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Dear Secretary Tillerson: Don’t Downsize Religion in Foreign Affairs
« Reply #656 on: September 19, 2017, 01:00:52 AM »

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Dear Secretary Tillerson: Don’t Downsize Religion in Foreign Affairs

Closing the RGA is much more than a bureaucratic loss; it impacts our Christian brothers and sisters around the globe.


As an evangelical leader, one of the few times I had direct access to the previous Secretary of State, John Kerry, was in a meeting put together by Special Advisor Shaun Casey, then head of an independent State Department office called Religion and Global Affairs, or RGA. Casey brought a group of mostly Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders to a lunch gathering at Georgetown University. We shared a meal, listened to a briefing from the secretary, and spent more than an hour discussing foreign policy issues related to peace in the Middle East.


Hosted under the auspices of the RGA, the meeting gave us hope that religious leaders—and the communities they represent—will continue to provide input and insight into US foreign policy decisions. However, if the Trump administration has its way, the RGA office may not remain independent much longer—and it might not exist at all.


Politico recently reported that the current Secretary of State is looking to eliminate the post. In a letter proposing organizational changes, Secretary Tillerson notified Senator Bob Corker and the Committee on Foreign Relations of plans to eliminate the RGA special advisor position and fold only a few of its functions into the Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF). In my opinion, the IRF has a lot on its plate and its mandate is not well aligned with that of RGA.


Although the loss of RGA might seem to outsiders like a bureaucratic loss—just another government office to get the axe—it carries significant import for the church, missionaries abroad, and vulnerable people across the globe.


“Eighty-four percent of the global population self-identifies as religious,” says Doug Leonard, the director of global ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/38KJRofGRlk/secretary-tillerson-dont-downsize-religion-foreign-affairs.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78872.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/december/church-and-state-dept-john-kerry-gets-religion.html
https://www.state.gov/s/rga/
http://religionandpolitics.org/2017/09/05/how-the-state-department-has-sidelined-religions-role-in-diplomacy/
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/28/tillerson-state-department-envoys-242118
http://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015e-2b43-db52-a75e-ff7b3bfa0001
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/september/secretary-tillerson-dont-downsize-religion-foreign-affairs.html
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CFamily

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Died: Nabeel Qureshi, Author of ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’
« Reply #657 on: September 20, 2017, 01:00:56 AM »
Died: Nabeel Qureshi, Author of ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’

Popular apologist’s year-long battle with stomach cancer has ended.


Popular evangelist Nabeel Qureshi, who once sought Allah, has now found Jesus face to face. He died Saturday of stomach cancer.


The 34-year-old convert from Islam was an itinerant speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) until his diagnosis last summer. He spent months in aggressive treatment, including the removal of his stomach, all the while praying for a miracle to heal him.


In a September 8 video, the last one posted before his death, Qureshi announced that doctors had “given up” on treating him and put him on palliative care.


“If there’s something I’m wrestling with through all this, it’s ‘Where does my faith need to be?’ vs. ‘I, as a believer, am a real person. Where can I actually find my faith?’” he said.


“In other words, do I need to perform? Do I need to say, ‘I’m going to have this level of faith right now.’ Honestly, I don’t think so. I think God understands where I am right now and he comes alongside us in that and he loves us and gives us the strength.”


Qureshi had been receiving treatment at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where his home faced floods during Hurricane Harvey weeks before.


He was raised in a Pakistani-American Ahmadi Muslim family and came to faith reading the Bible to debate a medical school friend. He shared his testimony in his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and in a 2014 issue of Christianity Today.


The God of the Bible “reached me through investigations, dreams, and visions, and called me to prayer in my suffering,” he said. “It was there that I found Jesus. To follow him is worth giving up everything.”


Ravi Zacharias and his team met with ...

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Source: Died: Nabeel Qureshi, Author of ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/l8TUBP40BSM/died-nabeel-qureshi-author-seeking-allah-finding-jesus-rzim.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78896.jpg?w=460
http://rzim.org/global-blog/nabeel-qureshi-1983-2017/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MUotqxKSRs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jezBswBAuSg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2014/february-online-only/friday-five-interview-nabeel-qureshi.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/september/died-nabeel-qureshi-author-seeking-allah-finding-jesus-rzim.html
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CFamily

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Our October Issue: Rooting for Bible Ministries
« Reply #658 on: September 21, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
Our October Issue: Rooting for Bible Ministries

Confessions of a Bible study dropout.


Apologies if this disappoints, but I was never a Bible genius. Don’t misunderstand: My love for Scripture runs deep. But I’ve always had to work harder than others to write its commandments on my heart, as if everyone else had nice pens and mine was the flimsy kind with dried ink that churches keep giving away because they ordered too many.


I certainly tried. Most recently and probably most successfully, I was a Bible Study Fellowship devotee. My wife and I earnestly sought out classes in various cities where we’ve lived. And I was raised in an inner-city Awana program that embodied the challenges highlighted in this month’s cover story, where volunteers faithfully struggled each week to balance the needs of kids who devoured memory verses like gummy bears with those of kids who could barely read.


But the taproot of my Bible insecurities rises from my short stint in the most competitive of ministries: Bible quizzing. For the uninitiated, youth “quizzing” teams compete in churches and schools across the country in Jeopardy-like matchups, springing from trigger-rigged chairs for the chance to recite verses or answer questions about a given chapter. Teams typically prepare by memorizing entire books verbatim.


I was no quizzing star. My turn in the ring was always a sweat-soaked bout of quiet prayer for quick mercy. I never uncovered the secret for motivating myself to large-scale Scripture memorization. Which is why I’m so grateful for tiny Bibles and phone apps that have leveled the playing field for the recollection-challenged like me.


Despite my scarring, I’m a big fan of all these Bible ministries. And I am rooting for them more than ever as they adapt their approaches to the ...

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Source: Our October Issue: Rooting for Bible Ministries

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78915.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/october/no-child-left-behind-comes-to-awana.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/october/our-october-issue-rooting-for-bible-ministries.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=qdPdT1c3W9Y:A9BskInNapM:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Offline John

Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #659 on: September 21, 2017, 02:13:40 PM »
Why post a link to a locked site?
It is a pointless exercise, far better having read the article to then post a sumery of it plus a link, but also ward that access is locked for subscribers only.

CFamily

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‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Gets Cosmic Conflict Disturbingly Right
« Reply #660 on: September 23, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Gets Cosmic Conflict Disturbingly Right

David Lynch’s cult-classic revival is exactly as imaginative—and as uncomfortable—as it always needed to be.


“Should we watch Twin Peaks: The Return?”


Now that all 18 episodes of David Lynch’s long-awaited television series are available for binge-viewing on Showtime, I’m fumbling with insufficient answers to this question. As I formulate replies, I feel myself fracture into three distinct personalities:


(1) The Twin Peaks fanboy who spent a quarter of a century dreaming of new episodes.


(2) The film student who finds Lynch’s movies and television difficult to parse.


(3) The Christian whose conscience is troubled, because the show’s imaginative brilliance is tainted by graphic scenes of violence—particularly sexual violence.


There’s no easy answer.


David Lynch doesn’t mean for this to be a comfortable ride. Twin Peaks: The Return is, in fact, about a man split into three personas—possibly more. While the original 1990–91 series began by whispering “Who killed Laura Palmer?” and then asked “Can law enforcement stop an evil spirit?” this sequel series asks “Can multiple manifestations of an FBI agent be reconciled into one human being, healed and whole?”


This theme won’t surprise Lynch’s fans. In his book of reflections on creativity, Catching the Big Fish, Lynch expresses his desire to see human beings overcome divided minds and pursue lives of integrity. (He prefers the word “unity.”)


But I’m getting ahead of myself. For those who need it, here’s a quick review of what preceded The Return.


The Story So Far


It begins: In the first episode of the original Twin Peaks, a fisherman discovers a popular high school girl dead on the riverbank behind his Eastern Washington home. The resulting investigation leads ...

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Source: ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Gets Cosmic Conflict Disturbingly Right

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/RrITQzR4c9A/twin-peaks-return-gets-cosmic-conflict-disturbingly-right.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78959.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/september-web-only/twin-peaks-return-gets-cosmic-conflict-disturbingly-right.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=RrITQzR4c9A:X_JhUKyJYGk:yIl2AUoC8zA
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20% of Americans Are on the Threshold of Religion
« Reply #661 on: September 24, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
20% of Americans Are on the Threshold of Religion

New research on American religion.


An important trend in American religion has been the rise of the religious nones. A religious none is someone who has no religious affiliation. They are given this name because when researchers survey them as to which religious faith they affiliate with, they check the box “none.”


Current estimates identify about 20% of Americans as religious nones, with the remaining 80% having some religious affiliation.


But this may be the wrong way to think about religious affiliation. This binary portrait—some or none—arises from cross-sectional surveys. These are surveys that are administered only one time. They give a snapshot of people’s religious affiliation, but they cannot measure how individuals’ affiliation changes over time.


As a result, cross-sectional surveys overlook the possibility that some people fluctuate in and out of religious affiliation. That is, they sometimes say that they have a religious affiliation and sometimes say that they do not. Lim, MacGregor, and Putnam identified this possibility and termed it being “liminal,” from the Latin word limin which means threshold.


Religious liminals fluctuate between religious affiliation and no affiliation. I’m a liminal myself. Not with religion, though, but with professional basketball fandom. On some days, I say that I don’t really have a favorite team. On other days, however, I say that I’m a Celtics fan. Growing up, my dad was an avid Celtics fan, and some of it rubbed off on me. Similarly, religious liminals sometimes identify with religion and sometimes do not.


Just how many Americans are religious liminals? Michael Hout just published a paper analyzing this question with longitudinal data from the General ...

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Source: 20% of Americans Are on the Threshold of Religion

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/NgakNXzeG1o/20-of-americans-are-on-threshold-of-religion.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78929.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/september/20-of-americans-are-on-threshold-of-religion.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=NgakNXzeG1o:RpvQqAXHA3k:yIl2AUoC8zA
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CFamily

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Q+A: Jonathan Falwell’s Caribbean Vacation Turned into Hurricane Relief Ministry
« Reply #662 on: September 25, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Q+A: Jonathan Falwell’s Caribbean Vacation Turned into Hurricane Relief Ministry

After Irma disrupted his 25th wedding anniversary, Baptist pastor shares how he got Samaritan’s Purse to come to the rescue of St. Martin and why he went right back.


When Jonathan Falwell saw the first signs of what would become Hurricane Irma swirling on the weather map, he moved up the dates of his Caribbean vacation—a surprise trip to St. Martin with his wife for their 25th anniversary—just in case.


He never imagined they’d be sleeping on pool loungers in a makeshift hotel shelter, coming face-to-face with the destruction of a category-5 storm, or flying home on a Samaritan’s Purse plane.


Falwell—son of the late Jerry Falwell and pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia—helped coordinate early relief efforts while stranded for days on the island, one of the hardest-hit by Irma.


“In a situation like this, I had the opportunity—and I do believe it was an opportunity—to be right smack dab in the middle of it,” he said. “I think it’s just a great reminder of how truly urgent that it is that we get the gospel out to let people see that yes, we live in a broken world, but yes, there is an answer and that answer is Jesus.”


In an interview with CT, Falwell shared his prayers, stories, and theological lessons from his time stranded on St. Martin and his involvement in the recovery since then.



What went through your mind when you realized Irma was going to hit the island?


We got down there, and we were watching the storm. The storm was picking up speed and certainly picking up power. On Monday night, we got a notification that the flights were canceled, the airport was closed, and we weren’t going to get out of St. Martin on the flight that we had intended. It wasn’t until Monday that we knew we were going to have to hunker down and make it through.


I just assumed it would be a bad storm—some ...

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Source: Q+A: Jonathan Falwell’s Caribbean Vacation Turned into Hurricane Relief Ministry

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/b-uAvuV2nyo/jonathan-falwell-st-martin-hurricane-irma-samaritans-purse.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78980.jpg?w=460
https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/emergency-supplies-airlifted-to-the-caribbean-irma/
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Southern Baptists Back Confederate Monument Removal in Memphis
« Reply #663 on: September 26, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
Southern Baptists Back Confederate Monument Removal in Memphis

Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee’s former church votes to change its name.


After Charlottesville, more Christians are aligning with efforts to remove Confederate names and landmarks. In the past week, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and about a dozen of its pastors called for the removal of a Confederate statue in Memphis, Tennessee, while members of a historic Episcopal church in Lexington, Virginia, voted to remove Robert E. Lee from its name.


The SBC’s Steve Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, joined more than 150 Memphis-area clergy in a letter requesting the state historical commission relocate a statue of Memphis native Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader is buried in a city park that bore his name until 2013.


Gaines also spoke out in favor of removing Confederate president Jefferson Davis’s statue from another downtown location, formerly called Confederate Park.


Both “are a source of offense to many citizens of Memphis due to Forrest’s and Davis’ support of the enslavement of African Americans,” he told Baptist Press. Two Civil War battles took place in the city, including a failed raid led by Forrest.


Confederate general Lee’s former parish, which was named R. E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church more than 110 years ago, voted on Monday to change its name to Grace Episcopal Church. The church’s leaders were split 7–5 in favor. Their decision followed a contentious attempt to revert back to the earlier name in 2015, after the Charleston church shootings.


“It’s been a very divisive issue for two years,” rector Tom Crittenden toldThe Roanoke Times. “But Charlottesville seems to have moved us to this point. Not that we have a different view of Lee ...

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Source: Southern Baptists Back Confederate Monument Removal in Memphis

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