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Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018  (Read 3058 times)

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patrick jane

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Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« on: September 14, 2018, 12:52:28 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/if-you-really-want-to-help-after-hurricane-florence-set-out-to-be-humble%E2%80%94not-a-hero.4150/

If You Really Want to Help after Hurricane Florence, Set Out to Be Humble—Not a Hero


Leave the cape at home before leaping into action because it’s humble hearts and hands that are needed to save the day.

Hurricane Florence has begun pounding the East coast. If you’re wondering how you can help, the best place to start isn’t an immediate action, but an attitude of humility.

Scripture is clear that humility is essential to service. Jesus instructs his disciples, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). He also preaches it publicly, saying, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt. 23:11-12).

Swooping in to volunteer for the wrong reasons—like wanting to be a hero—is more likely to cause harm than help. It’s humble hearts and hands that will save the day. Humility will help you be more other-oriented and more open to hearing what sort of help survivors actually need.

Below are five biblically and research-supported steps you can take to ensure you are helping with humility on the ground or from afar.

Know your motivation for wanting to help.

Maybe your faith is compelling you to take action. Perhaps you feel moved by the devastating images filling your social media accounts. Compassion might be the driving force behind your altruism. These are all good reasons to help—and we hope you do.

But it’s possible to get involved with helping after a disaster for the wrong reasons. As disaster psychology researchers, we see this over and over again. Some people have what you might call a hero complex. They help not to meet the needs of others, but to meet their own needs.

They are often driven by external motivations, like getting “in on the action.” Other people want to be known as a do-gooder. Others might struggle with anxiety about what happened, and want to do something to alleviate their own negative feelings. If this describes you or someone you know, here’s what we’d advise: Leave the cape at home before leaping into action.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses.

A humble person is able to see and accept their strengths and weaknesses clearly. When your sense of self is not tied to external factors like affirmation or recognition, you can view criticism as an opportunity to grow rather than as a threat to your identity. You can comfortably defer and delegate to people who are better equipped for a task or decision.

Researchers have theorized that humility is an important prerequisite to grow and develop expertise—because it allows you to (a) seek out and incorporate feedback, and (b) engage in deliberate practice. Deliberate practice focuses not on what you already do well, but is designed to help you improve by focusing on skills that push the edges of your current abilities.


Biblical humility recognizes that God is God and we are not—any good we can do is made possible only through him (Phil. 2:5-11). This truth allows us to see ourselves as we truly are without fear of admitting faults or weaknesses.

Don’t assume you know the best way to help.

Each of us is limited by our own experiences, so one of the most important and powerful ways we can practice humility is by listening.

The people affected by the disaster know their own needs better than you do, and if you don’t take them seriously, you won’t be able to offer help that truly addresses those needs. Truly listening to learn from those you are there to assist will keep you from coming across like a “bull in a china shop.”

In 2004, U.S. volunteer traveled to Sri Lanka to help in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Although well-intentioned, the helpers had different assumptions and priorities than the local people, which resulted in ineffective help and unintended harm.

This lack of humility and consideration of culture resulted in the national press labeling the foreign helpers as the “second tsunami.” Engaging with humility, on the other hand, recognizes and acknowledges our limitations and need for listening and learning.

The more superior you try to position yourself, the more likely people will shut down opportunities to help (James 1:19). Humbling asking how you can help makes it more likely that your efforts will meet actual needs. Doing so also makes it easier for survivors to accept you assistance.

Be a team player.

Pitch in where ever help is needed. Humility means recognizing that no job is beneath you. 1 Corinthians 12:20-25 reminds us that in Christ we are all parts of one body, and that “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

What may seem to you like the smallest of jobs might make the biggest difference, and certainly has importance and dignity.

Research on team-building has found that humble individuals are better able to integrate their skills and talents, and contribute to the team’s overall effort. A study on relational humility found that humble individuals are more likely to be viewed with higher group status and acceptance.

When you serve others in this way, you empower the people you are trying to help to not only recover and thrive but to join you in service.

Admit when you make mistakes.

If you help on the ground or from afar, you are going to mess up from time to time. Humility will help you own it when you do. It will also help you view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.

Embracing grace when we err will also help you forgive others you may encounter when helping (Eph. 4:32). Indeed, research has found positive links between humility and forgiveness.

Practicing humility helps untangle your sense of self-worth from your deeds, making it easier to take responsibility for your actions.

Overall, humility will help you respond more effectively to needs left behind in the wake of Hurricane Florence by keeping your motivation in check—and your feet on the ground.





Dr. Jamie Aten is the founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and Blanchard Chair of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL). His latest books include the Disaster Ministry Handbook (InterVarsity Press) and A Walking Disaster: What Katrina and Cancer Taught Me About Faith and Resilience(Templeton Press, forthcoming January 2019).In 2016 he received the FEMA Community Preparedness Champion award at the White House. Follow on Twitter at @drjamieaten or visit his website jamieaten.com.

Dr. Joshua N. Hook is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of North Texas. He is the author of Cultural Humility: Engaging Diverse Identities in Therapy and blogs regularly at www.JoshuaNHook.com.



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« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 12:20:04 am by patrick jane »
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine 09/14/18
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 01:04:49 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/more-than-material-minds.4151/#post-62576


More Than Material Minds

As a Christian and a neuroscientist, I keep learning that to be human is to have a soul.

From Plough Quarterly No. 17: The Soul of Medicine (Summer 2018) Copyright © 2018 by Plough Publishing House. Reposted with permission.

I watched the CAT scan images appear on the screen, one by one. The baby’s head was mostly empty. There were only thin slivers of brain—a bit of brain tissue at the base of the skull, and a thin rim around the edges. The rest was water.

Her parents had feared this. We had seen it on the prenatal ultrasound; the CAT scan, hours after birth, was much more accurate. Katie looked like a normal newborn, but she had little chance at a normal life. She had a fraternal-twin sister in the incubator next to her. But Katie only had a third of the brain that her sister had. I explained all of this to her family, trying to keep alive a flicker of hope for their daughter.

I cared for Katie as she grew up. At every stage of Katie’s life so far, she has excelled. She sat and talked and walked earlier than her sister. She’s made the honor roll. She will soon graduate high school.

I’ve had other patients whose brains fell far short of their minds. Maria had only two-thirds of a brain. She needed a couple of operations to drain fluid, but she thrives. She just finished her master’s degree in English literature, and is a published musician. Jesse was born with a head shaped like a football and half-full of water – doctors told his mother to let him die at birth. She disobeyed. He is a normal happy middle-schooler, loves sports, and wears his hair long.

Some people with deficient brains are profoundly handicapped. But not all are. I’ve treated and cared for scores of kids who grow up with brains that are deficient but minds that thrive. How is this possible? Neuroscience, and Thomas Aquinas, point to the answer.

Is the Mind Mechanical?
As a medical student, I fell in love with the brain. It’s a daunting organ: an ensemble of cells and axons and nuclei and lobes tucked and folded in exotic shapes. I had to learn what it looks like when it’s sliced through by CAT scans, and then what it looks like when I slice through it. My fascination with neuroanatomy was metaphysical: this was where our thoughts and decisions came from, this was a roadmap of the human self, and I was learning to read it as I read a book. It was the truth about us, I thought.

But I was wrong. Katie made me face my misunderstanding. She was a whole person. The child in my office was not mapped in any meaningful way to the scan of her brain or the diagram in my neuroanatomy textbook. The roadmap got it wrong.

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How does the mind relate to the brain? This question is central to my professional life. I thought I had it answered. Yet a century of research and 30 years of my own neurosurgical practice have challenged everything I thought I knew.

The view assumed by those who taught me is that the mind is wholly a product of the brain, which is itself understood as something like a machine. Francis Crick, a neuroscientist and the Nobel laureate who was the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, wrote that “a person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influence them.”

This mechanical philosophy is the result of two steps. It began with Rene Descartes, who argued that the mind and the brain were separate substances, immaterial and material. Somehow (how, neither Descartes nor anyone else can say) the mind is linked to the brain— it’s the ghost in the machine.

But as Francis Bacon’s approach to understanding the world gained ascendency during the scientific Enlightenment, it became fashionable to limit inquiry about the world to physical substances: to study the machine and ignore the ghost. Matter was tractable, and we studied it to obsession. The ghost was ignored, and then denied. This was what the logic of materialism demanded.

The materialist insists that we are slaves of our neurons, without genuine free will. Materialism comes in different flavors, each having passed into and then out of favor over the past century, as their insufficiency became apparent. Behaviorists asserted that the mind, if it exists at all, is irrelevant. All that matters is what is observable—input and output. Yet behaviorism is in eclipse, because it’s difficult to deny the relevance of the mind to neuroscience.

Identity theory, replacing behaviorism, held that the mind just is the brain. Thoughts and sensations are exactly the same thing as brain tissue and neurotransmitters, understood differently. The pain you feel in your finger is identical to the nerve impulses in your arm and in your brain. But, of course, that’s not really true. Pain hurts and nerve impulses are electrical and chemical. They’re not even similar. Identity theorists struggled with uncooperative reality for a generation, then gave up.

Computer functionalism came next: the brain is hardware and mind is software. But this too has problems. Nineteenth-century German philosopher Franz Brentano pointed out that the one thing that absolutely distinguishes thoughts from matter is that thoughts are always about something, and matter is never about anything. This aboutness is the hallmark of the mind. Every thought has a meaning. No material thing has meaning.

Computation is the mapping of an input to an output according to an algorithm, irrespective of meaning. Computation has no aboutness; it is the antithesis of thought.

Neuroscience and Metaphysics
Remarkably, neuroscience tells us three things about the mind: the mind is metaphysically simple, the intellect and will are immaterial, and free will is real.

In the middle of the twentieth century, neurosurgeons discovered that they could treat a certain kind of epilepsy by severing a large bundle of brain fibers, called the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain. Following these operations, each hemisphere worked independently. But what happened to the mind of a person with his or her brain split in half?

The neuroscientist Roger Sperry studied scores of split-brain patients. He found, surprisingly, that in ordinary life the patients showed little effect. Each patient was still one person. The intellect and will—the capacity to have abstract thought and to choose—remained unified. Only by meticulous testing could Sperry find any differences: their perceptions were altered by the surgery. Sensations—elicited by touch or vision—could be presented to one hemisphere of the brain, and not be experienced in the other hemisphere. Speech production is associated with the left hemisphere of the brain; patients could not name an object presented to the right hemisphere (via the left visual field). Yet they could point to the object with their left hand (which is controlled by the right hemisphere). The most remarkable result of Sperry’s Nobel Prize­–winning work was that the person’s intellect and will—what we might call the soul—remained undivided.

The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple.

One of the neurosurgeons who pioneered the corpus callosotomy for epilepsy patients was Wilder Penfield, who worked in Montreal in the middle of the twentieth century. Penfield studied the brains and minds of epileptic patients in a remarkably direct way, in the course of treating them. He operated on people who were awake. The brain itself feels no pain, and local anesthetics numb the scalp and skull enough to permit painless brain surgery. Penfield asked them to do and think things while he was observing and temporarily stimulating or impairing regions of their brains. Two things astonished him.

First, he noticed something about seizures. He could cause seizures by stimulating the brain. A patient would jerk his arm, or feel tingling, or see flashes of light, or even have memories. But what he could never do was cause an intellectual seizure: the patient would never reason when his brain was stimulated. The patient never contemplated mercy or bemoaned injustice or calculated second derivatives in response to brain stimulation. If the brain wholly gives rise to the mind, why are there no intellectual seizures?

Second, Penfield noted that patients always knew that the movement or sensation elicited by brain stimulation was done to them, but not bythem. When Penfield stimulated the arm area of the brain, patients always said, “You made my arm move” and never said, “I moved my arm.” Patients always retained a correct awareness of agency. There was a part of the patient—the will—that Penfield could not reach with his electrode.

Penfield began his career as a materialist. He finished his career as an emphatic dualist. He insisted that there is an aspect of the self—the intellect and the will—that is not the brain, and that cannot be elicited by stimulation of the brain.

Some of the most fascinating research on consciousness was done by Penfield’s contemporary Benjamin Libet at the University of California, San Francisco. Libet asked: What happens in the brain when we think? How are electrical signals in the brain related to our thoughts? He was particularly interested in the timing of brain waves and thoughts. Did a brain wave happen at the same moment as the thought, or before, or after?

It was a difficult question to answer. It wasn’t hard to measure electrical changes in the brain: that could be done routinely by electrodes on the scalp, and Libet enlisted neurosurgeons to allow him to record signals deep in the brain while patients were awake. The challenge Libet faced was to accurately measure the time interval between the signals and the thoughts. But the signals last only a few milliseconds, and how can you time a thought with that kind of accuracy?

Libet began by choosing a very simple thought: the decision to press a button. He modified an oscilloscope so that a dot circled the screen once each second, and when the subject decided to push the button, he or she noted the location of the dot at the time of the decision. Libet measured the timing of the decision and the timing of the brain waves of many volunteers with accuracy in the tens of milliseconds. Consistently he found that the conscious decision to push the button was preceded by about half a second by a brain wave, which he called the readiness potential. Then a half-second later the subject became aware of his decision. It appeared at first that the subjects were not free; their brains made the decision to move and they followed it.

But Libet looked deeper. He asked his subjects to veto their decision immediately after they made it—to not push the button. Again, the readiness potential appeared a half-second before conscious awareness of the decision to push the button, but Libet found that the veto—he called it “free won’t”—had no brain wave corresponding to it.

The brain, then, has activity that corresponds to a pre-conscious urge to do something. But we are free to veto or accept this urge. The motives are material. The veto, and implicitly the acceptance, is an immaterial act of the will.

Libet noted the correspondence between his experiments and the traditional religious understanding of human beings. We are, he said, beset by a sea of inclinations, corresponding to material activity in our brains, which we have the free choice to reject or accept. It is hard not to read this in more familiar terms: we are tempted by sin, yet we are free to choose.

The approach to understanding the world and ourselves that was replaced by materialism was that of classical metaphysics. This tradition’s most notable investigator and teacher was Saint Thomas Aquinas. Following Aristotle, Aquinas wrote that the human soul has distinct kinds of abilities. Vegetative powers, shared by plants and animals, serve growth, nourishment, and metabolism. Sensitive powers, shared with animals, include perception, passions, and locomotion. The vegetative and sensitive powers are material abilities of the brain.

Yet human beings have two powers of the soul that are not material—intellect and will. These transcend matter. They are the means by which we reason, and by which we choose based on reason. We are composites of matter and spirit. We have spiritual souls.

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Aquinas would not be surprised by the results of these researchers’ investigations.

What’s at Stake
Philosopher Roger Scruton has written that contemporary neuroscience is “a vast collection of answers with no memory of the questions.” Materialism has limited the kinds of questions that we’re allowed to ask, but neuroscience, pursued without a materialist bias, points towards the reality that we are chimeras: material beings with immaterial souls.

How would our lives or our society be different if we found that our mind was merely the product of our material brain and that our every decision was determined, with no free will?

The cornerstone of totalitarianism, according to Hannah Arendt, is the denial of free will. Under the visions of Communism and Nazism, we are mere instruments of historical forces, not individual free agents who can choose good or evil.

Without free will, we cannot be guilty in an individual sense. But we also cannot be innocent. Neither the Jews under Hitler nor Kulak farmers under Stalin were killed because they were individually at fault. Their guilt was assigned to them according to their type, and accordingly they were exterminated to hasten a natural process, whether the purification of the race or the dictatorship of the proletariat.

By contrast, the classical understanding of human nature is that we are free beings not subject to determinism. This understanding is the indispensable basis for human liberty and dignity. It is indispensable, too, for simply making sense of the world around us: among other things, for making sense of Katie.

I see her in my office each year. She is thriving: headstrong and bright. Her mother is exasperated, and, after seventeen years, still surprised. So am I.

There is much about the brain and the mind that I don’t understand. But neuroscience tells a consistent story. There is a part of Katie’s mind that is not her brain. She is more than that. She can reason and she can choose. There is a part of her that is immaterial—the part that Sperry couldn’t split, that Penfield couldn’t reach, and that Libet couldn’t find with his electrodes. There is a part of Katie that didn’t show up on those CAT scans when she was born.

Katie, like you and me, has a soul.





Michael Egnor, MD, is a neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery and pediatrics at Stony Brook University.





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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 02:13:38 am by patrick jane »
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine 09/14/18
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 01:07:50 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/myers-briggs-and-other-mirrors-for-the-soul.4148/#post-62516


Myers-Briggs and Other Mirrors for the Soul


A new history of the ubiquitous personality test sheds light on what it can and can’t deliver.

Know thyself. This phrase is inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, which was built in the 4th century B.C. It’s most commonly attributed to Socrates (470–399 B.C.), who often referred to this Delphic aphorism in his teachings. Suffice it to say, this phrase has a long history.

Without knowing its origins, however, one might mistake it for the anthem of our own day. Our society is infused with self: self-discovery, self-help, selfies. Knowing thyself seems to be the root of our daily existence. Yet, for all our self-reflection, few of us would claim success in knowing the depths of our own hearts and souls. If anything, the quest has made us aware of all we don’t know, thereby intensifying our desire to unlock the mysteries within.

The desire to know ourselves is what prompts us, for example, to take those online pop-culture quizzes. We long to know which movie or TV character we most resemble or which Mamma Mia! character would be our BFF. Do you know which Hogwarts house you would be sorted into? Or which iconic ’90s music video you are? We click through the questions, despite doubting the scientific accuracy of the results—perhaps this is the missing knowledge that will finally give us a defining sense of self.

The Quest for the Perfect Personality

Interest in personality testing actually began long before these quizzes. There’s a history here too—not as far back as Socrates, of course, but one full of mystery nonetheless. One test in particular, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), is the subject of a new book by Merve Emre, an associate professor of English at Oxford University. Titled The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing, the book traces the development of the Myers-Briggs test, assessing its impact on our culture and examining both the praise and criticism it has garnered.

Why all the fuss about a single personality quiz? As Emre explains, the Myers-Briggs is a lucrative $500 million industry and an influential field of study spanning “twenty-six countries and more than two dozen languages.” The reach of this particular test is unlike any other. Despite its prominent place in personality-profile history—or, perhaps, because of it—the Myers-Briggs receives plenty of scorn for how it was created and developed. And revealing that backstory is where Emre’s book shines.

The Personality Brokers takes us to the beginning, before Myers-Briggs was an assessment tool, and introduces us to its creators: Katherine Cook Briggs (1875–1968) and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers (1897–1980). Development began when Katherine sought to “conduct daily trials in living that would shape the outer and inner worlds of the people she loved best” by making “her home into a laboratory of personality research.” Katherine was a home scientist; her family, the experimental subjects. Over the course of Isabel’s childhood, Katherine took notes and tested theories in her quest to mold Isabel into the picture-perfect child. The results were positive and obvious to all.

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Eventually, Katherine opened her home to neighbors and acquaintances who wanted to learn these successful parenting techniques for rearing their own children. Key to parenting success, according to Katherine, was understanding the child’s personality type; the questionnaire she developed was the precursor to the personality test now used by countless corporations, government entities, and universities.

Much transpired between that first home survey and today’s Myers-Briggs. The details unfold novel-like from one chapter to the next in The Personality Brokers. Besides the creators, we meet various influencers (Carl Jung, Edward Hay, Donald MacKinnon, Mary McCaulley, and others) and early adopters (like the US government, Educational Testing Service, and the University of California, Berkeley).

Emre takes readers along for the wild ride as the Myers-Briggs evolves from infancy to youth to maturity—no easy road. From the start, the test had as many fierce critics as champions. The main critique lodged against it was that the questions and results were pieced together over several decades by two people with no formal training in psychoanalysis. In addition, results were often inconsistent for test subjects over time. All things considered, it’s truly a marvel the Myers-Briggs survived its pilgrimage to become such a commonplace assessment tool.

A Diagnosis, not a Cure
The first time I took the Myers-Briggs, I was in my early 20s, and I was completely unaware of the history or the controversy. I approached the “test” with enthusiasm, carefully marking my answer sheet as I processed my responses to questions about my preferences for social situations, hobbies, work environment, and the like. The questions are “forced-choice,” so respondents select one of two answers—which means you are sometimes choosing an answer that is close enough but not exactly right. This bothered me, as I feared settling for an answer would skew the results. This too is a common critique of Myers-Briggs, one that Isabel Myers justified using the Jungian theory of “enantiodromia,” what Erme describes as “a ‘going over to the opposite’ in which one of the preferences a person did not express [in the first test] ascended to a ‘much more honored place’ in the psyche” by the second test. Myers believed the test assisted its subjects in self-discovery, revealing deeper truths with every pass.

The test provides subjects with a type (one of 16) based on results from four key categories:

Are you outwardly or inwardly focused? (Extraversion or Introversion)

How do you prefer to take in information? (Sensing or Intuition)

How do you prefer to make decisions? (Thinking or Feeling)

How do you prefer to live your outer life? (Judging or Perceiving)

My first results were more affirmation than surprise. While I was not shocked with my INFP type, what was surprising was how meaningful it was to read about my type and how INFPs function in the world. For example, I didn’t realize that making decisions in the moment was something common to Perceiving types but utterly stressful to Judging types. And it now made sense why my dreamy, overly detailed way of speaking (Intuitive type) didn’t click well with some people (Sensing types).

Socrates was right—understanding myself was key to better living. Being aware of specific ways people are wired has helped me show grace for others (and sometimes even for myself). It’s hard to love your neighbor as yourself when your neighbor acts in very different, often confusing or downright annoying ways. The 16 Myers-Briggs personality types have given us a place to start in relating well to others. In this sense, Emre is correct to observe that the Myers-Briggs has given us “a shared ethos of self-contemplation, an inward gaze that many people once looked to religious institutions and religious authorities to provide.”

It may be this shift that raises suspicions among so many people of faith. Should God’s people rely on tools developed outside of the faith to speak to our human condition? Is it possible for a tool designed by flawed humans to speak truth? Like all man-made constructs, there are flaws and blind spots in the Myers-Briggs. Some Christians believe personality profiling to be nearly evil and call true believers to shun such things. Others call for a tempered approach: Take what’s good, discard the rest, and beware how much power you give your type.

https://acton.org/tgs?utm_campaign=The%20Good%20Society%20Launch&utm_source=Christianity%20Today%20350%20x%20200
Such is the caution Alistair Roberts issues in an article at Mere Orthodoxy:

We are tempted to treat our personality type as justification and explanation for our behaviour, rather than discerning appropriate forms of behaviour and desire from their relation to fitting objective ends. We should observe the measure of circularity that can be present here: in using our personality types as justification for our patterns of behaviour we can forget that our personality typing was derived in large measure from those same patterns.

Learning our type, in essence, is equivalent to gazing into a mirror for the soul. The Myers-Briggs highlights patterns and tendencies, but it doesn’t have the power to help us correct the weak parts of who we are. It hands us a diagnosis, not a cure. Knowing yourself—knowing your type—isn’t enough, because the knowledge isn’t enough to set us free. We are still a people in need of a Savior, no matter which four letters the Myers-Briggs test assigns us.





Erin Straza is managing editor of Christ and Pop Culture and host of the Persuasion podcast. She is the author of Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits That Bind You (InterVarsity Press).




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine 09/14/18
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2018, 07:21:33 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/myers-briggs-and-other-mirrors-for-the-soul.4148/#post-62516


Myers-Briggs and Other Mirrors for the Soul


A new history of the ubiquitous personality test sheds light on what it can and can’t deliver.

Know thyself. This phrase is inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, which was built in the 4th century B.C. It’s most commonly attributed to Socrates (470–399 B.C.), who often referred to this Delphic aphorism in his teachings. Suffice it to say, this phrase has a long history.

Without knowing its origins, however, one might mistake it for the anthem of our own day. Our society is infused with self: self-discovery, self-help, selfies. Knowing thyself seems to be the root of our daily existence. Yet, for all our self-reflection, few of us would claim success in knowing the depths of our own hearts and souls. If anything, the quest has made us aware of all we don’t know, thereby intensifying our desire to unlock the mysteries within.

The desire to know ourselves is what prompts us, for example, to take those online pop-culture quizzes. We long to know which movie or TV character we most resemble or which Mamma Mia! character would be our BFF. Do you know which Hogwarts house you would be sorted into? Or which iconic ’90s music video you are? We click through the questions, despite doubting the scientific accuracy of the results—perhaps this is the missing knowledge that will finally give us a defining sense of self.

The Quest for the Perfect Personality

Interest in personality testing actually began long before these quizzes. There’s a history here too—not as far back as Socrates, of course, but one full of mystery nonetheless. One test in particular, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), is the subject of a new book by Merve Emre, an associate professor of English at Oxford University. Titled The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing, the book traces the development of the Myers-Briggs test, assessing its impact on our culture and examining both the praise and criticism it has garnered.

Why all the fuss about a single personality quiz? As Emre explains, the Myers-Briggs is a lucrative $500 million industry and an influential field of study spanning “twenty-six countries and more than two dozen languages.” The reach of this particular test is unlike any other. Despite its prominent place in personality-profile history—or, perhaps, because of it—the Myers-Briggs receives plenty of scorn for how it was created and developed. And revealing that backstory is where Emre’s book shines.

The Personality Brokers takes us to the beginning, before Myers-Briggs was an assessment tool, and introduces us to its creators: Katherine Cook Briggs (1875–1968) and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers (1897–1980). Development began when Katherine sought to “conduct daily trials in living that would shape the outer and inner worlds of the people she loved best” by making “her home into a laboratory of personality research.” Katherine was a home scientist; her family, the experimental subjects. Over the course of Isabel’s childhood, Katherine took notes and tested theories in her quest to mold Isabel into the picture-perfect child. The results were positive and obvious to all.

http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/umns-subscription-form#utm_source=Christianity%20Today&utm_medium=300%20x%20250%20Daily%20Digest&utm_campaign=oTb-2018%20UMNS
Eventually, Katherine opened her home to neighbors and acquaintances who wanted to learn these successful parenting techniques for rearing their own children. Key to parenting success, according to Katherine, was understanding the child’s personality type; the questionnaire she developed was the precursor to the personality test now used by countless corporations, government entities, and universities.

Much transpired between that first home survey and today’s Myers-Briggs. The details unfold novel-like from one chapter to the next in The Personality Brokers. Besides the creators, we meet various influencers (Carl Jung, Edward Hay, Donald MacKinnon, Mary McCaulley, and others) and early adopters (like the US government, Educational Testing Service, and the University of California, Berkeley).

Emre takes readers along for the wild ride as the Myers-Briggs evolves from infancy to youth to maturity—no easy road. From the start, the test had as many fierce critics as champions. The main critique lodged against it was that the questions and results were pieced together over several decades by two people with no formal training in psychoanalysis. In addition, results were often inconsistent for test subjects over time. All things considered, it’s truly a marvel the Myers-Briggs survived its pilgrimage to become such a commonplace assessment tool.

A Diagnosis, not a Cure
The first time I took the Myers-Briggs, I was in my early 20s, and I was completely unaware of the history or the controversy. I approached the “test” with enthusiasm, carefully marking my answer sheet as I processed my responses to questions about my preferences for social situations, hobbies, work environment, and the like. The questions are “forced-choice,” so respondents select one of two answers—which means you are sometimes choosing an answer that is close enough but not exactly right. This bothered me, as I feared settling for an answer would skew the results. This too is a common critique of Myers-Briggs, one that Isabel Myers justified using the Jungian theory of “enantiodromia,” what Erme describes as “a ‘going over to the opposite’ in which one of the preferences a person did not express [in the first test] ascended to a ‘much more honored place’ in the psyche” by the second test. Myers believed the test assisted its subjects in self-discovery, revealing deeper truths with every pass.

The test provides subjects with a type (one of 16) based on results from four key categories:

Are you outwardly or inwardly focused? (Extraversion or Introversion)

How do you prefer to take in information? (Sensing or Intuition)

How do you prefer to make decisions? (Thinking or Feeling)

How do you prefer to live your outer life? (Judging or Perceiving)

My first results were more affirmation than surprise. While I was not shocked with my INFP type, what was surprising was how meaningful it was to read about my type and how INFPs function in the world. For example, I didn’t realize that making decisions in the moment was something common to Perceiving types but utterly stressful to Judging types. And it now made sense why my dreamy, overly detailed way of speaking (Intuitive type) didn’t click well with some people (Sensing types).

Socrates was right—understanding myself was key to better living. Being aware of specific ways people are wired has helped me show grace for others (and sometimes even for myself). It’s hard to love your neighbor as yourself when your neighbor acts in very different, often confusing or downright annoying ways. The 16 Myers-Briggs personality types have given us a place to start in relating well to others. In this sense, Emre is correct to observe that the Myers-Briggs has given us “a shared ethos of self-contemplation, an inward gaze that many people once looked to religious institutions and religious authorities to provide.”

It may be this shift that raises suspicions among so many people of faith. Should God’s people rely on tools developed outside of the faith to speak to our human condition? Is it possible for a tool designed by flawed humans to speak truth? Like all man-made constructs, there are flaws and blind spots in the Myers-Briggs. Some Christians believe personality profiling to be nearly evil and call true believers to shun such things. Others call for a tempered approach: Take what’s good, discard the rest, and beware how much power you give your type.

https://acton.org/tgs?utm_campaign=The%20Good%20Society%20Launch&utm_source=Christianity%20Today%20350%20x%20200
Such is the caution Alistair Roberts issues in an article at Mere Orthodoxy:

We are tempted to treat our personality type as justification and explanation for our behaviour, rather than discerning appropriate forms of behaviour and desire from their relation to fitting objective ends. We should observe the measure of circularity that can be present here: in using our personality types as justification for our patterns of behaviour we can forget that our personality typing was derived in large measure from those same patterns.

Learning our type, in essence, is equivalent to gazing into a mirror for the soul. The Myers-Briggs highlights patterns and tendencies, but it doesn’t have the power to help us correct the weak parts of who we are. It hands us a diagnosis, not a cure. Knowing yourself—knowing your type—isn’t enough, because the knowledge isn’t enough to set us free. We are still a people in need of a Savior, no matter which four letters the Myers-Briggs test assigns us.





Erin Straza is managing editor of Christ and Pop Culture and host of the Persuasion podcast. She is the author of Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits That Bind You (InterVarsity Press).




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Good one PJ

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2018, 07:10:19 am »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/china-on-my-mind-why-we-all-must-care-about-our-suffering-brothers-and-sisters.4167/#post-63516

China on My Mind: Why We All Must Care about Our Suffering Brothers and Sisters


Their suffering does not go unnoticed by God, and so it should never go unnoticed by us.


Friends, our brothers and sisters in China covet your prayers.

This past Sunday, Zion Church—one of Beijing’s largest house churches—is being persecuted by Chinese government authorities. These threats came after months of persecution and harassment endured by Zion’s pastor Jin “Ezra” Mingri and many parishioners.

To add some background, the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities has been taking place in China for decades; the country has been listed as a country of particular concern on the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom report since 1999.

But religious persecution as a whole in China has been on the upswing ever since President Xi took office back in 2013. Under his leadership, the nation has tightened its grip on religious affairs taking place within its borders.

In February of this year, a list of Regulations for Religious Affairs was released by the Chinese government with the supposed aim of “protect[ing] citizens’ freedom of religious belief.” The governments actions, however, continue to speak louder than their words.

After Pastor Mingri refused authorities request for the church to install video cameras for “security reasons,” the retaliation began. Parishioners were harassed by government officials. The church’s landlord suddenly evicted them from their building. Pamphlets were distributed to Zion’s attendees advertising the “officially sanctioned” churches that they might attend.

Sadly, this story isn’t told in isolation; churches across the country could tell us similar tales of the ways President Xi and his officials are attacking their religious rights. The Chinese government wants its people to worship God on their terms and in their facilities—house churches, where roughly 35 million of China’s 58 million Christians worship, threaten their regulative authority.

Recently, more than 250 Chinese leaders wrote and signed a statement in open protest of the state’s continued violation of their “human freedoms.” They bravely declared at the conclusion of their statement:

[We] will not accept any “ban” or “fine” imposed on our churches due to our faith. For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses—even the loss of our freedom and our lives.

A problem of ignorance

I worry that there’s a growing trend amongst Christians living in the West—a problem of ignorance. Is the church here in the U.S. truly aware of what’s happening to their brothers and sisters overseas? I think, and I fear, that many pastors, churches, and church attendees simply are not.


The reality is that 215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution; according to the World Watch List, this figure represents 1 in 12 Christians worldwide.

To clarify, persecution in these individual’s terms doesn’t look like side-glances from a coworker or rude comments from a neighbor about a front yard nativity scene. Cultural opposition towards faith is real here in the United States and especially in Europe—but it’s not persecution in the same sense that pastor Mingri and his congregation in Beijing know it to be.

Persecution for many followers of Jesus looks like abduction, rape, detainment in prison, or loss of life and limb. It looks like gathering to worship on a Sunday morning all to find that your church’s cross has been burned, gathering spaces decorated with Communist propaganda, and sacred images stolen.

It looks like living in fear of ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and organized crime all as penalty for living as a follower of Jesus in the presence of an antagonistic government and culture.

The persecution that these Chinese Christians and countless others are experiencing is real. It’s not just discomfort, it’s not just harassment, it’s not just mistreatment, it’s the kind of “fiery trial” that Peter spoke of in 1 Peter 4:12—one that endangers believer’s economic stability, safety, and sometimes even their very lives.

Their suffering does not go unnoticed by God, and so it should never go unnoticed by us.

Ignorance is not an excuse; we’ve been compelled to act.

Our response

Church, it is our right and privilege to stand alongside our Chinese brothers and sisters in prayer during this time of suffering.

Many of us feel isolated from the issues at hand due to geographic location and other cultural and language barriers. But this disconnect shouldn’t stop us from getting down on our knees on their behalf.

According to Scripture, regardless of the many boundaries that separate us, the church has been called to unity. Passage after passage, it’s clear that when believers love one another, the world can’t help but be pointed heavenward.

Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is compelling:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17: 22-23)

So, too, is John’s exhortation of believers:

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12).

As members of the body of Christ, loving each another is the only option—selflessly serving and praying for our fellow believers are the primary ways we live out this call to unity.

May our hearts break for our brothers and sisters in China and all over the world living under abusive government structures. May we be humbled by their great faith, inspired by their commitment to Christ and, most importantly, compelled to lift them up in prayer.




Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -

Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 08:22:33 am »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/how-poetry-quiets-the-%E2%80%98pandemonium-of-blab%E2%80%99.4175/#post-63682

How Poetry Quiets the ‘Pandemonium of Blab’


Poet Christian Wiman helps us tune our ears to silence, so God's voice won't be lost in the noise.

If I could, I would give this review a flashing, neon title. I would aim on it a bright and roving spotlight. I would print it up like a recruitment poster, pointing finger and all, because I WANT YOU, yes you, to read this book.

You’re not that interested in art? Poetry isn’t really your thing? Your stack of books to read is already too high? Make those apologies, and I will only press my point harder. It is precisely because there are too many voices calling for our attention—too many books on our bedside tables, too many apps fired up on our screens—that we, as people of faith, should tune our ears to silence. Poets, in particular, help us do exactly that. Only when the “pandemonium of blab—ceases,” Christian Wiman writes, can we “hear—and what some of us hear … is a still, small voice.”

Poetry depends on silence. It depends on the word not written, the pause of line break or comma, the white space on the page. If you are intrigued by the silence that poems can open up in and around words when those words are placed with artful precision and concision, you could dive right in to the quiet rhythms of T. S. Eliot’s quartets, Seamus Heaney’s metaphors, or Mary Oliver’s epiphanies. I suggest beginning with He Held Radical Light, the latest offering from Wiman, a poet, editor, and, most recently, divinity school professor.

Pressing into the Silence


He Held Radical Light is a book-length essay woven of spiritual memoir, literary criticism, and lyric poetry. It demonstrates with intelligence, honesty, and humor how vital poetry can be for any exploration of faith, an argument the subtitle (“The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art”) makes succinctly, as if it, too, were a kind of poem. This is not a book about art and faith, as if one or the other could be peeled away and considered singly. Instead, this book suggests that the field of imagination is one of the most significant places where the divine and the mortal can meet. If that is true, who among us would refuse to travel there merely because we have always found poetry “difficult” or life has become “too busy” for the poetry we once loved?

Wiman is worth listening to because he is himself an accomplished poet and, thanks in part to a decade at the helm of Poetry magazine, he is intimately acquainted with the lives and the works of so many of the best poets of the last century. With Wiman as our guide, we witness his highly personal, sometimes surprising encounters with poets—among them Heaney and Oliver—and what those encounters reveal about the relationship between the life (and faith) of the artist and the art itself. We are also shown how Wiman reads poems, thus becoming more perceptive readers ourselves without any heavy-handed lessons in “how to read a poem.”

But Wiman is also worth listening to because he is a dying poet and a dying man. He is dying in the sense that we are, each of us, dying, but his dying has more urgency and more pain: In 2005, on his 39th birthday, Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer. Since then, as he has recounted in his earlier memoir, My Bright Abyss, he has undergone hospitalizations, chemotherapies, and even a bone marrow transplant. While neither of his unconventional memoirs offers much medical detail, they offer enough to understand that a poet who can feel his own cells wreaking havoc is a poet for whom the reality of death is more real than it is for most of us.

Why does this matter? It matters because, as Wiman writes, “Resurrection is a fiction and a distraction to anyone who refuses to face the reality of death.” I claimed this book could tune our ears to silence, but I might have said it could tune our ears to what Wiman calls the “final silence” of death. I’m sure you understand why I buried this analogy beneath five full paragraphs. Who among us is eager to confront the prospect of our own demise? The answer to this question goes far in explaining our collective addiction to the “pandemonium of blab.”

But for the faithful seeker willing to press into the silence, or for the one who has had silence pressed upon his or her self by diagnosis or despair, Wiman is a relatable artist-guide. The memoir elements of this book, peppered with honest self-deprecation and confession, insure that Wiman is no poet on a pedestal. He is too human for that, too mortal as well, and he has accepted the painful truth that even his poems are mortal. He recounts the “galactic chill” he felt in his soul when, at the age of 38, he heard his friend and our 14th poet laureate, Donald Hall, casually mention, “I was thirty-eight when I realized not a word I wrote was going to last.” This book asks us to consider that not only will our bodies die but so will much (perhaps all?) of the work of our hands. If poets go on writing, if we go on working and creating, then it must be for some other reason than securing some portion of immortality.

An epigraph from Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez introduces the notion of the poet as spiritual guide on page one: “The world does not need to come from a god. For better or worse, the world is here. But it does need to go to one (where is he?), and that is why the poet exists.” In our day, religion and science both seem fixated on origins. Wiman’s book implies that this fixation is a distraction from a much more pertinent and personal question: Where am I headed? Wiman claims, “One either lives toward God or not.” He gives that simple statement the power of poetic refrain by repeating it twice in one prose paragraph.

Poetry Is Not Enough
Some readers might find Wiman’s definition of faith too simplistic. Those for whom faith has more content might bristle when Wiman, referring to speculation about the poet Wallace Stevens and a deathbed conversion to Catholicism, writes, “I yawn just pondering it.” For Wiman, the “creative faith” of a poem like “The Planet on the Table” is “enough,” though he is careful to add that the poem is enough “because it enacts and acknowledges its own insufficiency.” For Wiman, the weakness or failure of poetry can become a “lens” with the potential to reveal an ultimate spiritual truth and a final spiritual reality that the poem can only ever suggest in glimmering moments that collude with eternity but never encompass, explain, or define it.

Though Wiman does not often invoke the names Jesus or Christ, and then only to push against the highly familiar ways most American Christians use those names, he is absolutely concerned with the content of faith. Too many of the poets he reads, admires, and shares with us in this book have a faith in the art itself that Wiman finds completely inadequate. “Art is not enough,” he writes, and again, “poetry is not enough” because “at some point you need a universally redemptive activity. You need grace that has nothing to do with your own efforts.” Poetry matters, not because it saves, but because it can help us perceive the ultimate reality of a saving grace that lies not above, beneath, or even beyond the experience of death, but somehow within it.

If we as Christian believers already feel ourselves well acquainted with this amazing grace, does the art of poetry have less to offer us? On this question, Wiman speaks persuasively not only as a dying man but as a living one. Since his diagnosis, he has married, become a father, found faith, written more poems, and grieved the deaths of poets, young and old, whom he admired and whom he called friend. He has known the “tangle of pain and praise.” He has experienced the dying that leads to life.

A poem by A. R. Ammons suggests that life is found in God but God is found in death, and Wiman hears in it echoes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”), and in Bonhoeffer he hears echoes of Jesus himself (“Whoever would save his life will lose it …”). You and I have read Christ’s words in our Bibles countless times, we have heard them spoken in our churches Sunday after Sunday, yet in their familiarity they risk becoming only one more sound in the general noise of our distracted lives. Heaney, as Wiman reminds us, once claimed that poetry “set the darkness echoing.” The paradox of poetry becomes the paradox of Christianity: In death, we receive the Word of life. Having read He Held Radical Light, my ears are freshly tuned to hear and to respond to Christ’s liberating, devastating invitation.




Christie Purifoy lives with her husband and four children in a farmhouse in Southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons (Revell) and the forthcoming Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace (Zondervan).




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 02:42:59 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/can-you-hear-me-now.4178/#post-63726


Can You Hear Me Now?


In an age when most are rushing to have their say, Christians can love by giving others a hearing.

I remember having a discussion around faith matters years ago with an intelligent person. I met him at an event I was attending with a few friends. On one particular evening, we all decided to have dinner together. Just from the incidental conversations we had before this meal, I knew that he and I did not see eye to eye on many issues.

After the meal finished, the three others got up to use the restroom while he and I sat talking across the table. We entered into a contentious theological issue, and it soon felt as though someone had turned up the temperature in the room. His face became red, and I am sure mine was too.

Eventually he looked at me and said, “Oh I understand now. You are a foundationalist!” If I weren’t so caught up in the emotion of the conversation at the time, I would have asked him what a foundationalist is.

He quickly moved on to his next accusation, clothed in the form of a question: “Tell me, where did you study?” When I mentioned the two universities at which I had done post-graduate education, he dropped his case against me. In hindsight, I am convinced that he was looking to categorize me, but he couldn’t do it because the universities I mentioned simply would not fit the anticipated boxes to be ticked.

As I think back to that intense conversation, I wonder how I could have navigated that situation better and how the Christian faith might inform my frame of mind.

Many of us have been in conversations like this in which we stop listening to the person with whom we are speaking. Lyell Asher, English professor at Lewis and Clark College, proposes a meaningful antidote to this challenge in his American Scholar article. He makes the point that instead of listening for what others might say, we need to recover the art of listening to others. If you have ever been on the receiving end of the listening for conversation, you know what this feels like.

When we simply listen for what another person is saying, we reduce that person down to a stereotype that we already have in our mind. This kind of listening is not really listening. It is merely argument formulation masquerading as listening.

When we listen to others, it is as if the posture and disposition of the conversation becomes open-handed. Listening to another person implicitly says, “I want to learn from you even if I don’t agree with you.” As Christians who are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, this strikes me as exactly the sort of thing we are called to do.

http://www.apu.edu/seminary?a=2526
Recovering the Art of Critical Thinking
After watching a certain protest in the news recently, I could not help but think that this listening dynamic or lack thereof is contributing profoundly to the great disconnect and anger in many of the cultural conversations today. Just think of the many protests we hear of on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

More on Listening:

Why We Argue Best with Our Mouths Shut

Quick to Listen: Talking Is Not Going to Change the World
Regardless of who is right and who is wrong in each particular case, much of the disillusionment and confusion stems from our inability to understand each other. In politics, higher education, and increasingly in sport, the “us versus them” mentality haunts us. Issues that might have once been talked about are simply no-go areas in classrooms, locker rooms, and restaurants. The issues are complex, no doubt, but I wonder if one step in the right direction through this volatile terrain might be recovering the art of critical thinking?

In the foreword for Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, there are two portraits of the future painted for the reader. One comes from George Orwell’s 1984 and the other is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The author outlines Orwell’s and Huxley’s views of the future and how they both shared concerns with how the truth would be handled.

As he looked into the future, Orwell feared that truth would be concealed from us. Huxley’s concern was that the truth would be “drowned in a sea of irrelevance.” Postman’s book, penned in 1985, sides with Huxley’s view of the future, and as I read it, I could not help but feel that we have arrived in the moment foretold by Huxley.

Day after day in our 24/7, always-on news cycle, we are bombarded with images, stories, and statements that show the outworking of what Huxley feared. Truth, it seems, is drowning in a sea of irrelevance. Huxley believed truth would be lost in a sea of irrelevance through the deluge of information we would be inundated with. The important would get buried in a sea of irrelevant news.

Indeed, this is a real challenge for us today. But I wonder if the problem lies more in our disposition to simply not listen and learn from others. Yes, truth is being lost in a sea of irrelevance, like Huxley predicted, but the bombardment of information is not the only culprit for this trend. I think a greater problem is that we do not really want to think and listen to others.

Social critic Os Guinness tells the story of a person who studied under Francis Schaeffer. On one particular evening in a French bar room, the student was having a drink with a skeptic. The skeptic asked this Schaeffer protégé many questions about faith. To every question came a response that was nearly word for word from Francis Schaeffer. Finally there came a point in the conversation in which the skeptic, who had actually read much of Schaeffer’s writing, looked at the Christian and said, “Excuse me, but do you write with a Schaeffer pen too?”

The skeptic’s point was that while he was asking genuine questions he was receiving stock answers being trotted out mechanically. Each question was greeted by a ready-made response. They might have been good answers in another context, but they did not seem to grapple with the questions being asked by that particular questioner. True and genuine thinking was not taking place

I confess I am guilty of the same categorization that my friend placed upon me in that heated exchange I wrote about earlier. I have been in conversations with others and have tried to figure out where to place the other person. The problem with this approach (aside from being disrespectful and ignoring a person’s dignity) is that listening for fails to acknowledge the real complexity of what makes up a person’s opinion and line of argument.

More importantly, simply listening for what a person is going to say models an extremely reductionistic view of the human person. It is as if we are saying that our conversational partner can be reduced to a mere set of lists, categories, and sound bites. But are we as human beings not more complex and more sophisticated than that? Is it not the art and discipline of listening—truly listening—that gives our conversations dignity, worth, and civility?

Listening Is Hard Work
Perhaps one of the reasons many of us find it difficult to listen in conversations is because genuine listening takes more work and critical thought. Worryingly, I am convinced that we have become skilled in learning what to think, but not as strong in learning how to think. We are good at clinging to content and conversations that substantiate what we believe and what works within our view of the world. But as soon as we encounter a contradictory opinion to ours, no matter how intelligent it is, we have difficulty engaging it. The tendency is to move away or to tune it out.

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Instead of listening to the other person who is sharing an opposing thought to ours, our default setting is to place them into a category that we can comprehend—a category that will keep our own views and convictions intact.

When we find it hard to understand opposing views and we enter into a mode of thought that seeks to place the opposing opinion in a category, are we not implying that we do not desire the truth? Yes, our views and convictions might survive the conversation, but the end result is that the truth, at least our desire for it, has drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

Recently I was speaking to a group of senior high students who were about to head off to college. During the question and answer time of my session, one particular student expressly disagreed with a point I made in my talk. The room slowly became quiet. Many students turned their heads to the ground. As it became my turn to respond, there was pin-drop silence. The roaming microphone was then taken away from the questioner and I began my response.

I thanked the questioner for his question and comments. I then asked if we could bring back the roaming microphone so that he and I could continue the conversation. I expanded on the points I made in my talk that he called into question, and we had a meaningful dialogue. After the session ended, one colleague came to me and said, “I missed some of your talk, but I loved the way in which you gave the microphone to the person who asked the most controversial question.”

Truthfully, I would not have made that observation on my own. But in hearing my colleague’s feedback, it reminded me that one of the most significant ways we can navigate tough conversations is to ensure that each person in the conversation is heard.

Christianity Speaks to the Challenge
So what might Christianity have to say to these challenges? As I look at the way the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul interacted with others, I find two practical ways their interaction with others can shape how we think about conversations.

1. Be open and willing to engage with those with whom we do not agree.
There are many stories of Jesus in which we see him embodying this attitude. Even when others come to trick him, he still listens to and interacts with them. When the Pharisees and Herodians come to trap Jesus in Matthew 22:15–22, they ask him whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus responds by asking for a coin, and he then asks them whose image is on that coin. They acknowledge that Caesar’s image is on the coin. Jesus famously says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (ESV).

Matthew’s gospel continues: “When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.” We are not sure if these exact people ever engaged with Jesus again. But just by his willingness and courage to engage with those with whom he disagreed, a meaningful conversation was had.

Commentators often make special note of the question that Jesus asked this politically charged and theologically fierce group. He asked them a question about image. In the ancient world, images denoted authority and accountability. An inscription or a sculpture of a ruler often signified their ruling over a particular area.

When Jesus asks this question to the Pharisees and Herodians, they immediately know the answer because they understand the power linked to Caesar’s image. Yet, as significant as that question was, what is even more striking is that Jesus was willing to have a conversation with people who had opposing views to his.

There is so much to be gleaned from Jesus’ conversational care and thought, but we would do exceedingly well to simply practice and live out his generous willingness to engage with others who did not share in his teaching.

2. Read and understand what others are reading.
In Acts 17:22–34 we read of Paul’s interaction with the Athenians. Paul is explaining and defending the Christian God to a mixed group that included Stoics and Epicureans. Just by doing a bit of study of this story, we soon realize that Paul refers to and cites poetry that had powerfully shaped the religious belief of his audience. His method of evangelism reflects a disposition that wanted to understand the people to whom he was ministering. He was interested in how they thought. He had much to say, but he wanted to show them that he understood them.

There are so many points to draw from this one rich passage of Scripture, but we should not miss the fact that Paul’s citing of poets tells us that he had read the poet’s! He had read what his conversation partners had read. In our moment in which we have become severely groupish in what we read, what we listen to, and who we spend time with, we would do well to take notes from Paul’s speech in Acts 17.

This does not mean we should immerse ourselves in literature contrary to the Christian faith. It simply means that our reading and learning should indicate a desire to learn from others outside our faith conviction. Paul’s method of evangelism at the Areopagus can provide a guiding light to us on this front.

These are only two points, but if we are serious about wanting to listen and learn from others in our radically misunderstanding time, the Christian faith shows us that a meaningful start begins with a willingness to enter into the hard conversations. No one did this more beautifully than Christ. Paul shows us that reading and engaging what our friends have been shaped by could provide real and practical help to our understanding them, not to mention making our witness of Christ more appealing.

We live in a time in which listening, learning, and understanding each other seems beyond our reach. Yet, Christianity brings encouraging news to us here. May God give us the courage, the care, and the clarity to rise above the challenge of misunderstanding others and do so in his name.




Nathan Betts is an apologist with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). He speaks frequently across the US and Canada. His focus areas include the interface of faith and culture, digital technology and belief, and youth apologetics. Follow him on Twitter @NathanGBetts.



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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -



Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 02:49:51 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/how-faith-changes-campus-sex-assaults.4179/#post-63727


How Faith Changes Campus Sex Assaults


Cultures of restraint fare better than cultures of mere consent, research shows.

When college freshmen step on campus for the first day of school, they will be entering what experts consider the riskiest period for sexual assault, spanning from the start of the semester to Thanksgiving break.

One Christian college graduate remembers her first weeks as the time when a guy from her “brother hall” grabbed her hand and shoved it down his pants. Another met her college boyfriend early on. The relationship soon grew threatening, and he ended up raping her in a parked car. At another school, it didn’t take long into the first semester before a female student began to wonder what to do about unwanted attention from one of her professors.

Over the past year, the #MeToo movement proved harassment and rape can happen to women anywhere, but colleges have long been ground zero for America’s sexual violence epidemic.

Most evangelical schools already have policies that address the biggest risk factors: dry campuses, single-sex dormitories, codes of conduct barring sex before marriage. But recent studies suggest that the most significant disparities between Christian and public or private institutions correspond to the biblical convictions at the core of the community, from shared morality to their approach to gender roles. Faith indeed influences the rates of sexual violence on campus—mostly for better, but sometimes for worse, researchers say.

“One of the key shared ideas [at Christian schools] is that sex needs boundaries or restraint—a radically countercultural affirmation in a society where most affirm sex need have no limits if it is consensual,” wrote sociologist Jim Vanderwoerd from Redeemer University College in Ontario.

In a 2017 study, Vanderwoerd and Harvard University’s Albert Cheng found that female students at evangelical colleges in Canada fared significantly better than at secular ones, with fewer reports of unwanted sexual contact (18% compared to 21%–31%) and rape (less than 1% compared to 3%–5%). Students at Christian schools in the US also reported lower rates of such incidents in the Campus Climate Comparison Study conducted the same year.

Despite restrictions against drinking, alcohol usage remained a significant risk factor associated with sexual violence at the Christian campuses surveyed: eight schools belonging to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and Christian Higher Education Canada (CHEC). But the other major risk factor at secular schools—being around men in social settings—did not make female students significantly more susceptible to “unwanted sexual experiences.”

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“Put simply, while on secular campuses being in the presence of males poses a sexual victimization threat for women, this appears to be less so for women on private religious campuses,” wrote Vanderwoerd in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education.

“The moral communities thesis would suggest that this is related to religious campuses creating conditions in which men and women appear to have internalized and acted upon the parameters for sexual restraint that are part of their faith’s traditions and teachings.”

Researchers have argued that the shared sense of values and traditions on evangelical campuses can create an environment to deter sexual assault. But those same core convictions can complicate the process when violations occur.

“I tried multiple times to figure out how to tell my counselor, but she would never give me an assurance that I wouldn’t be turned in for a conduct violation,” said a Harding University graduate who was too scared to report that she was raped by her on-again, off-again boyfriend her sophomore year.

At CCCU schools, officials overseeing Title IX—federal protections against sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any gender-based discrimination—must balance the school’s own faith-based policies with effective processes for reporting and adjudicating misconduct. Biola University, for example, does not discipline victims of sexual violence for alcohol usage if the incident occurred while they were drinking, even though it violates the school’s student contract.

Ultimately, students at the 23 CCCU schools surveyed in a 2017 Campus Climate Comparison Study felt more confident that their reports of sexual misconduct would be taken seriously by the administration than the average college student by a margin of 84 percent to 80 percent. They were also more likely to believe the school would take action to address the factors leading to the abuse.

In a Christian context, the conversation around healthy sexuality carries more weight and nuance than at secular schools, where consent can be presented as the ultimate or only factor.

“Within faith-based communities, consent is still important, but . . . God expects more than consent. God expects that loving, married, committed relationship,” said Neil Best, a higher education professor at Geneva College who oversaw the
campus climate study. “We’re trying to do our work that’s faithful from the legal framework but also faithful from the biblical framework.”

But addressing biblical teachings on gender may be at least as important as those on sexual restraint, Best says. Slippery application of teachings on male headship, female submission, or gender roles—say, applying marital submission to dating relationships or male leadership to class projects—can create dangerous environments at Christian colleges.

“The best thing would be for faith-based campuses to have honest conversations about the roles of women,” he said. “So much of it’s unintentional, but it still needs that honest examination. What is the female experience on our campus?”

In a survey of 6,600 US college students, Best found that 79 percent of Christian college students had suffered an incident of gender-based discrimination involving fellow undergrads and 40 percent involving a professor. Examples include condescending remarks, offensive jokes, or sexist treatment.

Best found that instances of gender-based discrimination were higher at CCCU schools than at public or private US colleges (where about 73% reported discrimination by students and about 32% of students reported discrimination from faculty), even though instances of dating violence, sexual assault, and rape were significantly lower at the Christian schools.

One of the most effective ways to fight sexual violence, Best says, would be to quash the sexism shown to fuel it.

Likewise, says Vanderwoerd, “Christian colleges must not be afraid to be prophetically bold in declaring and living out the good news of the gospel when it comes to sex, which means saying no to the world’s views about sex. In our culture today, that is becoming increasingly difficult, but all the more important.”




Kate Shellnutt is online editor for Christianity Today.




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2018, 10:52:12 am »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/what-happens-when-you-love-a-racist.4186/


What Happens When You Love a Racist


He was a budding white nationalist leader. His friends thought he could be something different.


Growing up, I imagined I could easily spot the racists around me. They were the ones proudly displaying the Confederate flag across the back of their pickup trucks or blatantly disregarding other people based on the color of their skin. I looked at them and counted myself lucky that I hadn’t been born into that kind of family or raised in that distorted version of Christianity.

But then I started to realize how much I had profited from systems designed to benefit people who looked more like me than my husband, an African American man, or our mixed-race sons. Like many of my European American brothers and sisters, I began awakening to my own racial identity. And that meant confronting the racist within me, lamenting the many ways I had been an oppressor to the marginalized.

When I say this, it makes me realize I’m not radically different from someone like Derek Black, once dubbed the “White Power Prodigy.” Raised in a culture of white supremacy, he seemed fated to become the next leader of the white nationalist movement. His father founded the notorious white supremacist website Stormfront.org, and his godfather was none other than David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard.

But as journalist Eli Saslow shows in Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist, when Black left home to attend New College of Florida, he underwent a most unlikely moral transformation—a change birthed by the power of relationships.

A Secret Exposed

As a Christian, I often fling the word relationships around without much of a thought. But relationships are at the heart of the gospel. Because God first loved us, followers of Jesus are commanded, above all things, to love God and love other people (Mark 12:30–31). On these relationships we center our lives. And as we give ourselves over to them, they can end up changing us in unexpected ways—a truth to which Derek Black can powerfully attest.

When Black first arrived on campus as a 19-year-old homeschool transfer, he flew under the radar. Pursuing a double major in German and medieval history (subjects he associated with white European dominance), he didn’t advertise his upbringing or his involvement with white nationalism. Unbeknownst to his peers, he continued moderating the world’s largest white-pride website, stealing away five mornings a week to call into the radio show he cohosted with his father. There, he theorized about “the criminal nature of blacks” and the “inferior natural intelligence of blacks and Hispanics,” among other speculations.

http://www.apu.edu/seminary?a=2526
By the time his secret was exposed and he returned to campus after a semester abroad in Germany, Black felt free not to live a double life anymore. After all, his godfather, David Duke, had provoked outrage in college when he began speaking every Wednesday in Free Speech Alley. Liberated and spurred on by the hatred of his peers, the budding grand wizard no longer worried about whether he was liked.

Black was different, though. Feelings of isolation and rejection overwhelmed him. (The administration, after learning about his beliefs, had chosen to let him remain enrolled, so long as he didn’t threaten anyone’s safety. Officials took to classifying the controversy as a “student-life matter.”) Campus activists were adamant that the best way to engage the racist in their midst was to disengage entirely. Saslow quotes one of their directives: “Do not make eye contact or make him feel acknowledged at all. Make him as irrelevant as his ideology.”

But despite this wall of hostility (and the distancing effect of his own toxic prejudices), Black befriended a number of students from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Two Jewish brothers started inviting him to their weekly Shabbat [Jewish sabbath] dinner—even after his white-supremacist identity had been discovered. Desperate for companionship, Black accepted their invitation. No one had any illusions of swiftly persuading him to renounce white nationalism; they sought only to establish a foundation of mutual respect so that Black might actually see the enemy he had so long despised. As one of the hosts later mused to Saslow, “The goal was really just to make Jews more human for him.”

The more Black listened to the stories of his friends, nearly all of whom could point to vastly different life experiences, the more those stories began to affect him. Although he still clung to his beliefs, he found he no longer wanted to suppress the different currents of thought and emotion warring within him. Little by little, brick by brick, over the course of several years, the walls of hatred miraculously began to crumble.

Is it any different for you and me? Augustine says that when we realize the darkness or evil within us, we awaken to the absence of good, to a lack of truth and beauty in our lives. I think about the limited perspective I held for much of my life, a perspective that didn’t give heed to my brothers and sisters of color. I thought I didn’t need their stories in my life; I was getting along just fine in the place I’d created for myself, in a world made up of people who mostly looked like me, thought like me, and acted like me.

Too often, I fill my table with family, friends, and other companions who fall under the same umbrella of politics and faith—in other words, people who mostly agree with me about how to raise our children and make an impact on the world around us. But in the Book of Hebrews, the unknown author exhorts readers to extend hospitality not merely to those we already love, but also to the strangers in our midst (13:2). In the two Jewish brothers who extended the hand of peace to the stranger among them—to a man who had spoken of their people in the most degrading, dehumanizing fashion—we see a fine example of radical hospitality in action.

For me, their remarkable gesture of friendship also calls to mind an encounter in Luke 19: When Jesus instructed Zacchaeus to come down from the tree so he could go over to his house for dinner, the immoral tax collector was overjoyed. Not unlike Black, he was acutely aware of being reviled and shunned by his community. But a single encounter with the One who called him by name brought about immediate change in nearly every area of his life. I don’t doubt the same was true for the one tabbed as the next leader of the white nationalist movement, even if his awakening was more gradual than immediate.

Reaching the Breaking Point
But friendship wasn’t the only factor. Romantic love also played a pivotal part in shifting Black’s moral compass. After becoming a fixture at the Friday night dinners, he got to know a fellow student, Allison. Their connection was almost kinetic, and naturally enough, Allison started puzzling over the disparity between Black’s beliefs and his actions. As Saslow reports, she found herself asking, “How could someone who seemed mild and kind promote something so hateful and oppressive?”

As their relationship morphed into romance, Allison further pressed into him, bombarding him with evidence and data that conflicted with his perception of rampant discrimination against white people. She struck back, writes Saslow, against the “myths he had propagated about ‘Jewish manipulation,’ ‘testosterone-fueled black aggression,’ or larger brain sizes for whites.” Just as she wondered if she’d gone too far, she saw hopeful signs that Black’s growing discomfort with his family’s gospel of white nationalism might precipitate a cleaner break.

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As a reader, I wondered how Black’s story would have ended had Allison never intervened. In a way, her love was the ultimate catalyst for change: Not unlike God’s love for us, she loved him exactly as he was, but because of that love she refused to let him cling to an oppressive and destructive ideology. Her constant, unwavering presence opened Black’s eyes to new life, to the beauties of community and fellowship across racial and ethnic lines.

Once that vision took hold, Black couldn’t toe the line any longer. In 2013, as college graduation loomed, Allison encouraged him to publicly distance himself from white nationalism. He mourned the likelihood of severed relationships with his family and the community of his youth, but eventually he penned an email to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which published the letter in full. Acknowledging his gradual awakening to truth, Black concluded, “I can’t support a movement that tells me I can’t be a friend to whomever I wish or that other people’s races require me to think about them in a certain way or be suspicious at their advancements.”

The white-nationalist community reacted with anger and disbelief. Black’s father initially thought his son’s email had been hacked, later describing the news as the worst experience of his life. Meanwhile, his former mentor, David Duke, thought Black was suffering from some kind of Stockholm syndrome. But Black knew his change of heart was real, and he resolved to use his voice and his story to make right the lies of his past.

Although years have passed since Black made his public confession, Saslow doesn’t reveal much about the rest of his story, which sometimes leaves the reader with more questions than answers. In that time, of course, we’ve witnessed a troubling surge in white-nationalist sentiment, often couched in aggressively patriotic rhetoric and inflamed by political leaders. It’s tempting to react like Black’s more militant classmates, shunning those with offensive beliefs and basking in feelings of moral superiority. But Rising Out of Hatred should instead challenge us to actively break bread with racists, to patiently model a more Christlike attitude, and to search for signs of hidden racism in our own hearts, too.





Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her memoir, The Color of Life: A Journey toward Love and Racial Justice (Zondervan), will be published in February.




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2018, 05:09:11 am »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/america%E2%80%99s-age-of-skepticism-how-christians-should-respond.4196/#post-64194

America’s Age of Skepticism: How Christians Should Respond


As Christians, how we choose to engage skepticism matters; we’re called to do so with thoughtfulness and conviction.

There’s no question, Americans are—and have been for quite some time—becoming less and less religious.

In a study conducted by Pew Research, we can see this shift happening over the course of even the past few years. In 2007, 78.4% of the U.S. population would have called themselves a Christian; just seven years later in 2014, that number dropped by almost eight percent. In other words, this decline represents a one percent decrease in the number of Americans identifying as Christian per year—a small, yet staggering, data trend.

Particularly, though, this trend can me seen most profoundly in young adults—Millennials as they are so infamously known. When asked, only about four in ten Millennials would say that religion is important in their lives. Furthermore, looking at data from the American Religious Identification Survey, about one third of all college students identify themselves as secular and generally irreligious.

So, what does this data mean for our nation?

The data doesn’t lie

It seems clear that we are living in an increasingly skeptical—and in some ways—a post-Christian culture. That’s not to say that America has completly relinquished its Christian roots and begun the process of closing churches and or religious institutions. Thankfully, Christians living in the U.S., aren’t being actively persecuted for their faith as our brothers and sisters overseas experience on a dailly basis.

Instead, what we’re seeing is the growth of an American populace that is largely disinterested in the faith of their forefathers. Many who maybe grew up in a church-on-Sundays kind of home and loosely practiced their faith are choosing to abandon their affiliation with the Christian church. This, in large part, is happening as more and more people are becoming convinced that the Christian faith is ‘out of step’ with modern culture.

http://www.apu.edu/seminary?a=2526
Many feel that Christianity (and perhaps religious teaching more broadly) stunt intellectual curiosity and serious thinking. David Silverman, renowned atheist activist and author argued this in his book, Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto in a Theist World: “Atheists seek truth; theists ignore it.” Some agree with Silverman; faith and reason are so at odds with one another that any attempt to reconcile the two ultimately proves futile.

There’s no denying it—our age is one that is largely dominated by doubt, disbelief, and skepticism of religious dogma and practice. Many believers find themselves unsure how to respond, what to say, and who to say it to. As Christians, how we choose to engage this skepticism matters; as Christ followers, we’re called to do so with thoughtfulness and conviction.

Engaging a skeptical neighbor

There are several things to remember when trying to engage a friend, family member, or neighbor whose holding reservations about the Christian faith.

First off, remember that your job is to get to know people not objections. Relationships rooted in mutual care and appreciation for one another are the best path towards sharing Christ’s love with someone.

But, this kind of relational outreach may be more difficult than we once thought. David Kinnaman, President of Barna Group, has found this through his research:

“Figuring out how to effectively engage skeptics is difficult. One of the unexpected results we uncovered is the limited influence of personal relationships on skeptics. They are considerably less relational and less engaged in social activities than the average American.”

Building relationships with unbelievers is hard. Sometimes it will happen naturally, other times in won’t. But, our responsibility as Christians is to focus on the cultivation of these friendships as a means to glorify God and live as vessels of his love and light in this world. As Jesus told his disciples: “As the Father has sent me, so send I you” (John 20:21).

You can also pray for the Holy Spirit’s leading during conversations with skeptics. Be informed about key topics and memorize key Scripture passages beforehand. As Scripture instructs us, “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” (1 Peter 3:15).

Whether you’re on a plane, train, or automobile, the important thing is to pray for God to open doors for you to enter into these sorts of conversations. Offer yourself up as a resource to people and don’t shy away from answering their questions or addressing their concerns.

Despite the value of preparation, we also must remember that as Christ followers, we act only as participants in this work of sharing the gospel. Only God is capable of doing the hard work of changing people’s hearts and minds—our job is to love and share prayerfully trusting that he will finish every good work that he begins in a skeptic’s life.





Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 02:56:52 am »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/one-body-many-parts-the-crucial-role-of-the-%E2%80%98faith-based-fema%E2%80%99-after-florence.4205/#post-64513


One Body, Many Parts: The Crucial Role of the ‘Faith-Based FEMA’ After Florence


Working alongside government agencies, Christian volunteers aid hurricane victims based on what each denomination does best.

For years, Ed and Marian Stinnette have served as the hands and feet of Jesus in disaster zones, helping victims recover from devastating storms such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Now, the longtime Samaritan’s Purse volunteers and their home congregation, Port City Community Church, which has four locations in eastern North Carolina, are mobilizing close to home.

“I truly believe that it’s going to be the faith-based people that are going to be here for the long haul,” Ed Stinnette, 71, said from the historic river city of New Bern, North Carolina, where officials estimate Hurricane Florence damaged or destroyed 4,300 homes and 300 businesses. “They’re going to be the ones that are going to reach out and help the people recover from this.”

Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Missouri-based nondenominational Christian organization, is partnering with Port City Community Church to distribute supplies from the church’s campus in Wilmington, North Carolina. As a result of Florence’s epic deluge, that hard-hit city became an island shut off from much of the world.

The Port City church also is teaming with Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical humanitarian aid organization headquartered in Boone, North Carolina, to help Florence victims all over the deluged state. At least 37 people in three states have died, including 27 in North Carolina, as a result of the powerful Category 4 hurricane.

“Right now, we are focused on the cleanup stage,” Todd Taylor, program manager of US disaster relief for Samaritan's Purse, said from the charity’s New Bern command center.





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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -

Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine September 2018
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2018, 01:40:44 am »
Scientists Discover Something Biblical! (2018-2019)


15 minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP_Ps1cqu5Y




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 02:14:11 am by patrick jane »
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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