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The 5 Truths Stay-at-Home and Working Moms Can Agree On

By Katelyn Beaty After interviewing 120 women, I saw glimmers of a truce in the Mommy Wars. It was the first of ten small group conversations I hosted as research for my book. Within the first hour, over finger foods and wine served in a lovely home in north Austin, there were tears. One of the women, Chelsea, had landed a prestigious job working for a state senator. But she shyly admitted to the group that she was more drawn to the work her friend is doing: raising and homeschooling children. “This is an area where I could bring my intelligence, my care, my desire to become a mom spiritually,” said Chelsea, then single. Yet, “if I do that, it’s not enough. It’s this crazy Proverbs 31 pressure, that I’m not an accomplished professional woman.” Shortly after, another woman started tearing up. An Anglican priest and the mother of two children, Tish admitted that working outside the home was something she couldn’t not do. “I so wish I were content with just being at home, in terms of simply being at home,” she said. “There are people who have these preternatural spiritual gifts of mothering, and I don’t have them.” Her wiring and passions drew …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Russia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church

By Kate Shellnutt (UPDATE) Putin signs new restrictions that limit where and how Christians share the gospel. Update (July 8): This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism. Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday. The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20. Though opponents to the new measures hope to eventually appeal in court or elect legislators to amend them, they have begun to prepare their communities for life under the new rules, reported Forum 18 News Service, a Christian outlet reporting on the region. Protestants and religious minorities small enough to gather in homes fear they will be most affected. Last month, “the local police officer came to a home where a group of Pentecostals meet each Sunday,” Konstantin Bendas, deputy bishop of the Pentecostal Union, told Forum 18. “With a contented expression he told them: ‘Now they’re adopting the law I’ll drive you all out of here.’ I reckon we should now fear such zealous enforcement.” “There are potentially very wide-sweeping ramifications to this law,” Joel Griffith …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Phyllis Schlafly Defended Women Like Me

By Jen Pollock Michel Even with her flaws, the “first lady of the conservative movement” understood a fundamental human desire. Phyllis Schlafly, who labeled herself a housewife, called 1964 one of the most productive years of her life: “I was running the Illinois Federation of Republican Women; I wrote A Choice, Not an Echo; I self-published it; I went to the Republican convention; wrote a second book, The Gravediggers—now we’re in September—I was giving speeches for Barry Goldwater, and in November I had a baby.” When Steve Inskeep, host of NPR’s Morning Edition, announced the news of Schlafly’s death, I assumed he would interview an academic happy to expose (with feminist animus) the hypocrisy of a woman who benefited from women’s rights and also opposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Instead, Inskeep talked with Penny Young Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America. Nance described the legacy Schlafly has left for conservative women and, in her closing elegiac remarks, called Schlafly “kind and strong.” Somewhat ruefully, I admire the woman who championed the role of homemakers. In the current culture, however, it’s a lot easier to be embarrassed by her. Her grassroots activism prevented adoption of the ERA, which passed both houses of Congress and …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Mormons and Christians: So Close, Yet So Far Away

By Gerald McDermott What should we make of claims that the two faiths are on a path to reconciling? For nearly 200 years, Mormons have both enraged and intrigued evangelicals. The rage has come from Mormon claims that the Book of Mormon contains new revelation superseding and correcting the Bible, and that Christians are apostates from the apostolic church. The intrigue has come from the fact that Latter-day Saints (LDS) are so similar and yet so different. TheBook of Mormon is remarkably Christ-focused, and presents a Godhead resembling the Trinity. Yet later teachings by Joseph Smith deny the Trinity and claim that God the Father has both a physical body and his own father. Evangelicals have always been fascinated by Mormon beliefs that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that the New Jerusalem will be located nearby, and that American Indians are descended from the ancient Israelites. Now the Internet buzzes with new debate over (emeritus president of Fuller Seminary) Richard Mouw’s pronouncement at First Things that Mormons are moving closer to historic Christian orthodoxy. LDS leaders, he proposes, are downplaying the Mormon teaching that God was once a man. A participant in Mormon-evangelical dialogue responded that, on the contrary, this teaching remains on the …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Interview: Getting New Yorkers to Hear the Word

By Interview by Howard Freeman How Bethany Jenkins’s daily devotionals kickstart common-good Christianity in NYC. “Bad books always lie,” says Bethany Jenkins, quoting the novelist Walker Percy. The quote continues: “They lie most of all about the human condition.” But Jenkins is convinced that Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling do not. Jenkins and I are walking toward a bench in Central Park in New York City, where the best and worst of the human condition is amplified by 8.34 million residents. “Where comedians fall into place is that they are so honest about the human condition,” says Jenkins, a 30-something resident of NYC for ten years, who says the two comediennes are “like friends.” She says, “My generation . . . have much interest in authority. The Four Spiritual Laws, used during my parents’ generation to contextualize the gospel, just isn’t going to for my generation. It’s going to be the lived-out lifestyle of the Christian person that will be our biggest example of faith.” After a career on the New York Stock Exchange, the State Department, and Capitol Hill, Jenkins founded the Park Forum to “promote Bible engagement in the urban church on a daily basis.” A member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, where she is mentored …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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I Saw Jesus in Detention

By Sarah Quezada, guest writer We’re all so busy debating immigration policy that we’ve forgotten something essential. A few months ago in the early morning, I joined a group from my Atlanta-based church on a two-and-a-half-hour drive down I-85 South to the Stewart Detention Center, one of the largest immigration detention centers in the country. Some of the immigrants detained in the facility had requested visitors, and so our church responded. I tried to imagine—who would be so lonely as to ask a stranger to meet with him? Someone living in a very isolated place. Stewart is located in Lumpkin, Georgia, a rural town near the border of Alabama. Many of the center’s residents have been transferred from other states—some as far away as California—and as a result are cut off from family, legal representation, and support networks. When our congregation asked about the purpose of our trip to Stewart, we relied on Christ’s invitation in Matthew 25:36: “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Of course, this wasn’t prison exactly. It was immigration detention. Maybe that’s why, when we arrived, I was unprepared for the distinctly prison-like look of the facility. Shrouded in barbed wire, Stewart was built as a medium-security prison. Its almost …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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I Overlooked the Rural Poor—Then Trump Came Along

By Tish Harrison Warren This election has urban evangelicals paying more attention to the plight of small-town America. I never saw the Donald Trump phenomenon coming. Even as someone with many conservative friends and family members, I didn’t know anyone who supported him during his Republican run. But nearly everyone I know either has a college degree—which statistically narrowed one’s chance of voting for Trump in the primaries—or lives in a city, or both. Trump’s ascent ultimately revealed a large demographic of Americans who were off my radar. Early primary polls showed that his supporters were more likely than voters overall to be poor, white, without higher education, and from rural counties or small towns. Though class conflict and rural/urban divides are not one and the same (there are people of all classes in small towns and in cities), their overlap exposes profound class and cultural divisions in America. Many evangelical leaders have publicly grappled with Trump’s popularity. As America clusters in cities and suburbs—now home to a record 80 percent of the population—our church planting, poverty relief, and outreach ministry have shifted accordingly. For many, rural communities and small towns are faceless places we road-trip through on our way somewhere else. The rise of Trump brought for …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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How a Man of the Coasts and Cities Found Christ

By Andrew Klavan My story of ditching hypocritical religion and secular hedonism for the joys of true discipleship. One midnight in late winter, at age 13, I rose stealthily from my bed. Moving quietly so as not to wake my parents and three brothers, I removed a leather box from the storage cabinet built into my wall. It was filled with jewelry, watches, pens, and savings bonds—thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts. They had been given to me that summer for my bar mitzvah. For a long time, I had marveled at these riches, great wealth for a boy in the 1960s, even in the well-to-do suburb in which I lived. From time to time, I would open the box and arrange the jewelry in its compartments, touching the rattling identity bracelets, tie pins, and cufflinks. I would silently estimate the value of the haul. But over time, that pleasure soured and died. The truth was, I had hated my bar mitzvah. The majesty and profundity of the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony—the majesty and profundity of Judaism itself—were lost on me. Or rather, they had never been instilled in me, for the simple reason that my parents did not believe in God. My homemaker mother was, to the …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Flooded by a Storm, Then by Grace

By Jeannine Seery The superstorm almost destroyed our home. What happened afterward shocked me. My husband and I stood at the front door and paused. We knew that we’d reached a watershed moment—literally. With one turn of the key, nothing in our lives would stay the same. And although there was nothing we could do but step inside, we stopped, as if doing so would keep our nightmare from becoming a reality. The storm surge of Hurricane Sandy dumped more than 4 feet of water into the first floor of our home. Our living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom had absorbed a mix of ocean water, diesel fuel, raw sewage, and whatever else the Atlantic Ocean had to offer on October 29, 2012. We knew that the water had receded, but we had no idea what our lives looked like on the other side of that door. Nothing could prepare us for what we saw. Only a thick layer of wet sludge remained on the floor, and the water hadn’t reached our second floor. But the force of the ocean had taken all of our furniture and moved it around the first floor. The refrigerator had capsized, spilling out its contents. Our sofa was now …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Eight Barriers To Multiplication, Part 2

By Daniel Im Is something stopping you from starting a new church plant? In the previous article, we addressed the first four barriers to multiplication: Fear Perceived and Actual Scarcity Bad Math Church Centricity In today’s article, we will address the next four barriers to multiplication. 5. Don’t See the Need for Multiplication Before churches can multiply, they need to see it first. The problem is, many churches don’t see the need for multiplication. They assume that multiplication is not for them. Their reasoning is predicated on the assumption that other churches will multiply. While they may understand the vision behind multiplication, they just don’t have a personal conviction to multiply. We believe every church should not only embrace a vision of multiplication, but personally engage in multiplication. Leaders do need to assume that even some of the most committed Christians will not have a pre-existing favorable disposition towards multiplication, and will see multiplication as the church’s responsibility and not theirs. This is why it’s vital to share the vision for multiplication, consistently, clearly,
 and in different forms and fashions each time. We saw this clearly in our research. You can click here to get the State of Church Planting Research Report …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Eight Barriers To Multiplication, Part 1

By Daniel Im Is something stopping you from starting a new church plant? In every story and aspect of life, there always seem to be opposing forces. On our planet, you have night and day. In Romeo and Juliet, you have the Capulets and the Montagues. In Star Wars, you have the Rebellion and the Empire. In Marvel, you have the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra. And in life, you have the close talkers, who don’t know what a breath mint is, and everyone else, who seems to have a good handle on personal space and emotional intelligence. In the same way, we see similar forces when it comes to church multiplication. There are characteristics that lead to multiplication, as well as factors that prevent multiplication. In the same way, there are characteristics that can lead your church to becoming a Level Five church, as well as factors that will prevent that and stall you at Level Two or Three. In this blog post, we will examine barriers that prevent a church from multiplying. 1. Fear Church planters would do well to heed Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Paul …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Cameraperson

By Alissa Wilkinson A stunning window into a life. You might not get to see this film any time soon, but put it on your radar. Kirsten Johnson has been cinematographer for some of the world’s most influential and celebrated documentaries: the Oscar-winning Citizenfour, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, The Invisible War, and many more. But what she’s crafted in Cameraperson is something I’ve never seen: a visual memoir plucked from the cutting room floor. Johnson puts together footage that didn’t make the film from her archive, preceded only by location and date, and thus creates a sort of memoir without narration, a story of her life in images juxtaposed against one another. Sometimes similar images are placed against one another—a sequence where she follows people walking, all over the world, plays like a realization of the director’s own interests. From Jacques Derrida in cityscapes to villages in Afghanistan, Cameraperson is less a greatest hits and more a dip into memory; it preserves what makes film not-writing—the visual element—while also drawing on what’s important about memoir: that it’s less about “what happened” and more about our memories. The juxtapositions of time and location create meaning in ways that are …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Are You And Your Church Acting Like Sheep? An Invitation To Correctional Ministry

By Karen Swanson Our biblical mandate requires us to care for tho marginalized, including those impacted by crime. I cannot be more thrilled that the September issue of Christianity Today is dedicated to correctional ministry. You can read the main article here. Correctional ministry is often omitted or marginalized; however, it is a ministry which impacts everyone touched by crime—offenders, victims, families—through the transforming message of the gospel and holistic care which is grounded in love. In my first 39 years of life, I really didn’t think about prisoners or criminal justice issues. My only prison experience was seeing prisons from my car while traveling on family vacations growing up. But that all changed when a friend asked me to go with her and teach in a faith-based program at a men’s maximum security division at Cook County Jail in Chicago. That one visit changed my thinking, career, and life. God hooked my heart and gave me a growing passion for the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and their families. At the time, my husband (an assistant pastor) and I attended a church where a congregant was sent to a federal prison for a few months. The pastoral staff and members of the congregation came alongside him and …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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After Tweaking 29 Verses, Bible Translation Becomes Unchanging Word of God

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra The new permanent ESV echoes the example of the KJV. A popular Bible translation is now literally the unchanging word of God. The English Standard Version (ESV) received its final update this summer, 17 years after it was first authorized by Crossway, its publisher. More than 100 million printed copies have been distributed since the ESV was first published in 2001, including 30 million in the last year. The translation oversight committee changed just 52 words across 29 verses—out of more than 775,000 words across more than 31,000 verses—for the final “permanent text” edition. The board then voted, unanimously, to make the text “unchanged forever, in perpetuity.” The ESV is following the example of a much older translation. “The text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway—in much the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained unchanged ever since the final KJV text was established almost 250 years ago (in 1769),” Crossway announced. One difference: while the ESV copyright is held universally by Crossway, the KJV copyright held by the Crown of England is only valid in the United Kingdom. So modified versions of the KJV have been popping up in the United …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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A Local Pastor Turned Public School Champion

By Nathan Clarke and Laura Joyce Davis Don Coleman, Richmond’s newly elected school board chairman, wants more churches to adopt local, struggling schools. When Don Coleman (above) talks about being elected chair of the school board in Richmond, Virginia, he doesn’t mention personal agendas or his leadership skills as a local pastor. He talks about his role as a public servant and how Jesus served the poor and oppressed. Coleman grew up in Richmond and went to the schools he now represents. A foster kid, he never imagined he’d one day be trying to help kids like him. Coleman tries to communicate to young people that no matter the challenges, they can serve their community. “I know where I came from and I know what I’m saying is reality, because I am the reality,” Coleman told us. Coleman was elected to Richmond’s school board in 2008, and two weeks ago was voted its chairman 9-0. He talks passionately about working with the school board, the city council, and Mayor Dwight C. Jones to give Richmond public school kids a brighter future. But he’s also realistic about the challenges they face: 79 percent of Richmond’s 24,000 students receive free or reduced price lunches and belong to the 20 percent …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Why Burkinis Should Matter To Christians Who Care About Religious Freedom

By Ed Stetzer We must speak into religious liberty issues that protect the rights of those who believe differently than we do. Yesterday I wrote an article for Religion News Service about women and burkinis. But, it was not really about women and burkinis. It was about secularism and its march. Before you go much further, click here and see this picture at the New York Times. It’s of the French police making a woman take off more clothes to stay on a beach. So, this is not really about burkinis, but it is about the right of religious people to live out the implications of their beliefs, even in the face of the secular march of the Western world. I’ve written on that before, talking about religions freedom in an earlier RNS column. In “3 reasons Christians should back religious freedom for all,” I explained: The First Amendment does not protect certain faiths, but all faiths, and people of no faith. Minority faiths, like minority viewpoints, are the ones who need the most protection. When those of us who identify as Christians allow the government to pick whose freedoms are recognized, we undermine our own religious liberties. So, why do I, …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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What We Can Learn From The Black Church When We Are Pushed To The Margins

By Charlie Dates The powerful, painful history of the Black Church has much to teach us as our culture continues to push the church to the margins of society. At dinner the other night, our family sat in earshot of a group of people discussing presidential politics. They were older, Caucasian, and rather conservative in their political leanings. It was clear that they, like many Americans, are uninspired and—in their words—disheartened by the current party presumptive nominees for this year’s election. Their reflections echoed aged sentiments of prestige, shared beliefs, and religious privilege once represented by the Oval Office. I mentioned to my wife how nice it must have been for generations past, and cultures unlike ours, to enjoy a political system concerned about their values and attentive to their voices. Our forefathers experienced a rather different portrait of American presidents and politics, one that left them living not in the center, but on the margins of American culture. This is no bitter slight to American history so much as it is an acknowledgement of the new disequilibrium so many American Evangelicals are feeling in the wake of a cultural shift. More accurately, it is like an earthquake; the changing political and cultural landscapes of our nation …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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We Need More Politics on Social Media, Not Less

By Alicia Rollins, guest writer How our feeds feed popular opinion. I hesitated to sign up for a Twitter account years ago, knowing I didn’t need anything else to distract or disconnect me from my real-life relationships. These common stigmas of social media began to fade when someone pointed out to me: “An important conversation is happening and will continue to happen whether you are there or not.” I quickly learned that she was right. On Twitter, I tapped into new perspectives. I found myself in communication overload, following significant conversations on politics, race, theology, and art. Jon Stewart once said that “the Internet is just a world passing around notes in the classroom.” Except this time, the messages don’t just come from our friends and neighbors, but also world leaders, celebrities, experts, and influencers. Surrounded by so many voices, how could any one of us make a difference? What do I possibly have to offer to these conversations? And given the potential for controversy, wouldn’t it be easier not to try? A few years of tweeting, retweeting, and replying later, I still find myself scrutinizing and questioning my participation in social media. I’m no expert, and I worry whether it’s actually wise to speak out on every …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Louisiana Flooding, Part 3: On The Ground With Relief Agencies And How You Can Get Involved

By Ed Stetzer More on what’s happening and how you can help. Ed: What is your organization doing right now to help those impacted by the flooding in Louisiana? Tim Haas, Manager of U.S. Disaster Relief, Samaritan’s Purse: Samaritan’s Purse is leading volunteer teams to mud-out homes that have been flooded in this deadly event. That work includes taking out furniture, flooring, sheetrock, soaked insulation, so that the house can eventually dry out. Currently, we have two base locations of operation: one in Baton Rouge, the other in Lafayette. Our sites are designed to work 100 or more volunteers a day per site. We will be working for several weeks, even months from now to continue to give relief assistance to homeowners. Kevin Watterson, Response Director, ReachGlobal (EFCA): We are currently gutting damaged homes, gutting and cleaning up a church in order to host volunteer groups, and collecting needed items to help families rebuild their homes when gutting is complete. We are mobilizing local churches in the area to serve with us until we get more volunteer teams from throughout the country. Gary Fairchild, Director of Global Response, CAMA (the relief and development arm of the U.S. Alliance): CAMA has partnered with the Alliance …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Hollars

By Alissa Wilkinson What can you do with your regrets? John Krasinski (of The Office) directed and stars in The Hollars, which belongs to a genre I rather like: the small family comedy about the city kid who comes home when something happens to a family member, and then and learns some Life Lessons. (Think Garden State.) Some of these are pretty awful—This Is Where I Leave You springs to mind. They can be patronizing (“look at the cute quaint home folk!”) or just dumb (“let’s revisit everything we did in high school, for no reason!). But American culture is mobile and transient, obsessed with self-discovery and reinvention, and so the feeling of returning home is a familiar one. In The Hollars, Krasinski plays a graphic designer named John, who lives in New York City with his very pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick). His mother Sally (Margo Martindale) ends up in the hospital in Ohio, and he flies home, where his hapless brother Ron (Sharito Copley) and worried father Don (Richard Jenkins) are by her side. Hijinks ensue, for reasons of history. Ron is still in love with his ex-wife, whom he divorced, and who is now seriously involved with a kindly youth pastor (Josh …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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