Archives for Christian - Page 308

Christian

The Benefits of Having Other People Raise Your Kids

By Sharon Hodde Miller Why doing it all alone isn’t the best (or most biblical) parenting strategy. I sat across from my husband with tears in my eyes as I confessed my horrible failure. I needed my son to spend more time in childcare, and it felt like a personal deficiency. I only have one kid, after all, so why couldn’t I keep up? Why couldn’t I be like those other, better mothers, who dutifully tend to their many children all day long, all on their own? I needed help—more help than I was getting—and I was ashamed to finally say it out loud. Up until this summer, my husband and I had both been full-time students, splitting our days with our young son. When my husband took a full-time job as a pastor, we settled into more traditional roles. For the first time since our son was born, my husband worked, I stayed at home, and my struggle began. For months, I was ashamed to admit that I couldn’t do it all; I couldn’t finish my dissertation, write, manage our home, tend to my faith, and make every second of my son’s days “count.” I felt trapped, but what were my options? Our son was …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

The Unremarkable Call to Love Our Gay Neighbors

By Karen Swallow Prior Glenn Stanton shows how friendship and biblical fidelity belong together. Not long ago, a former student of mine wrote an article for The Atlantic describing his experience coming out as gay at Liberty University, the evangelical school where I teach. He described how, after confiding his secret to me, I responded by saying, “I love you.” After the story was published, I received messages from across the country, some taking issue with my response, some affirming it. Either way, the messages indicated that assuring a gay student at a Christian university that he was loved was somehow remarkable. Perhaps, then, the most helpful feature of Glenn T. Stanton’s book Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace & Truth (Moody Publishers) is simply that it exists. Stanton is director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family. The Southern Poverty Law Center (which supports gay rights) lists the Colorado Springs organization as one of a dozen major groups that allegedly “help drive the Religious Right’s anti-gay crusade.” It’s noteworthy, then, to encounter a Focus on the Family scholar—someone known for debating LGBT advocates across the country—who authored a book calling Christians to love, befriend, and respect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

The Alternative Music Label That Shaped Evangelical Culture

By Joel Heng Hartse Tooth & Nail Records let Christian teenagers be both safe and subversive. Like every theological tradition, US evangelicalism is as much a subculture as it is a set of beliefs. It’s a community built on shared practices and products, and few have been more commercially successful in the past decades than contemporary Christian music (CCM). That phrase may evoke squeaky-clean pop playing in the minivans of many an evangelical childhood. But as those children of the ’80s and ’90s came of age, many of them began looking for something more potent. For them, the Christian music worth listening to came from a record label called Tooth & Nail. Since 1994, out of a nondescript office building in an upper-middle-class Seattle neighborhood, Tooth & Nail and its associated imprints have released 600 albums by 200 bands. There’s the wall-of-sound guitar sludge of Starflyer 59’s “Blue Collar Love” and the raucous anarchy of MxPx’s “Punk Rawk Show”; the paranoid shouts of Roadside Monument and the high-energy ska of the O.C. Supertones; the guttural growls of Underoath and Norma Jean; the strained emotion of Pedro the Lion and the Juliana Theory. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Tooth & Nail has commissioned a short documentary, No …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

My Boring Christian Testimony

By Megan Hill How I know it’s nonetheless real. The December issue marks two years since we launched Testimony, CT’s back-page feature spotlighting stories of conversion to Christ. One of our most popular features, we’ve heard from ex-atheists, ex-Muslims, and ex–bank robbers, from football stars to LDS Church escapees to media pundits visited by Jesus in a Taiwan hotel. We celebrate both the dramatic and the normal, day-to-day ways Jesus reaches us, precisely because it is Jesus doing the reaching. In Christ, no testimony, including the following from Megan Hill, is unremarkable. — Katelyn Beaty, managing editor, CT magazine I have no memory of becoming a Christian. I didn’t pray a prayer or walk an aisle or have a eureka moment. In fact, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love the Lord Jesus. My Christian testimony—the story of how I came to faith—is downright boring. I was born in 1978 and raised in Connecticut by godly Presbyterian parents. I ate my peanut-butter sandwiches with a prayer of thanks, recited answers at bedtime from the children’s catechism, and the songs I remember my dad singing to me invariably were from either the Beatles or the hymnal. But mine was not merely a private religion. Church life …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Microfinance Is a Women’s Issue

By Ashley Dickens, guest writer How our philanthropy can empower our sisters across the globe. While we continue to “lean in” and fight for gender parity at work, it’s important to recognize the position of privilege American women have in the marketplace, simply by virtue of living in this country. Women in the U.S. are rising in the workforce, at every level. They’re starting businesses and working their way up to executive-level positions. As a result, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, women control more wealth in the United States today than ever before. To state the obvious: We hold immense financial resources in our hands, particularly in comparison to women in the developing world. Our wealth gives us more chances to give, to invest in fellow mothers, wives, and sisters by bringing them the opportunity to work and earn. “I’m not sure Western women understand the power of restored dignity through work,” wrote Christian author, Jen Hatmaker. “We often disparage work, a luxury of the already empowered. But in a context like Rwanda, work is honorable and coveted, strong and transformative. It literally changes lives.” When we look at the lives of impoverished women around the world—far more likely than men to be …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Duke vs. Franklin Graham: Which Christian Spaces Are Off-Limits to Muslim Worship?

By Morgan Lee Call-to-prayer controversy at university chapel prompts debate over sharing sacred space. Duke University’s reversal of today’s plan to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from its historic chapel tower has reinvigorated a debate over shared worship space. The Durham, North Carolina-based school had authorized Muslim students to recite the three-minute chant from Duke Chapel on Friday, the weekly day of assembly in Islam, but rescinded the decision this week, following criticism and citing a “serious and credible security threat.” Franklin Graham, whose ministries (Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) are headquartered in North Carolina, attacked the university’s decision and condemned the use of a Christian space by members of another faith. “It’s wrong because it’s a different god,” Graham said. “Using the bell tower, that signifies worship of Jesus Christ. Using (it) as a minaret is wrong.” Muslim students had gathered for jummah prayers in the chapel’s basement for years, according to CNN reports. The chapel’s website describes it as “a Christian church of uniquely interdenominational character and purpose,” welcoming people of “all faiths and circumstances.” However, the dean of Duke Divinity School, Richard Hays, raised concerns about the use of the chapel for the Muslim call to prayer …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

First Female Coach Enters the ‘Man’s World’ of the NFL

By Valerie Dunham, guest writer Welcome to the big leagues, Jen Welter. If you do a Google image search for Jen Welter, the pictures are striking. Beneath the bulky helmet and facemask, her bright red lips and expertly made-up eyes pop. She curls a muscled bicep just enough to indicate strength and power. The feminine tone of her face seems to war with her masculine set of muscles. This is the woman who made history last week when she became NFL’s female coach. Welter was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern, scheduled to work with the organization’s inside linebackers during training camp and the pre-season. As Welter puts it, “It’s exciting to show not only women and girls, but pretty much everyone that anything is possible.” For years, media, fans, and NFL insiders speculated whether or not a woman could ever join the ranks of an NFL coaching staff. Many were, and remain, skeptical. As Mike Francesa put it on his daily talk show, “I did not think, folks, that I would see a female coach in the NFL… It’s not that she can’t know the x’s and o’s—it’s not about the x’s and o’s. It’s about the idea …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Maze Runner to God

By Samantha Blythe Wrong turns and dead ends punctuated by unexpected grace. We started to publish this delightful testimony as a serial, and then belatedly realized that the narrative flow was lost in breaking the story into parts every other day. Here now is the full version without even page breaks. The piece is much longer than our usual fare, so you may want to print it or save it to your favorite online reader after you’ve read for a bit. It is still organized by the phases that Samantha describes. Enjoy. –The Editors. The Formation Phase There was a life, phase after phase, Which oft felt like running a maze But no matter how odd, ‘twas all planned out by God, to Whom be all glory and praise. One of my earliest memories is of my five-year-old self, coming home from school a few months after my parents divorced. There was a goldfish in a bowl on the kitchen counter, with a note saying something like, “I thought you might like this. Love, Dad.” I hadn’t seen my dad for weeks, and I don’t think the slimy little guy or gal was much consolation. I remember having to flush it down the toilet a few weeks later. I …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

20 Truths from Sticking Points by Haydn Shaw

By Ed Stetzer Relating across generational lines can be difficult. How do people of varying ages understand each other better? 1. In previous eras, there were only three generations. The oldest generation had the money and made the decisions, and the younger generation of adults raised the children and did what the older generation asked them to until their parents died, and then their turn came to be in control. Changes in families and churches came slowly and naturally, with little disruption. (13) 2. But today, for the first time in history, we have five generations in our families, churches, and communities. (13) 3. Generational intelligence doesn’t make the key teaching of Jesus to “love one another” easy, but it does make it easier. (19) 4. Each generation has spiritual strengths and temptations that were shaped by the ideas and images of the times in which they grew up. (30) 5. We’ve been telling young people for twenty years that their generation could be the difference makers, that their lives could be big and they are dreaming too small. It’s time to tell their grandparents the same thing. (39) 6. Individualism brought God close, hyper-individualism applied a consumer’s attitude toward churches, and it has stunted Boomers spiritual growth. (55) 7. …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Who Are You Calling a Deadly Sin?

By Melissa Steffan The sloth’s slowness is its virtue. At the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., there lives a three-toed sloth. Specifically, this sloth occupies a box in the Small Mammal House. At least, that’s where the sloth has been every single time I have visited the zoo, and I have been five times over the past two years. Of course, the sloth does leave his box; friends sometimes send me cellphone photos and videos, capturing the sloth while he hangs from a tree branch or climbs around—but in spite of my best efforts, I’ve never seen him outside the box. And after two years of trying, I don’t want to. It’s hard to explain, but you have to start way, way back in time. Paleontologists have identified at least 23 different kinds and sizes of prehistoric sloths, but the most impressive of these is Megatherium. Its name stems from the Greek words mega , meaning “great,” and therion , “beast”—and rightly so. Megatherium was the size of a modern-day elephant, weighing up to six or seven metric tons. Standing on its hind legs, Megatherium could reach a height of more than 20 feet. It towered over most other mammals, except mammoths and mastodons. Megatherium was indeed a great …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

That Stat that Says Pastors are All Miserable and Want to Quit (Part 2)

By Ed Stetzer Stop spreading statistics that, if they were right in the first place, are over 20 years old—even the man who did the study agrees! Ed Stetzer: Were you upset with my article dealing with your statistics? Jerry Frear: Well, no. I chuckle every time I see them now because my study from 1992 is 23 years old. I would certainly hope there would be changes after more than 20 years of “pastor appreciation” and the spotlight that was shone on the ministry. Focus on the Family finally did a division of pastoral ministry care following the study. Now, a lot of denominations have someone at the district level responsible for pastoral care. With all of this going on, I would hope that the numbers were better. I’m pleased that Clergy Appreciation has stuck around, other people care about it, and there’s a legacy with it. But I would hope that after 25 years of advocating for those in ministry that the numbers have turned around in some way shape or form. I think your article was great. I’ve been waiting for somebody to write an article like that for at least ten years. Because I don’t know of any other statistical survey that’s quoted as …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Review: Trumbo

By Alissa Wilkinson The story of the celebrated and blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter boasts a star-studded cast but a half-baked script. mpaa rating:R (For language including some sexual references.) Genre:Comedy, Drama Theatre Release:November 06, 2015 by Bleecker Street Media “You write every scene brilliantly,” Otto Preminger (Christian Berkel) half-jokes to Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) on the porch of his house, where they’ve been working on the script of the 1960 film Exodus. “And I will direct unevenly.” The quip would function almost too well as a cipher for what happened with Trumbo, except the screenplay isn’t brilliant, either. It has its moments. Once in a while, it’s fantastic. But Trumbo mostly suffers from the now agreed-upon affliction we might call Important Biopic Syndrome, in which all the material that makes for a good movie gets vacuumed up by the things which the movie must signal to us are Important (lest we miss them) via musical cues and circular pans. Moments of political courage, for instance. Especially regarding the First Amendment. Arguments with the family. Epiphanies. Stupidities. One-ups. Sometimes, unfortunately, even jokes. The movie tells the story of Dalton Trumbo, which is both interesting and historically important, especially if that name means nothing to you. Trumbo …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

True Friends Will Change You

By Leilani Mueller, guest writer Transformative friendships happen everywhere… not just in small groups. After a welcome banquet for new students, the two of us sat beside a fountain and chatted about our shared backgrounds. Among the mostly white student body, we’d noticed that we were both multi-racial. From there, we discovered that we were both theater girls, having even played some of the same roles before. We loved books and beauty, and we were in the same honors program. We both took our faith seriously. Amid the excitement of so many shared passions, I met one of my best friends. In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis defines friendship as the moment when two people realize a shared love. Over time, this kind of instant connection evolves into something more. A friendship based on mutual interest turns into the chance to shape and sharpen each other’s interests. You grow and change because of the other person. It’s this transformational nature of friendship that makes it a significant part of our lives as Christians. God uses friendship not just to change us, but to make us like him. Dallas Willard states in The Divine Conspiracy that making people like Christ consists in “bringing people to believe with their …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

List of Pastors' Retreats and Getaways

By Ed Stetzer Here are some free or discounted retreat opportunities for pastors. Alabama AnchorLight Bed and Breakfast Crane Hill, AL Camp Victory Samson, AL Arizona Oasis Renew Sonoita, AZ Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat Phoenix, AZ Arkansas Family Life Little Rock, AR Oaks Manor Conference and Retreat Center Van Buren, AR The Broom Tree Refuge Mountain View, AR California Jenness Park Christian Camp Cold Springs, CA The Oaks Lake Hughes, CA Zarephath Ministries Simi Valley, CA Colorado En Gedi Retreat Yampa, CO Quiet Waters Denver, CO SonScape Retreats Divide, CO Florida Beside Still Waters Bradenton, FL Camp Gilead Polk City, FL Wesleyan Village Brooksville, FL Georgia Galatians 6:6 Retreats Rome, GA Shepherd’s Refuge Dahlonega, GA WinShape Retreat Mt. Berry, GA Illinois Deer Ridge Ministries Freeport, IL Indiana Shepherd’s Gate Inn Martinsville, IN The Springs Oldenburg, IN The Silk on the Bend South Bend, IN Kentucky A Quiet Place Bryantsville, KY cleftRock Retreat Center Mount Vernon, KY Maine Friedenru Maine Anson, Maine Michigan Miracle Camp and Retreat Center Lawton, MI The Lodge Buchanan, MI Bridge Ministries, Inc.—Oasis Richland, MI Missouri Anchor Retreat and Conference Center Kimberling City, MO Life Change Camp Clinton, MO The Ark on Table Rock Lake Eagle Rock, MO Montana Mountaintop Retreat Bozeman, MT New Mexico Eagle Mountain Lodge Eagle Nest, NM New York Martin Ministries Brooktondale, NY LeTourneau …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

News: Died: Ian Howard Marshall, Courageous and Winsome Bible Scholar

By Bob Smietana A tribute to the New Testament expert who kept the flame of evangelical scholarship from burning out. Ian Howard Marshall, a gentle giant among New Testament scholars, died December 12 from pancreatic cancer. He was 81. Marshall was the honorary research professor at Aberdeen University in Scotland, where he taught for three decades. He was former editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and author of Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and Falling Away, Luke: Historian and Theologian, The Origins of New Testament Christology, and many other works. Marshall was one of the great British evangelical scholars of the second half of the 20th century. “New Testament interpretation will be much poorer as a result of his death, and I doubt we will see another like him for some time,” said Stanley E. Porter, professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity School in Hamilton, Ontario. Porter, one of Marshall’s former doctoral students, said Marshall was also a fabulous mentor and example to younger scholars. He was “honest, interested, and humble—besides, of course, being firmly evangelical in the best sense,” said Porter. At the beginning of his career, Marshall’s approach to the New Testament seemed antiquated, and …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

News: Orthodox Rabbis Say Christianity is God's Plan, Vatican Says Stop Evangelizing Jews

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra Experts assess letter exchange marking 50th anniversary of famous detente. Five decades ago, the Roman Catholic Church famously acknowledged the unique relationship between Jews and Christians. In the wake of World War II, the Vatican officially rejected anti-Semitism and a common manifestation—charges of deicide—and affirmed the covenant between God and the Jewish people. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetete declaration, a group of Orthodox rabbis signed and released a statement this month acknowledging that “Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations.” In separating Jews and Christians, God was not separating enemies but partners with significant theological differences, the rabbis wrote. “Both Jews and Christians have a common covenantal mission to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty, so that all humanity will call on His name and abominations will be removed from the earth.” A week later, the Vatican honored the Nostra Aetete anniversary by releasing its own statement, this time saying that Catholics should not evangelize Jews—at least in an organized way. The back-to-back events weren’t unrelated: Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s international director of interreligious affairs, signed the first document and spoke …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

The AIDS Epidemic and the Refugee Crisis: Faithfulness, Not Fear, Is Our Call

By Ed Stetzer When a situation is not understood, the Christian response is often defined by fear. In New York City in the early 1980’s medical doctors began to diagnose a strange and frightening disease. The New York Times reported: A SERIOUS disorder of the immune system that has been known to doctors for less than a year — a disorder that appears to affect primarily male homosexuals — has now afflicted at least 335 people, of whom it has killed 136, officials of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said yesterday. Federal health officials are concerned that tens of thousands more homosexual men may be silently affected and therefore vulnerable to potentially grave ailments. It was initially called GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency). The disease wreaked havoc with the immune systems of its victims, in many cases opening the door to a rare skin cancer type: Kaposi’s sarcoma, which until that point was uncommon in younger men. The early death toll from GRID was higher than toxic shock syndrome and Legionnaire’s disease combined. The population that contracted the disease was primarily in New York City, New Jersey, and California. Those early victims, according to the Times, were primarily male homosexuals “in …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

Review: Joy

By Alissa Wilkinson The film is uneven, but Joy knows just who she is. mpaa rating:PG-13 (For brief strong language.) Genre:Drama Theatre Release:December 25, 2015 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation The text at the beginning of Joy, the latest film from director David O. Russell (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), says it is “inspired by the true stories of daring women . . . one in particular.” That “one” is Joy Mangano, played here by Jennifer Lawrence, who is always fun to watch and certainly holds the film together. The character and her story are based on Mangano’s true story of inventing the Magic Mop, hawking it on the still-new QVC, and overcoming difficulty to become a business mogul able to support other inventors and entrepreneurs. Russell makes weird and frenetic movies that aren’t to everyone’s taste. They lurch around a bit and at times seem more infatuated with style than substance or coherence. That shows up again in Joy, which is narrated by Joy’s grandmother (Diane Ladd) and includes a montage introduction and a couple early black-and-white scenes from a melodrama, shot in soap opera style. Soon we segue into a whirling-dervish madcap romp through Joy’s house, with Joy as the axis, populated …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

A Christian College Chapel's Bold New Windows

By Lisa Ann Cockrel Hand-blown glass and color combine in Peter Brandes’s strikingly contemporary installation. Blue, yellow, and red—those are the letters,” says celebrated Danish painter and sculptor Peter Brandes. “They’re like alpha and beta in the Bible: they are the beginning of everything. I could go on and make any language with those colors.” Color is the language Brandes speaks fluently in his most recent project, his third in the United States: four large contemporary stained glass windows for the newly constructed Christ Chapel at Cornerstone University, an evangelical college in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For Christ Chapel’s westerly window, Brandes employed 250 sheets of hand-blown glass in 48 different shades of blue to explore the idea of baptism and rebirth. In the east, red represents the resurrection morning. To the north, yellow brings joy into the crucifixion scene, foretelling resurrection. To the south, a trio of complementary colors—green, violet, and orange—pays homage to the relationship between blessing and sacrifice in the Old Testament. Each window is made of about 1,000 pieces of glass. The glass used for all of the windowpanes was blown by hand in France at a factory that is 300 years old. The $14 million building is the first dedicated worship space …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »
Christian

InterVarsity, #BlackLivesMatter, Criticism, and Three Suggestions for the Future

By Ed Stetzer What are we to make of the recent InterVarsity comments on #BlackLivesMatter? For more than 60 years, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has been a leader in discussions about race and diversity among evangelicals. It began after an incident in the late 1940s, according to former InterVarsity president Alec Hill, who stepped down earlier this year, after being diagnosed with cancer. Here’s how Hill tells the story: ‘One of my favorite InterVarsity stories involves a Trustee, who in 1945 volunteered to host a Bible study in her home,” Hill wrote in 2003. “Unexpectedly, a staff member invited several Black students. When the Trustee objected and threatened to report the staff member to the entire Board, the latter responded—a la Dirty Harry— “please do.” As a result of this incident, the Board passed a resolution forbidding racial segregation at InterVarsity events and calling for unity in the body of Christ. This was a gutsy decision, a clarion call for biblical justice in an era when Jim Crow was alive and well. Today, InterVarsity has become one of the most diverse evangelical ministries in the United States. Of its more than 40,000 students, only 46% identify as White Americans. Conflict is Inevitable in Conversations about …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
Continue Reading »