Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 437677 times)

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[Cfamily]Does Evangelism Jeopardize Authentic Artistic Expression?
« Reply #928 on: June 23, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »

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Does Evangelism Jeopardize Authentic Artistic Expression?

What an Old Testament artist tells us about aesthetic vocation.

When I was young, my mother made a wreath that was composed of natural materials—pinecones, needles, thistles—gathered from places where we had taken family vacations. Setting aside distinctions between art and craft, it has always been evident to me that the wreath possessed certain artistic qualities: an expression of her creative abilities, an intentional work with aesthetic appeal. What became equally evident to me over time was that the wreath functioned in another way.

Hanging on the wall in my parents’ living room as it has for decades now, it acts as a witness to and a reminder of our shared time as a family. Whenever I see it, I feel my feet walking on trails in the early morning, I hear the sound of metal tent stakes being hammered into the ground, I taste roasted marshmallows, and I see the faces of family members, some now gone.

Like other works of memorial art, the “memory wreath,” as my mother termed it, serves a purpose beyond mere decoration. It shapes our family’s collective memory as well as my individual memory. At a much broader level, the same could be said for the shaping of social memory through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the National September 11 Memorial, the public murals in Belfast, Northern Ireland, or the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

More controversially, this calls to mind the heated—at times even violent—ongoing debate in America over whether Confederate monuments should be taken down. One fascinating byproduct of this national discourse is the recognition that regardless of whether one believes that these statues represent a cultural identity that should be preserved or a history of racism and oppression ...

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[Cfamily]Nominate a Book for the 2019 Christianity Today Book Awards
« Reply #929 on: June 24, 2018, 01:00:16 AM »
Nominate a Book for the 2019 Christianity Today Book Awards

Instructions for publishers.

Each year, Christianity Today honors outstanding books of special interest to the Christian community. In the January/February 2019 issue, CT will feature the best books published between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018, divided into categories according to subject and genre. We will also announce the winner of our "Beautiful Orthodoxy" Book of the Year. Here are the awards categories:

  1. Apologetics/Evangelism

  3. Biblical Studies

  5. Children & Youth

  7. Christian Living/Discipleship

  9. The Church/Pastoral Leadership

  11. Culture and the Arts

  13. Fiction

  15. History/Biography

  17. Missions/The Global Church

  19. Politics and Public Life

  21. Spiritual Formation

  23. Theology/Ethics

  25. CT Women*

  27. CT’s “Beautiful Orthodoxy” Book of the Year**

*Learn more about CT Women at

**Beautiful Orthodoxy is the core philosophy guiding CT’s ministry. It describes a mission, across all our publications, to proclaim the truth, beauty, and goodness of the gospel in a gracious, non-antagonistic tone. Learn more about the cause of Beautiful Orthodoxy from CT editor Mark Galli, in this essay and this interview. The winner of CT's Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year will be featured prominently in the January/February 2019 issue.

CT Women and Beautiful Orthodoxy are special add-on categories. Books nominated in these categories must have first been nominated in one of the other main categories. (They will be eligible to win more than once.) The add-on fee is $15 for either CT Women or Beautiful Orthodoxy, or $30 for both.

What and How to Submit:

We are looking for scholarly and popular-level works, and everything in between. A diverse panel of scholars, pastors, and other informed readers will evaluate the books. Publishers wishing to ...

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[Cfamily]It’s Not My Daughter’s Job to Teach Me About Women
« Reply #930 on: June 25, 2018, 01:00:17 AM »
It’s Not My Daughter’s Job to Teach Me About Women

I’m learning how to rightly respect the opposite sex, not because I had a child but because of ongoing encounters with Christ.

Kanye West recently released his ninth album, titled Ye. Like most of his music, this album spans from the vulgar to the deeply touching and even delves into the spiritual realm. He makes fleeting acknowledgments of God and confesses that he doesn’t know what happens when we die. Most notably, the album ends with a personal song called “Violent Crimes,” which chronicles the change in his perception of women after he had a daughter.

“Father, forgive me, now I fear karma,” he says. “Now I see women as something to nurture and not something to conquer.”

Bad theology aside, West is drawing on a common trope: In order for men to fully understand what it means to honor and respect women, they must first have a female child. He articulates the fear that a man might treat his daughter as he once treated other women, and, faced with that prospect, decides all women deserve the same protection that he now wants to provide his daughter.

Other high-profile men—from Mitt Romney to Matt Damon—have used their daughters to demonstrate opposition to patriarchy and predatory behavior. And although commentators have taken issue with men exploiting their offspring to improve (or justify) their views on women, the problem goes much deeper. Here’s why: If we’re finally coming to grips with how men have treated women over the centuries, we need more than a sense of common humanity and respect. We need a robust conception of sin to show us our capacity for evil.

By way of empathy with West and other men, I understand why having a daughter is such a life-altering experience. I love my sons and daughters equally, but the experience of loving them is distinct. When my sons were born, I ...

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One-on-One with Pastor Choco DeJesus on ‘Move into More: Limitless Surprises of a Faithful God’

We settle for less because there is a challenge that comes with seeking more.

Ed: When you write about being marked by God for more, what kind of more are we talking about here?

Pastor Choco: The more that I'm talking about is not materialism. The more I'm talking about is what the Bible says in Corinthians that eyes have not seen, ear have not heard, and mind cannot conceive what God has in store for you. As a young man of 14 years old who had just come to Christ, it was prophesied over me that God was going to take me into larger places and I was going to be a leader of influence.

At every level of growth throughout the years, I saw new challenges. Years later, things came to fruition of what was prophesied over my life. The more that I'm talking about is that with God there are no limits. He has no ceiling for you regardless of how old you are. God has something more in your ministry, whether you are a pastor, a leader, or something else. He's got something more for you.

Ed: It seems that sometimes we settle for less. Why is it part of our nature to do that?

Pastor Choco: I think we settle for less because there is a challenge that comes with seeking more. When there's more that you want from the Lord, you've got to show up. You've got to be able to be present. So we settle for less, for a lesser land, when God has given us the promised land because we don't want to pay that sacrifice. We don't want to go the extra mile. We don't want to be able to get our hands dirty if you will. I think that's why, as a culture, we've just settled. We've become complacent of where we're at and God is saying, "I have so much more for you if you're just willing to walk another block." I think that's one of the reasons why we don't experience ...

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[Cfamily]Keeping the Trinity Personal
« Reply #932 on: June 27, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
Keeping the Trinity Personal

Defending the oneness of God shouldn't nullify the Bible's claims about the mutual love of Father, Son, and Spirit.

“Holy, Holy, Holy” is one of the most well-known hymns in the English language. The famous hymn, inspired by the Nicene Creed and sung in countless churches each Sunday, ends with the familiar line “God in three persons, blessed Trinity!” But as beloved as this song is, how well do we understand this familiar line? What do we mean when we say God is one God in three “persons”? Does that mean three different personalities? How do these persons relate to each other? And how do we square this with the biblical affirmation from Deuteronomy 6:4 that “the Lord our God, the Lord is one”?

What does it mean to say that the Trinity is personal?

Don’t Take This Too Personally

Over the past several years, evangelical theology has been racked by a battle over the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS). On the one side are theologians arguing that obedience and submission are felicitous ways to describe the Son’s eternal relation to his Father. Others object that talk of “functional subordination” flirts with (or, worse, hooks up with) Arianism.

This debate implicates longer-standing disputes about the meaning of person in Trinitarian theology. For some, a divine Person is, in the words of Stephen Holmes, professor of systematic theology at the University of St Andrews, an “instantiation of the divine nature.” To say that the triune Persons are “persons” doesn’t imply that they’re personal or have personality in anything like the common modern sense of the word. Holmes puts it starkly. For Augustine and the Cappadocian fathers of the Eastern church, “all that is truly ‘personal’ (knowledge, volition, action ... ) [is ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Caleb Kaltenbach on ‘God of Tomorrow’
« Reply #933 on: June 28, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
One-on-One with Caleb Kaltenbach on ‘God of Tomorrow’

Our current and future circumstances don’t negate God’s power, plan, or promises.

Ed: A lot of believers feel like everything is changing, often for the worst. Why do you think there is so much fear?

Caleb: We’re usually afraid of circumstances and people that we don’t understand or cause us feel out of control. Fear launches us into uncertainty and forces the acknowledgement of our limits as humans. For instance, despite our valiant efforts to reverse societal trends, many of us may not know why the ethics and moral compass of our society are drifting away from Judeo-Christian values.

Reacting with fear allows us to stabilize our fearful emotions in sinful ways. People pleasing, bashing society, throwing out truth, micromanaging, legalism, and isolating ourselves from others are just a few of our destructive solutions that hurts others and brings more fear. Loving God and focusing on him is a much better response.

Ed: You emphasize in your book God of Tomorrow that although our society is rapidly changing, God never changes. What are the implications for our faith of an unchanging God in this frenetic world?

Caleb: Society’s trends, people’s opinions, and the severity of injustices are always changing. However, our current and future circumstances don’t negate God’s power, plan, or promises. Revelation 20-22 promises God’s justice and fulfillment of his redemptive plan.

Unlike everything else in life, God never changes and is completely trustworthy. If he is good, unchanging, and has our back, then we can trust him, love others, and be courageous. Cultural tragedy and everyday life will punch us in the gut again, but our expectant hope is that our unchanging God will guide us and work all things out to His glory. Such hope transcends today’s trials and points ...

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[Cfamily]Stephen King Wrestles with the Divine
« Reply #934 on: June 29, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
Stephen King Wrestles with the Divine

The horror writer is no fan of organized religion, but his stories don’t shy away from belief in things unseen.

Say what you will about Stephen King, but the man has staying power. Last year’s Dark Tower may have flopped, but the big screen adaptation of It raked in oodles of cash (part two is currently in pre-production). And this summer witnesses Sissy Spacek’s long-awaited return to the Maine hinterlands of King’s Castle Rock, her first time collaborating with the author since her career-defining role as Carrie in 1976. King himself shows no sign of slowing down, with an epic new novel on stands this summer, The Outsider, and another on the horizon.

With each passing year, the horror master’s shadow only grows longer. The Duffer Brothers, creators of Stranger Things, went so far as to pay tribute to their hero with the logo of their hit Netflix show. Meanwhile, King’s own sons, Joe Hill and Owen King, are both novelists in the same vein as their dad, each boasting significant followings of their own. (His daughter, Naomi, is a Unitarian minister.) Even critics have begun acknowledging the man’s dazzling versatility.

King’s profile has been so high for so long that it’s a bit surprising that Douglas Cowan’s America’s Dark Theologian marks the first full-length treatment of the religious themes in his work. “Constant readers,” as King aficionados are known, are already well aware that he doesn’t shy away from the subject.

While it’s true that organized religion seldom comes off well in his books, King handles the Christian faith itself in a myriad of ways—as the motivator for bravery just as often as cruelty, a reservoir of strength as well as a shield for cowardice. Characters regularly wrestle with the divine, and rarely the same way twice. Sometimes ...

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Supreme Court: California Can’t Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

Clinics’ free speech rights trump an “unduly burdensome” state disclosure requirement.

Pro-life clinics offering pregnant women alternatives to abortion won a major free speech victory today.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to block a California law requiring pregnancy centers post referrals to state-funded abortion providers and birth control resources, forcing them to promote services that violate their beliefs.

In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the court ruled that the state’s 2015 Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act “targets speakers, not speech, and imposes an unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that will chill their protected speech.”

Christian and pro-life groups celebrated the decision, which follows several similar local and state-level reversals across the country in recent years.

“We applaud the US Supreme Court for sending a clear statement today that pro-life Americans cannot be discriminated against and targeted by government,” stated Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America.

“To be clear, this case was not about abortion. Malicious abortion politics definitely were the motivation behind it, but the case centered on the inappropriate mandate of the state compelling pro-life clinics to promote abortion in violation of their consciences. The case was about forced speech.”

The president of the religious liberty law firm Becket, Mark Rienzi, summed up the ruling this way: “When it comes to important issues, the government doesn’t get to tell people what to believe, and it also doesn’t get to tell people what to say about it.”

Most of the 3,000 pregnancy clinics (also called “crisis pregnancy centers”) in the US are run by ...

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