tracing an historical arc from the 1755 Lisbon earthquake ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/77703.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/june/died-peter-berger-sociologist-religion-secularization-theor.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/june-web-only/why-christian-scholars-loved-peter-berger.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=INFp44gsw50:Yu8zwCGmstc:yIl2AUoC8zA
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The BGC Gospel Life Podcast (Ep. 20)
« Reply #580 on: July 11, 2017, 01:00:57 AM »
The BGC Gospel Life Podcast (Ep. 20)

Start each week with this encouragement to show and share the love of Jesus.


Episode Twenty | Are You Seeking to be a Fisherman or a Shepherd?


Colleen Cooper, Development Coordinator at the Billy Graham Center, shares a personal example of working through conflict in order to bring deeper conversation and trust. Colleen reminds us that in evangelism, and in all our relationships, we aren’t called to be quick and judging fishermen, but to be caring and compassionate shepherds who tend to those they are ministered to.


Episode Nineteen | Developing a Spirit of Acceptance When We Reach Out to the Unchurched


Rick Richardson, Professor at Wheaton College and head of academic programs and research at the Billy Graham Center, shares a story of a recent evangelism encounter. Rick explains that once unchurched people know they won’t feel judged or pressured by Christians, their hearts warm to the gospel and the opportunities for faith sharing are endless.


Episode Eighteen | Two Practical Ways to Show and Share the Love of Jesus with Others


Wes Holland, Program Administrator of the Rural Matters Institute at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that God went on a rescue mission for us, and that we must do the same for others. He shares two challenges that will help us truly serve God. These two simple steps – being present instead of just occupying space and writing down our gospel moments in order to share them with others – can make all the difference in seeing those around us come to faith.


Episode Seventeen | When It Seems as Though God Is Up to Nothing


Laurie Nichols, Director of Communications at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that even when we don’t see God working, He is. And if we remain faithful in prayer and seek ways to reach out to those who don’t yet know the love ...

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Source: The BGC Gospel Life Podcast (Ep. 20)

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/yGqhyzarA8I/bgc-gospel-life-podcast-ep-20.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/77711.jpg?w=460
http://www.gospel-life.net/are-you-seeking-to-be-a-fisherman-or-a-shepherd-gospel-life-podcast-series/
http://www.gospel-life.net/developing-a-spirit-of-acceptance-when-we-reach-out-to-the-unchurched-gospel-life-podcast-series/
http://www.gospel-life.net/gospel-life-podcast-series/
http://www.gospel-life.net/when-it-seems-as-though-god-is-up-to-nothing-gospel-life-podcast-series/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/june/bgc-gospel-life-podcast-ep-20.html
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Introducing the Director of the New Send Institute
« Reply #581 on: July 12, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Introducing the Director of the New Send Institute

New institute is a partnership between the Billy Graham Center and the North American Mission Board.


I'm grateful to be chosen as the Send Institute’s inaugural Director and am honored to work alongside Dr. Ed Stetzer at Wheaton College and Jeff Christopherson at the North American Mission Board.


I've had the joy of planting a vibrant multi-ethnic church in downtown Toronto. Nothing has changed my life more than the people who make up Trinity Life Church and the vision God gave us to make disciples and to plant churches in Toronto. I also had the privilege of witnessing and contributing to a movement of new churches in our city through Send Toronto—the regional hub of the Send Network. While I'm sad to leave Toronto and the many wonderful friends we have there, I’m glad I'm leaving with a healthy and successful church planting experience in the world’s most diverse (and perhaps greatest!) city.


I believe churches that'll be planted in the future will be Gospel-centered communities effectively evangelizing the hardest to reach and most forgotten in North America. I also believe they'll be Kingdom-minded communities that are concerned for the common good of society, being salt and light wherever society needs it the most. These churches, I suspect, will be motivated less by fads and trends of a consumerist church culture and more by a genuine move of the Spirit and concern for the most urgent issues of our time.


But in order for us to plant more effective churches for the future, much work needs to be done to catch us up to speed with the fast-changing missional narratives in North America.


From the Sun Belt of America to the Prairies of Canada, the North American landscape is changing quickly. While demographics isn’t destiny, it does indicate that the diversity in America ...

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Source: Introducing the Director of the New Send Institute

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http://torontochurchplanting.ca/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/july/introducing-director-of-new-send-institute.html
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13 Books to Read with Your Kids This Summer
« Reply #582 on: July 13, 2017, 01:01:02 AM »
13 Books to Read with Your Kids This Summer

What books would I take to a desert island—if my children came with me?


Asking me to compile a list of my top 10 summer reading selections is sort of like playing desert island: I’m trying to sneak an extra three books along. I’m making difficult cuts and second-guessing myself. While curating this list, I looked for books that speak to the life of faith and the values that readers of faith are called to live by, but I didn’t limit myself to overtly religious selections (though there are a few) because I don’t believe that spiritually significant beauty is limited to certain bookstore sections or publishers’ labels. I also wanted to list books that, rather than being just “good for children,” are universally good stories. That means they draw on readers’ empathy, emotions, and curiosity. It also means they grow richer and deeper with each perusal.


When I imagine summer reading, I automatically think of beaches, so I wanted these selections to be light and fun. However, many of them are heavy, and I believe their weightiness offers something more than fun, deeper than fun—joy. Or so I hope. I love a good metanarrative, too, so many of these books are stories about stories, which is a fitting metaphor for faith. As Christ’s disciples, we’re part of the greatest story ever told, so it’s no surprise that I want to spend my desert island time reading stories about stories with my children. Maybe we’ll see you there.


Picture Books

1.The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola


Tomie dePaola’s stories often portray religious themes and figures, and his watercolor images add softness to stories of depth and beauty. While I could list a number of his works, this is one of my favorites. In the story, a juggler named Giovanni grows old ...

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Source: 13 Books to Read with Your Kids This Summer

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‘The Beguiled’ Reveals the Cracks in Our Imagined Selves
« Reply #583 on: July 14, 2017, 01:00:28 AM »
‘The Beguiled’ Reveals the Cracks in Our Imagined Selves

Sofia Coppola’s latest film is all about the inevitable gap between who we are and who we claim to be.


The year is 1864. Somewhere in Virginia, a young girl walks through the woods, singing herself a sweetly imperfect melody. Viewers watch from behind as her small figure, head and shoulders framed by long brunette braids, bends, then bends again to collect mushrooms from the forest floor. The camera pans upward revealing tree branches arching and entwined, the vaults of a natural cathedral illuminated by the pale, even light of dusk. The girl walks unhurried down its aisle. The scene serves up a lush aesthetic world, stirring anticipation for what other visual delights await the viewer, even as it stirs anxiety for what awaits this forest wanderer.


The sight of a Union soldier propped up against a tree soon breaks the child’s reverie. A flicker of fear passes across both of their faces. Tension begins to ease as they grasp the common tool of social formalities and force an exceptional moment into following the script for making a new acquaintance. Miss Amy (Oona Laurence) and Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) introduce themselves: She is a student at a nearby girls’ school; he is a wounded runaway from a nearby battle.


Despite—or perhaps because of—his considerable charm, the Corporal comes across as only a little less vulnerable than the schoolgirl. He is, after all, bleeding profusely and hiding for fear of both the battlefield’s violence and the enemy’s capture. Guilelessly, Miss Amy assures him that the Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies will take him in. Making their way toward the school, the hobbled man leans on the good graces and steady shoulders of the 12-year-old girl.


The Beguiled’s opening sequence is only the first of a series of compassionate and trusting interactions ...

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Source: ‘The Beguiled’ Reveals the Cracks in Our Imagined Selves

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