Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 437672 times)

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[Cfamily]Our Call: Missionaries in a Secular Land
« Reply #880 on: May 06, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »

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Our Call: Missionaries in a Secular Land

The reality is, Christians are interlopers. We are strangers and foreigners.

As Christians, I believe we should always be more driven by our missionary identity than we are by our national identity, our political identity, our environmental identity, our social identity, or even our church identity.

Don’t get me wrong. We ought to love our church. (I know I love my church.) And the Church (with capital C) is the bride of Christ, destined for eternity with God. But here on earth we must face the reality that our culture is not to be our primary identity.

Our culture is a mission field. We must see ourselves as people on mission. This is not our home. This is our mission field. Therefore, we all must see our vocations as mission—as kingdom work.

Strangers in a foreign land

First Peter 2:11 tells us that we are strangers and exiles. This land is not our home. But part of the challenge is that a lot of people want to fight for their homeland instead of acknowledging that we're supposed to have the mindset of foreigners and exiles.

Let’s put this into the facts that we know about our population. If the percentage of people who are nominally Christian is shrinking and nominal Christians become Nones, then we are dwelling in an increasingly secular land.

As a result, we need a reemphasis on gospel clarity. Being labeled Christian no longer means a ‘social Christian’, but instead is someone who's been changed by the power of the gospel, if indeed you have. This is a vital theological shift in the way we are viewed and should view our land.

Understanding these shifts is necessary in part because we live in an age of outrage. People in our land get ticked off over things that they don’t like. This calls us to gospel clarity. And missionary identity, seeing ourselves as ...

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[Cfamily]Violence Against Women Begins in the Womb
« Reply #881 on: May 07, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »
Violence Against Women Begins in the Womb

Why female feticide threatens the social order.

Sabu George, a Delhi-based researcher, has spent the past quarter-century exposing what he calls “the worst kind of violence” in Indian history—the elimination of millions of unborn girls. He regards it as nothing less than genocide and describes the first few months in the womb as “the riskiest part of a woman’s life cycle in India.”

For the last two decades, reports have consistently illustrated the extent of the problem. After investigators uncovered 400 pieces of bone believed to be of female fetuses, reporters gave graphic details: “Last September,” wrote Raekha Prasad and Randeep Ramesh in The Guardian, “remains of dozens of babies were exhumed from a pit outside an abortion clinic in Punjab. To dispose of the evidence, acid was used to melt the flesh and then the bones were hammered to smithereens.”

Although it’s easy to relegate this story to the remote regions of the developing world, India is representative of a global problem of epic proportion. In the year of the #MeToo movement, the practice of female feticide offers us a powerful depiction of the institutionalization of violence against women. Sex-selective abortions perpetrate violence against the most vulnerable, unseen victims. What emerges is an alarming picture of mass termination: prenatal offspring, aborted for no other reason than they happen to be female.

According to a study by The Lancet, the toll in India averages half a million fetuses each year, with some regions of India faring particularly badly. Although accurate figures are very difficult to compile, estimates suggest that “among the stock of women that could potentially be alive in India today, over 25 million are ‘missing.’” ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Adam Ford on ‘How to Be a Perfect Christian’
« Reply #882 on: May 08, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
One-on-One with Adam Ford on ‘How to Be a Perfect Christian’

The idea behind the book is to use satire to magnify aspects of Christian living in order to get a better look at them.

Ed: Why did you decide to write a Babylon Bee book?

Adam: We knew a book was a natural extension of what we were doing. I had our head writer Kyle out to stay with me for a weekend last year, and, among other goals of the visit, we had it in mind to narrow our book ideas down to one or two really good ones. So we sat around brainstorming and drafting, and How to Be a Perfect Christian was born.

People ask why we didn't just do a collection of popular articles from the site, and honestly, we knew from the go that we wanted the book to be all original content. A collection of "greatest hits" just wouldn't be able to make the point we are trying to make as well as we want to make it. We wanted to expand into a new realm. A standalone, cohesive, 200-page book brought with it challenges, but it was exciting to us because it's a way to leave a mark on culture that is more deep and lasting than we can do with a 200-word article. Our website articles get flung around the internet for a few days, so we set out to create a book that would last forever and be a Christian classic.

Ed: How did you decide on the premise of How to Be a Perfect Christian?

Adam: The idea behind the book is really the idea behind the Bee in general: to use satire to magnify aspects of Christian living in order to get a better look at them. This is right in our wheelhouse.

The Babylon Bee was never meant to be a website that only produces humor for the sake of humor—our mission has always been to use humor to make important points and to speak the truth. Sometimes, it's pointed outward at the culture, and sometimes it's pointed inward at the church.

How to Be a Perfect Christian is pointed inward. In the book, we set out to shake ...

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Trump Reveals White House Faith Initiative on National Day of Prayer

Annual observance concludes with Southern Baptist leader Ronnie Floyd interviewing Frank and Sherri Pomeroy from First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

President Donald Trump has once again marked the National Day of Prayer with a new policy designed to protect faith groups and their involvement with the American government.

Joined by his evangelical advisers and leaders from various religious traditions during a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump signed an executive order officially establishing his White House faith office, following in the footsteps of past presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

After over a year of ad-hoc meetings with evangelicals and others, the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative will formalize his administration’s ties with faith leaders and, the President said, offer faith-based organizations equal access to government funding.

“Faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God,” said Trump, before the crowd of about 200 guests.

According to Religion News Service, “those working on the initiative will provide policy recommendations from faith-based and community programs on ‘more effective solutions to poverty’ and inform the administration of ‘any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law.’”

At last year’s observance, the President presented his executive order offering greater religious liberty protections throughout the federal government, including a promise to “never ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.”

“This order was the logical next step to last year’s executive order which mandated a review of all federal departments, and during that review the White House maintained an open door policy to the faith community,” said Johnnie Moore, the unofficial ...

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[Cfamily]Church Massacre Shakes Central African Capital
« Reply #884 on: May 10, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
Church Massacre Shakes Central African Capital

Priest among 16 killed during Mass at Bangui Catholic church which suffered a similar attack in May 2014.

At least 24 people are feared killed and more than 100 injured following a fresh outbreak of violence in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).

Until recent weeks, the capital had been considered a safe haven in the war-torn country: the only place the government is in control, with three-quarters of the landlocked nation occupied by armed groups.

But Tuesday’s attack, in which a Catholic priest was among 16 killed at one church, has shattered this sense of tranquillity. It brought back memories of the earliest days of the conflict, when Séléka rebels entered the capital in March 2013, and the failed attempt by self-defense militias (known as Anti-Balaka) to oust the rebels from the capital in December 2013.

In fact, the same Catholic church suffered a similar attack in May 2014, when a priest was among 18 killed. The CAR currently ranks No. 35 on Open Doors’s list of the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian.

On Tuesday, as President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his government were attending the official May 1 ceremony marking International Workers Day on the capital’s Avenue of Martyrs, thousands of people from the Diocese of Bangui gathered for a Mass at Notre Dame de Fatima (Our Lady of Fatima) Church, for “oath-taking” on the occasion of the anniversary of St. Joseph.

Some officials, including Tina Touadéra, the First Lady, and Francis Bozizé, the son of ex-president Francois Bozizé (ousted by Séléka in March 2013), were among the attendees.

A number of priests from other parishes also attended, including Albert Toungoumalé-Baba, vicar of St. Mathias and chaplain of the Fraternité St. ...

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[Cfamily]Report: So-Called Christians Have Sense of Humor
« Reply #885 on: May 11, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
Report: So-Called Christians Have Sense of Humor

The Babylon Bee lampoons evangelical culture and teaches us to lighten up, already.

I don’t know why, but Protestant evangelicals have had a hard time with humor, whether creating or enjoying it. Maybe it’s ancillary to us abandoning the arts. Late night TV is owned by practicing Catholics Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. No one tells a good Bible joke like Jim Gaffigan, who even refers to his wife as a “Shiite Catholic.” But we, whose claim of “faith not works” should have let us off the hook back in 1517, are so obsessed with working out our salvation with fear and trembling that we have a hard time laughing at ourselves. Until recently, the only humor sanctioned by the Westminster Confession of Faith was the church-bulletin blooper. And one can groan only so long before that tuna hot dish belches back up.

Of course, there is humor in the Bible. Take Job’s snide reply to his accusers and Jesus’ stinging comebacks to the Pharisees. Or how about Paul’s satirical rant in Galatians about circumcision? (I hope no one took him literally). But we got into the habit of reading every verse as if Charlton Heston were bringing it down Mount Sinai. This may be the most cogent argument the Catholic Church had for keeping Scripture out of the hands of the peasants: We wouldn’t get the jokes.

There have been a few pilgrims in the crusade to make Christians lighten up, already. The Wittenburg Door, may it rest in peace, was the Mad Magazine of Christendom. Then the internet came along and opened the floodgates of all sorts of Jesusy humor. (I’ll leave aside the “bitter ex-Christian” sites. They’re like stepping in a Taylor Swift-Katy Perry feud.) Ship of Fools still offers some the best caption contests ever. And Lark News, the first satire ...

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[Cfamily]Junk for Jesus
« Reply #886 on: May 12, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
Junk for Jesus

Scripture invites us to give our firstfruits, not our fourthfruits.

A few years ago, a copier was donated to our church. I can imagine the process that brought it to us: Another congregation, frustrated with its finicky copier, wanted to buy a new one but felt guilty about junking something that still worked. So they gave it to us. We are a poor church, we can’t afford new things, and we were grateful. The copier makes copies most of the time, but you have to be careful not to leave the paper in the feed tray overnight, not to put too much paper in at once, and also to keep your batches small. Any missteps will strand you in the copy room, desperately opening and closing Door A.

One evening as I watched an already worn-out elder struggle to get the ten copies she needed for our council meeting, I started to ponder. Someone’s good impulse brought the copier to our church, but there is something uncomfortable about it, too. Donations like this seem kind but sometimes add further burden to people who are already weighed down. More importantly, they often don’t reflect the generosity of our God. If the “least of these” are Christ in our midst, as Scripture tells us, then why are we giving them our castaways?

I am one of the pastors of a small rural congregation in Michigan. Twenty years ago, our community set out to welcome the wounded—to hold space for those who felt excluded from other churches—and we’ve done just that. But our work is difficult and often painful.

My first pastoral visit to a member of the congregation happened in a behavioral health unit, where one of our deacons had been hospitalized. She has dissociative identity disorder, sometimes referred to as “multiple personality disorder.” One of her alter-egos had slit her ...

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[Cfamily]North Korea Frees American Christians
« Reply #887 on: May 13, 2018, 01:01:14 AM »
North Korea Frees American Christians

President Trump announced that the three prisoners have been released prior to his historic meeting with Kim Jong-un.

Three Korean American evangelicals held as prisoners in North Korea for at least a year are now on their way home, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet this morning.

“I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting,” the president wrote.

Pompeo was said to bring up the plight of the Christian prisoners—Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Kim Sang Duk—during his initial visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a month ago.

Their release comes as President Trump prepares for a historic meeting with Kim Jong-un as early as this month. Trump also said in his tweet that Pompeo had another “good meeting” and that the date and place had been set for when the two heads of state will meet.

The three Christians spent between a year and three years detained in North Korea, and two previously worked at a private university in the country’s capital.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) is mostly staffed by Christian professors who are forced to keep their faith private due to the dictatorship’s severe restrictions on religious expression.

Professors Kim Hak Song and Kim Sang Duk were arrested last May and charged with “hostile” acts against the government, the same erroneous charge levied against missionary Kenneth Bae, who was released in 2014. Kim Dong Chul was arrested in 2015.

Leading up to the proposed denuclearization talks between Trump and Kim Jong-un, Christian religious freedom advocates Open Doors had lobbied for the President to push for the American prisoners’ release. “We simply cannot afford ...

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