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Interview: Q&A: Jackie Hill Perry on ‘Bending Myself to Jesus’
« Reply #904 on: May 30, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »

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Interview: Q&A: Jackie Hill Perry on ‘Bending Myself to Jesus’

A rap artist reflects on her latest album and what it means to walk away from the “vultures of culture.”


Jackie Hill Perry describes herself as a “rapper, writer, teacher, and poet.” On May 11, just days before the birth of her second child, she released her newest album, Crescendo (Humble Beast Records), a follow up to The Art of Joy. The 14-track hip-hop record reflects her deep evangelical commitment to sharing the gospel through music.


“My love for God and my experience of him gives me a desire for other people to know and experience that,” says Perry. “I do what Jesus did: I keep preaching. I keep teaching. God usually works in the places that we don’t see, so I’m planting seeds.”


CT spoke with Hill Perry right before her due date to discuss the motivation for her latest musical project, why affection for God is key to her faith, and how she responds to critics who disagree with her views on human sexuality.


How do those four aspects of your identity—rapper, writer, teacher, and poet—work together to define who you are?


Ultimately, all of those four things are forms of communication. They’re extensions of the same thing, since everything I do involves language. Whether it’s poetry, rapping, teaching, or writing, it all comes down to, “How can I use the gift that God has given me as a communicator? How can I use that for his glory?” God has allowed me to understand and communicate things uniquely.


Every time you get on stage, you’re proclaiming the gospel. What drives you, exactly; where does the fire come from?


Affection. I have a great affection for the Lord. I want to know him and love him and experience him and continue to grow in him through the church, through Scripture, and through prayer. I see how satisfactory he is and how good ...

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Memorial Day: For What Shall We Live?
« Reply #905 on: May 31, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
Memorial Day: For What Shall We Live?

Whether we wear a uniform or not, we all have sacrificial service to offer.


Memorial Day likely conjures up memories for all of us. Mine start from when I was too young to know what the day meant. When I was a young boy, it was a family time, a holiday from school or other obligations, and a time for picnics, multi-generational baseball games in an open field, and reunions with seldom-seen relatives.


Over the years I have gained a much greater appreciation for this day and what it means. From my first assignment in Vietnam to my last in Germany, I was continually reminded of the extraordinary sense of commitment and service in the young men and women with whom I was privileged to serve.


The Last Full Measure of Devotion


During my last assignment, as 33rd commander of the US Air Forces in Europe, I routinely received invitations to speak at memorial events at one or more of the many cemeteries in Europe where young Americans are interred. I was particularly moved by an event in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe.


The heavy traffic that normally circles that beautiful edifice at a frantic pace had been stopped, and a crowd had gathered to remember and honor French and American men and women who had given their lives in the horrible wars of the 20th century. Many living veterans of those conflicts wore the uniform they had first donned at a much earlier age, and some of them still bore the scars of war. It was humbling to be in their company that day.


For four decades, I was honored to serve with thousands of dedicated young men and women. Some of them would die in service to their country. We were extremely sad at their loss as we comforted their loved ones and each other. They gave their very best, and we were reminded that we must do the same. They died serving something bigger than themselves—the transcendent ...

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Why Japan Wants Its Past Persecution of Christians to Be World Renowned
« Reply #906 on: June 01, 2018, 01:00:16 AM »
Why Japan Wants Its Past Persecution of Christians to Be World Renowned

A dozen “hidden Christian” sites on verge of gaining UNESCO World Heritage status.


This month, a dozen Christian landmarks in Japan—where just 1 percent of the population claims Christ—have been officially recommended to be named World Heritage sites.


Spanning across the Nagasaki and Amakusa region, these sites represent places where believers during the Tokugawa shogunate (1630-1867) suffered the harshest persecution and martyrdom in the Asian nation’s history.


The list includes the Oura Cathedral in Nagasaki, which memorializes 17 Japanese Christians and 9 European priests who were crucified at the order of the ruler; Hara Castle in Minamishimabara, a battlefield during the uprising when Catholic rebels were massacred, their leader beheaded, and their faith banned; and other “hidden Christian” sites, where Christ-followers carried on their beliefs in secret for hundreds of years.


These landmarks, if granted recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) next month, would join 14 other cultural World Heritage sites in Japan and over 800 around the world.


Japan’s recommendation comes five years after local leaders submitted the Christian sites for consideration. The country learned in early May that an advisory panel, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, had endorsed the “hidden Christian” sites for inclusion on the World Heritage List; the final decision will come out of a UNESCO meeting in late June.


“This recommendation by the Japanese government on hidden Christian sites is significant for several reasons,” said Makoto Fujimura, who engages Shusaku Endo’s novel on persecution in 17th-century Japan in his own book about faith in the midst of suffering, Silence and Beauty.


“First, ...

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Source: Why Japan Wants Its Past Persecution of Christians to Be World Renowned

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https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2013/february/japanese-governors-want-christian-sites-added-to-world.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/may/japan-unesco-hidden-christian-persecution-world-heritage.html
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Reaching and Revitalizing Rural America: Overcoming Misconceptions, and Answering the Call (Part 2)

In reality, rural America is in a perilous position — perhaps in greater danger of decay and decline than many cities.


Misconception #2: Idyllic Life


The second misconception is that rural America is doing fine, while the inner cities alone are in decline. Though the general population of rural communities is diverse, there are challenges that are increasingly pervasive and common among many of these people groups. This is due in part to national trends in population migration.


Over the past century, the U.S. has seen ongoing urbanization. In 1900, roughly 35 percent of the population lived in metropolitan areas. Today, that number is 86 percent. Urban sprawl has overtaken many formerly rural counties, transforming and reclassifying them. Fewer than 50 million people currently live in the 1,976 counties that remain classified as non-metro today, and the collective population within those counties is shrinking.


The result is a smaller American countryside comprised of slower-growing counties with a reduced and stagnant economic potential. Despite a resurgence of jobs and rising wages since the economic downturn of 2008, recovery in rural America is slower. In fact, rural employment rates remain below pre-recession levels.


A 25 percent decline in rural manufacturing caused 700,000 jobs to disappear between 2001 and 2015, with many of these jobs moving overseas. The jobs that do exist offer significantly lower salary rates than those in urban places.


Rural areas are also lagging in education and healthcare. Even as national education levels increase, there is a widening gap between the number of urban and rural dwellers with college degrees.


The Demographics Research Group at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia reports that since 1990, college graduates living at the center of the nation’s 50 largest metro ...

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Source: Reaching and Revitalizing Rural America: Overcoming Misconceptions, and Answering the Call (Part 2)

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Fleming Rutledge: Why Being ‘Spiritual’ Is Never Enough
« Reply #908 on: June 03, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
Fleming Rutledge: Why Being ‘Spiritual’ Is Never Enough

Americans increasingly identify as “spiritual but not religious.” Radical faith goes beyond both.


We hear a good deal today about “the triumph of the human spirit.” Books and movies about disasters are frequently marketed as triumphs of the human spirit, even though they often portray examples of human depravity. This emphasis on the human spirit first impressed itself upon me when, 32 years ago, our family was undergoing a crisis. I received a long, compassionate letter from a friend on the West Coast. Although the letter was wonderful, one line bothered me. My friend wrote, “Your spirituality will get you through this.”


When I read it, I recoiled. Whatever “spirituality” meant, I was keenly aware that I didn’t have any of it. In and of myself, I had nothing adequate for what was facing us at the time. I had only the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.


As Barna and other research institutions have reported, there is a fast-growing category of so-called “Nones”—those who, like my friend, identify as “spiritual but not religious.” Generally speaking, people use this self-definition to mean that they want no part of the “institutional church” but seek a connection to some sort of transcendent dimension. Many millennials define themselves in these terms, so it is important to address these conceptions with warm pastoral sensitivity as well as audacious theological imagination.


Nonetheless, I would argue that the biblical witness is neither “spiritual” nor “religious.” Both of these categories present us with serious problems concerning the proclamation and teaching of the gospel.


When I use the word religion, I am using it the way Freud used it in The Future of an Illusion. He argues that religion is the projection of human ...

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Source: Fleming Rutledge: Why Being ‘Spiritual’ Is Never Enough

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College Board CEO: How Religious Education Helps Us Rethink the College Admissions Race

The “soulcraft” found in faith-based learning is just what higher ed needs right now.


High school graduation is a season of joy as we witness a sea of smiling young graduates, ready for anything. However, those smiles far too often mask the years of anxiety over getting into the right college that led up to that point.


The stress doesn’t go away once they have entered college; too many of these young people struggle to cope with challenges they encounter on campus.


Our culture pushes young people to excel in the college admissions process so much that many families and their children end up trading away happiness for a terrible bargain. We need to chart a different course. Religious education can provide valuable wisdom for how to help students not just set their sights on applying to college but thriving in life.


Parents often tell me their kids are too busy. Their schedules are filled ferrying their children from one activity to another. As college applications loom, the hustle turns into a frenzy. Students juggle mounting commitments. The all-important college application has begun to haunt too many childhoods, whispering premature anxiety into questions of what to learn and how to spend time, even where to live.


Admission counselors admit that too many of those students who make it to their campuses languish when they arrive. They possess a fragile excellence. Faced with a significant challenge—such as living away from home for the first time, a difficult course, or other demands that come with college life—these students flounder. The skills of getting into college undermine the confidence to thrive once there.


While it may sound strange coming from the CEO of the College Board, I believe it’s time to stop the competitive madness that’s hurting our students. We must find a healthier ...

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Source: College Board CEO: How Religious Education Helps Us Rethink the College Admissions Race

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/C6ESQB5V-qU/college-board-ceo-religious-education-college-admissions.html
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Announcing the New Wheaton College School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership, and Lots More on What's Going on at Wheaton's Billy Graham Center

There is a place for you in what God is doing at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham Center.


Two years ago, I made the decision to leave Lifeway Research, pack up my family, and head north to become the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and the new Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center there.


It was a huge transition, but we knew it was God’s leading, and were excited to begin. The last two years have been, in many ways, a learning curve for me as I’ve navigated the complexities of an institute of higher education while also looking outward at building a world hub of mission and evangelism training.


At times, it’s been hard. At times, I’ve wanted to pack up and head south to train pastors in Brazil. Seriously. But more frequently than not, I’ve not wanted to go anywhere. Nearly daily, I am reminded of God’s calling upon my life and my leadership here at the college and the Center. It really is a great place to work.


God has done significant things through the hard work of my staff over the past two years. I want to share just a bit of it, and then end with some exciting news.


At the Billy Graham Center…


We’ve launched the Send Institute in partnership with the North America Mission Board. This is a one-of-a-kind church planting think tank that is tackling some challenging issues in North American church planting today.


We’ve launched the Rural Matters Institute, finally bringing on the map the important work of church planters and pastors serving in rural contexts in North America. RMI has become a go-to place for resourcing rural pastors.


We’ve exponentially increased our Church Evangelism Initiative, which brings together senior pastors in cohorts to grow their personal evangelism and take their churches to the ...

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Source: Announcing the New Wheaton College School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership, and Lots More on What's Going on at Wheaton's Billy Graham Center

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/zTSAk3MiesQ/new-school-of-ministry-mission-and-leadership-and-lots-more.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/82289.jpg?w=460
http://www.wheaton.edu/
http://www.billygrahamcenter.org/
http://www.sendinstitute.org/
http://www.bgcruralmatters.org/
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Why the Winning Spelling Bee Word, ‘Koinonia,’ Is So Easy for Christians

The Greek word is common church lingo for fellowship and community.


After the typical litany of obscure and clunky terms at this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee championships—bewusstseinslagen ousted one top competitor—the final word actually rang familiar to Christian viewers.


Koinonia was the winning word for the bee’s champion, 14-year-old speller Karthik Nemmani. A Greek word defined as “spiritual community,” it’s better known to believers as a term used to refer to Christian fellowship, or communion itself.


Karthik, who beat out more than 500 fellow spellers during the most competitive bee in history, said he knew the spelling of the final word as soon as the official pronouncer read it.


And so did many Christians who recognized the word from church life: It’s been used to name coffee shops, youth groups, worship bands, retreats, summer camps, and other ministries.


“If you grew up evangelical in the 90s you can totally spell koinonia because you had a crush on the drummer for a youth group band by that name,” joked author Rachel Held Evans on Twitter.


Christianity Today has reported on Koinonia Farms, an intentional community in Georgia that went on to launch Habit for Humanity, as well as Koinonia House, an aftercare program for previously incarcerated women.


Christians have adopted the word koinonia from the Greek New Testament, where it is translated as fellowship, communion, or partnership. It’s the word behind verses such as Acts 2:45, where the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship,” and Philippians 1:5, when Paul prays with joy of “partnership in the gospel.”


The late evangelical scholar John Stott preached on the term:


That’s the Greek word ...

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Source: Why the Winning Spelling Bee Word, ‘Koinonia,’ Is So Easy for Christians

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