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[Cfamily]Karen Swallow Prior: Sin Is Like Walking in Front of a Bus
« Reply #912 on: June 07, 2018, 01:00:17 AM »

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Karen Swallow Prior: Sin Is Like Walking in Front of a Bus

What my recent accident taught me about repentance.

Sin is like getting hit by a bus.

Surviving it requires the divine intervention of the creator. Even when it doesn’t kill you, it causes needless pain. And we can’t get out of its horrible consequences on our own.

I was away from home for work, on my way to a meeting and, having decided to walk the 20-minute distance on this beautiful, late spring morning, I lost my way. I decided to turn back to my hotel and take a cab from there.

I didn’t see the bus until it slammed against me. According to the police report, I was thrown 15 or 20 feet into the air. I don’t remember that flight or the landing that followed. I remember coming to with a crowd of people around me and my whole body in excruciating pain. I couldn’t see anything but the blood running from my head down my arm. I could hear two women saying they were nurses and giving instructions to the other Samaritans who’d come to my aid. I could hear a man who was holding my hand warmly and firmly and asking my name. When I gave it, he just kept saying, “Karen, don’t lose consciousness. Stay with us, Karen.” I was in such pain that I couldn’t stop screaming.

What remains in my memory most from those moments is the blood and the screaming and that man holding my hand. He held it the entire time while I was placed onto the stretcher and into the back of the ambulance. Just before the paramedics slid me all the way into that dark cave, he prayed for me. All I could manage to say was, “God bless you.” And I meant it.

Sin is like this.

Sin is like this in that, so often, it’s just a tiny step away from the standard. A split second error in judgment. A little thing, like paying too much attention to one thing ...

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[Cfamily]Will Supreme Court Cake Ruling Actually Help Christian Businesses?
« Reply #913 on: June 08, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
Will Supreme Court Cake Ruling Actually Help Christian Businesses?

Masterpiece Cakeshop case tests religious and LGBT rights, but justices choose the narrow way.

The case of a Christian baker refusing to design a cake for a same-sex wedding became, in the eyes of many, the most-anticipated Supreme Court decision of the year because justices had a chance to finally resolve America’s ongoing struggle to balance sincerely held faith convictions and LGBT protections.

But in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court’s 7–2 ruling did not establish a new precedent outright allowing or barring Christian business owners from serving customers based on their faith convictions. Instead, the narrow decision favored baker Jack Phillips over a state agency that the high court ruled had demonstrated an unconstitutional hostility toward his Christian beliefs.

CT asked religious liberty experts to weigh in on what the complicated ruling actually means for conservative Christian business owners in the wedding industry:

Thomas Berg, professor of law and public policy at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota):

This is the court’s first tangle with the issue of religious vendor refusals and LGBT rights, and the justices obviously wanted to proceed slowly. But there are other cases coming, including the Washington florist currently before the court. The justices will have to accept another one for review if they want any control over what this opinion means.

The court indicates that the interests of both LGBT people and religious objectors must be taken seriously—a central theme of the amicus brief that [University of Virginia professor Douglas Laycock] and I filed for the LDS Church and other groups. But the court doesn’t say exactly what that means. Does it just mean no outright hostility to a religious belief? Or might it mean that the ...

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[Cfamily]A Preacher, a Businessman, and Their ‘Crusade of Mercy’
« Reply #914 on: June 09, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
A Preacher, a Businessman, and Their ‘Crusade of Mercy’

How American evangelicals became major players in the work of global charity.

Throughout my teenage years, a photograph of a young Honduran boy was as much a fixture of my family’s stuccoed Southern California home as the old refrigerator on which it hung. I had never met this child, whose smiling face greeted me any time I wanted a glass of milk, but we weren’t entirely strangers either, having exchanged letters on occasion. Truth be told, there was little chance I could have located Honduras on a map. All I knew was that my pen pal was struggling to make it and that supporting him was one small way that my family lived out its faith.

Looking back now, it seems remarkable to say, but during all the years that photo hung in the sun-soaked kitchen of our Orange County abode, it never once struck me as out of place. We were just one of many families I knew that had chosen to sponsor a child through World Vision International. Since its 1950 founding, the organization has evolved into nothing short of a philanthropic juggernaut, touching the lives of some 120 million young people in 95 countries last year alone.

But how did such photographs—not to mention the acts of transnational giving that they are intended to motivate—become so ubiquitous in American evangelical households? And how did evangelical institutions become such important players in international relief and development work in the first place? Tufts University historian Heather D. Curtis answers these questions and more in her brilliant new book, Holy Humanitarians: American Evangelicals and Global Aid, which shows that evangelical leadership in these realms significantly predated the tidal wave of postwar generosity that gave rise to organizations such as World Vision. Even as Curtis unearths this longer history, ...

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[Cfamily]Leading in a Diverse World
« Reply #915 on: June 10, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
Leading in a Diverse World

Leaders have a unique role to play in creating the environments where diversity can be a benefit rather than a cause for division.

Every day, the world gets a little more connected.

In 2010, about 1.9 billion people were using the internet; just 6 years later that number grew by 60% to 3.2 billion (

Despite the efforts from various governments to regulate or censor information shared across the internet, our knowledge of other cultural contexts continues to increase. Along with internet growth, cell phones use is multiplying rapidly. Astonishingly, according to Global Giving, more people in the world have access to a cell phone than a toilet.

Not only are we increasingly virtually linked, but we are also physically interacting across national and cultural boundaries more than ever. In 2017, the airline industry added 500 new flights between international cities that didn’t have flights before. Last year, there were 258 million international migrants worldwide, up from 170 million in 2000 (

Collaboration and cooperation across cultural lines

All these expanding networks of interaction mean that leaders increasingly find themselves in more diverse communities and organizations. Pastors are seeing the shifting demographics in their communities and realizing their congregations are not reaching those new people. Teachers are experiencing the growing ethnic diversity in their classrooms. Sales managers are tasked with growing their companies’ international footprint. Coaches of their child’s sports teams are trying to navigate the different cultural backgrounds of the families participating.

As a result, the ability to encourage collaboration and cooperation across cultural difference is becoming a prerequisite for leading in today’s global society.

It is true that working with diversity is not easy. We will need to listen ...

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[Cfamily]Interview: Q&A: We Need a Christ-Centered Theology of Trauma
« Reply #916 on: June 11, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
Interview: Q&A: We Need a Christ-Centered Theology of Trauma

Therapist Hermeisha Hopson offers a clinically informed, scripturally sound approach to treating #MeToo victims and other survivors.

At times, the magnitude of suffering in the world can seem too much. In the past year alone, we’ve been confronted by headlines of gunmen massacring concert-goers, church members, and children; entertainment executives preying upon women; a sexual predator molesting upwards of 300 girls; and police officers violently responding to unarmed civilians—and these are just the stories that have made national news. In our personal lives, too, we sometimes see firsthand accounts of domestic violence, child abuse, and other traumas.

As the church, we’re called to mourn with those who mourn and comfort the afflicted, but it’s not always easy walking this journey alongside our friends and family. Hermeisha Hopson, a therapist and licensed social worker with a biblical counseling background, is intimately familiar with the work of coming alongside survivors. Hopson runs Refuge Counseling and Consulting Services in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and has over a decade of clinical experience with severe trauma victims.

She recently spoke with CT Women about how to equip churches, families, and individuals with a scripturally sound approach to trauma treatment.

How do you define trauma?

It’s any sort of disturbing experience that produces an overwhelming and unmanageable emotional response. Trauma covers a gamut of things—from a loss of a pet to the loss of a loved one to childhood sexual trauma. Often, folks struggle to concentrate, or they experience sleep problems and nightmares. These are cues that the situation has become unmanageable and that it’s not something that they can just bounce back from.

How did helping people suffering from trauma become a personal passion?

I’ve personally experienced ...

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[Cfamily]Love Thy Neighbor as Mister Rogers Did
« Reply #917 on: June 12, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
Love Thy Neighbor as Mister Rogers Did

A new documentary shows how a gentle Presbyterian minister turned TV inside out.

Morgan Neville’s new documentary about Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, reminds us that the television icon was an ordained minister ... and then shows us protesters at his funeral predicting his damnation. It tells us that he was a lifelong Republican ... and then shows conservative pundits roundly condemning him for helping create an environment where children’s self-esteem was respected and nurtured.

Fred Rogers, the ultimate hip-to-be-square icon, did not change all that much in the 35 years between the premiere of his iconic show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in 1968 and his death in 2003. But we sure did. The film underscores how much we lost when we lost Rogers by making us feel how much those cultural changes have accelerated in the 15 years since his death.

It seems to be a given in today’s polarized landscape that such changes are cheered or lamented according to one’s ideological affiliations. Public figures who transcend political, racial, and cultural divides are increasingly few, and those who generally united us in the past are reconfigured to make them more palatable to our current views, when they’re not being reevaluated and eviscerated for not falling in line with those views.

But for most of us, extremist groups and pundits aside, Fred Rogers’s reputation has survived intact. That says something about the man he was.

Transforming a Medium and a Culture

In March 2000, Christianity Today ran a cover story about Rogers, equating adults who evaded the call to love their neighbor with the self-justifying expert in the law who interrogated Jesus and prompted the parable of the Good Samaritan. The 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (which, ...

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[Cfamily]Patterson Withdraws from SBC Annual Meeting
« Reply #918 on: June 13, 2018, 01:00:12 AM »
Patterson Withdraws from SBC Annual Meeting

Decision will avoid a distracting showdown on first day of Southern Baptist delegates’ Dallas gathering.

Paige Patterson will no longer preach an honorary sermon at the annual meeting of America’s largest Protestant denomination this month.

The figurehead of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was slated to preach the high-profile “convention sermon” in Dallas on June 13, but he released a statement this morning addressing the controversy that’s surrounded him the past several weeks and announcing his plans to skip the convention:


In a few days, for the first time in 66 years I will not attend the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention—having begun attending when I was nine. As many of you know, I was elected in 2017 to deliver the 2018 annual convention sermon, but I have now respectfully requested to be released from this high privilege because I do not want my role as a preacher to detract in any way from the important business of our convention and because my desire is to work toward biblical harmony at our annual meeting. Many messengers have implored me to carry out this assignment, but this convention is not about me, and I have every confidence that this decision is best and right.

Had he not backed out, delegates would have had the opportunity to vote to replace Patterson with an alternate speaker—a possibility that denominational leaders feared would be a distracting and damaging start to the meeting’s focus on evangelism, baptisms, and other matters.

In a message to SBC leaders, the 75-year-old also resigned as chairman of the Evangelism Task Force, again citing a desire for denominational unity.

Austin pastor Kie Bowman, who had been elected as the convention’s alternate preacher, will deliver a sermon on Wednesday in Patterson’s place.

The news of Patterson’s ...

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For Black Evangelicals, How Does Masterpiece Cakeshop Compare to Jim Crow?

Four views on why African American Christians have mixed feelings about the Supreme Court’s first ruling on refusing services for same-sex weddings.

Recent legal attempts to balance religious freedom with LGBT anti-discrimination efforts have been compared to the push for racial equality during the civil rights movement in the United States decades before. But when conservative Christian-owned businesses decline to serve same-sex weddings, are the same principles at stake as when white-owned businesses refused to serve African Americans?

Justice Clarence Thomas, the only African American on the Supreme Court, brought up the comparison in his concurrent opinion in this month’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling. “It is also hard to see how [baker Jack] Phillips’ statement is worse than the racist, demeaning, and even threatening speech toward blacks that this Court has tolerated in previous decisions,” he wrote, citing past rulings in favor of cross burners and organizers of racist parades.

Though Thomas joined the 7–2 majority siding with Phillips’s First Amendment rights in the case, the American public is largely split over whether wedding vendors should be required to serve same-sex couples or if they should be free to turn down clients if they have religious objections, the Pew Research Center found in a 2016 survey.

While American evangelicals have been the biggest supporters of Phillips’s case and the many similar cases, that support breaks down on racial grounds. Though both black and white born-again believers have long been the US religious groups most likely to oppose same-sex marriage, more African Americans don’t want to see owners refuse service to a particular group.

Pew found that black Protestants (most of whom identify as evangelical) were twice as likely as white evangelical Protestants—46 percent vs. 22 percent—to ...

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Source: For Black Evangelicals, How Does Masterpiece Cakeshop Compare to Jim Crow?

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