Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 439443 times)

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[Cfamily]Searching for Christian Heroines from History? Look to the Early Church
« Reply #648 on: September 12, 2017, 01:00:58 AM »

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Searching for Christian Heroines from History? Look to the Early Church

How women were instrumental to the rise of Christianity.

I, Amy, am often asked why I became a historical theologian of early Christianity—what it was that gripped my imagination and pricked my desire to contribute to the 2,000-year-old conversation by Christians speaking about God. For me it was sitting in an undergraduate class and hearing about the controversial second-century prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla. All of a sudden my charismatic tradition, which before had seemed to me to be a novel force for mobilizing the church, had a history beyond the New Testament.

Almost 15 years later and on the cusp of doctoral work, I was approached by Sarah, a 20-year-old pastor’s daughter, after a service at my small urban church in Aurora, Illinois. She asked, “What is my role now in the church as a single, young adult woman? Where do I fit?” I knew Sarah well, and her earnest question confirmed that part of my journey as a theologian was to answer her question and to tell some stories about women in early Christianity and how they were instrumental in constructing the church and its teachings.

In graduate school in the 1980s, I, Lynn, read Julian of Norwich’s Showings; I was pregnant with my first child. The juxtaposition is important, for Julian’s vision includes a rich reflection on Christ as our Mother. This 14th century anchorite gave me my first glimpse of women’s influence and authority in the life of the church. I wanted to investigate more and plunged into the church fathers’ work. If reading Julian’s Showings was like a walk in a gentle summer rain, then Tertullian’s hateful comment, “Woman is the devil’s gateway,” stung like hail in a thunderstorm. I decided to abandon the exploration for a time, ...

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[Cfamily]Trump Backs Churches Suing FEMA over Harvey Aid
« Reply #649 on: September 13, 2017, 01:00:34 AM »
Trump Backs Churches Suing FEMA over Harvey Aid

President also donates $100,000 to Samaritan’s Purse for Texas hurricane relief efforts.

Four days after three Texas churches sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for barring them from relief funding, the President took their side.

Donald Trump tweeted Friday night:


Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).

Becket, the religious liberty legal group representing the damaged churches, applauded his remark, saying, “It's great that the President sees that FEMA’s policy of treating churches worse than every other nonprofit is wrong.”

Jack Graham, a Trump adviser and Dallas pastor, applauded the President, but indicated some hesitancy around the case. “Christians and churches give & serve willingly but very thoughtful of the President to desire to support our work,” he tweeted.

Several have suggested that churches offer services out of a sense of charity, and not to be compensated. “Yes, there are church-and-state issues here, but here’s another question: What church would ask for federal money to do the Lord's work?” wrote John Fea, Messiah College history professor. He went on to say that churches should use their own resources to care for the needy and turn to FEMA only if they run out.

Trump donated $1 million toward Harvey relief efforts, with $100,000 going to Samaritan’s Purse, the aid organization run by Franklin Graham, another of the President’s evangelical advisers. As of last week, Samaritan’s Purse had five centers set up in churches across the Texas coast, and had gathered more than 2,100 volunteers and completed work on more than 200 homes.

Operation Blessing International also received a $25,000 donation from Trump.

The ...

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Source: Trump Backs Churches Suing FEMA over Harvey Aid

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Icing on the Cake: Justice Dept. Backs Christian Baker Bound for Supreme Court

Trump administration sides with Masterpiece Cakeshop’s religious liberty claim for refusing same-sex wedding clients.

A Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding has a major backer as his case heads to the US Supreme Court this fall: the Trump administration.

The Department of Justice has sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, arguing that governments “may not … truncate the First Amendment by compelling a person to create a piece of artwork—particularly one that violates the artist’s conscience.”

The amicus brief, issued last Thursday by several leaders in the office of the Solicitor General and the office of the Attorney General, is among 45 filed in support of the Colorado baker’s religious and artistic freedom.

“This case happens to arise in the context of expression regarding same-sex marriage,” the Trump administration officials state. “But the First Amendment principles that control here transcend, and will long outlast, the nation’s current dialogue about same-sex marriage.”

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, represents the highest-profile clash between religious convictions and LGBT protections since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.

The high court’s decision will impact wedding vendors across the country who do not want to service same-sex celebrations because of their religious convictions on marriage. Fellow bakers, photographers, and florists have challenged anti-LGBT discrimination laws in lower courts.

“We hope the US Supreme Court will consider the arguments in these briefs and declare that the government cannot force Jack to surrender his freedom in order to run his family business,” said Kristen Waggoner, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel ...

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[Cfamily]The Fallacy of Spiritual Gifts
« Reply #651 on: September 15, 2017, 01:00:53 AM »
The Fallacy of Spiritual Gifts

God uses weak people.

Brett and Noelle are busy penciling in 200 dots in the spiritual gifts inventory they’ve been given by their local church. Nervously concentrating, Brett and Noelle work their way to question 200, hand in their sheets, and anxiously wait until next Sunday to discover their spiritual gifts. Next Sunday, they reconvene and eagerly open their manila envelopes. It seems that Brett has the gift of administration. Noelle has the gift of service.

Coincidentally, it turns out that Brett is a parts manager at the VW dealership and Noelle is on the cleaning staff at a large assisted living community.

Uninspired and disenchanted, Brett and Noelle trudge somberly toward the parking lot. It looks like ‘spiritual service’ at church is going to look a whole lot like their current jobs. Soon, Brett is counting the offering each week, while Noelle works on a rotation in the nursery. Are spiritual gifts really meant to work like this?

Loss of Market Share

Since the 1970s, much of the Evangelical world was losing market share to a charismatic phenomenon that was sweeping the world. New churches emerged offering worship designed to engage the emotions of a believer. For many, this held great appeal when compared with dueling piano/organ combinations separated by an arm-waving, hymn conductor.

The preaching seemed more free-flowing, more alive. With a constituency that was growing bored with a starched-collared, three points and a poem, semi-robotic approach to preaching, many found these changes refreshing. But the pièce de résistance of the charismatic wave was an emphasis on spiritual gifts. This charismatic trademark offered something that seemed truly spiritual to many—something that transported their dreary ...

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #652 on: September 15, 2017, 08:11:27 AM »
The anecdote doesn't resonate with me. I've filled in such questionnaires in the past (as a youngish Christian) and found them very helpful. My gift always came up as 'teaching' - and I'm not a schoolteacher! So perhaps the church was using the wrong questionnaire...

There can be an overlap between natural and spiritual gifts (which admittedly confuses the issue); but the point about spiritual gifts (in the I Corinthians/Romans 12 sense) is that they are not natural!
"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." (I Peter 2:9)


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[Cfamily]Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians
« Reply #653 on: September 16, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians

New confession by high-profile theologians gives post-Reformation unity a URL.

The most obvious effect of the Reformation—which celebrates its 500th anniversary this year—is division.

It is estimated that more than 33,000 different Christian denominations now exist throughout the world, and much of this is blamed on the Reformation. While some are making the case that difference does not necessarily constitute division in Protestantism and the global church, the plethora of denominations is a source of concern for Protestants, who are the heirs of Martin Luther’s movement that has tended to create new churches rather than reform existing ones.

The “Reforming Catholic Confession,” released today, aims to demonstrate that—despite “denominationalism”—Protestants are remarkably unified.

Additionally, the new statement of faith, crafted by a team of Protestant theologians and church leaders, aims to show that Protestants are actually more catholic (meaning “universal”) than Roman Catholics, who demand allegiance to the Roman pontiff, or than Orthodox Christians, who reject the claims of Rome but still rely heavily on apostolic succession to guarantee faithful Christianity.

So far, the confession has garnered more than 250 signatories, with a wide swath of Protestant denominations and traditions represented by initial signatories such as Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, philosopher William Lane Craig, biblical scholar Tremper Longman III, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Samuel Rodriguez (a CT board member), and Billy Graham Center for Evangelism director Ed Stetzer (a CT blogger).

The list is primarily scholars and academic leaders, but nearly 20 percent are denominational leaders, pastors, ...

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Source: Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians

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[Cfamily]The Demanding Faith of Flannery O’Connor
« Reply #654 on: September 17, 2017, 01:01:01 AM »
The Demanding Faith of Flannery O’Connor

In her writing, O’Connor made belief believable.

My family arrived in Atlanta in August, just before school started. To me, the South seemed a different world. Desperate to fit in, I felt unsophisticated and underdressed. Uninitiated.

What a relief that my father’s pastorate, a Presbyterian church downtown, featured the usual: Sunday school, youth group, mid-week prayer meeting, and Sunday night services. There, my new friends and I were all literate in the same Protestant way, versed in the biblical trajectory of creation, sin, guilt, grace, redemption, forgiveness. Solid doctrines that resolved uneasy mystery and pinpointed my place in the universe.

Just when I was finding my footing, my AP English teacher assigned a text by the Georgia author Flannery O’Connor. I casually asked who he was (and I didn’t make that mistake twice).

I was baffled by the O’Connor stories we read in class, alarmed when somebody got gored or blinded or shot. Freaked out by the self-blinding prophet and dying grandmother. Puzzled by the untamed theology of tent meetings. I really couldn’t see what Flannery’s Jesus-obsessed extremists could say to me, a straight-up kid raised on the Westminster Catechism, the illustrated youth Bible with leatherette cover, and mellow bonfire camp songs.

An unlikely literary sensation

Flannery O’Connor was born in the port city of Savannah, into a South far different from the 1970s Atlanta of malls and movies. The only daughter of devout Catholic parents, Flannery grew up under live oaks and Spanish moss, across the square from the cathedral where she was immersed in ritual, sacraments, and daily mass, sheltered by Sisters of Mercy—a coherent cosmos of faith. Even when her family moved from Savannah to a Milledgeville, ...

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[Cfamily]Saudi Arabia’s Neighbor Defends Religious Freedom of Individuals
« Reply #655 on: September 18, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
Saudi Arabia’s Neighbor Defends Religious Freedom of Individuals

(UPDATED) Arab Christian leaders react to Bahrain Declaration, which builds upon Marrakesh and Jakarta efforts by Muslim leaders.

The cause of religious freedom received a significant boost from the Muslim world today. The island Kingdom of Bahrain—connected by bridge to Saudi Arabia—has declared “freedom of choice” to be a “divine gift.”

“We unequivocally reject compelled observance,” states the Bahrain Declaration for Religious Tolerance, released September 13 in Los Angeles with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders in attendance. “Every individual has the freedom to practice their religion, providing they do no harm to others, respect the laws of the land, and accept responsibility, spiritually and materially, for their choices.”

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain signed as an official envoy of the Gulf nation’s king. Johnnie Moore, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Rabbi Marvin Heir of the Simon Wiesenthal Center also participated, joining ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Israel.

“The King is acting decisively, courageously, and seriously,” Moore told CT, also noting Bahraini sponsorship of a religious tolerance center in the capital city of Manama as well as sponsorship of a chair in religious coexistence at La Sapienza University in Rome. “The declaration goes farther than any similar document that I’m aware of.”

Individual religious freedom is just one of the five points asserted in the declaration.

Preaching hatred and violence in the name of God is condemned as a desecration of his name. Suicide bombing, sexual slavery, and the abuse of women and children are specifically disowned.

“Any act that is found morally repugnant by the vast majority of mankind and is insulting ...

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Source: Saudi Arabia’s Neighbor Defends Religious Freedom of Individuals

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