Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 437671 times)

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[Cfamily]Carrying On After Jesus Is ‘Gone’
« Reply #888 on: May 14, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »

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Carrying On After Jesus Is ‘Gone’

Jesus’ Ascension seems to happen at a rather inopportune time.

For those following a liturgical church calendar, Pentecost is generally viewed as the climactic moment of Eastertide. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came with stunning fanfare on the little band of believers huddled down praying in that Upper Room. The commotion drew the attention of locals, and in one day, three thousand people came to believe in Jesus. But though Pentecost puts an exclamation point on the preceding 50 days in the Christian calendar, Ascension Sunday provides us needed reflection without which Pentecost doesn't make much sense.

Acts 2 loses a lot of its meaning without Acts 1.

The first chapter of Acts records the last face-to-face conversation the disciples had with Jesus. They asked him a crucial question in Acts 1:6, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” It’s a question we ask still today as we work to reconcile our current experiences with what we believe God has done in the past and will be doing in the future.

Before the crucifixion, these same disciples had not understood Jesus’ coming death and resurrection. Along the Emmaus road after his resurrection, he connected for them the dots between the Old Testament and his death (Luke 24:13–27). It makes sense then that these same disciples wanted a little more clarity about the next steps after his resurrection. It makes sense that at times we still do as well.

But Jesus didn't explain the details to them in Acts 1. Instead, in the next verses, he promised once again the coming of the Holy Spirit, who would equip them to be his witnesses to “Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Instead of explaining the details of what happened next, Jesus used language ...

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[Cfamily]God Understands Hard, Thankless Parenting
« Reply #889 on: May 15, 2018, 01:00:20 AM »
God Understands Hard, Thankless Parenting

Mother’s Day is difficult for many. But Scripture portrays a Father who knows our plight.

Come Monday morning, restaurants will recoup from their most lucrative day of the year. Florists will sweep away the wilted and bruised blooms that weren’t pretty enough to get picked. Drugstores will clear away the pastel riot of picked-over Mother’s Day cards.

For some women, this Mother’s Day post-mortem can’t come quickly enough. As the parent of a child with autism, I may never hear a spontaneous “I love you, Mom!” because disability has hampered communication. For other mothers, their arms ache from the void left by a child no longer alive to embrace or a child who’s emotionally impaired or simply estranged from them.

Still others pull double duty as both mother and father because of deployment, divorce, or death. There’s no supportive spouse around to prompt the children into charming displays of appreciation, no one to fête and pamper mom as “queen of the day.” Even “normal mothers” struggle with feeling inadequate. (Deep down, we suspect we’re not good enough to warrant special treatment anyway.)

As residents of a broken planet, these women represent a diverse yet silent majority. We occupy a conflicted space, a shared identity in the sisterhood of otherness. However, for those of us who feel undone by the various losses of motherhood, we take comfort in a God who grieves with us and for us. Scripture gives us vivid pictures of how God understands the brokenhearted parent:

In Genesis 1, the Father of the universe prepared paradise for his children. His return on investment? A mere three chapters in, those children betrayed him. By Noah’s account, God’s heart was filled with pain, and he regretted having them at all (Gen. ...

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[Cfamily]Abounding Love: My Life with Chronic Illness
« Reply #890 on: May 16, 2018, 01:00:17 AM »
Abounding Love: My Life with Chronic Illness

A decade of deep suffering has led me to ask a lot of hard questions.

I can recall hearing the words “chronic illness” being spoken from a stage twice in my lifetime. Once was during a worship service during my orientation to Wheaton College in 2016. The other was also at Wheaton College, this time from my own lips as I shared about my illness in chapel the following year.

Since chronic illness is so infrequently discussed publicly, it leaves many people who are chronically ill dangling alone with unaddressed theological, emotional, and intellectual questions. For me, many of these questions centered around how the existence of chronic illness could possibly fit together with the love of God.

It wasn’t until spring of my sophomore year at Wheaton when I began studying systematic theology that I entered a safe space in which I could ask and deeply work through these questions.

A Glimpse into My Story

I have been chronically ill for nearly a decade – I started to develop my symptoms when I was 10 years old. The past nine and a half years have been a long and painful journey of doctors’ appointments and symptoms that have at times pushed my endurance to its limits. I am officially diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), although since there is no test for IBS and my symptoms often vary from a typical experience of IBS, I cannot be completely sure of this diagnosis. However, having any diagnosis – even if its accuracy is tentative – is helpful in the chronic illness world because a diagnosis can give you access to the accommodations you need.

People often ask me what it is like to be chronically ill. The answer to such a question is long, because chronic illness affects virtually every aspect of my life. I once wrote a 25-page description of some of ...

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[Cfamily]Why Happy Christian Moms Still Feel Guilty
« Reply #891 on: May 17, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
Why Happy Christian Moms Still Feel Guilty

Pew Research found that evangelical mothers score high for balance and satisfaction in parenting. So why do they keep facing so much pressure?

Based on the numbers, evangelical moms should be the happiest on the block.

During a cultural moment when American mothers are feeling the acute tension around balancing their roles and responsibilities, evangelicals report being particularly satisfied with the time they spend parenting.

In Pew Research Center data broken down by faith group, more than three-quarters (76%) of white evangelical mothers say they spend just the “right amount” of time with their children. Over half—that’s more than moms or dads in any other religious group—say they actually have enough time to socialize and pursue their hobbies.

And yet, moms in evangelical churches across America, gearing up for another round of pink carnations and Mother’s Day well-wishes, say they’re still struggling with mom guilt, burnout, and parenting pressures.

In some church circles, moms feel like they’re encouraged to stay home, homeschool, or joyfully embrace motherhood as their sole priority—even though these days, both mom and dad work full time in nearly half (46%) of two-parent households with kids, according to Pew.

“Mom guilt is such a real issue and particularly in the lives of Christian moms. God designed us to nurture and care for our children, but many of us work outside of the home out of a specific calling or out of necessity or both,” said Jana Magruder, director of LifeWay Kids.

“My advice for Christian moms who experience this tension is to embrace the fact that the two can co-exist together—you can be a godly, nurturing mom while also working outside the home.”

Even Christian moms who are ready to defend their choice to work outside the home or carve out personal time away ...

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[Cfamily]God Hates Abuse
« Reply #892 on: May 18, 2018, 01:00:17 AM »
God Hates Abuse

There’s more to the scriptural picture behind “I hate divorce.”


I have never recommended or prescribed divorce. How could I as a minister of the Gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce. I have on more than one occasion counseled and aided women in leaving an abusive husband. -Paige Patterson

I, too, am a Southern Baptist, and although I respect Dr. Patterson's right to disagree, I doubt that this is the presiding opinion among all SBC pastors. Patterson's refusal to acknowledge abuse as a legitimate breach of the marriage covenant convinced a battered wife to stay in an abusive home. Domestic abuse is cyclical. Even when pastors, counselors, and victim’s advocates intentionally intervene, abused women often find the fear of isolation, financial struggle, single parenting, violent retribution, and a host of other factors to be a hill too steep to climb. So they return home.

Women and children are being oppressed by their husbands and fathers across our nation. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011 survey of more than 12,000 women, 22 percent of women in the US have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. That's one in four women across our nation experiencing “severe” physical oppression. (Fourteen percent of men also experience abuse during their lifetimes.) Which is why pastors have to refuse the simple, proof-texted answer. Patterson insists, “The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce.” That is true.


Exhibit A: Malachi 2:16a—“‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel ...” (NASB)

However, the Bible also makes clear the way in which God views abuse and oppression.

Exhibit B: Malachi 2:16b—“...and ...

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Spanning the Great Schism Between Evangelical and Orthodox Christians

Efforts to unite Christianity’s branches bear fruit.

Four years ago in Istanbul, a humble Turkish book partially reversed the 11th century’s Great Schism. Catholics joined Eastern and Oriental Orthodox—alongside Protestants—to publish a slim, 12-chapter treatise on their common theological beliefs.

“You can’t find a page like this in all of church history,” said Sahak Mashalian, an Armenian Orthodox bishop and the principal scribe of Christianity: Basic Teachings. “It is akin to a miracle.”

“The biggest obstacle to the gospel is the splits and fights within Christianity,” said Thomas Schirrmacher, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) theology leader who spoke at the recent launch of the book in English. “[We] must prove there is one Christian message, starting between churches themselves.”

There was a “wall of enmity” separating Protestants and Orthodox in Turkey, said Behnan Konutgan, former head of the Turkish Evangelical Alliance. As the dialogue progressed, most evangelicals were “suspicious.” But about a decade ago, Konutgan and Schirrmacher began regular yearly visits with Orthodox leaders. Reconciliation was a key goal because a Turkish Protestant pastor had slandered Orthodoxy’s global head, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Together they set up a procedure to handle such complaints. Shortly thereafter, Schirrmacher launched extensive religious liberty advocacy by the WEA for the Eastern Christian church.

“Many evangelicals are short-sighted, not realizing the Orthodox and Catholics have been here for hundreds of years,” Konutgan said. “If they read this book, they will see we believe in 90 to 95 percent of the same things.”

So whether it is nudging ...

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[Cfamily]How Southern Baptist Leaders Aided My Escape from Abuse
« Reply #894 on: May 20, 2018, 01:00:20 AM »
How Southern Baptist Leaders Aided My Escape from Abuse

Christian men helped me end a violent marriage. Their voices matter now more than ever.

A few weeks ago, Paige Patterson’s comments on domestic violence went public, setting off a Twitterstorm of condemnation and support. Thousands of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) women have since called for his resignation. For the many women who were willing to sign their names to the statement, there are dozens of others suffering in silence who will never come forward.

I know, because I was one of them.

I was raised as a Baptist pastor’s daughter in a small town in Indiana. I spent most of my youth sitting in the front pew, listening to my dad’s sermons. After graduating high school, I married my high school sweetheart, and together my husband and I continued to be active in my dad’s congregation. From the outside, we were part of a perfect, multi-generational Baptist family. Behind closed doors, however, I suffered physical, emotional and spiritual abuse at the hands of my husband.

After years of soul-crushing torture, I gained the courage to walk away from my marriage. We had tried multiple rounds of counseling, but the abuse was relentless. After crying out to God for help, I clearly felt him release me from my marriage, so with the loving support of my parents, I filed for divorce.

Soon after, I was called to a meeting with our church’s deacons, who informed me that I would undergo church discipline for my decision to divorce. One even said, “If you do this, God will never use you.” My ex-husband received no reprimand for the abuse, though he didn’t deny it. By contrast, I eventually had to withdraw my membership and move away, and my father was fired as the church’s pastor for his role in supporting me.

I would like to believe that my story is an anomaly. But these ...

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Jimmy Carter at Liberty Is 2018’s Most Surprising Yet Hopeful Commencement Speaker

How the president on the other side of the Moral Majority ended up invited to its unofficial headquarters.

Former President Jimmy Carter has accepted an invitation to deliver the commencement address at Liberty University on Saturday. Many will view this announcement as surprising, some even as disappointing for one reason or another. I view it as hopeful.

Carter is a progressive evangelical; the Falwell family and Liberty University identify with fundamentalist evangelicalism. Politically, Carter is generally liberal while the Falwells are conservative. Historically, Carter and Liberty’s late founder Jerry Falwell Sr. had differed sharply and personally on multiple issues—most notably civil rights and American defense of Israel.

So why, in this current era of adversarial politics in the state and even in the church, are the two contrasting forces coming together?

It is less surprising that Carter is willing to accept the invitation than that Liberty chose to offer it in the first place. While the former president can be unflinching on what he views as absolute moral principles (such as his opposition to racism), his career-long natural instinct has been to bring people together as much as possible (like when he met with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1978 at Camp David).

To work cooperatively with a broad range of evangelicals in achieving common evangelistic and social justice goals would not normally be difficult for Carter.

By contrast, fundamentalists, almost by definition, are more or less separatists. But Jerry Falwell Sr. modified that separatist mentality by entering the political arena as the founder of the Morality Majority, which set out to influence the conservative social agenda.

Gradually his college and his successor, son Jerry Falwell Jr., came ...

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