Mosaix Blogs Full http://feed.informer.com/digests/LIX0YUF5O5/feeder Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:24:15 -0600 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ The Fallen Trees In Our Lives http://www.davidireland.org/thefallentreesinourlives/ David D Ireland, Ph.D. urn:uuid:d15a94d6-d87b-9f97-aa23-7a528a9c95bc Thu, 19 Apr 2018 00:00:39 -0500 <p>Can you see the forest for the trees? When your mind is cluttered, it&#8217;s hard to see the forest for the trees. Poor decisions are like fallen trees. They uproot our foundation and wreak havoc on major areas of our lives. Let&#8217;s flip that popular cliché. Can you see a path for a good decision... </p> <div class="clear"></div> <p><a href="http://www.davidireland.org/thefallentreesinourlives/" class="excerpt-read-more">Read More<i class="fa fa-caret-right icon-caret-right"></i></a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/thefallentreesinourlives/">The Fallen Trees In Our Lives</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> <h4>Can you see the forest for the trees?</h4> <p>When your mind is cluttered, it&#8217;s hard to see the forest for the trees. Poor decisions are like fallen trees. They uproot our foundation and wreak havoc on major areas of our lives. Let&#8217;s flip that popular cliché. Can you see a path for a good decision out of the bad decisions you&#8217;ve made in the past? You can if you follow the model of Jesus. Don&#8217;t make a big decision solely on your feelings. Seek God. Ask Him for guidance. And, like Jesus, use the power of solitude. Quiet your life from the distractions and hurriedness of life.</p> <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NHWZVFbGz2Y?wmode=transparent" width="620" height="348" ></iframe> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/thefallentreesinourlives/">The Fallen Trees In Our Lives</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> Statements around an elephant in the evangelical room http://djchuang.com/2018/statements-around-an-elephant-in-the-evangelical-room/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:f055d803-587b-71e7-ded3-2ec920709e59 Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:54:44 -0500 <p>It&#8217;s a painful tragedy, however you look at it. A most influential evangelical pastor resigned yesterday, April 10, 2018. His name was Bill Hybels, who founded the world-renowned Willow Creek Community Church in Chicagoland. There will be many conversations about this in the world of evangelicalism, but significant evangelical pastors and leaders that do participate [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/statements-around-an-elephant-in-the-evangelical-room/">Statements around an elephant in the evangelical room</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>It&#8217;s a painful tragedy, however you look at it. A most influential evangelical pastor resigned yesterday, April 10, 2018. His name was Bill Hybels, who founded the world-renowned Willow Creek Community Church in Chicagoland. There will be many conversations about this in the world of evangelicalism, but significant evangelical pastors and leaders that do participate in online conversations have not weighed in yet.</p> <p>When nothing is said, people will make up their own stories. This is the elephant in the room du jour.  The mainstream media and social media has said much more.</p> <p>These are the statements posted by people involved in this situation (whether they were written first-person or by professional PR agents is unknown):</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.willowcreek.org/en/willow-creek-announcement">Bill Hybels, church elder board, and new pastor Heather Larson</a> (<a href="https://willowcreek.tv/archive/family-meeting/">video of family meeting on April 10, 2018</a>)</li> <li><a href="http://www.nancylbeach.com/blog/2018/4/11/why-we-cant-move-on">Nancy Beach</a>, a previous staffer at Willow</li> <li><a href="https://vondadyer.weebly.com/blog/vonda-dyers-statement-re-chicago-tribune-and-bill-hybels">Vonda Dyer</a>, a previous staffer at Willow</li> <li><a href="http://www.johnortberg.com/observations-on-the-chicago-tribune-article-re-willow-creek-leadership/">John Ortberg</a>, a previous pastor at Willow</li> <li><a href="https://veritasbetold.wixsite.com/website">Betty Schmidt</a>, a previous elder at Willow</li> <li><a href="https://twitter.com/sniequist/status/977653243131162624">Shauna Niquist&#8217;s tweet</a>, daughter of Bill Hybels</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-willow-creek-pastor-20171220-story.html">The original Chicago Tribute </a>story, &#8220;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-willow-creek-pastor-20171220-story.html">After years of inquiries, Willow Creek pastor denies misconduct allegations</a>,&#8221; that broke it all.</p> <p>How will this bad situation turn out for good, particular for those who believe God can redeem the worst? It&#8217;s a drama that is just beginning to unfold. Stay tuned. Pray hard.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/statements-around-an-elephant-in-the-evangelical-room/">Statements around an elephant in the evangelical room</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=VfFX6YLRIPY:6yH71g4PXTw:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=VfFX6YLRIPY:6yH71g4PXTw:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/VfFX6YLRIPY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Adjusting Your Role http://www.davidireland.org/adjusting-your-role/ David D Ireland, Ph.D. urn:uuid:227bbe6e-edb8-a1fe-1ac1-ea36bb91991a Thu, 05 Apr 2018 00:00:31 -0500 <p>What if the coach, or leader, wants to change your position? What are you good at, and what are you not? A leader or coach should be able to spot the strengths and weaknesses of individuals on his or her team. How open are you to finding what your abilities and weaknesses are? Do you... </p> <div class="clear"></div> <p><a href="http://www.davidireland.org/adjusting-your-role/" class="excerpt-read-more">Read More<i class="fa fa-caret-right icon-caret-right"></i></a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/adjusting-your-role/">Adjusting Your Role</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> <h4>What if the coach, or leader, wants to change your position?</h4> <p>What are you good at, and what are you not?</p> <p>A leader or coach should be able to spot the strengths and weaknesses of individuals on his or her team. How open are you to finding what your abilities and weaknesses are? Do you trust your leader’s judgment when he or she makes an adjustment? Learn how being flexible is important so you may be effective.</p> <p><iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/urKRlIHRL08?rel=0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/adjusting-your-role/">Adjusting Your Role</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> Serve Out of Love http://www.davidireland.org/serve-out-of-love/ David D Ireland, Ph.D. urn:uuid:ce195af7-bba5-22a9-d0dc-3d1d805efe74 Thu, 29 Mar 2018 00:00:11 -0500 <p>How can I serve others in a Godly way? Today we remember Jesus going to the cross to pray for our sins. But, He did not do this without first teaching about a loving mindset. Something happened during Jesus’ final private moment with the disciples, in relation to Judas, that exemplified how to truly serve... </p> <div class="clear"></div> <p><a href="http://www.davidireland.org/serve-out-of-love/" class="excerpt-read-more">Read More<i class="fa fa-caret-right icon-caret-right"></i></a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/serve-out-of-love/">Serve Out of Love</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> <h4>How can I serve others in a Godly way?</h4> <p>Today we remember Jesus going to the cross to pray for our sins. But, He did not do this without first teaching about a loving mindset. Something happened during Jesus’ final private moment with the disciples, in relation to Judas, that exemplified how to truly serve with love, no matter what the situation might be. Listen to find out what that important lesson is.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5dwxL35NZvk?rel=0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/serve-out-of-love/">Serve Out of Love</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> I DON'T FEEL NO WAYS TIRED - EXCEPT SOMETIMES. http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/03/i-dont-feel-no-ways-tired-except.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:785e3888-3e6b-6ba9-d4ee-d60a061b2739 Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:54:14 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp; &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;I was speaking with someone recently about “being woke,” and about trying to deal with folks who ain’t woke yet, and trying to love on them, and how some folks talk about “being tired” and feeling bitter about the frustration of not seeing people, or things, change.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; My friend quoted me back to myself when he mentioned at one gathering someone had asked me a question and began it, “I am so tired of people….” And I had asked him, “how old are you?”&nbsp; The answer was “26.”&nbsp; I said, “26, and tired already?”&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This made me think of a few things about inter-racial dialogue and cross cultural ministry, and POC survival in inter-racial spaces.&nbsp; Being tired in the emotional sense doesn’t really have anything to do with the amount of hours one has put in, or even the amount of years or effort, or the strenuousness of the labor.&nbsp; Many people work long and hard, (really hard) each day and they are not emotionally tired.&nbsp; So much has to do with perspective, and faith, and love, and the patience that can come from it.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; “why are you not bitter?”&nbsp; Is a question I am sometimes asked, although I am always surprised by it.&nbsp; Who the hell do I think I am that I should be bitter?&nbsp; This is what occurs to me, that it would take an inflated view of myself to judge others so harshly or myself so important.&nbsp; I certainly have felt anger, frustration, and sometimes I have surrendered to the closed door or the reality of a mountain that I seemed unable to climb.&nbsp; I speak here about calling for justice, or even mercy, at least for understanding about issues of race, ethnocentrism, poverty, and suffering.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Burn out has more to do with anger than with exhaustion, more to do with frustration than with a need for rest.&nbsp; Burn out is relieved more with hope than sleep, more with assistance and fellowship in the struggle than time off.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I have to ask myself some questions, and maybe you can ask yourself some as well.&nbsp; Do I believe the world needs changing?&nbsp; Yes, I do.&nbsp; Do I believe I can change it?&nbsp; Yes, a little, and no, probably not a lot right away.&nbsp; Will it ever be changed?&nbsp; Absolutely, because Jesus is coming and he will create a new heavens and a new earth. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Is justice delayed truly justice denied?&nbsp; No, but it sure feels that way sometimes. Only a God perspective can help us understand that. &nbsp;Do I believe that Jesus will not rest until he brings justice to the earth?&nbsp; Yes, that is my hope, my constant hope.&nbsp;&nbsp; What kind of perspective does it take to live in a world full of injustice, with ignorant people who don’t even know they may be perpetrators of injustice, who don’t know that their defense of the status quo is an enshrinement of their privilege?&nbsp; What kind of perspective will give me a positive sense of progress and help me to endure, to keep trying, to keep listening, to keep teaching?&nbsp; Nothing less or short of an eternal one, and that is hard for us temporal human beings.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; When we are young we feel change should and ought to come quickly. Thank God for youth.&nbsp; When we grow old we realize change does indeed come, but sometimes it has been and is glacial, incremental, not yet come to full realization.&nbsp; Some people dream dreams, and they work at them and see them come true, but if the truth be told those dreams are never universal, never total in scope for all humanity, nor for all time.&nbsp; Human beings celebrate sports heroes and use the word “immortal,” “unforgettable” and such.&nbsp; Really? &nbsp;What is a GOAT (Greatest of all time) today won’t even be recognized in a generation, a century, a millennium.&nbsp; Sports statistics are possibly the most changeable of things, and all heroes turn to dust.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some will perish still in prison waiting for a revolution that will never come, still in the wilderness, still never having seen the city that was promised to them.&nbsp; They will question sometimes, like John the Baptist did, “Are you the one?” What do you do with your ego when you feel you should be the one that brings the change and no one listens to you?&nbsp; What do you do when after all your radical speech, your passionate displays, your marching, and your advocation people act like they just don’t care?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Will you waste your time to continue to win over the resistant, will you continue to pour yourself out to institutions that don’t live up to their own ideals?&nbsp; Will you come to be patient with one more stupid question (and there are stupid questions) from someone who should know better?&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; It comes back to the question of who do I think I am?&nbsp; I am a small man, not of much significance after all, despite my ambition and ego.&nbsp; I am a man of short time, no matter how long I may live my life upon the earth.&nbsp; Yet, with all my frustrations I am a man infinitely loved by the God who fills the universe, who is its creator and sustainer. I am a sinful broken man, yet forgiven, forgiven, forgiven again.&nbsp; I am a purchased man, and I can no longer live for myself but for him who died and rose again for me.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif; line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This means I have little choice about who I can choose to love.&nbsp; I have to love my neighbor, as myself.&nbsp; I have to love even my enemies, and bless them.&nbsp; I have to love those who make me feel tired.&nbsp; Seeking significant change is important, but we can’t stay at that quest if our importance to the world is what we depend on to give us hope.&nbsp; We have to take our rest in how important we are to God and in that knowledge we lose all our own self-importance, our self-righteousness, our need for fame, perfection, and accomplishment.&nbsp; In that importance we find and renew our passion, energy, and endurance in the fight of love</span></span></div> Making New Decisions http://www.davidireland.org/making-new-decisions/ David D Ireland, Ph.D. urn:uuid:ae17454d-52a3-dd3d-3aba-611a83dc2604 Wed, 28 Mar 2018 00:00:13 -0500 <p>Do you have emotional battles to fight for the sake of your children? Parenting is a powerful opportunity to help shape a child. But we must deal with our own negative experiences to do it right. Watch as Dr. Ireland gives us a biblical context. Listen as he recounts the story of Jephthah, the great... </p> <div class="clear"></div> <p><a href="http://www.davidireland.org/making-new-decisions/" class="excerpt-read-more">Read More<i class="fa fa-caret-right icon-caret-right"></i></a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/making-new-decisions/">Making New Decisions</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> <h4>Do you have emotional battles to fight for the sake of your children?</h4> <p>Parenting is a powerful opportunity to help shape a child. But we must deal with our own negative experiences to do it right. Watch as Dr. Ireland gives us a biblical context. Listen as he recounts the story of Jephthah, the great warrior, and his ultimate release from childhood pain.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1VNK9JUBHrQ?rel=0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/making-new-decisions/">Making New Decisions</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> The World of David D. Ireland, Ph.D. http://www.davidireland.org/the-world-of-david-d-ireland-ph-d/ David D Ireland, Ph.D. urn:uuid:37121aca-3e9a-4f7c-b485-4a4c7dc88bc6 Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:12:28 -0500 <p>&#160; &#160;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/the-world-of-david-d-ireland-ph-d/">The World of David D. Ireland, Ph.D.</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/i51u7bqfcKE?wmode=transparent" width="620" height="348" ></iframe> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org/the-world-of-david-d-ireland-ph-d/">The World of David D. Ireland, Ph.D.</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.davidireland.org">David D Ireland, Ph.D.</a>.</p> The seduction of celebrity power http://djchuang.com/2018/the-seduction-of-celebrity-power/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:02aa0b2d-76b5-b14c-658f-3d177e4c2c6c Sun, 25 Mar 2018 09:53:35 -0500 <p>Andy Crouch commentary on celebrity power, allegations, and institution-building—insightfully and succinctly written on a Twitter thread of tweets. Posted with permission. If you&#8217;re someone growing in celebrity, your first priority should be to build systems of unimpeachable independence and credibility that can hold you accountable. The problem is that almost no one who tastes celebrity [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/the-seduction-of-celebrity-power/">The seduction of celebrity power</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Andy Crouch commentary on celebrity power, allegations, and institution-building—insightfully and succinctly written on <a href="https://twitter.com/ahc/status/977145865973522434">a Twitter thread of tweets</a>. Posted with permission.</p> <p><span id="more-14459"></span></p> <hr> <p>If you&#8217;re someone growing in celebrity, your first priority should be to build systems of unimpeachable independence and credibility that can hold you accountable. The problem is that almost no one who tastes celebrity makes this a priority.</p> <p>And when credible allegations of misconduct come — as has happened in two cases in my circles this week — you are stuck. Even credible allegations can be false. But if you haven&#8217;t built a system others can trust to fairly assess those allegations, how can we believe your denials?</p> <p>This is the great tragedy of two generations&#8217; worth of impatience with institutions (which reached a peak with my GenX cohort). We neglected real institution-building and settled for celebrity power. But that is a house built on sand, and when it falls, how great is its fall.</p> <p>And culture basically dies if it isn&#8217;t transmitted over two generations (think language). Where do emerging adults go to see healthy models of institutions that both increase creative power and limit the capacity for destructive power? It&#8217;s very hard for them to imagine.</p> <p>There are countless glorious exceptions — individuals and institutions. But almost by definition, they don&#8217;t partake in the culture of celebrity, and thus they are culturally invisible, or far less visible than they ought to be given their integrity and trustworthiness.</p> <p>Meanwhile we have to endure the rise and fall of one celebrity after another, who suck all the oxygen out of the room both on the way up and on the way down.</p> <p>May God have mercy on us all, and give us the grace to &#8220;live quietly, mind our own affairs, and work with our hands&#8221; today (1 Thess 4:11) — trusting him to bless us, the work of our hands, and the generations to come.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/the-seduction-of-celebrity-power/">The seduction of celebrity power</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=uXLw5GVtI5E:rizBukNLqx0:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=uXLw5GVtI5E:rizBukNLqx0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/uXLw5GVtI5E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> MULTI-ETHNIC CHURCHES ARE NOT ENOUGH! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/03/multi-ethnic-churches-are-not-enough.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:6d57b6f0-77c5-d703-3d8b-777f56daca9a Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:28:54 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;As I listen or read about the “white” Evangelical Church and its relationship to and with African Americans, or about how African Americans feel about the white Evangelical Church I am concerned, comforted, and confronted about truly cross-cultural churches and their place in this discussion.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /><span style="font-size: large;">CONCERNED</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am concerned because I think the general public and the average white and black Christian doesn’t really understand the difference between truly cross-cultural churches and those with some ethnic diversity within them.&nbsp; Multi-ethnic churches are not the same as cross-cultural churches, and are in some measure set up for ethnic misunderstanding and conflict.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I think much of what we hear about these days is the inevitable frustration and friction that comes within churches seeking diversity without “missional intentionality.”&nbsp; Usually all it takes is something in the news or something in politics to create a dilemma.&nbsp; It’s as if a congregation in the days of the early Church had both Gentiles and Judiazers in it, and everything is fine until the subject of circumcision comes up.&nbsp; The Judiazers ask the Gentiles to assimilate, to give up their “Gentile-ness,” and suddenly the Gentiles realize there is a price to be paid to be among these type of Christians.&nbsp; Trouble happens when the knives come out, in that case literally. <br /><!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--><br /><!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Judiazers assume their culture is normative, and can’t understand why others would be offended.&nbsp; It is not until something radical comes along, like the real Gospel, a Gospel that doesn’t demand uniformity of culture but instead oneness in Christ while we are at the same time diverse in culture.&nbsp; In fact the missional intentionality of the Gospel calls for the sacrificial willingness of the missionary (older brother, majority Christian culture) to become servant to those who are different, in fact seeking to “become” like them in order to reach them (I Corinthians 9:19ff).<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; When a multi-ethnic church seeks to demand everyone be “a-cultural” they are simply but profoundly demanding that minorities be deracinated.&nbsp; The majority cultural group is asking the minority to assimilate, and not to complain.&nbsp; This might be fine if all we were discussing was intentional migration, but when it comes to white and black in America we are also speaking about becoming a minority in religion as well as being a minority in society.&nbsp; We are speaking of assimilating without any sense of history or justice but instead calling for a denial of a sense of self.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Of course there are always those individual ethnic minorities who have no problem with assimilation.&nbsp; There are those who think the way to peace is to discard conversations about issues of injustice or history.&nbsp; Some of these ethnic representatives in a majority culture church are the strongest champions of silencing racial or cultural talk.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; So, this is why I am concerned about the recent discussions and that due to the ignorance of what a truly cross-cultural church is trying to be.&nbsp; A multi-ethnic church is not automatically a cross-cultural church, not even if they have a minority representative as a pastor or minorities in leadership.&nbsp; Some congregations assume that if they hire an African American pastor he is sure to know how to make the church cross-cultural.&nbsp; Why would someone assume that any pastor who hasn’t studied, thought about, or been trained in cross-cultural ministry skills and vision would know what they were doing in that regard?&nbsp; It is a hubris that can create confusion and chaos and it is an unfair burden to be laid on a pastor simply becomes he is an ethnic or minority representative.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">COMFORTED</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am comforted about cross-cultural ministry in these recent discussions because I know that missional intentionality in a church means congregations will (and must) face the truth and realities of history, injustice, racism, and culture with Biblical truth and hope.&nbsp; Though cross-cultural churches also face the tension and stress of racial and political discussion and difference, through various moments of crisis, they have a commitment to Christ and to each other to see them through the episodes.&nbsp; They are not surprised at the tensions though they sometimes see individuals and families realize, sometimes suddenly, that there is a price to be paid for love across cultural boundaries.&nbsp; Some of those people do leave, but most are tenacious in seeking to live out a community of love that does not skirt truth.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This common commitment to Biblical reconciliation as an accomplishment of Christ, and this common commitment to “being built together to become a holy temple to the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21) is accepted as part of their discipleship.&nbsp; They have rejected church as simply an expression of their preferences.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">CONFRONTED</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I feel confronted with the challenge of trying to make the distinction clear.&nbsp; If the distinction between missional intentionality and simply a desire for more color or flavor is not clear then time after time individuals who are the “diversity” within a majority church face the realization that they feel like “strangers in a strange land.”&nbsp; Pastors and leaders who have been hired for “diversity” realize that the commitment and sacrifice is in one direction only.&nbsp; It only takes one more episode of injustice, or even misunderstanding, to break hearts and lead to discouragement.&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Helvetica Neue, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> There is a Biblical model, and it is built on such Biblical values as honesty, love, and sacrifice.&nbsp; It is built on a deep and rich appreciation of the Image of God in each human being.&nbsp; It is built on the Biblical appreciation of the reality of human cultures and the necessity of becoming a “slave” to others in order to reach them.&nbsp; It is built on evangelism, missions, and discipleship and not politics.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is built on solidarity with those we finally recognize as full partners in the Kingdom of God.&nbsp;</span></span></span></div> How much sleep do you need? http://djchuang.com/2018/how-much-sleep-do-you-need/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:fe853d99-2ad5-66c0-8836-69c1357b4574 Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:42:02 -0500 <p>If there&#8217;s a difference between how many hours you sleep versus how many hours you need to sleep, that&#8217;s called sleep deprivation. Many of us have learned how to live with less than optimal sleep because of the demands of life. The sure way to know how much sleep you need is to sleep until [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/how-much-sleep-do-you-need/">How much sleep do you need?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>If there&#8217;s a difference between how many hours you sleep versus how many hours you need to sleep, that&#8217;s called sleep deprivation. Many of us have learned how to live with less than optimal sleep because of the demands of life.</p> <p>The sure way to know how much sleep you need is to sleep until you naturally wake without using an alarm clock. I heard that years ago from an old friend.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve recently had to recalibrate my sleep schedule, also known as sleep hygiene. On average, I&#8217;m needing and getting 9 hours of sleep per night. That means I have to do the math based on the time I need to wake up, and get to sleep at the corresponding right time.</p> <p>But, as it is with my work schedule that occasionally involves travel that crosses time zones, there are nights when I don&#8217;t get my optimal hours of sleep. What I&#8217;ve wound up doing is to make up for sleep deficit by sleeping extra hours when I do return home to my own bed. That seems to help.</p> <p>Do you know why you&#8217;re not getting enough sleep? When you know the why, you can work on finding a solution. Here&#8217;s some more reasons for why people are losing sleep, based on research.</p> <h1>Why are we so sleep deprived, and why does it matter?</h1> <figure><img src="https://i1.wp.com/images.theconversation.com/files/208934/original/file-20180305-146645-8d89su.jpg?w=1170&#038;ssl=1" alt="File 20180305 146645 8d89su.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1" data-recalc-dims="1" /><figcaption>As many as 70 million Americans may not be getting enough sleep. Men get fewer hours of sleep than women.<br /> <a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/monday-morning-again-186566120?src=xq4hLhcCUpruA-fFOIbQfQ-1-28"><span class="attribution">Akos Nagy/Shutterstock.com</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-s-jaffee-284786">Michael S. Jaffee</a>, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-florida-1392">University of Florida</a></em></p> <p>As we prepare to “spring forward” for daylight saving time on March 11, many of us dread the loss of the hour’s sleep we incur by moving our clocks forward. For millions, the loss will be an added insult to the inadequate sleep they experience on a daily basis.</p> <p>Surveys show that <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html">40 percent of American adults get less</a> than the nightly minimum of seven hours of sleep recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation. The National Institutes for Health estimate that between <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20669438">50 million and 70 million people</a> do not get enough sleep. These recommendations for minimal sleep are based on a review of many scientific studies evaluating the role of sleep in our bodies and the effects of sleep deprivation on our ability of our body to function at our peak performance level.</p> <p>I am a <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=q5xsCiYAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">neurologist</a> at the University of Florida who has studied the effects of both traumatic brain injury and sleep impairment on the brain. I have seen the effects of sleep impairment and the significant effects it can have.</p> <p>According to the National Sleep Foundation, American adults currently average <a href="http://news.gallup.com/poll/166553/less-recommended-amount-sleep.aspx">6.9 hours of sleep</a> per night compared with the 1940s, when most American adults were averaging 7.9 hours a night, or one hour more each night. In fact, in 1942, 84 percent of Americans got the recommended seven to nine hours; in 2013, that number had dropped to <a href="http://news.gallup.com/poll/166553/less-recommended-amount-sleep.aspx">59 percent</a>. Participants in that same Gallup poll reported on average they felt they needed 7.3 hours of sleep each night but were not getting enough, causing an average nightly sleep debt of 24 minutes. <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-fitbits-6-billion-nights-sleep-data-reveals-us-110058417.html">Fitbit</a> in January 2018 announced results of a study it conducted of 6 billion nights of its customers’ sleep and reported that men actually get even less than women, about 6.5 hours.</p> <p><iframe id="lJfAi" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/lJfAi/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe>Why sleep matters</p> <p>The problems caused by sleep shortage go beyond tiredness. In recent years, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27397854">studies</a> have shown that adults who were short sleepers, or those who got less than seven hours in 24 hours, were more likely to report <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html">10 chronic health conditions</a>, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and depression, compared to those who got enough sleep, that is, seven or more hours in a 24-hour period.</p> <p>There are more challenges for children, as they are thought to have an increased sleep need compared to adults. The <a href="http://jcsm.aasm.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=30652">American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends</a> that children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours a day and teens 13 to 18 should sleep eight to 10 hours daily on a regular basis to promote optimal health.</p> <p>A Sleep Foundation poll of parents suggested that American children are getting one hour of sleep or more per night less than what their body and brain require.</p> <p><iframe id="umc01" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/umc01/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Researchers have found that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1978403/">sleep deprivation of even a single hour</a> can have a harmful effect on a child’s developing brain. Inadequate sleep can affect synaptic plasticity and memory encoding, and it can result in inattentiveness in the classroom.</p> <p>Every one of our biological systems is affected by sleep. When we don’t sleep long enough or when we experience poor quality of sleep, there can be serious biological consequences.</p> <p>When we are sleep deprived, our bodies become more aroused through an enhanced <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538178/">sympathetic nervous system</a>, known as “fight or flight.” There is a greater propensity for increased blood pressure and possible risk of coronary heart disease. Our <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538178/">endocrine system</a> releases more cortisol, a stress hormone. The body has less glucose tolerance and greater insulin resistance, which in the long term can cause an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Also, sleep deprivation causes a reduction in growth hormone and muscle maintenance.</p> <p>We also rely on sleep to maintain our metabolism. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased release of the hormone leptin and increased release of the hormone ghrelin, which can be associated with increased appetite and weight gain.</p> <p>The human body also relies on sleep to help with our immune system. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased inflammation and decreased antibodies to influenza and decreased resistance to infection.</p> <p>Inadequate sleep has been associated with a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538178/">negative effect on mood</a> as well as decreased attention and increased memory difficulty. In addition, someone who is sleep deprived may experience a decrease in pain tolerance and in reaction times. Occupational studies have associated sleep deprivation with decreased performance, increased car accidents, and more days missed from work.</p> <h2>The role of the brain</h2> <p>Researchers have known for a while that brain health is an important aspect of sleep. Notably, sleep is an important part of memory consolidation and learning.</p> <p>Newer research has suggested another important aspect of sleep for our brain: There is a system for the elimination of <a href="https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-sleep-clears-brain">possibly harmful proteins</a> such as abnormal variants of amyloid. This waste removal process, using what is known as the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28859995">glymphatic system</a>, relies on sleep to effectively eliminate these proteins from the brain. These are the same proteins found to be elevated in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that older adults with less sleep have greater accumulations of these proteins in their brains.</p> <p>Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the <a href="https://theconversation.com/understanding-the-genes-that-make-our-circadian-clocks-tick-67356">circadian system</a>, which helps signal the brain to sleep using the release of the natural hormone melatonin. It turns out that our body’s system for regulating melatonin and our sleep schedule is most powerfully controlled by light.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4812508/">cells in the retina of our eye</a> that communicate directly with the brain’s biological clock regulators located in the hypothalamus and this pathway is most affected by light. These neurons have been found to be most affected by light waves from the blue spectrum or blue light. This is the kind of light <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734149/">most prominent in electronic</a> lights from computers and smartphones. This has become a modern challenge that can adversely affect our natural sleep-wake cycle.</p> <p>Additional factors that can hamper sleep include pain conditions, medications for other conditions, and the increased demands and connectedness of modern society.</p> <p><img src="https://i1.wp.com/counter.theconversation.com/content/91803/count.gif?resize=1%2C1&#038;ssl=1" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" data-recalc-dims="1" />As we prepare for daylight saving time, we can be mindful that <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/02699052.2014.983978">many athletes have been including planned sleep extensions</a> (sleeping longer than usual) into their schedule to enhance performance and that many professional sports teams have hired sleep consultants to help assure their athletes have enough sleep. Perhaps we should have a similar game plan as we approach the second Sunday in March.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-s-jaffee-284786">Michael S. Jaffee</a>, Vice chair, Department of Neurology, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-florida-1392">University of Florida</a></em></p> <p>This article was originally published on <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a>. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-we-so-sleep-deprived-and-why-does-it-matter-91803">original article</a>.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/how-much-sleep-do-you-need/">How much sleep do you need?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=M2qE6q1YmXU:MDAU8BpgxnI:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=M2qE6q1YmXU:MDAU8BpgxnI:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/M2qE6q1YmXU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> What really is the value of Christian apologetics? http://djchuang.com/2018/what-really-is-the-value-of-christian-apologetics/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:3ba371f6-2c78-f666-6ffd-9a69e1017328 Sun, 11 Mar 2018 12:06:43 -0500 <p>Content of all kinds swirl around the internet and one category has been grouped under Christian apologetics. Apologetics has been around pre-internet and perhaps for many centuries. I was posed this question recently to which I decided to respond: Q: So do you think there is value in Christian apologetics? @djchuang&#8217;s answer: Yes, I think [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/what-really-is-the-value-of-christian-apologetics/">What really is the value of Christian apologetics?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Content of all kinds swirl around the internet and one category has been grouped under Christian apologetics. Apologetics has been around pre-internet and perhaps for many centuries. I was posed this question recently to which I decided to respond:</p> <blockquote> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Q: So do you think there is value in Christian apologetics?</p> </blockquote> <p>@djchuang&#8217;s answer: Yes, I think there is value to Christian apologetics. I don&#8217;t think of it having value in the traditional sense of how that term is used; let me briefly describe what I can within the limited time and space I have here.</p> <p><a href="https://1peter.bible/1-peter-3-15/"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-14447" src="https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2n11mm-1peter-bible.png?resize=147%2C300" alt="" width="147" height="300" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2n11mm-1peter-bible.png?resize=147%2C300 147w, https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2n11mm-1peter-bible.png?resize=768%2C1564 768w, https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2n11mm-1peter-bible.png?resize=503%2C1024 503w, https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2n11mm-1peter-bible.png?w=873 873w" sizes="(max-width: 147px) 100vw, 147px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>Christian apologists often refer to <a href="https://1peter.bible/1-peter-3-15/">1 Peter 3:15</a> as the key Bible verse for developing apologetics. That verse says: &#8220;But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.&#8221;</p> <p>Much effort has been made in publishing books and running conferences to circulate Christian apologetic resources. The impetus for creating all of these resources comes from an emphasis on the phrase, &#8220;always be prepread to give an answer to everyone.&#8221;</p> <p>However, that&#8217;s only half of the sentence. I think the other half is just as important, and perhaps even more important in a pluralistic multi-faith world.</p> <p>The more important part is: &#8220;<strong>to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.</strong>&#8221; What are people asking of those who profess to be Christians? Are they asking for hope or something else?</p> <p>More often than not, I have found, that people are asking Christians to be <a href="http://djchuang.com/2003/judgmental-hypocritical-boring/">less hypocritical and less judgmental</a>. Apologetics, when used as a defense to &#8220;prove&#8221; the rightness of one&#8217;s faith, is not helpful for this. And, for those who profess to be Christians that are hypocritical and judgmental, they&#8217;re probably not aware of how they are coming across in their zeal to be &#8220;faithful.&#8221; (Research has shown that <a href="https://sfgate.com/news/article/Incompetent-People-Really-Have-No-Clue-Studies-2783375.php">unaware people are unaware about their own unawareness</a>.)</p> <h3>Who does apologetics have value for?</h3> <p>I think Christian apologetics has more value for Christians, especially for those who are younger in their faith to gain more cognitive knowledge about their faith. Christians are the ones who are buying apologetics resources and funding to support apologetics ministries. This goes to show that the benefits of apologetics are more for Christians and not for non-Christians.</p> <h3>How non-Christians become Christian?</h3> <p>In my limited experience, I&#8217;ve found that a majority of people choose their faith, Christian or otherwise, based on some kind of a personal experience, usually through a relationship. Stories of non-Christian people becoming Christian, typically refer to that person experiencing kindness and love from Christians. I rarely hear of apologetics being the major factor for non-Christians becoming Christians.</p> <h3>Christian apologetics in a multi-faith world</h3> <p>Here&#8217;s my take on what kind of apologetics will work better in today&#8217;s context—whether it&#8217;s called pluralistic and multi-faith, secular humanistic, postmodern, or whatever.</p> <p>People everywhere of all faiths (or non-faiths, theists, agnostics, atheists) share in the human condition. Knowledge about life and faith is commonly available to all. And yet, different individuals arrive at different conclusions about their spirituality.</p> <p>For example, 2 children can grow up in the exact same family of origin, in a Christian home. One child grows up to remain a Christian, actively involved in their faith community called church. The other child grows up and rejects Christianity for their own reasons. Same content, different results. What&#8217;s going on there?</p> <p>There are these 5 very hard questions about the human condition: suffering, hypocrisy, inconsistencies, religions, and relevance. People are meaning-finding creatures; people are neurologically compelled to make meaning and to make sense of the world.</p> <p>Suffering is very often inexplicable, whether it is catastrophic natural disasters, violence, disease, or the inevitability of death.</p> <p>Hypocrisy exists among those who say they believe something but (some of) their behavior goes against the ethics and morals of the faith they profess to believe. There are both good and bad Christians; there are good and bad Muslims; there are good and bad people that profess faith or non-faith.</p> <p>Inconsistencies exist in how the various world religions were formed. For those who believe, they have a category of mystery to accommodate that. For those who don&#8217;t believe, well, the reality of the human condition, is, that people are inconsistent.</p> <p>Religions have come and gone throughout human history. Atheism or agnosticism are usually a minority voice. And, there are people who get stuck with so many religious options, they choose to disengage from faith. I&#8217;m of the opinion that life would be more meaningful with a commitment of faith than without. (This presupposes that there is a supernatural and immaterial part of life, which most people believe, and there are people who believe that the supernatural doesn&#8217;t exist at all.)</p> <p>Death is the finality of every single person&#8217;s life. Some cultures avoid talking about it or dealing with it. But it is unavoidable. With death being certain, it&#8217;s a fair question to ask what happens after death. And whatever it is that one believes about that, is the final answer of what one is truly believing by faith.</p> <h3>How you live matters more than what you can explain.</h3> <p>Now that I&#8217;ve taken some time to think out loud about what I think about Christian apologetics, I will say this. Christian apologetics for today&#8217;s world has to be more than cognitive content about metaphysics and religions.</p> <p>Could it be possible to recalibrate the scope of apologetics to be more? The other parts that need more emphasis and consideration are: relationally and behaviorally. What matters more is the quality of personal relationships with people of all faiths, demonstrating gentleness and respect with people of all faiths. Actions do speak louder than words.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/what-really-is-the-value-of-christian-apologetics/">What really is the value of Christian apologetics?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=5wIHxdA1qwY:_v1O31d2Zf0:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=5wIHxdA1qwY:_v1O31d2Zf0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/5wIHxdA1qwY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> HELP WANTED! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/03/help-wanted.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:a9a41889-2b65-4e42-8f00-e13fd36a3c6f Thu, 01 Mar 2018 16:05:46 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> Just suppose you wanted to make something of your life… Suppose you wanted to make a significant difference in the lives of other people…</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Suppose you wanted to impact at least one specific community, one neighborhood… &nbsp;Suppose you had the belief that people coming to faith in Jesus Christ would actually affect their eternal destiny and that their faith in and of itself could change their present and future ability to deal with troubles in this life...<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Suppose you were willing to bring about this impact, this difference, over a long faithfulness, that you would be willing to be patient, tenacious, and gentle with people but impatient and irritated at poverty, injustice, and the damage of sin…&nbsp; Suppose you were willing to live among these people, and not just live in that place but to live before them with all your own struggles, fears, and needs, along with your faith…&nbsp; Suppose you were willing to live as their servant, to use your knowledge of God and His Word to teach them, through preaching, example and instruction, constantly pointing them to Christ while trying to be self-effacing and losing your identity (and thus finding it) in Christ…</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> Suppose you were willing to live as a pastor without being perfect at it, and willing to suffer the cost of being misunderstood or being falsely accused.</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Suppose you were willing to trust God for and with your money, for and with your marriage, for and with your children, for and with your “name,” your success, with the reality of your aging, your physical limitations, with the possibility of obscurity, with your culture…</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Suppose you were willing to be abandoned to God, to live a life of prayer, repentance, study, and love….Suppose you were willing to gather a people, to create a new social reality in one geographic place, and were willing to live in the midst of the social and political reality of raising up new leaders, listening to them, learning from them, and being displaced by them…<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Do you think it could happen?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Do you think it would actually make a difference?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Do you think you could do it with joy, do you think you could do it without self-righteousness?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Well, could you do it, would you do it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will you do it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>In addition, not necessarily alternatively, will you pray that someone will do it, that God would send someone to do it?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">We are looking for life-long and lifetime heroes in hard, normal, real life places.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We are looking for church planters and pastors, looking for men who are full of God, with an insatiable hunger for more of Jesus, and more of His Word.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are looking for those whom God is sending, whose ambition is being fully realized in saying “yes Lord, yes to your will!”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Normal human spaces are waiting for real, godly men, to take their places within them. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">God’s “yes” line is always open, angels are standing by.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> Where Asian American Pastors Can Get Coaching http://djchuang.com/2018/asian-american-pastors-can-get-coaching/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:9f701661-3a9c-459f-df2d-48e5eada6e96 Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:45:38 -0600 <p>You have choices for coaching cohorts as Asian American pastors; coaching helps you to grow your effectiveness as pastors, church leaders, church planters, spiritually, relationally and personally.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/asian-american-pastors-can-get-coaching/">Where Asian American Pastors Can Get Coaching</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>There are several options available for Asian American pastors to grow their effectiveness as pastors, church leaders, church planters, spiritually, relationally and personally. Here&#8217;s the ones I know of; please add a comment or <a href="/contact">contact</a> with others you know of.</p> <h3>Coaching for Asian American Pastors</h3> <p><a href="http://regenerant.org/cohort/"><strong>ReGenerant Church Planting Cohort</strong></a> &#8211; 12-month program, starting in April 2018, for church planters in Southern California</p> <p><a href="https://www.patreon.com/intentionalcoaching"><strong>Intentional Coaching</strong></a> &#8211; with Pastor Thien Doan. 4-6 months of online meetings.</p> <p><a href="https://healthychurchleaders.wordpress.com"><strong>Healthy Churches Leadership Initiative</strong></a> &#8211; peer coaching groups in San Francisco Bay area</p> <h3>Coaching in Academic Settings</h3> <p>There are also valuable programs in an academic setting that have coaching baked into their studies contextualized for Asian American pastors. Here&#8217;s that list.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.talbot.edu/dmin/asian-american/">D.Min. Asian American Ministry Track</a></strong> &#8211; 3-year academic program at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, with a 2-weeks residency annually</p> <p><a href="https://fuller.edu/asian-american-center/"><strong>Asian American Center</strong></a> at Fuller Theological Seminary</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/asian-american-pastors-can-get-coaching/">Where Asian American Pastors Can Get Coaching</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=GLvRBzWDTvA:4avFZBHWp7k:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=GLvRBzWDTvA:4avFZBHWp7k:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/GLvRBzWDTvA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> CRITICISM http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/02/criticism.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:c1833943-8c9b-4bed-76d3-8f3ecec0ba65 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 10:56:01 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> I have been thinking some about the role of Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Post Modern ideology concerning prevalent ethnic and racial justice and injustice issues.&nbsp; I have been thinking of the rhetoric of cultural and social critics, the presumptive attempt to be “prophetic” in speaking to social problems, and the difficulty of pointing out hard and unpleasant realities, while at the same time maintaining a Biblical attitude and behavior.&nbsp; For the Christian to be prophetic in this day and age must mean that not only he or she has the courage to speak truth to power, or truth to institutions, but also that both the truth that is expounded, and the manner in which it is expounded be grounded and understood from Biblical absolutes.&nbsp; This means our attempts to speak the truth have to be practiced in the context of Christ, Gospel, and grace. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We live in a world of social and cultural criticism.&nbsp; Much of this criticism is media driven, often through the use of humor and especially using satire, sarcasm, and mockery.&nbsp; Some of this criticism arises from pain, from real racial hurt, and from both the results of oppression as well as current acts and attitudes of racism and injustice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; To cut off social criticism from a God’s eye point of view of truth, love, and eternity inevitably leads to all kinds of errors.&nbsp; Some of these errors create darkness in our own souls as we can be crushed by the despair caused by the oppression of societal sin in the world.&nbsp; We can attempt to face the unjust realities of the world without faith and that just keeps us angry, traumatized, and ultimately burned out.&nbsp; We can attempt to face social and economic realities with some kind of jury-rigged earthly analysis, and as brilliant as they might seem or as militant as they may make us feel, they have no hope.&nbsp; Some of that societal sin is the sin of the unjust or unwise State, some is tribal and ethnic oppression, some is collective economic exploitation, some might be the oppression of cultural dominant groups either by design or ignorance, and some of course is familial and interpersonal, i.e. individual to individual.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Believers need to be cultural and societal critics, or at least some leaders in the church have to be.&nbsp; To be “in the world and not of it” means that we are called to some discrimination, some discernment, to know what is happening around us, to us, or to others. We cannot love our neighbors as ourselves if we have no knowledge, concern, or empathy for them.&nbsp; We cannot adequately preach the Gospel to the poor if we don’t know who they are. &nbsp;We cannot throw off the yoke of oppression if we don’t know what oppression is, who is being oppressed and how, and where. It is not always easy work to be culturally discerning.&nbsp; The secular philosophical world can sometimes give us helpful ideas, clues, and even slogans or phrases to help sum up what has happened in history or culture.&nbsp; Common grace allows all human beings to tell a bit of the truth, and it certainly allows them to pick up pretty quickly what they feel to be just and unjust.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Evangelicals have studied, discussed, and written about trends in philosophical culture.&nbsp; They have studied and strategized about generational culture.&nbsp; Some are beginning to add an ethnic and racial analysis to culture, which is long overdue in the American context.&nbsp; Evangelicals have preferred moral criticism and sometimes divorced it (shamefully and embarrassingly so) from justice.&nbsp; As I have read and listened to some of the (Evangelical) modern cultural critics I have been concerned about the amount of polarization that has taken place.&nbsp; For some polarization seems almost to be an achievement, and I am concerned, and sad about that.&nbsp; If we give criticism we have to be able to receive it, and this is often hard for us to hear especially when we feel so right about our stance on the issues.&nbsp; Some seem unable to hear criticism about their views or rhetoric, or have possibly tied their egos to their platforms, and as we should all know, it is hard to disentangle oneself from a run-away band wagon once we are tied to it with our pride.&nbsp; This is as true for the conservative wing of Evangelicals as it is for the more liberal side of Evangelicals.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">Here are some of my concerns, i.e., criticisms, and observations about recent conversational trends and they are not to be taken as universal, they are of course generalized but not appropriate for everyone in the conversation.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Asserting that historic behaviors of past injustice, responsible for residual effects, must all still be at play.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Asserting that racism is an extremely rare attitude and behavior within specific individuals and is having no significant current impact on culture, society, or politics. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Inserting racial, ethnic, and tribal rationalizations to explain all inequities.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Allowing one’s frustration with seemingly implacable societal realities to create theories of systemic, systematic, and intentional conspiracy about those realities.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Asserting that anyone who describes society and culture in terms of group/class antagonism, or attempts to discuss or describe social injustice must be a Marxist. [There are Marxists, then there are others who are members of the Communist Party (they are not necessarily the same) and then there are others who borrow Marxist social criticism terms and phrases in their speech and writings, but certainly are not consistently Marxist in their ideology.]<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Avoiding and denying subject (individual) responsibility for the creation of cultural and ethnic distortions in equity.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Avoiding and resisting group (or group representative) responsibility for the reality of privilege and the exercise of power.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Interpreting even the “well meaning” (but failed) solutions to social problems with the most negative and racist explanations.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Ignorance of how the radical rhetoric of group condemnation will motivationally affect the opposition, or giving the results no concern.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Assuming that even in the midst of pointed and emotional speech against perceived evils that the speaker is exempt from giving honor to everyone, especially leaders, love to their neighbors, and especially to what one may assume is an “enemy.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating the myth that the language of ethnic triumphalism can replace individual moral responsibility, or group activism, on the ground.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Allowing ethnic and racial identity narratives to harden into tribal narrative competition.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Failing to see that creating a negative world of personal bitterness and condemnatory speech with an oppositional isolation is an inadequate path for survival, and deprives one of a necessary social and cultural interaction in a multi-cultural world.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Failing to realize that the language of love is a necessary component of love.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating the false narrative that reconciliation is only a product of the full realization of guilt, confession, repentance, restoration, and reparations or leaving the alternative… permanent condemnation or retribution.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating the false narrative that reconciliation is either accomplished or not, thus denying it as a process that has both emotional and relational beginnings, as well as realizations and actions.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating rhetoric that denies grace to the ignorant and the transgressor (and failing to define the difference) while removing the necessity of faith, humility and responsibility in the response of the victim, thus denying them inherent dignity.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Failure to see the power of love and mercy to cover a multitude of sins and bring healing even without adequate self-knowledge, self-realization, and personal acceptance of blame and responsibility from the privileged. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Conflating a Marxist and Post-Modern dialectical tribal analysis to construct a narrative of conflict and competition that alienates rather than reconciles.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Conflating a conservative political and economic world view, with its attendant patriotic civil religion, with Biblical Christianity. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->A practical rejection of Biblical anthropology and God’s sovereignty in the historical ordering of mankind to bring about his eternal and eschatological purposes.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->An attempt to convey real and honest history with an incisive and unapologetic exposure of injustice and oppression without much hope or Gospel, and without a rhetorical acknowledgement or commitment of the tenacity of the Church to prevail against the gates of hell.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div></div> $20 for your thoughts, Asian American Pastors http://djchuang.com/2018/20-thoughts-asian-american-pastors/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:3db75fad-b927-b817-b53f-f743beddeb9d Mon, 12 Feb 2018 19:57:41 -0600 <p>Asian American Pastor and Church Survey! (Around 30 minutes, $20 Amazon gift card) If you are a lead/senior/solo Asian American pastor of a predominately Asian American congregation (i.e. EM, pan-Asian, multiethnic), fill out this online survey (around 30 minutes) and receive a $20 Amazon gift card. Please share this with your pastor friends! This is [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/20-thoughts-asian-american-pastors/">$20 for your thoughts, Asian American Pastors</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Asian American Pastor and Church Survey!<br /> (Around 30 minutes, $20 Amazon gift card)<br /> <a href="http://140t.co/fulleraasurvey"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/27788328_1621916861222940_3779694818827876965_o.jpg?resize=1024%2C576" alt="" width="1024" height="576" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-14402" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/27788328_1621916861222940_3779694818827876965_o.jpg?resize=1024%2C576 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/27788328_1621916861222940_3779694818827876965_o.jpg?resize=300%2C169 300w, https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/27788328_1621916861222940_3779694818827876965_o.jpg?resize=768%2C432 768w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a></p> <p>If you are a lead/senior/solo Asian American pastor of a predominately Asian American congregation (i.e. EM, pan-Asian, multiethnic), <a href="http://140t.co/fulleraasurvey">fill out this online survey</a> (around 30 minutes) and receive a $20 Amazon gift card.</p> <p>Please share this with your pastor friends!</p> <p>This is one of the first surveys of its kind and will help us to understand our community much better. Our churches and pastors are definitely understudied and underresourced.</p> <p>Here is the link: <a href="http://140t.co/fulleraasurvey">tinyurl.com/aapcsurvey</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/20-thoughts-asian-american-pastors/">$20 for your thoughts, Asian American Pastors</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=sf-x3ULkm4I:VWh6yV0NCnI:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=sf-x3ULkm4I:VWh6yV0NCnI:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/sf-x3ULkm4I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> MAKE PURSES FOR YOURSELVES THAT WON'T WEAR OUT! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/02/make-purses-for-yourselves-that-wont.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:5a2380fb-7a24-7df1-087e-db1bcab70a6a Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:06:25 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">I’ve recently had some opportunities to speak about money, sacrifice, and the poor.&nbsp; I often speak on poverty but it gets a bit more personal when I speak to “the poor” and to “the rich.”&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Over the last decade or so I have heard preachers and speakers on the radio and other places mention the fact that the Bible talks a lot about money.&nbsp; After they mention this fact I seem to hear either a discussion about getting out of debt and achieving sound financial management, or from another direction I hear a sermon urging me to believe in the “prosperity Gospel.”&nbsp;&nbsp; Usually those sermons don’t use that phrase but instead encourage me to go after my "money miracle, my breakthrough, my blessing, or to enlarge my tent."&nbsp; Both sides seem to encourage me to be pretty self-focused, it is all about how I use, tithe, sow, or save “my” money.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I don’t hear from those sources much about the poor, except to encourage me not to be counted among them.&nbsp; I also don’t hear much from those preachers concerning a rebuke, command, or charge to the rich, except that if God was truly blessing me then I would be one of them.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the great joys of my preaching ministry has been to sometimes speak to very poor people, in places where almost everyone in the room, tent, hut, field, beach, under the stars, or church building was poor.&nbsp; Telling them that God cares about them; that they are indeed loved in Christ and that they can become fellow heirs with Christ has filled me with joy.&nbsp; This joy is sometimes because I see and feel the joy in them, as I hear them sing in faith, as I see them encouraged that God actually loves them in their poverty, and notices their condition.&nbsp;&nbsp; I see them take joy in their exalted position.&nbsp; It is a joy, but it is sometimes simultaneously heart-breaking.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the great challenges of my ministry is preaching to and relating to the rich.&nbsp; The challenge is how to love them while calling them to make purses for themselves that will not wear out, to not wear themselves out to be and stay rich, to not trust in the temporal nature of their wealth, to lay up their treasure in heaven where moth and rust don’t corrupt and thieves don’t break in to steal, to share their bread with the hungry, to be generous and ready to share, to glory in their low estate, and to be rich in good works.&nbsp; I have to command them not to be arrogant and not to put their hope in their money.&nbsp; I have to warn them that they can’t serve God and money at the same time.&nbsp; I have to do this while still loving them and not making the false assumption that material things are bad in themselves or that God doesn’t want any of us to enjoy life and the things he has given us in this world.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the great tasks of my ministry is to put these two kinds of people in touch with each other, sometimes personally, and sometimes simply through resources.&nbsp; When it happens I get to see two different kind of Christians receive a blessing and I see the Gospel at work.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; There are temptations in this kind of work.&nbsp; One is a subtle kind of coveting, not so much for the stuff of wealth, but for the power of it.&nbsp; Why doesn’t God just give me all that money so I can give it directly, which surely I would do?&nbsp; One conclusion is that God doesn’t put any confidence in my humility; that with the power to decide on distribution would come an insufferable arrogance.&nbsp; This would lead to a conviction that I didn’t need to pray, no longer to trust God, and no need of working at relationships that might be difficult.&nbsp; Having money can give one the illusion that they don't need other people or accountability.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; As the writer of Proverbs (30:7-9) prayed, <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">“Two things I ask of you, O Lord, do not refuse me before I die:<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">But give me only my daily bread, <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my god.”<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Another kind of temptation is to be afraid of the faces of men.&nbsp; My ministry seems to be dependent on the generosity of God’s people so maybe I had better be careful not to "bite the hand that feeds me"?&nbsp; (I have actually heard that warning from people who didn’t like my social or cultural application of the Scriptures).&nbsp; What if the wealthy cut me off, what if they don’t like me, what if they no longer support me, give me their money to help others, or won’t share some of their very nice homes, cars, and company?&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; You might notice I used the word “seems” when I talked about depending on the generosity of God’s people, and there is certainly nothing strange or wrong about receiving support from God's people.&nbsp; As an itinerant preacher and teacher Jesus received generosity from the wealthy.&nbsp; The Apostle Paul was supported by the gifts of God’s people.&nbsp; They also sometimes went without, in danger, exposed to the elements, no place to lay their head, etc.&nbsp;&nbsp; The truth is that they didn’t depend on God’s people; they depended on God the Father.&nbsp; So should we all, and to do otherwise will certainly compromise our courage and our message.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; The standard of my calling is to be true to God’s Word and never use it to manipulate people.&nbsp; My calling is to be a man of integrity in how I teach it and live it, and to love everyone as I meet, preach to, encourage, and live among them.&nbsp;&nbsp; Part of that standard is to be humble, and that humility is to be both an inner conviction and an outward appearance.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Another part of my calling is to say like Amos, “the lion has roared who can but tremble, the Lord has spoken who can but prophesy?” &nbsp;And so like Jeremiah I have to say, “but if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.&nbsp; I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” And like James I have to tell people, “show me your faith by your works.”<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;I am called to be both humble and bold. Being prophetic about poverty and wealth might cause some to think of me with annoyance which can then lead to avoidance, especially when I speak of injustice and the necessity of sacrifice.&nbsp; The reality is that I am no hero, and I have suffered very little abuse in trying to be faithful to the calling God has given me.&nbsp; I consider myself immensely blessed.&nbsp; Yet, I know sometimes I make people nervous.</span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;">&nbsp; &nbsp; To, and for me, the cross calls us to discipleship, to the cost of it, and to proclaiming and living out the Gospel of the Kingdom. I have absolutely no ability to carry that cross, no innate spirituality or moral strength to carry it.&nbsp; I find myself to be a person who has contradictions; holding powerful convictions and too little holiness, a powerful message and too much selfish weakness.&nbsp; If Jesus doesn’t help me I won’t make it.&nbsp; If God’s grace doesn’t empower then the cross is too heavy.&nbsp; Yet in that cross is all my help, all my cleansing, all my deliverance from sin and self.&nbsp; The cross begins with justification but it has all these sanctification&nbsp;implications that keeps nailing me to it.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; The conclusion is fairly clear and direct for all of us, from the poorest to the wealthiest; we can’t continue to be afraid and let worry make us hold onto material possessions for our security.&nbsp; We have to learn to live in contentment by faith, and we must learn the amazing and wonderful experience of sharing, generosity, and sacrifice in caring for the poor and loving our neighbors.&nbsp; All of us can and must do that, as hard and even as impossible as it seems, as Christ empowers us.&nbsp; It is want He wants.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div></div> Can we talk about shame? http://djchuang.com/2018/can-we-talk-about-shame/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:ced76895-93b0-f34c-e8cf-c1b3306b518c Sat, 03 Feb 2018 23:08:45 -0600 <p>Yes, we have launched a podcast called Erasing Shame where we will have honest talk for healthy living—emotionally, relationally, mentally, and personally. DJ Chuang and Eunice Lee will co-host Season 1 together. I&#8217;m particular grateful for Eunice making time to do this podcast together, because the topic of shame is so big, what resources we [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/can-we-talk-about-shame/">Can we talk about shame?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Yes, we have launched a podcast called <a href="http://eraaingshame.com">Erasing Shame</a> where we will have honest talk for healthy living—emotionally, relationally, mentally, and personally. DJ Chuang and Eunice Lee will co-host Season 1 together.</p> <p><a href="http://erasingshame.com"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/erasing-shame.jpg?resize=500%2C500&#038;ssl=1" class="wp-image-14387 size-large" width="500" height="500" alt="erasing shame" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/erasing-shame.jpg?w=500 500w, https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/erasing-shame.jpg?resize=150%2C150 150w, https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/erasing-shame.jpg?resize=300%2C300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a></p> <p>I&#8217;m particular grateful for Eunice making time to do this podcast together, because the topic of shame is so big, what resources we have currently isn&#8217;t quite enough to alleviate the stigma over issues of mental illness, certain diseases, imperfections, generational and cultural and racial tensions, and many more aspects to be unearthed and revealed to be healed.</p> <p>Yes it&#8217;s a good thing for the likes of Brene Brown popularizing the topic in our mainstream consciousness. Yet the mere knowledge of shame affecting people of every culture has not paved the way for more people to find their way to healing and freedom.</p> <p>In our <a href="http://erasingshame.com/erasing-shame-pilot-episode-season-1/">pilot episode of Erasing Shame</a>, during our first conversations, we&#8217;ve only begun to uncover a couple of those aspects, and realizing there are so many more parts to unpack, untangle, and unlock.</p> <p>Why are we tackling such a big topic then, if it is so challenging and enormous? I&#8217;ll say a little it about that.. this podcast idea is something I&#8217;ve been thinking about and incubating for over 5 years. To have freely available and easily accessible content about erasing shame and replacing shame with the ingredients of healthy living, those shameful feelings have to be brought out into the light. It has to come out of hiding.</p> <p>Another way to say this: you&#8217;re only as sick as your secrets.</p> <p>Of course not everything personal about you has to be broadcast on social media into the public. Maybe we will explore this on a future episode, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate for social media, where there are those who has made it a place of anything goes. That could be called shameless.</p> <p>Erasing shame is not about being shameless. Erasing shame is about the process of identifying those hurts, habits, and hangups that prevent us from living in a fully healthy and fulfilling way.</p> <p>Thank you for reading about how we are starting Erasing Shame. And we&#8217;d love to hear from you as we together work towards erasing shame.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/can-we-talk-about-shame/">Can we talk about shame?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=QuFiavtVYCI:J_E3o5MYg1k:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=QuFiavtVYCI:J_E3o5MYg1k:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/QuFiavtVYCI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Talking about Faith and Technology http://djchuang.com/2018/talking-about-faith-and-technology/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:00007f73-7b16-0dd7-171f-a076e79aec7d Sun, 21 Jan 2018 12:20:47 -0600 <p>As much as digital technology has become a part of our everyday life, the thoughtful reflections and conversations about the areas of spirituality and technology seems to be lagging and lacking. Technology develops so much faster than spiritual leaders can keep up with, just like laws too have a hard time keeping up. That being [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/talking-about-faith-and-technology/">Talking about Faith and Technology</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>As much as digital technology has become a part of our everyday life, the thoughtful reflections and conversations about the areas of spirituality and technology seems to be lagging and lacking. Technology develops so much faster than spiritual leaders can keep up with, just like laws too have a hard time keeping up.</p> <p>That being the case, it was a special and rare occasion to have a breakout session at the Intersection Conference on faith and work. With 4 of us around a table, we had a cozy discussion about how some churches are using current technologies to facilitate ministry through the distribution of Christian content; we also raised questions and concerns about how we as followers of Christ should or should not use technology, not just using it as a means of communications but also thinking about what digital tools do to our humanity and souls.</p> <p>We recorded the discussion so we can share that piece of content as a potential contribution to the public space of the web, in hopes others will build upon this to make more progress in understanding and discerning. (and, below the audio, books mentioned and others found later, are listed for your reference)</p> <h3>raw audio of our discussion</h3> <!--[if lt IE 9]><script>document.createElement('audio');</script><![endif]--> <audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" id="audio-14364-1" preload="none" style="width: 100%;" controls="controls"><source type="audio/mpeg" src="http://djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DR0000_0104.m4a?_=1" /><a href="http://djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DR0000_0104.m4a">http://djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DR0000_0104.m4a</a></audio> <p>(<a href="http://djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DR0000_0104.m4a">download audio &#8211; m4a format</a>)</p> <h3>related books</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2EZWsqn">The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place</a> by Andy Crouch</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2DoNF11">From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology</a> by John Dyer</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2DvZrdg">The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication</a> by Justin Wise</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2DqXF9G">Networked Theology: Negotiating Faith in Digital Culture (Engaging Culture)</a> by Heidi Campbell</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/talking-about-faith-and-technology/">Talking about Faith and Technology</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=9YIJ5gXZ1O0:m4ibFZa8pLk:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=9YIJ5gXZ1O0:m4ibFZa8pLk:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/9YIJ5gXZ1O0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> What will suffering do to you? http://djchuang.com/2018/what-will-suffering-do-to-you/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:31f115c7-472b-4969-67ea-a132bc898c4e Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:40:59 -0600 <p>Life involves moments of boredom and thrills, times of work and play, seasons of joy and seasons of suffering. And, suffering can take many different forms: disease, physical pain, mental illness, tragedy, handicaps, or many others. Some of you that are regular visitors here at djchuang.com may have noticed the lower frequency and erratic pace [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/what-will-suffering-do-to-you/">What will suffering do to you?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Life involves moments of boredom and thrills, times of work and play, seasons of joy and seasons of suffering. And, suffering can take many different forms: disease, physical pain, mental illness, tragedy, handicaps, or many others.</p> <p>Some of you that are regular visitors here at djchuang.com may have noticed the lower frequency and erratic pace of my blog posts last year. You have rightly observed.</p> <h3>When suffering looked like last year</h3> <p>2017 was hard season for me personally. I know it was a hard year for a lot of people with hurricanes, natural disasters, mass shootings; for others, disease or debt or death. I attended more memorial services than ever.</p> <p>I struggle with a mood disorder, something in that mental illness category. Unfortunately, mental illness still carries with it a stigma in American society. And if there&#8217;s that much stigma in America, you can imagine how much more stigma and shame there is for Asian Americans and Asians. This mood disorder used to look like, in my life, a cyclical pattern of 4 weeks of lower-energy moods and then 2 weeks of higher-energy moods. Last year, my mood swings got disrupted; the cards got reshuffled and I was left holding only low cards.</p> <p>For 6 months, from March to September, I went thru a heavy depression. I couldn&#8217;t shake it. I did stay consistent on my self-care. I had to make a conscious effort to do anything and everything, every day and every moment. With all the energy it took to do that so I could still work and be gainfully employed, I had none left to be blogging or read the news or stay connected on social media. I was in survival mode.</p> <p>I could use all the help I could get: physically, relationally, mentally, medicinally, spiritually, dietary, psychologically, slowing down, getting consistent sleep. Eventually, my doctors found the right mix of medication that got me out of that dark tunnel. And, perhaps, my diligent work of taking care of my body and mind and soul, accumulated enough good points to bring me back to my normal.</p> <p>Thanks to a bunch of friends in a private Facebook group, I didn&#8217;t go thru the struggle alone.</p> <h3>The spiritual part of suffering</h3> <p>During this season of suffering, I thought a lot about suffering. I couldn&#8217;t get away from it. That in itself was part of the suffering.</p> <p>Some people don&#8217;t believe in a spiritual part of life and that the material world is all there is.</p> <p>And other people have other faith traditions with different approaches to dealing with suffering.</p> <p>Suffering is a shock to our system, our being, our understanding of the world. That jolt either causes someone to reject their faith or to draw strength from their faith. Suffering doesn&#8217;t visit without shaking things up.</p> <p>My suffering drew me closer to God, as I understand Him, as revealed in the Bible; my Christian faith was deepened. For many weeks and months, I would recite the Lord&#8217;s Prayer and Psalm 23 over and over. Those words gave me something good to hold to, something much better than my negative thoughts and feelings.</p> <p>When I had energy, I would journal to get those things out of my mind so I wouldn&#8217;t lose my mind. And, I&#8217;m very grateful that I could afford counseling sessions, where I had a safe place to relax and declutter my brain.</p> <p>I started to learn a way to pray that kept me engaged, that is, by writing and typing. Started a 30-week prayer blog at <a href="http://demystifying.bible">demystifying.bible</a> so I&#8217;d have a place to share my conversations with God, in hopes that it&#8217;d help people to demystify praying so they can get more of the help they need and want from a good God.</p> <h3>Empathy for our human condition</h3> <p>I&#8217;ll mention one other thing that last year&#8217;s suffering impressed upon me. I believe my empathy for all kinds of people has grown. Knowing how weak I was, mentally and emotionally, I could better relate to the challenges that people have of overcoming an addiction, living a humble life, being desperate, feeling frustrated, weeping over losses, trying to bounce back from a setback, hanging on for dear life, lamenting over strained relationships, enduring chronic pains, having to eat yucky foods for medicinal purposes, undergoing surgery for whatever, persisting on that job search, etc etc etc.</p> <h3>What suffering produces</h3> <p>Don&#8217;t misunderstand me. Suffering is not a good thing, it&#8217;s a painful and terrible thing. Suffering is an inevitable part of living in a broken and imperfect world.</p> <p>But it&#8217;s not the end of the story.</p> <p>Suffering can be redeemed and it can bring about some good things.</p> <p>Compassion that truly softens the heart, perhaps, can only come through suffering.</p> <p>Suffering is also one of the essential ingredients of spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. I&#8217;d even say it could be a catalyst or accelerator for maturity. Sure there are good books and courses and resources to help someone develop their spirituality. But they don&#8217;t tell you about this: that part of spiritual growth can only come from suffering.</p> <p>Closing words, from the Bible: Suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. Count it all joy when you face suffering, trials of all kinds, because when it has done its work, you will be mature and not lacking anything. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/what-will-suffering-do-to-you/">What will suffering do to you?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=0tq1wEna0X0:llsk3H6Xtpg:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=0tq1wEna0X0:llsk3H6Xtpg:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/0tq1wEna0X0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> THE SOCIAL GOSPEL SLANDER http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/01/every-once-in-whilesomeone-decides-to.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:f557d0bb-a74e-409e-ee89-654e2c2a9a08 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:59:07 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Every once in a while someone decides to smear those who advocate social righteousness in the practice of both the church as <u>congregation</u>, and the church as <u>members</u>, as the “Social Gospel.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; It is perfectly fine with me to have brothers and sisters debate the extent or parameters of local churches, or the denomination, to deal with social injustices, oppression, and social moral evils.&nbsp; However, with both positive and negative words and actions, public and social sinfulness needs to be confronted by somebody.&nbsp; Certainly we know this is part of the role of government as mentioned in Romans 13, where we are taught that those in authority are to commend those who do right, but hold terror for those who do wrong.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; How is the government supposed to know what that is exactly , i.e., what is the difference between those two things, what is good and what is wrong?&nbsp; Do we leave this for “common grace,” that we should assume any and all people who might end up in politics and government know the difference?&nbsp; Do we as believers feel any responsibility to be a moral and ethical voice to secular government, based on Biblical and godly values?&nbsp; Do we feel that the realm of government is none of our business?&nbsp; Do we leave this for those Christians who get into government to carry that burden, if they are indeed trying to be “Christian” in their role as politicians and governors?&nbsp; Do we assume that partisan ideologies are the same as justice and moral righteousness?&nbsp; (God help you if you believe that.)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some of the “smearing” or labeling against those of us who call for the church, and its members, to live out justice and morality in society is due to a misunderstanding (ignorance) of historical theology in regard to the Social Gospel movement.&nbsp; Some of the labeling I suspect comes down to which social issues are being discussed.&nbsp; Conservatives tend to have their favorite social issues, which to them are seen as <u>legitimate</u> moral issues so they tend not to describe them as social gospel liberalism.&nbsp; These issues are abortion, human trafficking, homosexuality and the gay rights agenda, and alcoholism (though we don’t hear so much about temperance these days). <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; On a side note it is interesting to me to observe how “Fundamentalist” moral issues have been superseded by secular activists in realms of anti-smoking (public health), sobriety (AA and the recovery “industry”), and sexual constraint (the “me too” movement).&nbsp; These public movements have probably brought more public “buy in” to concern about behavior than the legalism of fundamentalism.&nbsp; This would probably make for some good research in a doctoral program.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Debating the role of the local church versus the involvement of its members is one thing, but to confuse a call for the social application of justice and moral righteousness to society’s ills with a theology that abandoned the need for personal redemption and conversion and replaced it with a passion for societal reform, is to call fellow believers who are members by confession and vows of an orthodox religion -heretics.&nbsp; It is a lie, it is a slander, and frankly seems&nbsp; intended to avoid social responsibility as an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; People need to be saved, by the blood of Christ, who died for sinners.&nbsp; The cross was a legal and redemptive transaction within the Trinity to satisfy the wrath and righteousness of God.&nbsp; People need to believe in Jesus, and He transforms them.&nbsp; Inner and personal transformation is a necessity for a relationship to God, and that can only happen by grace.&nbsp; At the same time there is a Kingdom of God, and it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.&nbsp;&nbsp; We are saved unto good works, and those good works are for the good of human beings.&nbsp; God, the God of the Bible, is a God of justice, who hates wickedness, and oppression.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Preachers have to preach, teach, and model good works.&nbsp; Not as a means to salvation or as a substitute for it, but as the end of it.&nbsp; Any preacher who takes his stand that the local church should not be involved in works of mercy, or should stand against local, national, or international injustice, better be preaching, stimulating, and even commanding his people to do good works; or he is simply an obstacle to the Kingdom of God, if not its enemy.&nbsp; The preaching of grace does not nullify the teaching or practicing of good works but empowers them, with liberty and joy.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Most of the time teaching that the local church shouldn’t do anything in terms of social mercy or justice is a luxury of the wealthy, middle and upper class church.&nbsp; Those people have the money, the education and the social networks to deal with their problems.&nbsp; When the church is among the poor then widows often have to be fed by the church itself, and not given over to their own retirement funds.&nbsp; One’s wealth perspective often deprives us of an adequate view not only of reality, but of Biblical application.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; There was a theological movement of the early twentieth century, led by men such as Walter Rauschenbusch, who looked upon the need for personal redemption as a mistaken view of the teachings of Jesus.&nbsp; While advocating some of the teaching of Jesus he separated Jesus from his saving work to focus on a social application of love and peace.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Obviously those are worthy things, but not good enough for those who wish to be holistically obedient.&nbsp; Men need personal salvation and redemption, they need their characters changed in order to be able to deal with both their own sins and their own eternity, and to prevent them from sinning against others. &nbsp;Love can only really and radically come from the God who is love within us, and not some moral sentiment.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We need social activists who rise up within and from the church who are saved and blood washed by Jesus, and who become advocates for love, goodness, and peace within the world.&nbsp; We need activists who preach the cross, while they feed the hungry, and stand against evil.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> Rev. Thomas Wang, a Chinese Leader in World Missions http://djchuang.com/2018/rev-thomas-wang-chinese-leader-world-missions/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:4cd6c549-7583-cca4-dba9-e241f0346b74 Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:52:07 -0600 <p>Rev. Thomas Yung-Hsin Wang (王永信) was highly regarded as an influential Chinese church leader among the worldwide Chinese Christian population. Rev. Wang had a global vision that included both the Chinese diaspora as well as all nationalities and ethnicities as the Great Commission calls for. I had met Rev. Wang on a couple of occasions. [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/rev-thomas-wang-chinese-leader-world-missions/">Rev. Thomas Wang, a Chinese Leader in World Missions</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Rev. Thomas Yung-Hsin Wang (王永信) was highly regarded as an influential Chinese church leader among the worldwide Chinese Christian population. Rev. Wang had a global vision that included both the Chinese diaspora as well as all nationalities and ethnicities as the Great Commission calls for.</p> <p>I had met Rev. Wang on a couple of occasions. I was particularly inspired by him, as a Chinese pastor and ministry leader, for his burden and concern for Chinese and non-Chinese, for Chinese-speaking and English-speaking peoples everywhere. That is a rare find.</p> <p><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-14348" src="https://i0.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Rev-Wang.jpg?resize=200%2C260" alt="" width="200" height="260" data-recalc-dims="1" /></p> <p>Rev. Wang did many ministries among the Chinese, including <a href="http://www.ccmusa.org/engl/engl.aspx">Chinese Christian Mission</a>, <a href="http://www.cccowe.org/lang.php?lang=en&amp;url=http://www.cccowe.org/">Chinese Coordination Center for World Evangelization</a>, and the <a href="http://www.gcciusa.org">Great Commission Center International</a>.</p> <p>Beyond his ministry with the Chinese, he was actively involved in world missions globally—he founded the <a href="http://www.ad2000.org/">AD2000 &amp; Beyond Movement</a> and was <a href="https://www.lausanne.org/about/leaders/advisory/thomas-wang">the International Director of The Second International Congress on World Evangelism in 1989</a> (<a href="https://www.lausanne.org/gatherings/congress/manila-1989">Lausanne II</a>).</p> <p>Rev. Wang also <a href="http://www.gcciusa.org/Founder_EN.html">initiated</a> the <a href="http://prayforamericarevival.org/index-e.html">America Return to God Prayer Movement</a>, editing a book—<em>America, Return to God</em>—with <a href="http://www.gospelherald.com/article/church/9850/thomas-wang-introduces-america-return-to-god-in-los-angeles.htm">other  efforts, sending 450,000 copies to leaders</a>. About the potential of Chinese Americans, the immigrant first generation immigrants:<em><br /> </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><a href="http://prayforamericarevival.org/index-e.html">Thomas Wang has a deep conviction that Christian immigrants in America, who have been greatly benefited by this nation in areas of education, opportunities, securities, religious freedom etc. should contribute to America&#8217;s national and spiritual well-being.</a></p> <h3>How Pastor Wang Finished Well</h3> <p>Rev. Wang Yongxin died and went to be with the Lord in heaven at the age of 93 on January 4th, 2018, at 9:00am Pacific time. Thomas Wang was born in 1925 into a third-generation Christian family in Beijing, China. In 1953 he became a pastor in Taipei, Taiwan, eventually expanding his ministry to Europe and North America.</p> <p>There are many more articles about Rev. Wang in Chinese; not so many in English. Here&#8217;s one–&#8221;<a href="https://www.chinasource.org/blog/posts/remembering-the-life-and-ministry-of-rev-wang-yongxin">Remembering the Life and Ministry of Rev. Wang Yongxin</a>&#8221; (ChinaSource, 1/09/18)—</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">In August 2009, Rev. Wang Yongxin, then 84 years old, personally led the first gathering of the <a href="http://www.internetmissionforum.org/imf/">Internet Mission Forum</a>, a movement to promote the gospel in the new media age. &#8230; He also learned from the internet missionary <a href="http://www.godoor.net/jidianlinks/myself.html">Brother Gideon</a> about how to open up and use Internet blogs.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Brother Gideon said, &#8220;Rev. Wang was one of the most senior Christian brothers I have ever seen who was willing to learn how to use new media to share the gospel.&#8221; For such a highly respected elder to become so interested in new technologies, to still have such a child-like enthusiasm for evangelism, Rev. Wang was a wonderful example and a great encouragement to all of us who co-labor in Internet missions!&#8221;</p> <p>Thank you Rev. Wang for your faithful and fruitful ministry of a lifetime. May the seeds you have planted be ever more fruitful in the years to come for many generations and many tribes.</p> <p><iframe width="1170" height="658" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N3seyoGl1cA?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="1170" height="878" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x92Ro-vMoXg?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2018/rev-thomas-wang-chinese-leader-world-missions/">Rev. Thomas Wang, a Chinese Leader in World Missions</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=DDxlK5808vU:QQDluzyr_ZY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=DDxlK5808vU:QQDluzyr_ZY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/DDxlK5808vU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> ARROGANCE http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/01/arrogance.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:6df3037e-79b8-24bc-2022-3eb210581cfe Tue, 09 Jan 2018 14:43:57 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">THIS TOWER HAS MY NAME ON IT<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">A proud king, if there was ever<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And ever was there a tree<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Quite as tall as me?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">As large, as strong<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">So high<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Whose top can touch the sky?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Where beasts find a bed<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And by its fruit the birds are fed?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Who called for Belteshazzer,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">A wise man, clever<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">To discern dreams and mysteries.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">What does it mean, this dream that was sent,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">About whom or why and what was meant<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">When the messenger said, “cut it down<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And let it be stripped?”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">What does it mean, “live with the animals?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Imprisoned in an animals mind?”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">I’m not a beast<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">But of the kingly kind!<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“Here is my tower, here is my wall<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">My name in gold letters<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Triumphant and all.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Has there ever been such glory to see,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Is this not my kingdom, the name I have built?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">This was by my doing,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">An empire of me!<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">He who makes kings eat grass like kind<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Nebuchadnezzar knew,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">For God took his mind.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">The King of Heaven does as He pleases<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Regarding the boastful,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Their claims as a tease.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Takes note of neglect<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Those who will not respect<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Nor acknowledge<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">The Most High as Sovereign.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">He can give or take knowledge,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Sanity, wealth, life, and power<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">To the one whom he pleases.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Assigns them their hour,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And tombs,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Which remain their houses forever,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Even their dwelling place for generations;<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Though they had named lands after themselves.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Randy Nabors<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">January, 2018<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div></div> UGLY RELATIVES http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/01/ugly-relatives.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:6bb64e01-e584-fd93-f1ae-210e26d13938 Wed, 03 Jan 2018 15:21:18 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;"> &nbsp;I have been watching the unfolding Evangelical internecine squabble, the civil war of social/theological embarrassment.&nbsp; I have been listening to the racial/cultural commentary of the “woke,’ the sometimes arrogant, condescending, and despising rhetoric from those seeking distance from the uncool part of Jesus followers.&nbsp; I too have been embarrassed by my so-called brethren excusing racial, sexual, and materialistic misbehavior in the name of political moral achievement.&nbsp; I was glad for the Christmas break, as people seemed to take some time off from bashing each other, separating, excluding, mocking, or excusing.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am looking for a cooler tribe.&nbsp; I am seeking authentic, true, and reliable branding; at least until hypocrisy appears in my new self-identified group.&nbsp; In the end I suppose I shall have to run away from myself, sin just seems to keep showing up in this lonely group of one known as me.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some of the old songs give me tags, though we have the ability to make hash out of them.&nbsp; “Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart,” and “I have decided to follow Jesus!”&nbsp;&nbsp; “I’m gonna treat everybody right!”&nbsp; Right.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Well, how can I tell you that I believe in Jesus, which means I believe the Bible to be true, but I am educated and intelligent (self-assessment confessed) &nbsp;and really like science, and I really want to follow Jesus by loving people, and think he wants me to pursue justice, and mercy, and love?&nbsp; Part of following Jesus means (for me) to not practice being a racist, and I see that as a very human condition of ethno-centrism but gets aggravated and complicated when we have power and privilege.&nbsp; Following Jesus means for me to actually hate evil, which puts me in conflict with those who think love means having no boundaries, standards, or penalties, but only tolerance except for those who think God draws lines.&nbsp; I mean, doesn’t he somewhere, eventually?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Following Jesus for me means that I believe that the God of the Bible is big, Sovereign, King, Lord, boss, planner and disposer and as such I call myself Reformed and think that God can use even delusional, paranoid, and narcissistic presidents for his own purposes but has the ability to make kings eat grass and be diseased in their legs when they take to themselves the idea that they are a god.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, I’m not afraid, but I’m also a pragmatic American and a believer that the controlling God of destiny looks for someone to stand in the gap and make a difference.&nbsp; So, I’m an activist and want to struggle and fight for life, righteousness and social righteousness in the practice of equitable justice, and peace.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I want to live my life as if the future depends on how I live it, but with enough equanimity and humility so I can enjoy my life built on the assurance that God will work things out no matter if I fail, or others fail me, or you, or all of us.&nbsp; I also would like to be patient, not think so much of myself and be kind – at least on a personal level. &nbsp;I keep wishing others were teachable, so I suppose I need to have that for myself.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I suppose all of us have relatives that don’t know how to dress, or even if dressed we can’t take them anywhere because they don’t know how to act.&nbsp; It is so much fun to despise them.&nbsp; I am struggling with just how much distance I can put between myself and them before one of us loses the family name.&nbsp; I suppose I can always change the name, it is just the genetics I’m stuck with, and no matter my superiority to ugly relatives someone unrelated is still sure to claim there is a family resemblance.&nbsp; I just wish we all looked a lot more like Jesus.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> Check balance of iTunes card without redeeming it http://djchuang.com/2017/check-balance-of-itunes-card-without-redeeming-it/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:f703a15c-7ee7-1801-2cdf-b85eca1be5ec Thu, 21 Dec 2017 22:45:19 -0600 <p>There is one way to check the balance of an iTunes gift card. The most common way is to redeem it in the iTunes store. But what if you want to just check the balance before you give it as a gift, and you&#8217;re not sure what the balance is? Thanks to dabbara, there is [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/check-balance-of-itunes-card-without-redeeming-it/">Check balance of iTunes card without redeeming it</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>There is one way to check the balance of an iTunes gift card. The most common way is to redeem it in the iTunes store. But what if you want to just check the balance before you give it as a gift, and you&#8217;re not sure what the balance is?</p> <p>Thanks to <a href="https://discussions.apple.com/message/28774334#message28774334">dabbara</a>, there is an answer for how to check the balance of an iTunes gift card without redeeming it:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Look up the Support contact # from below link. For US &#8211; 1-800-275-2273<br /> <a href="https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201232">https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201232</a></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Explain the issue, and they will connect you to iTunes support center.<br /> Associate here can look up the value on the card and if it has been activated or not, when you provide the PBHxxxxx or GCAxxxx at the left bottom of the card.</p> <p>Well, I did <a href="https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201232">contact support by email</a> and provided the GCAxxxx code at the bottom left corner of the iTunes gift card. The reply did not confirm the amount on the gift card, but it did confirm the card was active and redeemable:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I’ve reviewed the code you have provided, and found that your iTunes Gift card is active and ready to be redeemed.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-14311" src="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/email-apple-support.png?resize=335%2C266" alt="" width="335" height="266" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/email-apple-support.png?w=335 335w, https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/email-apple-support.png?resize=300%2C238 300w" sizes="(max-width: 335px) 100vw, 335px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></p> <h3>check balance on Apple Store Gift Card</h3> <p>To check Apple Store Gift Card balance, this URL <a href="https://secure1.store.apple.com/shop/giftcard/balance">https://secure1.store.apple.com/shop/giftcard/balance</a> will look it up, after you login with an apple.com or iCloud account. This only checks gift cards for Apple Store and not iTunes.<br /> [ht: <a href="https://discussions.apple.com/message/18644974#18644974">binba</a>]</p> <p><a href="https://secure1.store.apple.com/shop/giftcard/balance"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-14299" src="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/check-balance-apple-card.png?resize=716%2C640" alt="" width="716" height="640" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/check-balance-apple-card.png?w=716 716w, https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/check-balance-apple-card.png?resize=300%2C268 300w" sizes="(max-width: 716px) 100vw, 716px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a></p> <div class="grammarly-disable-indicator"></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/check-balance-of-itunes-card-without-redeeming-it/">Check balance of iTunes card without redeeming it</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=GBi89noUixc:BHBmRro8gZo:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=GBi89noUixc:BHBmRro8gZo:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/GBi89noUixc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> JUSTICE IS COMING! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/12/justice-is-coming.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:b02b729a-3007-7a95-63f7-28f129c178e9 Mon, 18 Dec 2017 15:38:07 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Is justice inevitable?&nbsp; Is it true, as Theodore Parker (a Unitarian minister) first said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice!”&nbsp; One sees a touch of realism in that statement, that to get to justice we will have to wait quite a while.&nbsp; There is also a touch of optimistic idealism, or even fatalism, that the force of morality is heading in a positive direction.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Idealism is a slander used against Christianity, usually by Marxists and certainly non-believers.&nbsp; Christians affirm that we are idealists, but only in the sense that we think prophecy and Scripture, via the revelation of God himself, is not chance or luck, but certainty.&nbsp; The Reverend Parker’s statement however seems to be an echo of Christianity, almost there, but not quite.&nbsp; He has its optimism, without its certainty.&nbsp; Maybe he has its hope, but based on what?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In the Christmas season we sometimes hear this passage from Isaiah 42…<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“Behold my servant whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.&nbsp; [There it is!]&nbsp; he will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.&nbsp; [There it is again!] He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coast lands&nbsp;wait for his law.” (verses 1-4).<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; If this is true, then Jesus, the one about whom this passage promises, “will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth…”&nbsp; Now that is a reason for optimism, and hope, and endurance. &nbsp;I take it that this means Jesus will not stop till His work is done. &nbsp;So, how is he going to do that exactly?&nbsp;&nbsp; Is this solely the work of his Second Coming?&nbsp; Is this a passage about trusting in the power of God to finally, completely, and inevitably bring about justice in the earth, by his power and intervention? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;And does that mean that the only thing we need is the faith to believe it?&nbsp; That in spite of the centuries of war, of invasions, oppression, slavery, racism, colonialism, genocide, and the rape, pillaging, execution, and dehumanizing of one’s person, family, people, clan, ethnicity, and nation by other human beings we are simply to wait in constant faith?&nbsp; Is this supposed to give us contentment, peace, and some kind of consolation as we bury the bodies?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; The Reverend Parker was an abolitionist.&nbsp; This means he was an activist of sort, not someone who was content to simply wait for that “institution” to outlive its&nbsp; usefulness.&nbsp; He wanted to be an agent of justice, to be an agent of bending that moral arc toward the correct inclination. &nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, as a believer that we are the body of Christ on earth, as a believer that as God is a God of justice so also his people are to be people of justice, that as the Church of Jesus Christ we are to proclaim the Kingdom of God throughout the earth, and that we are to make disciples of every ethnic group, and that as the Church we are to teach these disciples “everything that I have commanded you,” then the task of Jesus in pursuing and completing justice in the earth is also our task.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We do this with a certain hard faced realism about that task, its difficulty, its horrendous price of martyrdom, its discouraging and frustrating delay, but also with a faith beyond our abilities, determination, and patience.&nbsp; Our trust in the triumph of justice is because we rest in the triumph of Christ.&nbsp; Our energy is found in confidence that he will accomplish some of that work through us.&nbsp; As Isaiah puts it, “he will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth.”&nbsp;&nbsp; “The earth,” the place where we live, in the place that needs justice so desperately, the Lord Jesus is on campaign.&nbsp; It is a place where we do grow faint, fall apart, panic, throw up our hands, and curse the world and others.&nbsp; Yet Jesus does not, and therefore as he lives in us, we will not.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I just want to encourage you.&nbsp; The work of Jesus is the work of justice, and it is going to happen no matter what anybody’s army says about it.&nbsp; We need to be about his work, preaching the Gospel, making disciples, speaking truth, living the Kingdom, until the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth like the waters cover the sea.&nbsp; It is going to take time; that is what that little word “till” means.&nbsp; That word also means that there will be a definite conclusion to the matter, and that is when the world is finally healed from its sorrow, turmoil, and pain.&nbsp;&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> 2017 Best Christmas Gifts on Amazon http://djchuang.com/2017/2017-best-christmas-gifts-amazon/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:2dd1cbb2-dfe1-71c0-b227-b0215def3c1a Sat, 16 Dec 2017 18:07:36 -0600 <p>Christmas shopping can be so much easier without the pain of trying to find a parking spot and standing in lines. Through amazon.com, and especially if you have Amazon Prime, you can shop online and get the gifts delivered to your friends and family. Plus you get the bonus of not paying for shipping, not packing [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/2017-best-christmas-gifts-amazon/">2017 Best Christmas Gifts on Amazon</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>Christmas shopping can be so much easier without the pain of trying to find a parking spot and standing in lines. Through <a href="http://amzn.to/2jaFVXZ">amazon.com</a>, and especially if you have <a href="http://amzn.to/2yK4hNl">Amazon Prime</a>, you can shop online and get the gifts delivered to your friends and family. Plus you get the bonus of not paying for shipping, not packing up the gift, and standing in very long lines at the post office.</p> <p>Would you believe amazon.com has over 8 million gifts that are considered the <a href="http://amzn.to/2AZ8dQs">best Christmas gifts</a>? <a href="http://amzn.to/2AZ8dQs">Take a look for yourself</a>!</p> <p>Want some other Christmas gift ideas? Here&#8217;s <a href="http://amzn.to/2AYb4ZV">Amazon Gift Ideas</a>, the most popular products ordered as gifts—updated daily.</p> <p><script type="text/javascript"> amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "djchuang-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "search"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = "Christmas"; amzn_assoc_default_category = "All"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "04b2930e67584b9d9c077ee259308eea"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_title = "More for Christmas"; amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = "bottom"; </script><br /> <script src="//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US"></script></p> <p>For someone that doesn&#8217;t have <strong>Amazon Prime</strong>, you can make that their Christmas gift! Even if they already have Amazon Prime or you&#8217;re not sure, your gift of Amazon Prime membership will extend their subscription by another year! What a great gift!</p> <p><script type="text/javascript"> amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "djchuang"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_design = "enhanced_links"; amzn_assoc_asins = "B00DBYBNEE"; amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "9e598992029a60baacd9fefce703965c"; </script><br /> <script src="//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US"></script></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/2017-best-christmas-gifts-amazon/">2017 Best Christmas Gifts on Amazon</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=eWKlG1P3eeQ:FalqVox68IQ:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=eWKlG1P3eeQ:FalqVox68IQ:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/eWKlG1P3eeQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Grammarly adding extra HTML code? http://djchuang.com/2017/grammarly-adding-extra-html-code/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:a0799ecc-2eb3-9ca8-8c07-e29c9a6bea52 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 11:27:34 -0600 <p>I want to like Grammarly. I really do. And for the grammar errors that it catches for me, Grammarly is working pretty good. But the other day, I noticed that the Grammarly extension was adding extra HTML code at the bottom of some of my blog post. I haven&#8217;t figured out the pattern yet and [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/grammarly-adding-extra-html-code/">Grammarly adding extra HTML code?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>I want to like Grammarly. I really do. And for the grammar errors that it catches for me, <a href="http://grammarly.com">Grammarly</a> is working pretty good.</p> <p>But the other day, I noticed that the Grammarly extension was adding extra HTML code at the bottom of some of my blog post. I haven&#8217;t figured out the pattern yet and I don&#8217;t want to put in all kinds of time to troubleshoot.</p> <p>There&#8217;s one that showed up at the bottom of this blog post. To see if it shows up in your blog post, click on the HTML tab of your blog editor. It looks like this:</p> <pre>&lt;div class="grammarly-disable-indicator"&gt;&lt;/div&gt; </pre> <p>Anyone else notice this? What&#8217;s up with that? How do I prevent Grammarly from doing this? Or is this one of those free features that goes away with a paid upgrade?</p> <p>I&#8217;m blogging on WordPress, a self-installed version. And I&#8217;m using Safari for Mac browser, with the Safari extension for Grammarly. And this blog post is being composed and posted from my wordpress.com dashboard.</p> <div class="grammarly-disable-indicator"></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/grammarly-adding-extra-html-code/">Grammarly adding extra HTML code?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=6UjvHMtd9iM:RZR8HFM2Tok:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=6UjvHMtd9iM:RZR8HFM2Tok:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/6UjvHMtd9iM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Silent Exodus: Asian American Christians Leaving Churches http://djchuang.com/2017/when-asian-american-christian-youth-go-to-college/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:94fda92f-1a66-2547-a7c6-ed92ffe7adfb Sat, 09 Dec 2017 00:57:43 -0600 <p>For over 20 years now, ethnic Asian churches have lamented the loss of the next generation of Asian Americans, often the children of Asian parents who remain faithful to the ethnic Asian church, whether that&#8217;s Korean, Chinese, or one of the other 30-some Asian ethnicities. Many church leaders have expressed their concerns over the attrition [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/when-asian-american-christian-youth-go-to-college/">Silent Exodus: Asian American Christians Leaving Churches</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>For over 20 years now, ethnic Asian churches have lamented the loss of the next generation of Asian Americans, often the children of Asian parents who remain faithful to the ethnic Asian church, whether that&#8217;s Korean, Chinese, or one of the other 30-some Asian ethnicities.</p> <p><img src="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/15554567909_f1decc31eb_b.jpg?resize=1024%2C292" class="alignnone wp-image-14221 size-full" height="292" alt="15554567909_f1decc31eb_b" width="1024" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/15554567909_f1decc31eb_b.jpg?w=1024 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/15554567909_f1decc31eb_b.jpg?resize=300%2C86 300w, https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/15554567909_f1decc31eb_b.jpg?resize=768%2C219 768w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></p> <p>Many church leaders have expressed their concerns over the attrition of Asian American Christians who leave their ethnic Asian church home when they go to college, in quotes like these (emphasis in <strong>bold</strong> added):</p> <div style="padding-left: 30px"> <p>&#8220;At <strong>an alarming rate</strong>, many young believers who have grown up in these Asian congregations are now choosing to leave not only their home churches, but possibly their Christian faith as well.&#8221; (Helen Lee, &#8220;<a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1996/august12/6t9050.html">Silent Exodus: Can the East Asian church in America reverse the flight of its next generation?</a>&#8220;, Christianity Today, August 1996<a href="https://peterong.wordpress.com/2006/08/29/silent-exodus/">.</a>)</p> <p>&#8220;<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=AC6INy48ZTkC&#038;lpg=PA146&#038;pg=PA146#v=onepage&#038;f=false">A study shows that well over </a><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=AC6INy48ZTkC&#038;lpg=PA146&#038;pg=PA146#v=onepage&#038;f=false"><strong>75%</strong></a><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=AC6INy48ZTkC&#038;lpg=PA146&#038;pg=PA146#v=onepage&#038;f=false"> of American-born Chinese in Chinese immigrant churches end up leaving their churches (</a><a href="http://nextgenerasianchurch.com/completing-the-face/">Joseph Wong, &#8220;Bridging the Gap,&#8221; </a><a href="http://nextgenerasianchurch.com/completing-the-face/"><em>About Face</em></a><a href="http://nextgenerasianchurch.com/completing-the-face/">, February 1990.)</a><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=AC6INy48ZTkC&#038;lpg=PA146&#038;pg=PA146#v=onepage&#038;f=false"> Some informal studies indicate that up to </a><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=AC6INy48ZTkC&#038;lpg=PA146&#038;pg=PA146#v=onepage&#038;f=false"><strong>90%</strong></a><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=AC6INy48ZTkC&#038;lpg=PA146&#038;pg=PA146#v=onepage&#038;f=false"> of postcollege Korean American young people are also leaving their immigrant churches.</a>&#8221; (&#8220;Finding a Church Home,&#8221; in <em><a href="http://amzn.to/2iUzF6w">Following Jesus Without Dishonoring Your Parents</a></em>, 2009)</p> <p>&#8220;<a href="http://www.newphiladelphiachurch.com/about/"><strong>Statistics</strong></a><a href="http://www.newphiladelphiachurch.com/about/"> in both America and Korea report that we are losing the </a><a href="http://www.newphiladelphiachurch.com/about/"><strong>majority</strong></a><a href="http://www.newphiladelphiachurch.com/about/"> of the young people who grew up in church.</a>&#8221; (Christina &amp; Erin Lee)</p> </div> <p style="padding-left: 30px">&#8220;<a href="https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/cultivating-faith-asian-american-teens">We’ve all heard the </a><a href="https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/cultivating-faith-asian-american-teens"><strong>statistics</strong></a><a href="https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/cultivating-faith-asian-american-teens"> that suggest about </a><a href="https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/cultivating-faith-asian-american-teens"><strong>half</strong></a><a href="https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/cultivating-faith-asian-american-teens"> of youth group graduates fail to stick with faith after high school.</a>&#8221; (Mike Park, July 2016)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">&#8220;<a href="https://pres-outlook.org/2017/07/understanding-korean-american-churches/">Recent </a><a href="https://pres-outlook.org/2017/07/understanding-korean-american-churches/"><strong>statistics</strong></a><a href="https://pres-outlook.org/2017/07/understanding-korean-american-churches/"> show more next-generation Korean-Americans are returning to their Korean constituency.</a>&#8221; (The Presbyterian Outlook, July 2017)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">&#8220;&#8230; <a href="https://cocogen.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-silent-exodus-of-syrian-christians-and-the-next-generation-from-immigrant-churches/">having grown up in an Indian immigrant churches&#8230; [a] </a><a href="https://cocogen.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-silent-exodus-of-syrian-christians-and-the-next-generation-from-immigrant-churches/"><strong>majority</strong></a><a href="https://cocogen.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-silent-exodus-of-syrian-christians-and-the-next-generation-from-immigrant-churches/"> of second generation who are dropping out are not going anywhere at all –  not their parents church nor any local churches. They are in fact falling through the cracks of cultural disparity and getting  dechurched and lost completely.</a>&#8221; (Sam George, 2013)</p> <h3>Attrition Rate of Next Generation Faith</h3> <p>Okay. Many feel sad over this situation. We do often hear stories of people losing their faith for all kinds of reasons. But can we see the actual numbers of these statistics?</p> <p>So I went searching. For hours. Here&#8217;s what estimated numbers I could dig up:</p> <p>&#8220;<a href="https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/korean-american-churches-from-generation-to-generation/">Estimates of second generation Koreans leaving the church vary from </a><a href="https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/korean-american-churches-from-generation-to-generation/"><strong>55%</strong></a><a href="https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/korean-american-churches-from-generation-to-generation/"> to </a><a href="https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/korean-american-churches-from-generation-to-generation/"><strong>90%</strong></a><a href="https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/korean-american-churches-from-generation-to-generation/">, depending on whether you count those who leave Korean-language churches but join Anglo or multiethnic churches, those who still call themselves Christian but don&#8217;t act on it, or those who completely leave church and faith behind.</a>&#8221; (Joan Huyser-Honig, July 2005)</p> <p>&#8220;<a href="http://likumc.org/cp/?p=492">Korean American second generations attend church following their parents till high school however after entering college over </a><a href="http://likumc.org/cp/?p=492"><strong>70%</strong></a><a href="http://likumc.org/cp/?p=492"> of them are leaving churches</a>&#8230;&#8221; (Joshua Kang, August 2012)</p> <p>Now, to be fair, youth going to college and leaving the faith of their home church behind is not only an Asian American phenomena. It&#8217;s also a disturbing trend among mainstream Caucasian evangelical millennials.</p> <p>Brett Kunkle found the statistics for evangelical youth leaving church after entering college to range anywhere from <strong>61%</strong> to <strong>88%</strong>. (&#8220;<a href="http://www.conversantlife.com/theology/how-many-youth-are-leaving-the-church">How Many Youth are Leaving the Church?</a>&#8221; &#8211; February 2009).</p> <h3>Maybe faith dropout is actually a hiatus?</h3> <p>More recently, like in May 2014, <a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html">LifeWay Research data shows that about </a><a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html"><strong>70%</strong></a><a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html"> of young adults who indicated they attended church regularly for at least one year in high school do, in fact, drop out—but don&#8217;t miss the details. Of those who left, almost </a><a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html"><strong>two-thirds return</strong></a><a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html"> and currently attend church</a>.</p> <p>Back to the Asian American context, there are a few signs indicating that some next generation Asian Americans are returning to their ethnic Asian church home. (cf. <a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/september-web-only/boomerang-effect.html">The Boomerang Effect: The generation of the &#8216;silent exodus&#8217; has now started coming back.</a> Christianity Today, October 2014).</p> <p>Let&#8217;s put some numbers to this.</p> <p>If I&#8217;m reading <a href="http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html">this article</a> correctly, this academically robust analysis of religious research, the authors observed that only <strong>34%</strong> of those who grew up Protestant have lost their faith. Read for yourself; here&#8217;s the actual words excerpted from <a href="http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2014/05/keeping-losing-faith-asian-american-way/#sthash.ILGArLnA.dpbs">that article</a>:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">&#8220;The need for quantifiable data on religion among Asian Americans is ever more pressing as this population grows more rapidly than the rest of the nation. One of the most rigorous attempts at surveying Asian Americans comes from the <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/asianamericans/" target="_blank" rel="external noopener">Pew 2012 Asian American Survey</a> &#8230; With respect to the silent exodus of the second-generation, we can look at the data from two vantage points, the percentage of those who retained their faith from childhood, and the percentage of current affiliates who grew up with that faith. The first number tells us whether religious individuals have remained committed to their faith tradition, while the second tells us whether today’s believers are made up of long-term followers or new converts. &#8230;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">For the second-generation Protestants, these two figures are surprisingly similar. The data shows us that <strong>66%</strong> of those who grew up Protestant were still Protestant at the time they were surveyed. Similarly, about <strong>two-thirds</strong> of today’s second-generation Asian American Protestant Christians grew up as Protestant. Either way we look at the data, <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline">there does not appear to be a mass exodus</span></strong>, if nearly <strong>two-thirds</strong> who started their faith journey as Protestants are still Protestant.&#8221; (Jerry Z. Park and Joshua Tom, May 2014)</p> <p><strong>Can you help us find more researched statistics?</strong> I know people that want to know.</p> <h3>Focusing on Reaching People, not Researching Numbers</h3> <p>Whatever the statistics may be across the overall American landscape, there are regional and local variations. Please don&#8217;t let the numbers lull you into complacency or shock you into paralyzing anxiety.</p> <p>There&#8217;s much work to be done for passing along our faith to the next generations. Making disciples like Jesus said to do.</p> <p>To be continued&#8230;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/when-asian-american-christian-youth-go-to-college/">Silent Exodus: Asian American Christians Leaving Churches</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=5ngsb0TVCzA:ytKHKLlHRrs:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=5ngsb0TVCzA:ytKHKLlHRrs:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/5ngsb0TVCzA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> OC Christmas Tour 2017 http://djchuang.com/2017/oc-christmas-tour-2017/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:3a75f940-d241-bfa1-4d08-8daa63692546 Sun, 03 Dec 2017 17:28:37 -0600 <p>One of the family Christmas traditions we started in 2011 is to worship at as many churches as we could during Christmas week. We&#8217;re able to go to more churches when there are fewer gatherings with extended family. Not sure what the plans are for this year yet. Here in Orange County, California, a dozen [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/oc-christmas-tour-2017/">OC Christmas Tour 2017</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>One of the family Christmas traditions we started in <a href="http://djchuang.com/2011/oc-christmas-tour-2011-recap/">2011</a> is to worship at as many churches as we could during Christmas week. We&#8217;re able to go to more churches when there are fewer gatherings with extended family. Not sure what the plans are for this year yet.</p> <p>Here in Orange County, California, a dozen or so larger churches have extra worship services to accommodate more people (and have the resources to run those extra events.)  And that allows us to visit more churches over several days. This year the festivities start as soon as Tuesday 12/19 and culminates with Christmas Eve on Sunday 12/24.</p> <p><a href="http://140t.co/oc2017">Here</a> is the overall schedule for Orange County churches with extra Christmas worship services in 2017. A small Christmas gift to the people of Orange County.</p> <p><a href="http://140t.co/oc2017"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-14110 size-large" src="https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2017-12-03-at-3.10.09-PM.png?resize=1024%2C343" alt="" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2017-12-03-at-3.10.09-PM.png?resize=1024%2C343 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2017-12-03-at-3.10.09-PM.png?resize=300%2C101 300w, https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2017-12-03-at-3.10.09-PM.png?resize=768%2C258 768w, https://i1.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2017-12-03-at-3.10.09-PM.png?w=1184 1184w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a></p> <p>Feel free to use the spreadsheet to map out your own Christmas tour. When we have our plans confirmed and you want to do the Christmas tour with us Chuangs, add a comment or <a href="/contact/">contact us</a> so we can coordinate.</p> <div class="grammarly-disable-indicator"></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/oc-christmas-tour-2017/">OC Christmas Tour 2017</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=_26hzt9yJoE:4gVe2PWL6HM:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=_26hzt9yJoE:4gVe2PWL6HM:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/_26hzt9yJoE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> THE PATHETIC PREPARATION OF PASTORS FOR PRACTICAL PERFORMANCE http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-pathetic-preparation-of-pastors-for.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:243da12d-729c-4d29-13e0-77a100168e54 Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:59:57 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;"> So what does the average seminarian actually know how to do when he enters the ministry?&nbsp; Notice, I didn’t ask how much he knows.&nbsp; He probably knows more than he will ever actually make use of in ministry to real people, or even in ministry to himself.&nbsp; Depending on the Presbytery that examines him he will probably be pressed to know a great many facts and details about all kinds of things theological, historical, and hermeneutical.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The candidate for ordination will be force fed with knowledge, and then squeezed like a lemon, so that the committee can examine him to the point of dripping out of him everything they can, up to the limits of his knowledge.&nbsp; They will take him to the edge of his learning, and God help him if that edge is too far from the expectations of the committee.&nbsp; The gulf between expectations and his deficiencies will not be easily tolerated, let alone any shaky, suspicious opinions, or convictions.&nbsp; If found wanting he will be sent back for more study, and possibly for a few persuasion sessions.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Studying is in fact what he knows how to do, and what the members of the Examining Committee know how to do.&nbsp; This is what he will do to his disciples, and to any potential new officers; he will make them study.&nbsp;&nbsp; And when it comes to any kind of hands on work of ministry, he will endeavor to study that as well on his way to actually avoiding it.&nbsp; It is hard to learn from pastors these days, unless one has time for more study.&nbsp; If one wanted to be mentored by a pastor, to catch some ministry skills he might be modelling, well, one would have to sit quietly while he reads, or uses some kind of software study material, or as he listens to a sermon series by a prominent scholar; that is if the student wanted to emulate the skills of his pastor.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If one were to ask a seminary where the practical training comes in they might answer that they are in fact not a Bible College or Institute that teaches “ministry.”&nbsp; Or they might say that is what internships are for, where they send recent graduates to learn from recent graduates who have no practical experience either, except in preaching on Sunday morning.&nbsp; It is hard to learn ministry skills from pastors who are still learning theirs on the job, or have settled for a new definition of the job that has conveniently left off the skills of evangelism, home visitation, hospital visitation, prison preaching, doing acts of mercy and good works, and even counseling or conflict resolution.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; If such pastors are planting churches and asked to train new Elders and Deacons they repeat for them what they learned how to do in seminary.&nbsp; Yes, they challenge them to study.&nbsp; They give them as much theology, doctrine, apologetics, Catechism, and Book of Church Order material as these lay people can absorb.&nbsp;&nbsp; They don’t necessarily teach them how to pray, or how to have a good argument in a meeting without getting mad and quitting the church, or how to handle a divorce case, or how to go on a mercy visit, or how to mobilize the laity to do ministry in the community, or how to design and organize various outreach kinds of ministry, or how to handle the pressure of marriage and child raising while feeling obligated to keep ordination vows and serve the church.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Internships are not for a student to become a gopher for the church staff, or to be saddled with a particular ministry (such as nursery or Jr. High) that everyone else seems to be avoiding.&nbsp; It is specifically to rotate him through essential skills; how to evangelize and share his faith actively and on purpose with strangers, how to visit widows, the elderly, the sick, and those in prison, how to prepare and execute a worship service, wedding, and funeral, how to moderate and help make effective a leader’s meeting, how to problem solve and deal with conflict on every level (other staff, Elders, Deacons, members and attenders), and how to cast vision for ministry.&nbsp; He needs to do these things with and in the company of the Senior pastor and other leaders so he can hear their reflections and see their reactions in ministry context.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Internships are to help a potential pastor realize if he has a work ethic or not, if he knows how to set boundaries for himself and his family as he does ministry, and if he has the capacity and willingness to sacrifice himself and his boundaries for the sake of the Gospel.&nbsp;&nbsp; Internships should set up new pastors for the reality that one will often need more people, more money, and more time to get the simplest programs off the ground.&nbsp; This reality will help new pastors learn the joy of frustration and anxiety, and be tempted to reach the heights of resentment and despair as no one seems to give a rip about his new idea. &nbsp;&nbsp;Where will the volunteers come from, and where will the resources come from?&nbsp;&nbsp; Oh yes, this is where interns learn the practical realities of faith and prayer, and that God makes things happen out of resources that aren’t yet seen.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Without practical training experiences pastors will continue to be woefully unprepared to really train their members for ministry, and they will continue to avoid those experiences because it means risk, and time, which could be better spent in ….study.&nbsp; Without passing practical skills to the people of the church then those church members will have no way of showing the love of God to the people of the world, or of learning how to get to those people and communicate the Gospel to them.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">May the Lord raise up among us great training pastors, who take potential leaders into practical ministry and teach them skills by doing, reflection, and re-doing!<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> How Fast the Facebook Matching Grant Runs Out on #GivingTuesday http://djchuang.com/2017/how-fast-the-facebook-matching-grant-runs-out-on-givingtuesday/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:840efcdc-ba28-ae7d-ba42-7c70b8177530 Tue, 28 Nov 2017 16:55:55 -0600 <p>I was wondering how long that $2M matching grant from the Gates Foundation lasted for today&#8217;s #givingtuesday on Facebook. With a $50k limit per nonprofit, 40 orgs could have used it all up in the first couple hours starting at 8:00am Eastern Time. The matching grant won&#8217;t likely last all day. Good news is that Facebook will [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/how-fast-the-facebook-matching-grant-runs-out-on-givingtuesday/">How Fast the Facebook Matching Grant Runs Out on #GivingTuesday</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <p>I was wondering how long that $2M matching grant from the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/gatesfoundation/videos/10156249112058072/">Gates Foundation</a> lasted for today&#8217;s <a class="_58cn" href="https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/givingtuesday?source=feed_text&amp;story_id=10155288873243915" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;*N&quot;,&quot;type&quot;:104}"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz" aria-label="hashtag">#</span><span class="_58cm">givingtuesday</span></span></a> on Facebook. With a $50k limit per nonprofit, 40 orgs could have used it all up in the first couple hours starting at 8:00am Eastern Time.</p> <p>The matching grant won&#8217;t likely last all day. Good news is that Facebook will waive all fees for online donations made through Facebook on #givingtuesday all day. That means <strong>100%</strong> of your donation goes to the nonprofit, instead of the usual <strong>95%</strong>. cf. &#8220;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/901370616673951">Donations to US-based charitable organizations that have been approved to receive donations through Facebook Payments are assessed a 5% fee.</a>&#8221;</p> <p>In other words, Facebook donations made on #GivingTuesday get a <strong>5%</strong> boost. Do donors care about that? If a donor gave <strong>$100</strong>, does a donor care if all $100 goes to the cause, or only $95 goes to the cause and $5 goes to administrative costs? Hey, <strong>$5 is $5</strong>!</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-14087" src="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/hand-heart-card.png?resize=300%2C250" alt="hand-heart-card" data-recalc-dims="1" /></p> <p>The <a href="https://donations.fb.com/givingtuesday/">announcement</a> about how fast the matching fund ran out was &#8220;unprecedented&#8221;:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">We are so inspired by how the community came together to give back this Giving Tuesday in an unprecedented turnout. The $2M in matching dollars was met quickly by the Facebook community, but every donor and every dollar counts. We will continue to waive all Facebook fees on donations to nonprofits today.</p> <p>How fast was did it run out? The answer to that question is: somewhere between 7 and 15 minutes (cf. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nonprofits/photos/a.85612830917.95996.41130665917/10154971432800918/?type=3">15 minutes</a>; <a href="https://www.facebook.com/maisan.chan/posts/10155626305265219">10 minutes</a>; the timestamp <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nonprofits/photos/a.85612830917.95996.41130665917/10154971432800918/?type=3">6:07am</a> @ Nonprofits on Facebook page). Supposedly last year, the matching fund lasted <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1942954942586261/permalink/1952746324940456/?comment_id=1952755044939584&amp;reply_comment_id=1952755488272873&amp;comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R0%22%7D">a couple of hours</a>.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-14088" src="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/fb-givingtues-info.png?resize=600%2C410" alt="fb-givingtues-info" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/fb-givingtues-info.png?w=600 600w, https://i2.wp.com/djchuang.com/c/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/fb-givingtues-info.png?resize=300%2C205 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" data-recalc-dims="1" /></p> <p>Want more info? This excerpt from the <a href="http://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/facebook-gates-to-match-up-to-2-million-for-givingtuesday">PND</a> article about #GivingTuesday 2017 gives some details that nonprofit organizations and some donors would want to know:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/facebook" target="_self">Facebook</a> has announced that it will again partner with the <a href="https://www.gatesfoundation.org/" target="_self">Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation</a> to match up to <a href="https://donations.fb.com/GIVINGTUESDAY/" target="_self">$2 million</a> in donations for this year&#8217;s <a href="http://www.givingtuesday.org/" target="_self">#GivingTuesday</a> event on November 28.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Launched in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving positioned as a &#8220;do-good&#8221; alternative to the post-Thanksgiving shopping and consumption associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Donations made to participating nonprofit organizations through Facebook&#8217;s <a href="https://nonprofits.fb.com/" target="_self">charitable giving tools</a> beginning at 8:00 am EST on November 28 will be matched — up to $50,000 per nonprofit, or $1,000 per fundraiser or donate button — until the matching funds run out. Facebook and the Gates Foundation are contributing $1 million each for the campaign, and all matched funds will be paid out to nonprofits through <a href="https://www.networkforgood.com/fundraising-software-tools-for-nonprofits/" target="_self">Network for Good</a>&#8216;s donor-advised fund.</p> <p>Depending on the size of the nonprofit, getting a match of $1k might be considered a drop in the bucket. Plus, the effort it&#8217;d take to mobilize more than 50 raving fans to hit the $50k maximum match might be too much.</p> <p>Of course, #GivingTuesday is more than trying to get a slice of the matching grant or getting the processing fees waived. It&#8217;s a good opportunity to raise awareness and connect more people to your cause.</p> <p>Want to prepare for 2018? The <a href="https://nonprofits.fb.com">Nonprofits on Facebook</a> site has lots of info about using Facebook more effectively to connect more people with a nonprofit. And, the page at <a href="https://donations.fb.com/givingtuesday/">donations.fb.com/givingtuesday</a> has info for #GivingTuesday 2017 — not sure if they will keep the same URL for next year.</p> <div class="grammarly-disable-indicator"></div> <div class="grammarly-disable-indicator"></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com/2017/how-fast-the-facebook-matching-grant-runs-out-on-givingtuesday/">How Fast the Facebook Matching Grant Runs Out on #GivingTuesday</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=RBjIhSZX9UQ:u6uiyZ3DZ6Y:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=RBjIhSZX9UQ:u6uiyZ3DZ6Y:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/RBjIhSZX9UQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> THE POWER OF SEX http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-power-of-sex.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:d20faedc-7936-e1db-ccf8-073f3774de4e Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:21:59 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;"> Let’s talk about sex baby!&nbsp; It kind of seems that is all anyone is talking about these days, and maybe that is really good.&nbsp; It is also sad.&nbsp; It is certainly needed but at the same time it is a bit disturbing.&nbsp; Surely no one of any mature years can be shocked that sex causes us so much trouble.&nbsp; We are in a period of calling out old sins, old sexual assaults and harassment, even old rapes.&nbsp; We are always (always) in a period of current sexual exploitation, brokenness, confusion, aggression, and need.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We live in a media atmosphere where, on the same day, we hear about someone guilty of rape that was never reported and a man who just spent 45 years in prison for a rape he didn’t do, but has now been exonerated.&nbsp; Given the right context and circumstance, (especially of race and income) we have brought the hammer down hard on suspected rapists but let other rapists go free; usually because they were rich and powerful.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; We have lived in an age of sexual hedonism where Hugh Hefner&nbsp;gave an apologetic for how free, frequent, and multiple partner sex means freedom from a puritanical life of constraint and up-tightness.&nbsp; We live in an age of feminism whereby women want control of their own bodies, to have sex when and with whom they wish, to dispose of pregnancies when and how they wish, to dress how they wish, to drink and drug when they wish, and yet seem to expect men to act with restraint and take control of their own impulses.&nbsp; Yes, they should, but men are as stupid as women when it comes to sex, and along with their stupidity often have the power to take what they want and cause great and lasting harm.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We live in an age where people seem to think it is okay to grope other people, whether it be on the street where women grope attractive men who might be total strangers to them (and vice versa), to the office or studio where male supervisors and bosses think it is okay to grope employees.&nbsp; We live in an age where teachers sleep with their students and pregnancy results either by them or in them.&nbsp; We live in an age where female teachers go to jail for child sexual abuse of their teen-age boy toys.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; I am sure I don’t have to tell anyone the law, or what is right, or what God demands but can I say simply…Keep your hands off of other people’s bodies if they haven’t given you permission, and especially if they don’t belong to you in marriage!&nbsp; Do not make sexual advances, remarks, innuendo, gestures, or remarks to anyone to whom you are not married!&nbsp; Does that sound limiting? It ought to, and it will keep you out of trouble.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We live in an age of open homosexuality and yet live in an age of denial about how behavior might be connected to HIV/AIDS and STDs.&nbsp; Education and protection and advances in medications are the answer but not morality, not self-control, and certainly not censure for behavior.&nbsp;&nbsp; We condemn human trafficking and indulge the porn industry.&nbsp; What the hell is going on here?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There is hypocrisy everywhere; in religious leaders who get found out as child sex abusers or as excuse-rs of the abusers and in politicians who call for legislation regarding various sex or gender related issues and then are found out to have skeletons in their own closets.&nbsp; We live in an age of media “gotcha” for every celebrity, politician, priest, or leader whose failure may be a moment of indiscretion, a circumstantial and stress caused illicit relationship, or a hidden life of a stalker looking for prey.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There are victims; they never asked for the abuse, they were never seducers, and they never thought it might happen to them.&nbsp; Some of these of course were children or teens, some fearful about their livelihoods, some afraid of a closed door for advancement, some afraid of a counter-attack of reprisal, some physically afraid, and some just in the wrong place at the wrong time.&nbsp; Some of these vulnerable folk live with a scarred and damaged psychology for the rest of their lives, a damaged view of their own sexuality, a perverted view of how to relate to members of the opposite sex, and some live on to recycle the abuse.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Who among us can be pure?&nbsp; Who among us has the right to speak?&nbsp; If I am a sexual being can I reflect on these issues without admitting to my own desires, my own fantasies, my own failures, my own frustrations, my own recklessness to fulfill my own pleasure and exploit others?&nbsp; No, not if I am honest.&nbsp; I know how I have thought about women, my objectifying of them, my secret plans for using them, and I know how worse I would have been without the restraints of my own conscience, the reality of criminal prosecution, the reality of social and community condemnation and abhorrence.&nbsp; I blame God for my not being worse than I’ve been.&nbsp; The restraint of grace is what I count on the most.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We are not pure, but we must speak.&nbsp; Even if we have all failed, we must speak.&nbsp; We must seek to protect our children, our neighbors, our spouse, our community, the vulnerable, and our future.&nbsp; Sex is a great gift, but oh how twisted it has become.&nbsp; Sex is a great need, and how powerful its desires are within us.&nbsp; Sex is such a great comfort, a witness to confidence, an intimacy of love.&nbsp; It is so damn dangerous.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; The attempt to attack either gender, alone, for sexual abuse or sin is both disingenuous and delusional.&nbsp; The tendency to attack institutions, such as the church, either as institution or religious theology, is simplistic and a little too easy.&nbsp; Of course there are failures in churches, in church leadership, in how they have dealt with abusers, in how they have sheltered them, in how they have failed victims.&nbsp; This is true in every social institution where there are sexual beings.&nbsp; The church however should have done better, and it must do better, and when caught in its failure ought to be called out.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Yet, again, wherever there are institutions made up of people, and those people are sexual beings, there will be sexual trouble.&nbsp; The military which counts on professionalism to inhibit sexual misbehavior, finds out again and again that professionalism in and of itself cannot do it. The news media, which is the mouthpiece of this very story, finds corruption in its own ranks.&nbsp; Every industry and business, educational institutions, and the arts, all have sordid stories.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; There are lines which must not be crossed, for those are the things which protect and enable society to function.&nbsp; Yet, we are all in need of compassion. We all have to have some sane understanding of the temptation in many of us to cross those lines. This has always been hard for societies, how do we draw clear lines of safe and right conduct without producing self-righteousness, self-deception, and hypocrisy?&nbsp; Which value system will win in how we live our sexual lives with one another in this world because it is a value system that decides where the lines will be drawn? Without those lines, those borders of decency, we produce a license for predation and with that the fear and determination to protect and revenge our own, and that leads to violence.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; How do we deal with people’s shame, both of the abused and the abuser?&nbsp; How do we deal with people’s guilt?&nbsp; How do we deal with the reality of sexual passion without denying that we all pretty much have it and, for many of us, go through times, periods, years, and a lifetime of not quite knowing what to do with it? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;I come back to grace.&nbsp; The powerful mercy of God, the grace of Jesus who died for sinners, the mercy of God to forgive the failures, the power of God to heal the victims, the power of God to change an evil heart, the merciful power of God to deliver the addicted and sexually imprisoned, the free adoption of God to make those who feel like orphans realize they have an identity as sons and daughters of a God who loves them.&nbsp; We dare not “put a cork in it” because we were not made to simply suppress it, but we dare not fail to surrender its passions to a loving and gracious God who knows how to help us use it for his glory, and our joy.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> God’s Immutable Purpose: The Revealed Redemptive Jehovah Titles in the Incarnate Jesus https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/ perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:f6ab31df-ec6b-6344-a81b-3e9dd9ebe4cd Tue, 14 Nov 2017 07:36:17 -0600 The forthcoming essays discuss God’s immutable purpose in the revealed redemptive Jehovah titles in the Incarnate Jesus, as well as overview the progressive revelation of the Name Jehovah. Each will examine the Lord’s revealed redemptive purposes, unchangeable throughout the covenants. They seek to accomplish three goals: (1) explain the doctrine of God’s immutability; (2) exegete the attributes of the seven Jehovah redemptive titles in light of their fulfilled revelation in the person of Jesus Christ; and (3) interpret how the Gospels illustrated the progressive unfolding of God’s immutable nature by means of the seven redemptive titles of Jehovah.<p><a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4605&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">Introduction</span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Jan Paron, PhD|November 14, 2017</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          God’s nature does not change due to His immutability: “I am the Lord, I change not (Mal 3:6a KJV; e.g., Num 23:19; Isa 46: 9-11; Jas 1:13). His nature remains unchanged across the dispensations of time grounding itself in the same redemptive purpose with humanity. Thus, the very attributes in God’s titles expressed in the Old Testament manifested themselves in the substance of Jesus Christ in the New (Exodus 3:14-15; John 8:56-59).</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          The forthcoming essays discuss God’s immutable purpose in the revealed redemptive Jehovah titles in the Incarnate Jesus, as well as overview the progressive revelation of the Name Jehovah. Each</span><span style="color:#000000;"> will examine the Lord’s revealed redemptive purposes, unchangeable throughout the covenants. They </span><span style="color:#000000;">seek to accomplish three goals: (1) explain the <a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/">doctrine of God’s immutability</a>; (2) exegete the attributes of the seven Jehovah redemptive titles in light of their fulfilled revelation in the person of Jesus Christ; and (3) interpret how the Gospels illustrated the progressive unfolding of God’s immutable nature by means of the seven redemptive titles of Jehovah.</span></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><img data-attachment-id="4678" data-permalink="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w/" data-orig-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216" data-orig-size="640,400" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="Redemptive Names of God B W" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216?w=300" data-large-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216?w=529" class="alignnone wp-image-4678" src="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216" alt="Redemptive Names of God B W" width="345" height="216" srcset="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&amp;h=216 345w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=150&amp;h=94 150w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=300&amp;h=188 300w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg 640w" sizes="(max-width: 345px) 100vw, 345px" /></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Revelation denotes an uncovering (Vine, Unger &amp; White, 1996). God progressively uncovers His identity through His Word. For a comprehensive understanding of God’s immutable nature, one finds a portrait of His fullness in the single biblical story from the eyewitness accounts the inspired Gospel authors wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          The key to grasping the progressive manifestation of God’s immutable nature in the Incarnate Jesus comes with examining the compound, redemptive titles of Jehovah in tandem with innertextual and intertextual messianic analyses of Old Testament text and canonized Gospels. To understand the titles’ entirety requires more than relying on the reader’s perspective in front of the text. One also must delve into aspects from the biblical author’s world behind the text and analyze the literary elements of Scripture within the text (Tate, 1997; Paron, 2013). Further, each distinct Gospel emphasis shapes God&#8217;s immutable nature into a complete biblical portrait of a covenantal God in His expressed <em>image </em>(character) in the <em>person</em> (substance) of Jesus Christ. The Gospel’s purpose, interpreted events, messianic sayings, covenantal fulfillment, linear prophetic fulfillment, and New Covenant establishment put the paintbrush in the reader’s hand.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">Overview: Progressive Revelation of the Name Jehovah</span></h3> <p style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000;">          The name Jehovah in combination with titles, uncovers His immutable, redemptive nature ultimately made visible in Jesus with the Church and then the nation of Israel at the Fullness of Time when the Church Age ends. In historical Old Testament order (Bullinger, 2007), Scripture shows seven titles expressing His redemptive nature:</span></p> <ol> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-jireh (LORD that provides: Gen 22:14; cf. John 1:29; Heb 11:17-19)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-rapha (LORD that heals: Exod 15:26; cf.; Jas 5:14)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-nissi (LORD my banner, victory: Exod 17:15; cf. 1 Cor 15:57)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-shalom (LORD is peace: Judg 6:24; cf. John 14:27)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-tsidkenu (LORD our righteousness: Jer 23:6; cf. 1 Cor 1:30)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-shammah (LORD is there, the Ever Present One: Ezek 48:35; cf. Matt 28:30)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-raah (LORD my shepherd; Ps 23:1; cf. John 10:11)</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Jehovah of the Old Testament shows continuity of His redemptive nature revealed in the incarnated God in Jesus. With the titles Jehovah-jireh, rapha, nissi, shalom, and raah,  Jehovah expressed Himself as Jesus to the end of earthly matters. As Jehovah-tsidkenu and shammah, He identified Himself in His final Kingdom reigning in righteousness (Isa 32:1). Thus, Jesus fulfilled the totality of the seven redemptive titles of Jehovah with the I AM: “and all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (49:26), therefore, immutable. </span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">References</span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2010). <em>The essentials of oneness theology. </em>Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2016). <em>The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ</em>. Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2007). <em>The oneness of God.</em> Florissant, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bullinger, E. E. (2007). <em>The divine names and titles: In the Old and New Testaments</em>. Bible Students Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Creswell, J. (2009). <em>Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches</em> (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Graves, R. (2009). <em>The God of two testaments.</em> Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Kaiser, W. (1995). <em>The Messiah in the Old Testament</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Norris, D. (2009). <em>I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal theology</em>. Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Paron, J. (2013, January 19). <em>The three worlds of text.</em> [Web blog post]. Retrieved from <a href="https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017">https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017</a></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Reeves, Kenneth. (1962). <em>The Godhead, Book 1 (Revised) Seventh Printing.</em> St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Company.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Segraves, D. L. (2008). <em>Reading between the lines</em>. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Tate, W. R. (1997). <em>Biblical interpretation: An integrated approach</em>. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Thayer, J. T. (2009). Th<em>ayer’s Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament</em> (9th ed.) Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. </span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Vine, W., Unger, M., &amp; White, W. (1996). <em>Vine&#8217;s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testaments</em>. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><br />Filed under: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/apostolic-pentecostal-theology/'>Apostolic Pentecostal Theology</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/incarnation/'>Incarnation</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/redemptive-jehovah-titles/'>Redemptive Jehovah Titles</a> Tagged: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/apostolic-pentecostal/'>Apostolic Pentecostal</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/redemptive-jehovah-titles/'>Redemptive Jehovah Titles</a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4605&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> Doctrine of Immutability https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/ perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:291adc65-d486-8582-9801-effefd389c29 Mon, 13 Nov 2017 06:02:18 -0600 Jan Paron, PhD&#124;November 13, 2017                Malachi 3:6 offers a strong statement about God’s own revelation of His name, “I &#8230;<p><a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4550&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Jan Paron, PhD|November 13, 2017      </span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Malachi 3:6 offers a strong statement about God’s own revelation of His name, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” <em>Lord</em> in Hebrew means Jehovah—The Unchangeable One: He Who is, He Who was, and He Who is to Come (cf. Isa 44:6). The New Testament ascribes this same title and purpose to Jesus (1 Tim 1:16; Rev 1:7-8).</span></p> <h6 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#000000;"><img data-attachment-id="4589" data-permalink="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/god-is-immutable/" data-orig-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193" data-orig-size="960,640" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="god-is-immutable" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193?w=300" data-large-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193?w=529" class=" wp-image-4589 aligncenter" src="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193" alt="god-is-immutable" width="290" height="193" srcset="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&amp;h=193 290w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=580&amp;h=386 580w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w" sizes="(max-width: 290px) 100vw, 290px" /></span>  Image: shaynageorge</h6> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          God’s covenant restoration forms the basis of His name. The Unchangeable One has sought to reconcile His people into covenant with Him across the dispensations of time. Jehovah will fulfill His final covenant promise of crushing the serpent’s head and saving His people (Gen 3:15) to restore them to covenant with Him in His Millennial reign. As the immutable I AM, Jehovah vowed the promise of redemption to His people so “the sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6b), meaning perish (Brown, Driver, &amp; Briggs, 2006). In an ever-changing world, Jehovah will remain unchangeable into the Everlasting.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><strong>Redemptive Faithful Husband of Israel</strong></span></h3> <p><strong>           </strong><span style="color:#000000;">The Prophet Isaiah remarked, “For your husband is your Maker, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of the whole earth” (Isa 54:5 AMP). The prophets described how God’s redemptive name revealed His unconditional love as the faithful Husband who sought to restore covenantal relationship despite His wife Israel’s adulterous actions.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          In the Book of Hosea, the prophet portrayed God and His wanton whorish wife. In Ezekiel 16, the prophet told of himself laying on the plywood with a model of Jerusalem on one side of his bed and him naked and facing away from her. </span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#3d596d;">          </span>The unfaithful Israel caused the Lord to lament in Jeremiah: “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord” (3:20 KJV). Yet the faithful Husband, the Holy One of Israel, robed Himself in flesh as Jehovah-Savior to redeem the House of Israel fulfilling His promise of a Messiah for His people. </span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><strong>Redemptive Chosen Son of the Two Covenants </strong></span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#3d596d;">          </span>God made covenants with Abraham and David (Gen 12:2; 2 Sam 7:8). When the Lord placed His expressed image behind Jesus, He revealed the Chosen Son of the two covenants—the descended Son of Abraham and David (Gen 22:17-19; 2 Sam 7:8; cf. Matt 1:1; 17; Luke 1:32; Acts 13:22, 23). God revealed His manifested character as well as His dual fulfillment when He raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him as Lord (Eph 1:16-23). The title Lord attributed to Jesus in His exaltation and biblical expression “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” identified Jesus as the Incarnation of God and Father. Christ blessed us in Him as well as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ blessed us in the person of Jesus who would bring forth a new and better covenant. The expression “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” recognizes Jesus as the Chosen Son of the covenants and the Incarnation of Jehovah, the God of Israel of the two covenants.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><strong>Redemptive Word Robed in Flesh</strong></span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#3d596d;">          </span>“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent:” (Num 23:19b). Repent means to change one’s mind. The I AM did not retract His promise of redemption when He revealed His nature in the person of Jesus Christ. Neither did God change His mind about His purpose for humanity when He robed Himself in flesh uniting divinity with humanity incarnated in Jesus. Rather, Jesus embodies all God’s divine (Phil 2:6a; cf. John 1:14d). Bernard explained Jesus’ divines essence “the incarnation of the fullness of God; in His deity He is the Father, Word, and Spirit” (2010, p. 210) while He also took on the nature of man (John 1:14b).</span></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Revelations 1:7-8 reveals the Lord subject to time through the Incarnation “the Lord which is; which was; and which is to come, the Almighty:”</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="color:#000000;">“The Lord which was” revealed the crucified Christ of the Gospels. Christ took on the form of God, the Word in robed in flesh. Jesus’ first birth of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Ghost brought Him forth into time from eternity (Reeves, 1984, Supreme Godhead 11, p. 47).</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">“The Lord which is” expressed the Christ of the Gospels resurrected and exalted to the throne (Rev 3:21). Jesus’ birth out of death “who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead” brought time into eternity (Col 1:18).</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">“The Lord which is to come” will identify Jehovah as Christ as the coming King of kings, also the Son of David (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:7, 8). In the fullness of the appointed time as the supreme and authoritative head over all things in the Church, Jesus will put in subjection all things in every realm under His feet (Eph 1:22 AMP).</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Time cannot subject God because of immutability, but does through the Incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ for the benefit of humanity’s redemption.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">References</span></h3> <p style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2010). <em>The essentials of oneness theology. </em>Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2016). <em>The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ</em>. Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2007). <em>The oneness of God.</em> Florissant, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bullinger, E. E. (2007). <em>The divine names and titles: In the Old and New Testaments</em>. Bible Students Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Carpenter, G. (2012). <em>God’s covenants: A study guide in Bible symbolism.</em> Thomas Nelson, Inc.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Conner, K. &amp; Malvin, K. (1997). <em>The covenants: The key to God’s relationship with Mankind</em>. Portland, OR: Bible Temple Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Conner, K. (1980). <em>Interpretation: The symbols and types</em>. Portland, OR: Bible Temple Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Creswell, J. (2009). <em>Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches</em> (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Ferguson, E. (2003). <em>Backgrounds of early Christianity</em> (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Graves, R. (2009). <em>The God of two testaments.</em> Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Haney, N. (2004). <em>Daniel’s 70 Weeks. </em>Stockton, CA: Nathaniel Haney Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Haney, N. (2006). <em>The times of the Gentiles: Biblical prophecy series, volume 4</em>. Stockton, CA: Nathaniel Haney Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Kaiser, W. (1995). <em>The Messiah in the Old Testament</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Keener, D. (2003). <em>The Gospel of John: A commentary, volume one</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Keener, D. (2003). <em>The Gospel of John: A commentary, volume two</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.</span></p> <p>Moltmann, J. The crucified God: A Trinitarian theology of the Cross. 278-299. <em>Sage Publications</em>. doi: 10.1177/002096437202600302</p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Norris, D. (2009). <em>I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal theology</em>. Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Paron, J. (2013, January 19). <em>The three worlds of text.</em> [Web blog post]. Retrieved from <a href="https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017">https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017</a></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Reeves, Kenneth. (1962). <em>The Godhead, Book 1 (Revised) Seventh Printing.</em> St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Company.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Rydelnik, M. (2010). <em>The Messianic hope</em>. Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Segraves, D. L. (2008). <em>Reading between the lines</em>. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Tate, W. R. (1997). <em>Biblical interpretation: An integrated approach</em>. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Thayer, J. T. (2009). Th<em>ayer&#8217;s Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament</em> (9th ed.) Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. </span></p><br />Filed under: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/apostolic-pentecostal-theology/'>Apostolic Pentecostal Theology</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/authority-of-jesus/'>Authority of Jesus</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/incarnation/'>Incarnation</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/jesus/'>Jesus</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/oneness-of-god/'>Oneness of God</a> Tagged: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/apostolic-pentecostal/'>Apostolic Pentecostal</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/incarnation/'>Incarnation</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/onenesstheology/'>onenesstheology</a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4550&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> FIGHTING NEGRO SUPREMACY http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/11/fighting-negro-supremacy.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:c2911275-a0bb-0dd8-7920-2273cc783f06 Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:49:00 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;"> Every time African Americans seem to ask for their rights, or protest against injustice, or gain some political, educational, or economic footing there are those who see their gain as a loss for white people.&nbsp; There is such a hysterical fear among some whites that any gain for African Americans is seen not simply as an achieving of their rights as full citizens but as a “win” over white people, as a step toward actual &nbsp;“Negro” supremacy.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am reading (listening) to a great biography of Ulysses S. Grant by Ron Chernow.&nbsp; Surely this must be a book that revisionist historians of the Civil War and Reconstruction are going to hate.&nbsp; One of the things that jumped out to me in the book was the citing of historic quotes from those who opposed the implementation of the 14th &amp; 15<sup>th</sup>Amendments to the Constitution. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Some folks actually used the phrase “Negro Supremacy” to describe what was happening in the country during Reconstruction.&nbsp; This is the time when 4 million freed slaves went from being counted as 3/5 of a human being for Congressional representation to being counted as full citizens.&nbsp; Black people were to be given the full protection of the law, they were allowed the right to vote, and to run for office.&nbsp; Those Confederates who would not admit defeat attempted to do everything they could to prevent black people making use of their rights.&nbsp; The origins of the Klu Klux Klan came from this time and it was a time of terrorism, violence, and intimidation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; It is interesting that the Southern states were allowed to increase their Congressional representation by counting black folks as full persons (they gained 40 extra seats) but did not intend for black folks to be treated as equals.&nbsp; This was a perverse outcome of Reconstruction and made it harder for the Republicans (the party of the North and abolitionists) to continue the reforms of Reconstruction.&nbsp; Virulent racism kept resisting any substantive change to the status of black folk (except as legal slaves) by wailing over “carpet-baggers” and injury to State Rights and racial fear of what free black might do to white women.&nbsp; White Republicans were assassinated, black men were slaughtered, schools that Northern missionaries had come down to build for freed black people were burned.&nbsp; A reign of terror took hold until President Grant could break it through a targeted prosecution of Klan leaders.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; The reelection of President Grant in 1972 was the freest election for black voters, something they would not enjoy and not to be repeated again until 1968.&nbsp; So powerful was racism that it resisted and finally broke the hold of the former abolitionists and Northern Republicans on the reforming and integrating of the South toward a real living out of the Bill of Rights.&nbsp; One hundred years of racial darkness enveloped the South, and a system of Jim Crow segregation was allowed to deny black folks their full rights as American citizens.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the things that comes to light in Chernow’s book is that even some abolitionists gave way to racism.&nbsp; They had advocated and fought for emancipation but were ready to throw away the human rights of people of color and were not ready to count them as equals.&nbsp; This fear of black ascendancy is irrational but it is based on real emotional passion.&nbsp; Most of it is simple fear and pure anger, expressed and practiced as hate. It is a zero sum game way of thinking that if “they” gain “we” must lose.&nbsp; This is as tribal a rivalry as one can find in the world.&nbsp; We are not immune from it today, not in thinking, relating to one another, or in politics.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Full rights, full protection, and full integration into the life of society and the country doesn’t mean anyone has to lose, except in someone’s preconceived ideas of what a society or country should look like.&nbsp; This fear of “Negro Supremacy” continues to prevent white folks putting themselves into the shoes of people of color when they are profiled, treated unjustly by authorities, treated differently in schools, courts, or employment opportunities.&nbsp; Racism prevents empathy and without empathy we can’t achieve unity. With unity our whole country prospers.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; For too long children have been lied to about the time of Reconstruction, lied to about campaigns of racial violence, lied to about the mechanization's&nbsp;of racist politicians to dismantle the achievements of the Civil War, and about the sacrifice of both white and black people who lived and came down to the South to realize those achievements.&nbsp; Many of them were wonderful Christians who took their lives into the hands, and gave up their lives, for the glory of Christ and for the freedom of men. We all need to resist “zero-sum-game” thinking when it comes to treating people with dignity and standing for their rights.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> How Do You Know If Something Smells of the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of the Age? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/teen-spirit-draft/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:93d73b4d-8f29-1f2a-655d-a5cf9f2318c3 Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:43:46 -0500 TRENDS IN EVANGELICAL SOCIAL ACTIVISM http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/10/this-is-attempt-tohighlight-and-maybe.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:75442fe1-a932-8899-bb44-562d58ebdc7f Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:28:57 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">This is an attempt to highlight<i>,</i> and maybe analyze, some of the trends I see in that part of the Christian community that is focused on urban, poverty, cross-cultural (ethnic and racial), justice, and community development issues.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; By way of full disclosure I am a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) minister, which means I am a Reformed Biblical conservative, and in my case, white.&nbsp; I am also married to an African American woman, and a member of the Christian Community Development Association. I have been involved in urban, multi-ethnic churches and ministry since I was saved as a child.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Since I have tried to participate in conferences and events dedicated to a Christian approach to the issues mentioned above I have seen various trends and developments in philosophy, theology, and personalities.&nbsp;&nbsp; Obviously all institutions and movements are affected by their leadership and the personalities involved within them, and since people grow old, grow different, or pass away, leadership changes within movements and organizations.&nbsp; This is inevitable, and movements and organizations often struggle to remain committed to their first principles after their initial leadership changes.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; All of the organizations and movements that I have been involved with, or have observed, are affected to some degree by national and general cultural trends.&nbsp; There is both a desire to be relevant to those trends, and a corresponding resistance to some trends that seek to negatively affect the value system of these movements and organizations.&nbsp; They have varied success in each direction.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am a member of one of the most conservative Christian denominations in the USA in what some might identify as the Evangelical camp.&nbsp; It is not the same as fundamentalism, not simply nor solely evangelical, but Reformed, Covenantal, and Confessional.&nbsp; That might be a difference meaningless to anyone outside of our own circles, but it does set certain boundaries for our members.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One reason I am involved with various conferences and movements is because I believe the Kingdom of God is larger than my denomination.&nbsp; I have my theological convictions, and my willingness to love, befriend, and fellowship with other believers doesn’t mean I have abandoned my convictions.&nbsp; Sometimes my ability to fellowship and cooperate with other believers depends on their willingness not to demand that I surrender my convictions.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Discerning when there is a uncompromising conflict or knowing when I must separate myself from others due to conviction is sometimes both difficult and painful.&nbsp; It is fairly easy to know when I hear something I don’t like, but that is not the same as a reason for separation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As I seek to participate in and enjoy the fellowship of the wider Body of Christ, (especially among those who care deeply about those things which have been too long ignored and even resisted by some of our American Christian forefathers), I know that I need God’s wisdom and love to maintain a faithful witness to the things I believe while working among those with whom I sometimes disagree.&nbsp; My hope is that those believers who disagree with me would also seek for a godly tenaciousness in loving me, and being patient with me and those who believe as I do.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Too many of my brethren tend to set very narrow lines to discern who is a brother, who is a friend, and are fairly quick to separate from fellowship.&nbsp; This is true from both the “left” and the “right” in my experience.&nbsp; I understand that sometimes there is no choice, and sometimes it is just not worth the effort to keep trying to build bridges when the other side keeps trying to burn them down. Sometimes that separation is formal and comes by declaration, more immediately it happens from non-participation and the ending of communication.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am committed to seeking to obey the Word of God and I take the prayer of Jesus (thus realizing what his will is concerning me) seriously when He says in John 17:21, “I in them and you in me.&nbsp; May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”&nbsp; The Scripture also says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Unity, peace, and love between the brethren are high values for the Lord Jesus, and thus they must be high values for his followers, which I believe includes me.&nbsp; I have to keep trying to pursue these values. Among the Christian social activists I know, and among whom I include myself (and I realize that even as I use the phrase, “social activist” some of my conservative brethren have already drawn a line to distance themselves from me), there are various trends that can cause real concern, misunderstanding, if not clear distinction.&nbsp; Sometimes that difference is fairly drastic.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The most foundational difference would be an old argument in theology and that is the struggle between a liberal interpretation of the Bible versus a conservative one.&nbsp; The evangelical social activists I am concerned about in this regard would still call themselves Bible believers, but their view of Scripture might not be consistently high, and I think some of them don’t realize that their interpretation of the Scriptures comes from a liberal interpretation of it and not a conservative one.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Please understand that these words, “conservative” and “liberal” are a bit different than the political meaning of these words.&nbsp; Some would consider me a social liberal in some things while I would claim I am seeking to be consistently conservative in my interpretation of Scripture.&nbsp; My advocacy of justice and mercy are not driven by social liberal politics but by a conservative reading of Jesus, the Torah, and the prophets.&nbsp; My hatred and resistance to racism doesn’t come from liberalism, Marxism, or current fads, but from the commandment to love my neighbor as myself and the Biblical injunction to hate evil.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; So, when my brothers and sisters seem to pick and choose what Scripture they want to obey, or choose to ignore, then I see a failure to keep the Word of God in high regard.&nbsp; One of the marks of that failure is a very convenient way of interpreting Scripture culturally, so that the things that smack in the face of current philosophical and political trends, and cause a bit of generational embarrassment, are softened, ignored, or changed in their meaning. The most obvious examples fall in the realm of sexual-gender issues.&nbsp; It seems to be getting harder to tell the difference between a theological liberal and an intellectually sloppy Evangelical.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">FEMINISM&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; The power and impact of feminism has hit the Evangelical church and the wider Christian church hard.&nbsp; In the world of evangelical social activism there are some who assume the everyone who is keeping socially and culturally current believes that women should be accepted as pastors and preachers, that this is progress, and that those who are opposed to it are not only failing to grow but may actually be oppressors of women.&nbsp; The ordination and elevation of women preachers is not consigned to liberals alone, as some Pentecostal and prosperity preachers are women.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; My participation in evangelical social activist circles becomes offensive to feminist adherents when I use male focused language and seem to imply that only men are preachers.&nbsp; They are correct in picking up the implication. Though they have little patience with my convictions they seem to expect that I will support women preaching and participation in leadership in the events we commonly attend and support. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I recognize there are denominations of Bible believing Christians that ordain women, and I can fellowship and interact with those women in various settings.&nbsp; Usually this happens in an “association” but not in a denomination, nor in a worship service provided in my church or denomination.&nbsp;&nbsp; This is by Scriptural conviction on our part.&nbsp; Advocates of women preachers would find it hard to be happy in my denominational circles, and might not want to even recognize the legitimacy of our convictions.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;However, the trend I see in some events is a desire to have more women preachers, even when some fail to preach very well (some women are amazingly gifted communicators so this has nothing to do with innate ability). Sometimes this whole area is fudged a bit by referring to a “plenary speaker.”&nbsp; I have no problem with women being plenary speakers; some of them have great things to say and I need to learn from them.&nbsp; It is the assumption of the preaching office that causes concern.&nbsp; The problem is not women, the problem goes back to the interpretation of Scripture and with a lack of consistency on that part too many things begin to shift in Biblical application.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;I don’t see very much concern, by leaders in Evangelical social action settings, for those of us who don’t really believe women should be up there preaching.&nbsp; I believe they mistakenly think that justice for women requires this elevation of women that conservatives believe God designed for men. The desire for gender diversity has sometimes trumped content.&nbsp; As with several of these trends this tends to drive conservative believers away from participation as they seek other venues where they will not have this conflict.&nbsp; I am not sure if social activists Christians even know that there are many Christians who no longer attend their events.&nbsp; I don’t think this difference is going to end anytime soon, and for some it will never end.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">EVANGELISM AND THE LOCAL CHURCH<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the things I don’t hear very often from Evangelical social action folks is the necessity of conversion, which implies the necessity of evangelism, and the irreplaceable part the local church plays for true community and cultural change. Corresponding to those necessities then is an imperative to plant wholistic, Gospel preaching and Spirit empowered neighborhood loving congregations in the communities of the poor. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In fact, one might misunderstand some of the economic community development rhetoric and believe that God is already in the communities of the poor, we need to listen to the poor and not tell them anything, and that by utilizing their assets and their own ideas they can change their own communities.&nbsp; Well, maybe it is not a misunderstanding; maybe this is what some Evangelical social activists think.&nbsp; Of course God is already among the poor.&nbsp; He is already everywhere.&nbsp; Yes, the poor have resources and they need to use their own assets and take ownership of their own development.&nbsp; Yes, many outside forces have coalesced to create poor communities and they are not simply the result of the moral or immoral personal choices of the poor. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; However, it is a denial of the Gospel and the entire missionary history of the Church to think that any individual or community, poor or otherwise, doesn’t need a spiritual conversion into a life of discipleship.&nbsp; It is also a denial of reality that those captured by their sins among the poor don’t need to be set from them; that freedom cannot happen by social improvement.&nbsp; Does the preaching of the cross matter?&nbsp; If it does then it doesn’t matter as a historical anachronism, as something we Evangelicals used to do, or did once in a neighborhood.&nbsp; It matters just as much today, and will matter as much tomorrow so as to be a constant dynamic.&nbsp; The proclamation of the cross is as much needed today, for everyone, but especially among the poor as it has ever been.&nbsp; The commission of Jesus is still in force.&nbsp; Any Evangelical social activist who doesn’t believe in the necessity of preaching the cross and need for people to be saved is simply and only a social activist, but not truly an Evangelical, and without the Gospel his or her social activism is inherently limited in power.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Can people socially, culturally, and economically change without believing the Gospel message?&nbsp; Certainly they can.&nbsp; I don’t think one has to be a Christian to stop being a drug addict, or a gangster, or an alcoholic; though many have found deliverance from these things through Christ. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to value education, finish school, and learn a good work ethic.&nbsp; One doesn’t have to become a Christian to learn how to manage their money and gain financial literacy, or to value marriage, or to raise children with love and boundaries.&nbsp; I think Christianity gives a person a great foundation, and reasons, to pursue such things but these things don’t require Christianity, and they are not the same as Christianity.&nbsp; This was the great mistake of 19<sup>th</sup>century missions with their so-called Christian civilizing of the savage. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; However, real character change cannot happen without the Gospel.&nbsp; A real understanding of purpose and identity cannot happen without the Gospel.&nbsp; An assurance of the forgiveness of one’s sins cannot happen without the Gospel.&nbsp; A hope of heaven cannot be real without the Gospel.&nbsp; The power to love neighbors and even enemies, and to come together as a church community in love, cannot happen without the Gospel.&nbsp; I don’t want to give up either side of the challenge, that of preaching and believing the Gospel and that of wholistic love that provides resources for communities to achieve justice and human flourishing.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">THE NON-PROFIT VERSUS THE LOCAL CHURCH<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; In line with this need to remember the Gospel is the unfortunate abandonment of recognizing the need for good churches, really good churches, to be planted among the poor.&nbsp; I am in favor of non-profit, or for profit, social enterprises and ministries to help in the work of social and economic community development.&nbsp; It is just not enough in and of itself, nor is it the main agenda of Jesus, nor is it the self-governing and self-perpetuating organism God created to be the most grass roots kind of an organization.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Churches don’t simply exist to supply funds to non-profit Christian ministries, non-profits exist to help accomplish the wholistic work of the Church.&nbsp; It takes great leadership, and loving cooperative leaders, to get these ministries to work in concert and mutual support.&nbsp; Far too many well-meaning non-profits have lost their connection to the church and to the Gospel.&nbsp; Many of them do really good work, but they are not the local church.&nbsp; Obviously the common pastor who is not radicalized by a Gospel love of the poor, or a God given thirst for justice, will seek to “have” church, but fail to do the really hard mission work of building a local congregation in places of need.&nbsp; These kind of pastors are hard to find, but God still raises them up, and we need thousands more of them.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">ETHNIC JUSTICE VERSUS RECONCILIATION<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Another dynamic within Evangelical social activist circles is the discussion of how we should deal with racism, with white privilege, with institutions that wittingly or unwittingly support white advantage.&nbsp; Even the terminology is problematic.&nbsp; Proclaiming white supremacy as the enemy, with its historic horrific icons of the KKK, the Nazi party, and violence without a differentiation between the average and often clueless white person who lives in the luxury of white privilege produces misunderstanding and alienation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The growing antagonism of people of color who have become frustrated with Evangelical institutions and their slowness of change, or resistance to it, or the deafness of white evangelicals to the pain of those who continue to suffer the brunt of police brutality, profiling, over-policing, and mass incarceration has given a seeming new incentive for racial separation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As the commission on race riots once pointed out anger is often a symptom of improved conditions, due to heightened expectations married to a rising frustration.&nbsp;&nbsp; There is also a feeling of power, a self-confidence to not care for the feelings of those perceived as the problem.&nbsp; So language because more strident, and declarations are made, and division is seen as acceptable.&nbsp; The reality and problem of racism in America has created a long history of division and separateness, sometimes by overt racism by white people, and sometimes by reaction from people of color.&nbsp; The black church is a creation of white racism, at least if one remembers the story of Bishop Richard Allen and the African Methodist Episcopal church.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; Many of these voices of frustration are not from people of color who grew up in segregated churches but by many who have been reached, educated, mentored, and supported by white evangelical institutions and churches.&nbsp; They have experienced these institutions from the inside, even as these institutions were, in and by their conscious effort, trying to be less "white."&nbsp; Too slow, too late, and still un-woke can make the Evangelical experience hard to take; especially when Evangelicals take political actions that seem monolithic while being racially obtuse if not hostile.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How Can Men Support #MeToo, Too? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/6130/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:0e204570-2961-a359-b76f-4aacebfa176a Mon, 23 Oct 2017 18:43:50 -0500 Jesus Is More Than a Great Moral Teacher—He’s the Moral Order. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/jesus-great-moral-teacher-hes-moral-order/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:ca0da0ae-9556-d07d-2486-b9d2a5e4cdff Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:44:52 -0500 Do You Miss Democracy—and George W. Bush—Yet? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/miss-democracy-george-w-bush-yet/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:b8cc8fd5-7cf0-235f-267c-6998bbd3b797 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:45:32 -0500 What Boxes Do You Cross in the Attempt to Gain Eternal Life? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/following-christ-draft/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:5755ac43-c9b7-b264-4943-98576f3c52cb Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:46:26 -0500 PURSUING RECONCILATION http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/10/how-are-we-to-pursue-reconciliation-is.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:9f938059-82f0-0fa7-fe17-bc99ed316d51 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:25:14 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;<span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;">How are we to pursue reconciliation?&nbsp; Is reconciliation a legitimate or worthy goal?&nbsp; How do we define it?&nbsp; How do we know when it has been achieved, and is it achievable at all?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If reconciliation is making something whole again, if it is making peace, if it bringing what has been torn back together so that it is mended where then do we begin in measuring the break, the wound, the rupture, and the alienation?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How deep must the wound be before we say it is incurable?&nbsp; How strong must the pain, hurt, and bitterness be before we admit we can’t get over it, we can’t overcome its distraction?&nbsp; Pain has a way of grabbing our attention and it tends to distort our perspective and relationships.&nbsp; It was meant to do that so we would understand our peril and our body or soul’s clamor for survival.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Reconciliation is a big word and the Bible applies it to various kinds of relationships.&nbsp; In theology the biggest meaning is with the human race and God, with those who were of the first Adam and now included in the second Adam.&nbsp; The next biggest meaning is with people groups, especially between Jews and Gentiles, but by extrapolation and extension then between all sub groups of Gentiles.&nbsp;&nbsp; The third and most personal is between persons, especially between believers.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In parallel with the doctrine of reconciliation and its practical application is the reality and demand of love.&nbsp; Love is of course the motivator of reconciliation; God’s love.&nbsp;&nbsp; God is the one whose own creation has been marred and broken.&nbsp; The creatures of God are the ones who rose (and fell) into rebellion and have attempted to hide from him, deny his Lordship, then deny his existence, and to attempt to kill him both by unbelief and crucifixion. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Mankind is the sinner, and God is the lover.&nbsp; God is also the offended party with every right to anger and the claim of justice.&nbsp; Though rejected God is the pursuer, and it is left to him to find some remedy; not simply for his justice but also for restoration.&nbsp; It is left to him because the wound we have caused between ourselves and God is too great for us,(we who are the guilty), to close.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; God is the model of reconciliation.&nbsp; He demands morality (and all that living justly demands), a demand as it were to go back to that first Edenic obedience.&nbsp; It is a preconceived and manipulative attempt to help mankind see his inability to ever make things up to God as obedience in the Edenic sense is, for all of us, now impossible.&nbsp; The Law is a school teacher to bring us to the Reconciler.&nbsp; The illumination of our incapacity is our gateway to salvation, the revelation of our inability for self-recovery and self-rehabilitation is the birth canal of our hope to and in a Savior who has the power not only to forgive, but to transform. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; God is love and those born of God must love their brothers.&nbsp; Love demands reconciliation. Reconciliation is not simply a worthy goal, it is a necessary pursuit, an imperative.&nbsp; Reconciliation is as necessary to spiritual and relational healing (and as inevitable) as the closing of flesh is to the action of coagulating blood upon a cut.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Theologically speaking reconciliation has already happened in the sense that all the necessary work for it was accomplished by the activity of God upon the cross.&nbsp; God provided for the satisfaction of His justice at the cross. God’s anger was satisfied at the cross. God brought the Jews and Gentiles (and all the Gentiles in their various histories and war) together at the cross and made them “one” new man at the cross. God broke down the middle wall of partition between those who had the Law and the patriarchs and those who did not, at the cross.&nbsp; God ended the hostility with those who were separated between circumcision and uncircumcision, at the cross. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; God knows no impossibility in reconciliation.&nbsp; The greatest sinner is not beyond his reach, the depth and depravity of mankind’s rebellion has not delayed or dismayed him.&nbsp; The judgement in the time of Noah showed how close we came to an eternal schism, the violence of man ended God’s patience with those of earth, yet God saved a remnant.&nbsp; In that remnant contained not only the seed of the woman (Christ) but the seed of all the hate monsters that make history so depressing.&nbsp; God would not give up and God has not given up.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Have we sinned since reconciliation?&nbsp; Let each person confess the truth for themselves.&nbsp; Yet reconciliation remains an accomplished fact of God, and provides the continued hope of forgiveness, though our lives sometimes scandalize the continued grace of God.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Do we wound each other as nations, as ethnic groups?&nbsp; How much horror or national shame can we endure, how much hurt can we bear, how much failure of our very humanity can we admit without recognizing ourselves as beasts, and how can we live with that?&nbsp;&nbsp; How much revenge do we want, how much reparation?&nbsp; And even if money was given, what heals the trauma, and who brings back the dead?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Love must pursue reconciliation.&nbsp; It is the only thing strong enough for its motion, the only thing to make the unreasonable reasonable.&nbsp; Love forgives, love will not hate a brother.&nbsp; Love makes “the other” our brother, our neighbor.&nbsp; Mercy is the payment by the wronged for the unpaid debt of the one who did the wrong.&nbsp; Zaccheaus stated he would make restoration, but Jesus was already on the way to his house, already calling him out of his tree, giving grace previous to restitution.&nbsp; Reconciliation pursues and precedes and restitution follows.&nbsp; Sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it can’t. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Some things between nations can’t and won’t be fixed, though that doesn’t mean those with love and a conscience won’t (or shouldn’t) pursue love and reconciliation with whatever resources and tools they have.&nbsp; Sometimes reconciliation cannot happen between persons; danger and death prevent it.&nbsp; Yet forgiveness must pursue, as far as it can, and that is driven by love.&nbsp; So what is left for those things unresolved?&nbsp; What is left for justice unsatisfied between nations or persons?&nbsp; If we are reconciled to God are we allowed to cease or suspend the pursuit of reconciliation in the world due to our own hurt, our own bitterness, our own sense of righteousness?&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Self-righteousness does not heal, it drives us apart.&nbsp; We may be right about being wronged, and be totally wrong about how we try to make things right.&nbsp; The reality is that we may attempt to reconcile and fail in the attempt, we may be continually wronged even as we are ready to forgive, we may be hated and killed by those who hate us (justly or unjustly).&nbsp; Our doing right doesn’t guarantee anyone else will.&nbsp; But, if God has reconciled us to himself then we are impelled by the power of love to proclaim a message of reconciliation.&nbsp; We are caught up in the ministry of reconciliation because it is the ministry of God, not because it is our social or political passion.&nbsp; To be given the ministry of reconciliation means we must practice being peacemakers, and for the followers of Christ it cannot be replaced with anything less.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; What about truth and justice?&nbsp; Do we simply deny these things, do we stuff our grief and carry our own sorrows?&nbsp; Honest reconciliation is one of integrity. Reconciliation is a truth telling work.&nbsp; In salvation God always calls us to repentance; God always calls us to the humility of honesty, to the brokenness of confession.&nbsp; Reconciliation is no easy work, not for the pursuer, nor for the guilty.&nbsp; Yet reconciliation is not a conditional love, it is not a hostage taker of relationship otherwise it would not be a peacemaker but a warmonger.&nbsp; God’s love sought us and found us, and we have to do that with each other.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; What about what is unresolved, how can we let that lie, or sit, and how can we live with ourselves if we don’t wring out our full payment of blood?&nbsp; May God then treat you as you would treat others, may God then call for his last payment, not from his son but from you.&nbsp; Christian, we are called to a life of faith, and part of that faith is waiting for healing, and I make no light thing of the faith needed to wait for it.&nbsp; There is a tree there, in that city, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.&nbsp; It is obvious then that the unresolved must wait for the City which is to come.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;century gothic&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div></div> How Much Would Bonhoeffer Value the Values Voter Summit? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/how-much-would-bonhoeffer-value-the-values-voter-summit/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:de06e8a8-2b3d-e233-b125-a6ccdcd66258 Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:47:19 -0500 Many of Us Need to Disabuse Ourselves of the Notion that Widespread Abuse of Women Is a Thing of the Past http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/many-us-need-disabuse-notion-widespread-abuse-women-thing-past/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:201098dc-3408-79b5-b4c1-e24350eca4fc Thu, 12 Oct 2017 18:49:56 -0500 Columbus Day and the Myths that Make Us http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/6080/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:82c80c04-9ab9-d25d-43ce-9c9024f3762e Mon, 09 Oct 2017 18:50:58 -0500 How Do You Build Relational Bridges in the Midst of Conflict? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/build-relational-bridges-midst-conflict/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:c3a7fe65-a582-9739-0496-fb051bc9bf40 Fri, 06 Oct 2017 18:52:15 -0500 How Do We Guard Against Raising the Red Flag and White Flag Over National Anthem Protests and Gun Violence? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/white-flag-red-flag/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:bba5aaa0-cd4d-ce0c-04cb-3ff8e78555a6 Wed, 04 Oct 2017 18:52:58 -0500 I SURE WISH THEY WOULD GO TO CHURCH! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/09/i-sure-wish-they-would-go-to-church.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:162091f7-a935-520c-087e-0e7b58c52c26 Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:47:35 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">One Sunday I sat around a table with some dear friends who all have adult children.&nbsp; The conversation turned to the subject of children in the church who were raised in Christian homes and who no longer attend church.&nbsp; This was not a concern with them not attending “our” church, but the fact that these particular young adults weren’t attending anybody’s church.&nbsp; Let me state that my concerns here are not universal for this generation, because many of them are as solid in their faith and Christian lives as any who have lived before.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This was not a conversation solely about a certain generation, but about families and children we all knew.&nbsp; This was about our pain, the pain of parents who dearly love their kids, prayed for them, taught them, challenged them, brought them to church, gave them the best education we could (and for some that meant Christian schools and Christian colleges).&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, it seemed that some of these kids were spiritually wandering, living immoral lives, or in outright defiant denial of the Faith.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am aware of articles and books about this present generation and how a growing number of their number have decided to stop going to church, let alone how many of them have never come at all. All kinds of folks are weighing into the subject, and some are trying to come up with the formula of how to design the church experience to bring them back.&nbsp; I tend to avoid these kinds of solutions as they always seem to support the predispositions of the one writing for how they think a church service should be conducted, such as how contemporary worship is being rejected for more liturgical and traditional worship, etc.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; As I travel around the country and meet some old friends and my generational peers I am often told of the pain my friends are experiencing as they yearn to see their own children not only come to faith but to stay in it.&nbsp; My friends yearn to see their adult children be the godly people their parents have hoped to raise. &nbsp;They yearn to see the next generation taking their place of leadership in the church, no matter how it worships or where it meets.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I wish I had the wisdom to analyze the problem accurately and the brilliance needed to show parents the magic words, method, or strategy to bring their kids back to the Lord and the household of Faith.&nbsp;I confess that I don't. &nbsp;I do have some questions, and some thoughts which I will share with you.&nbsp; I also know some of these kids are never coming back, but my sincere hope and prayer is that even if happens after my present generations dies the seeds that were planted in them will bear good fruit.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; There are various reasons adult children who have been raised in the church stop going, and stop believing.&nbsp; Those are two different categories but sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.&nbsp;&nbsp; As we look at any problem we often look for someone or something to blame.&nbsp; Whose fault is this; the adult child, the parents, the church, the culture, the age, the Devil?&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I don’t intend to relieve anyone of their guilt, if they are in fact guilty.&nbsp; If we as parents have failed we have to own that, and repent, and ask for God’s forgiveness and we need to ask forgiveness from our kids.&nbsp; If the church has failed, collectively or individually, then those institutions need to own up to it and seek for renewal and revival.&nbsp; If it is the culture and the spirit of the age then we need to understand it and learn the methods of dealing with it.&nbsp; We can take it for granted the Devil is involved, but we know Jesus has defeated him.&nbsp; We just need to learn his tricks and fight him well.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Who is responsible for adult children of Christian parents leaving the faith and the church?&nbsp; Well, first of all, they are.&nbsp; This is a hard reality but if our children are not truly saved then they will go to eternal judgment.&nbsp; There aren’t any protective parents that can prevent it.&nbsp; If they reject Jesus, if they deny Jesus, then he also will deny them.&nbsp; It doesn’t matter if they were baptized as infants, baptized as a believer sometime in their childhood, or prayed the sinner’s prayer in your hearing.&nbsp;&nbsp; If they are not truly saved, then they are not truly saved.&nbsp; It is foolish in my opinion to keep consoling them with comments like, “I know deep in your heart you really do believe.”&nbsp; That might be a parent’s wish but it is not the fruit of their lives, and it is by the fruit we discern good trees from bad.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I want to be pretty up front with that, and with them, because in an analysis of our parenting some of us may have been too indulgent, and too excusing, of and for our kids.&nbsp; When they stand in front of Almighty God the parent won’t be there to make excuses for them.&nbsp; Their choices are their choices and they eventually will have to own them for themselves.&nbsp; One of the best things all of us can do for our children is to help them understand that, as we should have done many times in their lives.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There is no doubt some of us have made our children stumble.&nbsp; There are so many ways we as parents can and have screwed up.&nbsp; Often trying hard to be wonderful parents we have instead set up our kids for a pretty big fall.&nbsp;&nbsp; How might we have failed? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Our parent’s generation seemed to struggle with emotional detachment, being harsh and making their love conditional, and sometimes living a fundamentalist, legalistic, yet hypocritical life; full of self-righteousness while denying the realities of their own materialism, racism, and various other sins. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Our generation (Baby Boomers) became too permissive, certainly with ourselves.&nbsp; Our children have seen us in our addictions, our lusts, our anger, our own kinds of hypocrisies while they have seen us go to church but it not seeming to make us very different from people in the world.&nbsp; Many times we backed off from pushing our kids too hard, and we indulged them at almost every turn.&nbsp; It was almost as if we and everything in the world revolved around them and existed to make their life happy and fulfilled.&nbsp;&nbsp; Our self-indulgent congregations reflected our own family life-styles and desires.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; To complicate matters our children entered into a world that does not reinforce absolutes, seems to deny eternal or even temporal accountability.&nbsp; They entered into a world of intensive and manipulative appeal to the sensual, to self-centeredness, to libertine indulgence without seeming consequence.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Many of our children who deny the faith are materially successful.&nbsp; They have the social skills, they have the education, personal discipline and ambition.&nbsp; These things without Christ are worldliness, but deceptively so, and we parents have too often let them get away with thinking that their progress even without Christ was okay with us.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Many of our children have a social conscience, and their peers reinforce the notion that this in and of itself is what makes a person moral, and it also makes them feel superior to anyone who does not care as passionately for their cause(s) as they do.&nbsp; In an ironic twist the Baby Boomer generation that tried not to be judgmental with their children created a new self-righteous generation. The passion of their compassion is often without any kind of absolute moral compass, they are swimming hard but it is often out to sea and not toward home.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Religion and dogma are too binding for them, cutting them off from their peers, bringing feelings of embarrassment upon them.&nbsp; To take the step of radical commitment to Jesus in full understanding of his exclusivity and his claims of solitary access to the Father can be too isolating for many of them.&nbsp; They don’t want to be more religious and yet less passionate about justice causes, they don’t want to lose the option of a self-focused lifestyle in exchange for the hassle of time demanding church life, church personalities, and church conflict and drama.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Some of our grown kids have and will struggle with simple rebellion against their parents, and God.&nbsp; Some of them will struggle with addictions of drinking, drugs, pornography, sexual encounters, and the body indulgence of sports, athletics and exercise.&nbsp; Some of our kids will struggle with their own educational and material success.&nbsp; These things are not new to human beings.&nbsp; Nevertheless, any or all of them of them are the thorns and weeds that grow up to choke out real faith.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, the good news:&nbsp; We have the weapon of prayer, and we must not stop using it.&nbsp; The Word will accomplish that to which it was sent and good seed in good ground will bear much fruit.&nbsp; The Lord knows those who are His. The battle is not over yet, and we may die before we see the outcome, so we have to put our hope in God’s faithfulness and not in the power of our worrying to make things change.&nbsp; Failure and brokenness are God’s tools to break the pride and obstinate hard hearts of men and women, and even if it scares you to see your kids go through it, sometimes that is the only way they will reach heaven.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Your tears are not in vain, but don’t weep in despair.&nbsp; Keep trusting in Jesus to do the work.&nbsp;&nbsp; Receive his forgiveness if and where you have failed.&nbsp; Have confidence in the Gospel you know your children have heard and understood.&nbsp; Stop apologizing for your faith or your call to them to come to Christ.&nbsp; Be ready to welcome them home, and assure them of that, while you remind them with gentleness, love, and consistency that they ain’t yet where they need to be.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER ALL THE NAME CALLING! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/08/i-cant-hear-you-over-all-name-calling.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:d040df63-2c83-8b41-b19a-08cd295e4534 Wed, 30 Aug 2017 16:24:08 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Lately I have been reading articles by a few Evangelicals who are deeply committed to racial justice.&nbsp; As I agree and sympathize with much, I do find myself in reaction to some of the things they have said. These ideas, and others like them, spring up from time to time, although often in new phrases and provocative rhetoric.&nbsp; &nbsp;Some of what they have said is not new, they are echoes of various lines of thinking that have been part of conversations that have been present as long as I have been involved in the struggle for justice and reconciliation.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Ah, you will see I mentioned a word that is part of what is at stake in the conversation, and that is the word “reconciliation.”&nbsp; The phrase “racial reconciliation” is a term that has been at times threatening, revolutionary, and welcoming to people who have been convicted about the racial and ethnic alienation that has been present in our society since the idea of race was constructed to help both Arabs and Europeans feel justified in their exploitation of various nations, namely those nations and ethnicities of color.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This term is also slammed, shunned, and discarded by some as being either misunderstood or misused, and thereby not radical enough in the quest for justice. Some have postulated there can be no reconciliation since we were never unified to begin with, and though this sounds like it might make sense, the idea discards Adam and Eve and Noah as a unified human race, Babel as the dividing of the nations, and the calling of Abraham as a Jew to divide the world into Jews (circumcised) and Gentiles (uncircumcised).&nbsp; I take that criticism as a cheap rhetorical trick with no logical foundation.&nbsp; It also seems to accept the postulation of race as a biological reality and not a constructed one.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Some don’t like the word “racial” since it was a socially constructed idea to explain “color” in various human beings and to assign them a lower status by white people.&nbsp; No less a person than John Perkins has recently spoken powerfully against this word since it creates differentiation between people groups, and God is no respecter of persons.&nbsp; He thinks that our continued use of it perpetuates the differentiation in a negative way.&nbsp; Nevertheless we all pretty much admit to such realities as “racism” and doing away with the term is not going to do away with racists anytime soon.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Then there is the criticism of the entire phrase as one seen to be preferred by white people because they see it as an individualized process or event and fail (or refuse) to see systemic injustice in the broader society.&nbsp; One of the writers I read wants only to speak of “white supremacy,” and feels that is where the onus belongs, on the white community. I certainly sympathize with the need to see justice as a larger issue than simply our personal bias and prejudice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; White Supremacy is a term that is searching for some consensus.&nbsp; It seemed to have a historical context in the teachings of the slave justifiers (even among Muslim scholars prior to the Western slave trade) the KKK, Aryan Brotherhood, and going back to Nazi Germany’s view of the “Superior Race.”&nbsp; &nbsp;The attempt to dump the guilt of such association&nbsp; on all white people due to their being in the numerical majority, having inherent white privilege as a cultural majority in a racialized nation, and or being clueless as to what systemic injustice does to people is problematic at best, and frankly, racist at worst. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Political ideologues, in their rhetorical world, are adept at polarizing issues, leaving no middle ground, and thereby marginalizing people who are still learning and still becoming conscious of issues.&nbsp; In their eyes you are either as radical as they are, or you are the enemy.&nbsp; Taking and using such political device and rhetoric may sound and read as prophetic, but the question remains as to whether or not it is genuinely Christian?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some of the rhetoric is no better, and serves no other purpose, than name calling.&nbsp; I suspect some of it is an attempt to feel powerful, a sort of triumphalism, through the use of language. Rhetorical “one ups-man-ship” might make one feel better but I don’t think it convinces anybody but one’s allies. &nbsp;Instead of seeking peace, which is a Christian duty, command, and practice, it alienates.&nbsp; I believe one of the worse things we can do is to use language (no matter how lyrical or artistic) that is confused, opaque, and that causes more misunderstanding and less healing. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the realities we live in is that of a white majority in the United States, and lately we are seeing in the white population (both here and in Europe) a strong reaction against and resistance to any changing of that reality through immigration.&nbsp; White cultural reality is very strong in Evangelicalism, and those minorities which are present in a white Evangelical world are forced to encounter “white normativity.”&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Some decide that self-segregation is what they would rather pursue for their own cultural comfort, healing, and safety.&nbsp; They seek an escape from the cultural fatigue and aggravation which seems to be fairly consistent in the education and training of “one more white person,” who has only now realized and admitted there are other cultural realities.&nbsp; If it is not self-segregation it sometimes seems to be an emotional self-alienation with a lot of complaining.&nbsp; There is a corresponding majority culture reaction by which racial issues are simply shut down, walked away from, or mocked if a person feels personally feel racially aggravated.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; The price to pay for real “reconciliation” is high for each of us in our own ethnic and cultural groups and we pay it in different ways.&nbsp; I believe minorities pay a higher price but it is arrogance to assume others are paying nothing (though they may not being paying the full price yet), it is disingenuous and dangerous to assume it will cost any of us little.&nbsp; There is both an illegitimate and a legitimate price to be paid. The illegitimate price of self-hatred and complete assimilation into the “other” while discarding our own culture and ethnic identity pays negative dividends in self, family, and community.&nbsp; There is only one thing worthy of paying the legitimate price of reconciliation (which is a long exposure to misunderstanding, insult, attacks of various kinds, and sacrifice in relationships,) and that is the pursuit of being the answer to the prayer of Jesus; that we might be one.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;The argument for expanding the term White Supremacy to include the entire white population (and thus take the onus off of specific political and violent groups) as responsible for systemic injustice seems to negate the idea of personal repentance, and personal relational healing, and declare it to be inconsequential as long as injustice continues.&nbsp;In an attempt to thwart individual evasion of institutional racism it makes the personal repentance of racism meaningless.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;To take the term White Supremacy and make it universal rather than specific to hate groups is to deprive all of us of the vigilance needed to monitor their incipient violence and to be prepared to resist it.&nbsp; White supremacists must love this universal application and definitive inflation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I would like to be one of the few voices lifted up to defend the word “reconciliation.”&nbsp; Not only do I like it, want to practice it, and have paid some measure of a price to pursue it, but my bottom line is that I think it is Biblical.&nbsp; It is a word far greater than race, full of grace and mercy, includes all the Gentiles in the Body of Christ (thus including in its central idea inter-Gentile union), and the Jews, and is one of the soteriological effects of the death of Jesus on the cross.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Reconciliation is not a word to despise for the reason that being personally reconciled (to God or people) does not automatically end systemic injustice, but rather a word that is to be preached! &nbsp;It is our future hope that Jesus will reconcile all things to himself.&nbsp; In short, it is a process which God commissioned, a message and a ministry we should all be caught up in and which will not be fulfilled in our lifetimes.&nbsp; To reject reconciliation, and yes, racial reconciliation, and substitute it with permanent guilt until there is complete systemic change, is defeatist, despairing, unrealistic, and ultimately creates more division.&nbsp; I think it is better to spell out, and preach out, the price of real and Biblical reconciliation; the cost of sacrificially enslaving ourselves to other groups to win them, the cost of suffering with and for them in a true “becoming” with them. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One phrase that comes up is “white fragility”&nbsp;in the context of conversations about race and injustice. I think I understand the historic dynamic but unfortunately this is a universal human problem, and not simply one that can be assigned to one people group.&nbsp; It is difficult, as a representative of a particular racial, ethnic, or cultural group, to constantly hear the pathology present in one’s own people group carped on by another ethnic group. &nbsp;Racial conversations are frequently difficult and sometimes feel threatening, and the recent use of blaming and provocative language in the guise of the pursuit of justice I believe will be self-defeating. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;I have seen this reaction in various groups when the issues of public health and social concerns are listed by race or ethnicity.&nbsp; Invariably the argument is made to stop blaming those listed as representative of the statistics (from our ethnic group, or our ethnic group a whole) and attack something else; the system, society, and history that has helped to create those problems.&nbsp; I’m just wondering if you can feel my love if I keep telling you how bad your people are?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Can any of our identified racial groups own any of (their) our peculiar or popular sins?&nbsp;It is no doubt difficult. Will our identified racial groups continue to resist group labeling as insulting and demoralizing?&nbsp; I have a suspicion that they will, therefore such labeling should be used tenderly, strategically, tactfully, and even lovingly in trying to bring about change.&nbsp; Every cultural group has particular sins that should bring shame to them, and certainly the white majority in this country has earned much of the shame and guilt that generally they don’t like to hear about or embrace.&nbsp; Guilt, by itself, is an insufficient motivator and is quite often the edge of the blade on which people will either divide into denial, anger, and resentment on one side and admission, confession, and a search for restoration on the other. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The preaching of the Gospel always contains the bad news of sinful reality, but it is not a Gospel at all if it doesn’t have “good news.”&nbsp; The Gospel, the real Gospel of Christ, is not true to itself if all it does is stick people with guilt and leaves it there.&nbsp; This is not a way of saying don’t preach against societal or national sins,&nbsp; it is a way of saying that with repentance there is forgiveness, there is grace, there is, (watch it, here it comes…) reconciliation.&nbsp; I see that word as one which has a milestone beginning but continues as a process, both personally, socially, institutionally, and ecclesiastically. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; It is progress when any community faces its reality head on, and in humility and courage seeks to change its culture toward righteousness, both personal and social, in its behavior. As the Scripture says in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people.”&nbsp; Does any of this humility and courage happen without change in individuals?&nbsp; I would submit that it cannot. Does it suddenly happen generally, culturally, systemically, politically?&nbsp;&nbsp; While some despise the individual aspect of Christian faith as insufficient for corporate change it is nevertheless a historic (societies and nations have changed) and realistic part of the whole, it just has to be preached (consistently) as a beginning and not an end in itself.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> THE POLITICIZATION OF RACIAL HISTORY AND SPEECH http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-politicization-of-racial-history.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:e64bb0c4-51e8-1ac2-8679-f1f1b7b6f307 Fri, 25 Aug 2017 15:05:35 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Did anything ever really happen in history that all of us could agree on?&nbsp; Is there anything that has happened at which we could all say, “that was evil, that was bad, and that should never have happened?”&nbsp; Is everything up for interpretation?&nbsp;&nbsp; If we agree certain events did happen do we have the right to define and interpret it only from our ideological position?&nbsp; Do only the victors have the right, and the authority, to write history?&nbsp; Do the losers have the authority to rewrite it? &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;">Does the majority have the right in their privilege to assess, define, and articulate for everyone, or just themselves, or not even themselves if it offends the minority?</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Is anything really true?&nbsp;&nbsp; How long are we allowed to keep words and phrases before someone tells us we can’t use them anymore, that they have become offensive and that the way they are used has taken on new meaning and we are no longer allowed to use them?&nbsp; I confess that sometimes I am a bit confused by the independent and self-authorizing claim to redefinition. I am thrown into asking, “who the hell made you Daniel Webster?”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We have certain philosophical and political dynamics which put us into a veritable sea of a tidal lexicon.&nbsp; Post modernism has sought to empower people (groups) by allowing them to control their own narrative.&nbsp; This sounds democratic and just, until of course one realizes that controlling one’s own narrative is no guarantee of honesty, accuracy, or the absence of self-deception.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Political ideologues have realized that allowing the simple acknowledgment of historical tragedy forces people into owning shame.&nbsp; To accept guilt allows the other party power and leverage, especially relating to social issues arising from that guilt.&nbsp; Therefore it is politically expedient to deny certain parts of history, or to deny the ownership of the guilt of it, and in essence to rewrite it by not allowing it to be discussed in any open and engaging manner but only as vituperative demagoguery. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; All the abuses of fallacious arguments are evident in political discourse today, and much of it centers on race.&nbsp; The issue of race and the history of race and racism in our country is a subject of much pain, anger, and guilt, or a tortured reactive denial.&nbsp; The election of President Obama heightened the discourse, and racial feelings were often disguised and concealed behind political sentiments, although not as well hidden as some supposed.&nbsp; Some political demagogues sought to silence any protest or complaint about racism as simple hucksterism.&nbsp; Much of the populace became immune to any racial sensitivity, tolerance, or desire for understanding let alone reconciliation.&nbsp; Certain politicians saw the issue of race as their Achilles’ heel and became hard hearted and steel faced about the subject, building a Teflon heart and a non-stick conscience, and their followers repeat the mantras of denial.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Where is the great moral center of the country that was shaken by the actions of civil rights heroes and disgusted by civil rights villains, such as Bull Conner, George Wallace, the KKK, and those who bombed Sunday Schools?&nbsp; That moral center allowed us to make national progress but the prominent political discourse of today is toward extremism and polarization, with an attendant deafness to anything said by the other side.&nbsp; If people are not deaf they have become deft at redirection, where the deflection of criticism is simply by way of assigning the critic to the camp of some other political party or political person’s worst previous political act or opinion or indiscretion.&nbsp; It seems to fail the comprehension of some that one could be opposed to certain policies of Trump and not have to be, at the same time, an advocate for the policies of a Clinton or Obama.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This is not new of course, such radical division helped to create the Civil War, and that conflict continues to simmer in a rather consistent fight to revise its causes and see its main participants as heroes. Certainly it was about land and States Rights, but more accurately and primarily about a State’s right to not only allow slavery but to encourage its spread.&nbsp; Certainly many of the men that fought for the South thought they were fighting against the tyranny of a Federal government and for “freedom,” while in actuality propping up those governments intent on continuing the chattel enslavement of others.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Such incongruity is part of the American dilemma.&nbsp; The Confederacy is full of tragic heroes who were fighting on the wrong side.&nbsp; No veneration of their personal faith or gentility can wash their hands clean of the blood of their victims, either that of the slaves or of the nation’s soldiers committed to preserving the Union whose majority voted against the wishes of the slave owners.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As one pursues the dialogue about race and racial history one sees the ebb and flow of vocabulary, redefinition of terms, and the attempt as it were to create new realities.&nbsp; There is a white majority, a dominating white culture, in America.&nbsp; As with all dominant cultures in any society or nation it has privilege.&nbsp; Some of it is intentional and intentionally protected by various individuals and groups, some of it is a de-facto reality that the majority assumes, accepts, and avoids confronting. &nbsp;I don't believe cultural majorities can erase all privilege or normality, it comes with being a majority.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;However, when one peels back, as it were, the onion of history it is simply jaw dropping amazing how many economic, land and real estate, and political decisions in our local, state, and national past have been made on the basis of race and for the protection of white privilege.&nbsp; Some of the benefactors of privilege are oblivious to it as a social reality and become offended, in a very American individualistic kind of way, to think that they are privileged at all.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;What complicates the European-American experience is the historical social construct of race to create and perpetuate “white privilege.”&nbsp; If I am not inherently superior to you it is hard to justify my taking your land, and taking you to another land against your will, and making you work for me in perpetuity – which means not only do I own you but I own your future and the generations that will come from you.&nbsp;Such arrogant beliefs of inherent superiority make people bestial.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How does the minority, the descendants of former slaves, speak about these things?&nbsp; How can these things be spoken about and with members of the majority culture?&nbsp;&nbsp; White dominance at one time forced a black man to hold down his head and his eyes and his only allowed response was a “yessa masa.”&nbsp; Is the dialogue now only bitterness, is it hate, is it insult, is it condemnation?&nbsp; If we were not Christians this might be an unsurprising historical outcome. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Is the discussion in our current era only about white intransigence, ignorance, and the mockery of inept attempts for reconciliation?&nbsp;&nbsp; Is reconciliation despised both as a process and a goal?&nbsp; Is freedom become by definition a new segregation with a certain triumphalism and assumed moral superiority, but this time on the part of, and driven by, ethnic minorities? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So the dictionary changes where (supposedly) racism can only be exercised or practiced by a majority person or institution that holds power, but cannot and will not be owned by a person of color, since by definition of being a minority they cannot actually hold power.&nbsp;&nbsp; The dictionary changes whereby “racial reconciliation” is a white goal and is now considered a fiction since there was no “conciliation” in the first place.&nbsp; The dictionary changes where any sociological reflection on minority neighborhoods or demographics that delves into pathologies of such communities is off limits as it produces shame and seems to deny the person-hood&nbsp;of those who live there.&nbsp; So, the word "thug" cannot be used because it (supposedly) replaces the “n” word.&nbsp; The dictionary changes as cross-cultural or multi-ethnic cannot be defined as such if a white person is in charge in any meaningful way.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; These are all current examples of problems within racial discussions, and some of it frankly is wrong, arbitrary, illogical, and fueled by an incipient racial agenda rather than a Christian one.&nbsp; The only way to peace is through truth and love.&nbsp; Redefining terms as a way of feeling powerful through provocation doesn’t always get us to peace.&nbsp; Every time I use the word black or white to assign problems, patterns, or pathologies to a certain group it is incumbent on me to be careful and precise about my explanation. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;But not only that, because I am a follower of Jesus, because I am trying to be a peacemaker (which I believe one must be if they are to be faithful to Christ) then I must also be loving, because it is through loving each other that men know that we are His disciples.&nbsp; This means I must be fair, and kind, and gentle, and seeking always to speak the truth in love. &nbsp;If I am faithful to Jesus I must be humble, longsuffering, preferring others in honor, and intentionally seeking to be at peace with them.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Can I not be angry at injustice and sin?&nbsp; Not only can we, we must be, and this is part of telling the truth.&nbsp;&nbsp; Yet, the way I tell the truth says much about my intention.&nbsp; What is my agenda?&nbsp;&nbsp; Where is the commitment to peacemaking? &nbsp;&nbsp;Will I achieve it by humiliating or destroying you? Whether one wishes to use the term racial reconciliation or not, reconciliation is a message and ministry from God and through God’s people; peacekeeping is the way to blessing.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As a believer I am intentionally stuck with a commitment and a submission to the Word of God, the final arbitrator of what is actually true, and right, and good.<o:p></o:p></span></div><span style="font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-size: large;">James 3:17-18 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.&nbsp; Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."</span></span></div>