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Interview: Rosaria Butterfield: Christian Hospitality Is Radically Different from ‘Southern Hospitality’

It has nothing to do with entertainment—and everything to do with addressing the crisis of unbelief.


Before Rosaria Butterfield became a popular Christian author, she was a tenured professor at Syracuse University, a lesbian feminist fighting to advance the cause of LGBTQ equality, and an unlikely convert. In 1999, her life intersected with the gospel of Jesus Christ through a friend’s radically ordinary hospitality. From hating Christians to becoming one, the transformation took place slowly and outside a church pew when the church came to her. In Butterfield’s newest book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post Christian World, she articulates a gospel-minded hospitality that’s focused not on teacups and doilies, but on missional evangelism. Writer Lindsey Carlson spoke with Butterfield about opening hearts and front doors to our neighbors.


You advocate a kind of hospitality that steers clear of teacups and doilies. How does radically ordinary hospitality differ from what most people think of as “Southern hospitality?”


First of all, it is not entertainment. Hospitality is about meeting the stranger and welcoming that stranger to become a neighbor—and then knowing that neighbor well enough that, if by God’s power he allows for this, that neighbor becomes part of the family of God through repentance and belief. It has absolutely nothing to do with entertainment.


Entertainment is about impressing people and keeping them at arm’s length. Hospitality is about opening up your heart and your home, just as you are, and being willing to invite Jesus into the conversation, not to stop the conversation but to deepen it.


Hospitality is fundamentally an act of missional evangelism. And I wouldn’t know what to do with a doily if you gave ...

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Source: Interview: Rosaria Butterfield: Christian Hospitality Is Radically Different from ‘Southern Hospitality’

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/jGO68pWF_Yc/rosaria-butterfield-gospel-comes-house-key.html
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/my-train-wreck-conversion.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/april-web-only/rosaria-butterfield-gospel-comes-house-key.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/jGO68pWF_Yc
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Community Home Offers ‘Boot Camp’ for Pregnant Moms
« Reply #873 on: April 29, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
Community Home Offers ‘Boot Camp’ for Pregnant Moms

How a residential program in Virginia goes beyond crisis pregnancy aid.


In the living room at Carried to Full Term (CTFT), a residential home for mothers in Haymarket, Virginia, seven-month-old Fabia crawls toward her mother, stretches out her arms, and whimpers. Her mother, Samrawit (Sam) Biru, obliges and picks her up. The two touch heads for a moment, like a mother lion and cub. This is their home—at least for now.


In October 2017, while pregnant with Fabia, Biru moved from Ethiopia to Virginia and was living in the US on asylum when she found herself homeless. She moved into CTFT before giving birth. (Her immigration case is still pending, and her husband—still overseas—hopes to join her when her status is approved.) Even if she’d been able to return to her native country, says Biru, she wouldn’t have gone. She wanted to stay in the US and build a new life. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing long-term residential support to pregnant mothers in crisis, CTFT has helped her do just that.


Unlike a pregnancy clinic that only offers medical care, CTFT focuses on the entire well-being of the women who stay, many for up to two years. What makes it unique is also what makes it a challenge for the women who live there: The home operates like a boot camp for moms.


“The Program,” as staff and residents call it, albeit half tongue-in-cheek, is a set of strict but often-personalized covenants that are put in place for the good of the residents, the resident coordinator, and the 32 volunteers who help implement them.


“The guidelines are there to facilitate change,” says Frances Robin, or “Franie,” the executive director of CTFT. At 5′10″, the Caribbean-born, Jesus-loving mother of four is a formidable presence in ...

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Source: Community Home Offers ‘Boot Camp’ for Pregnant Moms

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/68b0g_X7q4I/community-home-offers-boot-camp-pregnant-moms-pro-life.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81774.jpg?w=460
http://carriedtofullterm.com/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2018/april/community-home-offers-boot-camp-pregnant-moms-pro-life.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=68b0g_X7q4I:NeK1qG5K6xQ:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/68b0g_X7q4I
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80% of Americans Believe in God. Pew Found Out What They Mean.
« Reply #874 on: April 30, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
80% of Americans Believe in God. Pew Found Out What They Mean.

Does God talk to you? Has God punished you? Here’s how denomination, gender, and political party relate to how we see the divine.


“We believe in God,” Amy Grant famously sang in the ’90s. Today, 4 out of 5 Americans still say the same.


But according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, what they mean by God varies a lot.


Pastors and theologians often warn Christians against ascribing to a “God of their own making,” knowing that not all who say they believe understand God as described in Scripture or in the traditional creeds of the church.


In the shifting spiritual landscape of the United States, Christians too can no longer assume that their friends and neighbors believe in the God of the Bible, if they believe in God at all.


Though God regularly gets evoked in prayer, platitudes, and phrases like “God bless America” and “in God we trust,” Americans—even within Christianity—have different conceptions of who God is and how he operates. Does God judge? Does God love all? Does God control what happens on Earth?


A Pew survey released today found that how people view God—and how they believe God interacts with them—shifts by religious affiliation, gender, and political party.


Even in an era where more of the nation doesn’t ascribe to a higher power at all (10%) or believes in some sort of higher power or spiritual force (33%), a slim majority of Americans (56%) still believe in God “as described in the Bible,” according to the Pew report.


What Protestants, Catholics, and Jews Believe About God


But even belief in a biblical God can lead to different conclusions.


Take two of the “People of the Book”: Christians and Jews. American Christians (80%) are most likely to believe in a biblical God, a minority position among Jews (33%). A majority of American ...

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Source: 80% of Americans Believe in God. Pew Found Out What They Mean.

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/1uckYBqyVzU/we-believe-in-god-what-americans-mean-pew-survey.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81798.png?w=460
http://www.pewforum.org/2018/04/25/when-americans-say-they-believe-in-god-what-do-they-mean/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/april/we-believe-in-god-what-americans-mean-pew-survey.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/1uckYBqyVzU
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One-on-One with Scot McKnight on ‘Open to the Spirit’
« Reply #875 on: May 01, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
One-on-One with Scot McKnight on ‘Open to the Spirit’

The Holy Spirit’s involvement in our lives through the cultivation of holiness, spiritual gifts, and worship.


Ed: You say that the secret to experiencing the Christian life is allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us to live as God wants us to live. Why do you think so many Christians today are nervous and hesitant to open themselves up to the Spirit’s work?


Scot: I see three types of hesitancy. First, some lack knowledge or education about the Holy Spirit. Some Christians come of age or are part of a church that goes mum on the Spirit, while others simply haven't listened carefully enough to hear what the Bible clearly says.


Second, some are afraid of the change that comes from transformation. The Spirit doesn't indwell in order to remain silent or to remain ineffective; the Spirit indwells us to make us like Christ. Since we are not Christlike we will have to change. The Spirit does that kind of transforming work.


Third, some have heard too many goofy stories about the extreme edges of Spirit claims. I grew up in a world that went mum on the Spirit because there were so many wild and crazy claims by some in our close circles. I understand that.


My church context was completely confident in eternal security so when I was at a church, as a youngster, and a family member told me a specific woman walking forward went forward weekly to get saved again and again, and then my family member said she needed to get baptized with the Spirit... well, I wasn't so convinced and I learned to be very guarded about the Spirit


Ed: What is the Holy Spirit’s role in helping someone know they have personal salvation?


Scot: I quote Paul in Romans 5: "Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." This hope of which Paul speaks is not ...

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Source: One-on-One with Scot McKnight on ‘Open to the Spirit’

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https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/april/one-on-one-with-scot-mcknight-on-open-to-spirit.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/TdGyBXwCxOY
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Is Your Church Really Focused on Evangelism? Maybe Not.
« Reply #876 on: May 02, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
Is Your Church Really Focused on Evangelism? Maybe Not.

For pastors, avoiding the topic of evangelism cannot become the default choice.


Evangelism has the ability to make some of us very uncomfortable. We worry about offending people. We agonize over saying something wrong, unorthodox, or unhelpful that might end up leading someone further from Christ in lieu of closer to him.


While we certainly don’t want to share Jesus carelessly or apart from the spirit’s leading, avoiding evangelism out of fear is not a God-honoring option. There is no ‘perfect’ way to share Christ—we’re told to do it and do it boldy trusting that the seeds we plant will bear fruit in his timing.


As D.L. Moody famously said, “Frankly, I sometimes do not like my way of doing evangelism. But I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”


For pastors, avoiding the topic of evangelism cannot become the default choice. For the church to continue thriving, we need everyone—churchgoers young and old—to buy into a shared passion for the spreading of the gospel. If our hearts are truly for the unbelievers—those who haven’t yet heard the good news of God’s love for them—we’ll be willing to face discomfort, difficulty, and even the possibility of failure to share it with them.


Here are some ways to practically encourage evangelism in our churches, organizations, and personal lives:


Create a culture of evangelistic accountability


I am always conscience of the shoes I’m supposed to fill—I sit, after all, in Billy Graham’s chair and preach at D.L. Moody’s pulpit. Evangelism, for obvious reasons, should be my middle name.


One of my goals during my time at the BGC has been to create a culture of evangelistic accountability to serve as a reminder of its importance to our organization. ...

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Source: Is Your Church Really Focused on Evangelism? Maybe Not.

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/d7gOiH--6Mg/is-your-church-plant-really-focused-on-evangelism-maybe-not.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81833.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/april/is-your-church-plant-really-focused-on-evangelism-maybe-not.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=d7gOiH--6Mg:6NqfmFhoYN0:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Divorce After Abuse: How Paige Patterson’s Counsel Compares to Other Pastors

After audio of old comments circulates on social media, Southern Baptist leader clarifies his pastoral approach to domestic violence.


On Sunday, Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson spoke out to address his position on domestic violence after old comments he made regarding counseling women in abusive marriages circulated on social media over the weekend.


Patterson, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) and a key player in the Conservative Resurgence of America’s largest denomination, said that his past statements—discouraging women from divorcing in cases of abuse and celebrating the faith of a woman whose prayers led her to be hit by her husband—had been misrepresented and mischaracterized.


He clarified both instances in an SWBTS press release, adding that he has “never counseled or condoned abuse of any kind” and that “any physical or sexual abuse of anyone should be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities, as I have always done.”


Patterson said he has advised and helped women to leave abusive husbands, but stood by his commitment to never recommend divorce: “How could I as a minister of the gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce.”


Among Patterson’s remarks being shared on Twitter is an audio clip said to be from a conference in 2000, where he was asked about cases where a woman is being asked to submit to an abusive husband. In the recording, he says separation should be reserved for only “the most serious of cases” and divorce is “always wrong counsel.”


Overall, American pastors are more likely to condone divorce in cases of domestic violence than for other commonly cited reasons for ending a marriage. Though almost half of American evangelicals (46%) say divorce due to abuse is sinful, just over a quarter ...

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Source: Divorce After Abuse: How Paige Patterson’s Counsel Compares to Other Pastors

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/KxGFmXxwG7A/paige-patterson-divorce-domestic-abuse-swbts-cbmw.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81855.jpg?w=460
http://baptistblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/legitimate-rape-vs-serious-abuse/
http://twitter.com/JonathanMerritt/status/990350594425704448
https://swbts.edu/news/releases/press-release-paige-patterson/
https://archive.org/details/PaigePattersonsbcAdviceToVictimsOfDomesticViolence
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/april/paige-patterson-divorce-domestic-abuse-swbts-cbmw.html
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Study: Clinton Voters Much More Likely to Leave Evangelicalism than Trump Voters

How political divides impact religious affiliation and attendance.


Editor’s note: Due to a computational error made in the original April 30 posting, certain figures and charts have been updated as of May 3.


The 2016 presidential election heightened an ongoing discussion over the allegiance of American evangelicals to the Republican Party.


As countless articles and social media posts have observed, Donald Trump’s presidency has led many church leaders to warn against a too-warm embrace of politics and politicians, as well as led many Christians to rethink their involvement and identity as evangelicals.


Though these tense conversations may feel like new ground born out of this political moment, long before Trump’s election there was already strong evidence showing that Americans’ political identities and disagreements fuel their religious identities and practices.


In other words, what we’re seeing now comes as no surprise to political scientists.


Recent research from Paul Djupe, Jake Neiheisel, and Anand Sokhey shows that over the last 15 years, people who disagreed with the political leanings of their clergy and congregations were much more likely to start skipping services or stop attending altogether. Their research before and after the 2016 election found that disagreement over Trump in evangelical churches sent a number of members heading for the exits.


In her new book, From Politics to the Pews, University of Pennsylvania professor Michele Margolis argues that partisan identities become fixed in early adulthood, a time when people tend to take a break from religion. When they consider coming back later in their 20s and 30s, they align their religion with their political identity. Typically, Democrats will stay away, and Republicans will select a Republican-aligning ...



While 54 percent of evangelicals approved of his job in 2017, voters who had previously identified as evangelical or born again more closely resembled the “never evangelical” crowd. The study found that 47 percent of former evangelicals approved of Trump, compared to 37 percent of voters who never identified as evangelical or born again.


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Source: Study: Clinton Voters Much More Likely to Leave Evangelicalism than Trump Voters

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/1x2OzAxnBp8/clinton-trump-voters-evangelical-identity-2016-election.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81843.png?w=460
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ajps.12308
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https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/april/clinton-trump-voters-evangelical-identity-2016-election.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=1x2OzAxnBp8:v-riBogTQkA:gIN9vFwOqvQ
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‘Wild Wild Country’ Hits Close to Home
« Reply #879 on: May 05, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
‘Wild Wild Country’ Hits Close to Home

The new Netflix documentary reveals an uncomfortable truth about American religious innovation.


In the 1980s, thousands of enthusiastic enlightenment-seekers built a commune called Rajneeshpuram in the rugged Central Oregon desert and for their brief time there, clashed with the residents of the rural town of Antelope.


For anyone like me who grew up in Oregon in the ’80s, Rajneeshpuram is a part of the mythic landscape of the region. Stories about a guru with a fleet of Rolls Royces, rumors of sexual orgies, and casual jokes about bioterrorism (don’t eat at the salad bar!) are as much a part of our childhood as campfire tales about Bigfoot on Mt. Hood. My father, who was a youth pastor in the ’80s, took a tour of Rajneeshpuram toward the end. He came home with stories of heavily armed hippies and spaced-out farm workers who were probably drugged without their knowledge.


The Rajneeshees or sannyasins, as they call themselves, were members of a new religious movement founded by an Indian man known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Osho. (The group still exists, albeit in different form.) What began as a globetrotting search for cosmic illumination, a celebration of “free love,” and a quest to build a utopia in America ended in disappointment and criminal charges.


The recently released Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country unpacks the extraordinary story. Through interviews with Rajneesh’s followers, residents of Antelope, local journalists, politicians, and law enforcement, the documentary follows the group from their initial ashram, or commune, in India to their ill-fated intentional community built on the expansive Big Muddy Ranch.


It might be easy to dismiss Rajneeshpuram as a marginal “cult,” but the group’s combination of spirituality, capitalism, and celebrity culture ...

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Source: ‘Wild Wild Country’ Hits Close to Home

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/MV5fFTdvJyg/wild-wild-country-hits-close-to-home-netflix.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81863.jpg?w=460
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/11/looking-for-sasquatch-oregon-bigfoot-highway
http://www.oregonlive.com/rajneesh/index.ssf/1985/12/rajneesh_and_company_pull_up_s.html
http://www.osho.com/iosho/library/read-book/online-library-definition-character-sannyasin-6f1f705b-34e?p=e72da640067c4a7ea88bffdeaeb1bdc1

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