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Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018  (Read 4012 times)

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patrick jane

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Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« on: October 02, 2018, 06:19:53 pm »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/indonesian-earthquake-kills-34-kids-in-bible-camp-mudslide.4333/#post-69805


Indonesian Earthquake Kills 34 Kids in Bible Camp Mudslide


A rattled Christian community rallies to aid thousands in Sulawesi displaced by the disaster.

Days after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake leveled homes, businesses, mosques, and churches in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi, Christians are reeling from the destruction and casualties into the thousands—which now include dozens of youth killed at a Bible camp.

Under the rubble of one church destroyed in a mudslide, the Indonesian Red Cross this week discovered the bodies of 34 kids who were attending Pusdiklat GPID Patmos “Jono Oge,” a church training center in Sigi, located outside the provincial capital of Palu.

Another 52 students remain missing from the camp, which regularly hosts youth for worship, teaching, and fellowship. Recovery efforts have been slower in hard-to-reach areas, which lack the equipment to move fallen concrete or dig through the carnage. A Red Cross spokeswoman said she expects the number of dead at Jono Oge to rise as the recovery continues.

The center is affiliated with Palu’s largest denomination, the Indonesian Protestant Church in Donggala (GPID), with around 40,000 members. Last week, Palu teens posted shots on Instagram from Jono Oge, sharing favorite Bible verses and posing in front of a banner reading “From Darkness to Light.”

The quake, tsunami, mudslide, and aftershock have left the Protestant minority in Central Sulawesi—about 17 percent of the 2.6 million-person, mostly Muslim province—scrambling for basic necessities to survive while body bags pile along the streets and the smell of death lingers in the air.

On Tuesday, the official death toll reached more than 1,200, with another 800 injured, and both figures are rising. An estimated 50,000 people are displaced in Palu.

Church leaders who made it through the disaster have rallied to offer relief efforts as they are able, but resources are limited.

GPID Eben Haezer in South Palu has opened a health center for injured victims, hosting a Christian doctor from City Harvest Church in Singapore.

A Salvation Army congregation in Palu set up a kitchen at its building to cook, pack, and deliver 100–300 meals a day, starting the day after the quake and tsunami hit the island. Volunteers don’t know how much longer they can feed desparate families without amenities like grocery stores, gas, and clean water, Santi White, a major with the Salvation Army, told CT.

The church in Palu needs support from near and far, according to White. Like fellow Christians in the capital city, several of their churches have been destroyed, and members of the congregation have lost everything. One family saw their two-story house sink completely into the ground.



Captain Ricosetta Mafella, a Christian and a pilot with Batik Air, watched the tsunami swirl toward the coast as he lifted off from Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport on Friday evening, the last flight to depart from Palu before the earthquake.

He shared his testimony online and again at a Jakarta church on Sunday, saying he was spurred by the Holy Spirit to take off a few minutes early. The air traffic controller on duty, Anthonius Gunawan Agung, has been hailed as a hero, jumping to his death from the control tower after Mafella’s flight was safely off the ground.

The pilot posted on Instagram:

“I felt something wrong on the runway during take off roll. [6:02 pm] earthquake 7.4-7.7 magnitude on scale rocks Palu. Thank God there is a voice (Holy Spirit i believe) telling me to depart early. I’m rushing the boarding process. Late by 30 second i would not have flown. Thank You Jesus.”

Remembering the 21-year-old air traffic controller, he wrote, “Wing of honor for Anthonius Gunawan Agung as my guardian angel at Palu. Rest peacefully my wing man. God be with you.”

Mafella spoke at Duta Injil BIP church in Jakarta this weekend, reflecting on Psalm 23 and how Palu—located at the mouth of a river in Central Sulawesi, between two mountain ranges—had also been nicknamed by some pilots as a “valley of death.”

Central Sulawesi is not as heavily Christian as North Sulawesi, where Protestants outnumbered Muslims 2-to-1 in the 2010 census, but it still has a significant Christian population of nearly a half-million believers. One Indonesia preacher wrote after the disaster that Palu “must be recovered, more advanced & blessed [by] God. What is lost is returned to God two-fold.”

Neighboring cities have seen sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims over the years, which isn’t uncommon in Indonesia—even during disaster recovery. Following a 2004 tsunami that hit Aceh province, Muslim militants clashed with Christians and foreign aid workers trying to help.

Across Indonesia—home to the largest Muslim population in the world—believers continue to fear persecution by radical Islamists; last week in Sumatra, a trio of churches were forced to close, and suicide bombers attacked congregations in Surabaya back in the spring.

Relief efforts continue at locations like the Roa Roa Hotel, where about 50 guests were reported to be killed or trapped in rubble after the eight-story building collapsed. Just behind the hotel, the IFGF Palu church remains standing. Pastors from the church itself or its Jakarta-based denomination could not be reached by CT to confirm any loss or damage suffered among the congregation.

World Vision, which serves more than 5,000 sponsored children in Central Sulawesi province, set up feeding centers for children outside its office in Palu and has begun distributing relief supplies, even as its own staff of 70 suffers loss from the earthquake and tsunami.


White, with the Salvation Army, said the biggest needs are food, clothing, formula, diapers, and medicines. She is praying her team stays healthy enough to continue the relief work—and fears the spread of disease from bodies buried in open graves.

They are praying for favorable weather for all the families forced to sleep outside—and for God to spare them from future quakes.




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« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 02:04:59 pm 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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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 02:18:43 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/persecuted-christians-refugees-entering-us-hits-record-low-.html

No Refuge: Persecuted Christians Entering US Dwindle to Record Low


The country took in 100 times fewer Middle Eastern refugees than just two years ago.


Refugee resettlement hit a record low over the past year, with the United States taking in fewer than half the amount permitted under a reduced refugee ceiling of 45,000.

While the number of as displaced people and persecuted Christians continues to rise around the globe, US refugee figures have plunged under the Trump administration.

The 2018 totals—just 22,491 refugees in the fiscal year ending September 30—indicate a disturbing trend for advocates, following recent news that the govement plans to further restrict the resettlement cap by a third, to 30,000 next year.

Though most of the refugees welcomed over the past year are Christians, the overall drop means far fewer believers are finding refuge in the US than in prior years. In the 2018 fiscal year, 15,748 Christian refugees entered the country, a 36.4 percent decline from the previous year and a 55 percent decline from fiscal year 2016.

The reductions are even more dramatic among Christian refugees escaping persecution for their faith. Only 1,215 Christians were resettled from the 11 countries cited by Open Doors USA as the worst for Christians, down nearly 75 percent from the previous year.

Just 20 believers from Syria, 23 from Iran, and 26 from Iraq were give refuge in the United States in the past year, a huge drop from historic levels despite ongoing risk and conflict in these areas. Many who were told they would be resettled are now stranded in third countries, disallowed from continuing to the US, but unable to return to their homelands for fear of persecution.

“It’s simple math that, with far fewer slots for refugees overall, Christians—who over the past decade have accounted for the plurality of all refugees admitted to the US—would be kept out along with those of other faiths,” said Matthew Soerens, US director of church mobilization for World Relief.

The past year was both the worst on record for persecuted Christian refugees and for refugees overall.

Soerens, who provided analysis on resettlement breakdowns drawing from State Department data, says the situation is even worse for other persecuted minorities. Muslim refugees have been kept out of the United States at a much higher rate. Fewer than 3,500 Muslims found refuge in the US in the past year, down 85 percent from 2017 and more than 90 percent from the year before.

“While refugees of nearly every religious group are impacted by the overall decline in refugee admissions, it certainly seems that Muslims have been particularly singled out,” said Soerens. “That suggests a governmental disfavor toward a particular religion that is inconsistent with our constitutional principles of religious freedom.”

Jewish, Yazidi, and refugees of other minority faiths have also been almost entirely shut out, said Soerens.

Overall, asylum-seekers from the Middle East have been largely abandoned. During the past 12 months, just 249 people (total, of all religions) from the Middle East made it to the US as refugees. During the same period last year, 64 times as many refugees came from that region—16,144 in all—and in 2016, more than a 100 times as many—26,325.

The past year was both the worst on record for persecuted Christian refugees and for refugees overall.
For the first year in recent memory, Canada resettled more refugees than the United States, despite having roughly one-ninth of the population.

Surveys this year from the Pew Research Center have found as few as a quarter of white evangelicals believe the US is responsible for accepting refugees, compared to 43 percent of white mainline Protestants, 50 percent of Catholics, and 63 percent of black Protestants (most of whom identify as evangelical).

But vocal evangelical advocates continue to defend refugee admittance and have questioned how the current policy’s direction fits with broader efforts to promote religious freedom.

“This decision contradicts the administration’s declared commitment to helping persecuted Christians and religious minorities in dangerous and oppressive countries,” said World Relief president Scott Arbeiter. “Evangelicals should be concerned by this assault against our call to support ‘the least of these.’”

Politicians like Vice President Mike Pence and the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom Sam Brownback have touted an agenda supportive of persecuted minorities abroad. President Trump insisted he would help persecuted Christians in particular, especially from areas of conflict like Syria, where a brutal war has waged for much of the last seven years.

Yet refugee policy has not reflected those priorities; only 70 Christians from places like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen were resettled in the US in the last fiscal year, compared to more than 3,000 Christians from the region who came in fiscal year 2017. (Some religious freedom advocates believe it is best to support refugees by keeping them close to their homelands.)

Jen Smyers, director of policy and advocacy for Church World Service, called the declining figures “shocking” and “appalling.” “It certainly contradicts the administration’s sentiments when it comes to religious minorities,” she said.

She recounts the story of a refugee living in Columbus, Ohio, whose wife and child were supposed to be resettled in January 2017. Due to the resettlement spiral, however, he’s still waiting for them. He has never met his son.

“This dismantling of refugee resettlement is really tearing to shreds what people of faith have spent decades building,” Smyers said. “This is them tearing apart what it has taken churches decades to build.”

“To say we’re disappointed is an understatement,” said Chris Palusky, president of Bethany Christian Services.

Caring for refugees is “a Matthew 25 issue,” he says. “We believe that these refugees are ‘the least of these,’ so we’re advocating for what we believe Christ would want us to do.”

Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have joined numerous evangelical leaders in speaking out against the sharp downturn in the country’s resettlement program. Last week, in an editorial in USA Today, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and senator Bob Menendez called the new policy “repugnant” and spoke of the nation’s strong bipartisan history of resettlement as “a point of pride, a reflection of our fundamental values, and a service to our strategic and humanitarian interests.”

The policy shift continues to hurt advocacy and resettlement organizations, forcing layoffs and shutdowns across institutions. World Relief shuttered five offices and laid off 140 staff last year. Caritas, the Catholic relief agency, is joining the scores of resettlement groups closing offices because of a lack of incoming refugees.

Resettlement workers and other agency staff—case workers, legal aids, English teachers—are forced to find other jobs, so even if resettlement numbers rise again, the infrastructure will no longer be there to support it.

Smyers said Church World Service’s numbers of incoming refugees are drastically down. All of the group’s offices have seen staff layoffs and slashed programming.

At Bethany Christian Services, Palusky said international programs are actually on the rise, as are projects related to unaccompanied minors from Central and South America. But refugee programs are shrinking.

The organization anticipated hundreds of new refugees last year in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan but received substantially fewer.

Numerous agency leaders told CT they have more churches asking to help than there are new refugees. “We have to tell them, ‘We don’t have anyone for you to welcome,’” said Smyers.

Palusky also emphasized how communities suffer from slowing refugee entry since he sees their cultural and entrepreneurial contributions to American life. “We’ve seen the benefits of [resettlement] for families and for the community,” he said. “When we push them away, it’s not only a loss for them; it’s a loss for us.”

The refugee reduction has also raised legal concerns. While the 1980 Refugee Act gives the president power to determine the annual refugee ceiling, the administration is required to consult in-person with Congress before making its determination. Since the inauguration of the Trump administration, that hasn’t happened.

“For the second year in a row, the administration has willfully ignored its statutory mandate to inform and consult with Congress,” said Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley, “... despite significant bipartisan and bicameral outreach from Congress to the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.”

As the number of refugees entering the country continues its rapid decline, Soerens believes the US is further “forfeiting the moral credibility to diplomatically insist that our allies do more to resettle refugees” and is harming its long-term ability to integrate refugees in the future.

“I’m deeply troubled by the tens of thousands of persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ whom we would, in any other year, have expected to have been resettled to the US, but who did not arrive this year and, it seems, will not arrive next year either,” said Soerens. “But I’m also concerned that this shift in US policy could have broader, longer-lasting effects.”





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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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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 05:09:51 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/pope-francis-approval-evangelical-catholic-priest-abuse.html



Francis Effect Fades: Pope’s Approval Drops Most Among Evangelicals



The latest abuse investigations have rattled non-Catholics’ perceptions more than Catholics themselves, according to survey data.


American Catholics have been so unsettled by the wave of allegations of decades-old sexual abuse and cover-ups spanning dioceses in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and across the country that the most vocal critics have called for Pope Francis’ resignation.

Their evangelical neighbors, some once enraptured by the popular pope, are also disappointed. According to two recent reports, white evangelical Protestants’ views of Pope Francis and the clergy have fallen even more than Catholics’ after the latest investigations into abuse by priests.

Evangelicals’ approval of Francis dropped more than twice as much as Catholics’ this year, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday.

Just 32 percent of white evangelicals rated the pope favorably last month, down from 52 percent in January, the most dramatic decline among religious groups.

His favorability among US Catholics fell from 84 percent to 72 percent during the same period. Pew also saw declines among white mainline Protestants (67% to 48%) and the unaffiliated (58% to 53%).






Francis now has his lowest approval rating—51 percent of American adults—since he assumed the papacy in 2013.

A Gallup poll last month also found that the latest allegations have damaged views of Francis among those outside the Catholic Church more than those inside it.

Catholic approval of Francis remained relatively steady around 79 percent, according to Gallup, while his favorability among non-Catholics and Americans overall dropped by at least 10 percentage points between August and September (from 63% to 45% and 66% to 53%, respectively).






Further, Gallup reported that Protestants have come to adopt a grimmer view of the church than Catholics.

About half of Catholics give clergy high marks for honesty and ethics, and a similar proportion express confidence in the church itself (an amount that hasn’t varied much over the years), Gallup noted in August 2018. However, Protestants’ views of clergy ethics have dropped twice as much as Catholics over the past decade-plus.

“We don't know exactly why Protestants have become more negative than Catholics when asked about the honesty and ethics of the clergy,” the researchers said.

“It may be that Catholics are remaining loyal and defensive about criticism of their clergy, while Protestants assume the question is being asked about Catholic clergy and are more willing to be critical.”

Francis famously appealed to Christians beyond Catholicism, with evangelicals in particular warming up to him (as CT noted in a 2014 cover story). He had been credited with bringing a model of humility and compassion to the Catholic Church’s highest office and spurring prayer and Bible-reading among the faithful.

But more and more, the popular pope has had to address the unfolding allegations, ultimately admitting that the Vatican had not done enough to quell decades of clergy abuse.

In a letter released in August, Francis said, “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”




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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 | October 2018
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2018, 04:18:22 pm »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/october-web-only/unexplored-faith-in-ken-burns-mayo-clinic.html


The Unexplored Faith in Ken Burns’s ‘The Mayo Clinic’


Film relates the role of faith in the prestigious hospital founding but remains quiet about patients’ own beliefs.


An immigrant doctor. A deadly 1883 tornado. And the unlikely partnership of a determined Franciscan Sister who had a vision from God to build a world-renowned hospital and the agnostic English physician who championed Darwin.

"How have I not heard this incredible story until now?!" I wondered during my first visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, during a cold week in February 2010.

It had all the makings of a movie.

Clearly, Ken Burns felt the same way.

The prolific documentarian, captivated by the story while a Mayo patient, captures 150 years of Mayo Clinic history and stories in two hours in his latest film, The Mayo Clinic: Faith-Hope-Science.

As a Minnesotan living an hour from the top-ranked hospital system in the US, I've visited what has become a medical mecca for patients from 50 states and 150 countries on numerous occasions, supporting family members undergoing surgery and tests.

Having seen all 29 of Burns’s films, I was thrilled to see this distinctly American—and dare I say, Minnesotan—story, told by “America’s Storyteller” for a national audience on PBS last week. While unable to compete with the epic length of The Civil War, Baseball, or Jazz, The Mayo Clinic flows like an expression of gratitude, a praiseworthy hat tip from the filmmaker.

Backed by Burns’s teams, talent and toolkit, the film unpacks Mayo’s remarkable origin story and its enduring legacy of faith and science—a union guided both by the primary value the elder Dr. William Worrall Mayo instilled in his sons: “The needs of the patient come first,” along with the Sisters of St. Francis who taught nurses “to treat every patient like Jesus Christ.”

What about the patients’ faith?
While the film sheds light on the role of faith from the influence of the Sisters, it did not explore how the faith of patients may play a role in their journey and outcomes. (It is only hinted at in a story of a pregnant patient with eye cancer who declined elective termination.)

Roger Frisch, a patient whose brain surgery experience at Mayo is featured in the film, said, “Throughout this whole adventure, faith has been incredibly important,” adding that he spoke openly about his Christian faith during four hours of filming in Minneapolis.

A concert violinist, Frisch has been the subject of media interviews since a 2010 brain operation during which he remained awake to play the violin while neurosurgeon Kendall Lee performed Deep Brain Stimulation—inserting wires into his thalamus in an attempt to still a tremor that threatened to end his lifelong career with the Minnesota Orchestra.

www.lst.ac.uk
“There were 300 people praying for me during that surgery,” said Roger. “I think that’s why this surgery was so successful. There’s no way you can convince me otherwise. I’m a living example of a 100 percent successful surgery. That’s truly an answer to prayer.”

Frisch admitted he was “very frustrated and very scared” yet surrendered to God. “That constant discussion back and forth [with God], those are my ideas of prayers, was Find me an answer. And if this is it, you’ll show me what else to do with my life.”

“The surgery was just another layer of evidence that God is with us,” added Roger’s wife Michele, principal flute for the Minnesota Opera. “[It] wasn’t to save Roger’s life, but it was absolutely to save the quality of his life.”

Roger, who retired last month after 45 years, and Michele have a combined 80 years of playing and performing, and taught for over 20 years each as artists-in-residence at the University of Northwestern–St. Paul. They said they were comfortable discussing their faith with his doctors at Mayo, many of whom have become friends and are believers as well.

In the film, Roger plays a piece by Bach, serving as a testament to the success of the surgery and soundtrack to his story, which Burns requested.

The Frisches’ love for music ministry has taken them around the world, a ministry they will continue in the time that his retirement affords. They also performed together at the Mayo Clinic’s 150th-anniversary celebration.

Giving back to Mayo is important to Roger. “People call me about their tremors,” he said. “Pilots and racecar drivers, people in high-risk professions. They want to speak to someone who has experienced it firsthand. I spend as much time as they need. I see it as a ministry. I love doing it. It’s the least I can do.”

Embracing a faith legacy, respecting diversity
While it missed patients’ own faith, the documentary focused on the Mayo Clinic’s commitment to its patients-first foundation. Today, remaining true to their values while embracing the diversity of their patients is important to the organization, according to Bob Brown, a neurologist with 35 years at Mayo and head of the Mayo Values Council.

“We consider these Mayo Franciscan values at the foundation, no matter what one believes … regarding spirituality [or] religion,” he said in an interview. “Because what it does is guide you in doing the right thing for your patients at the right time and being your absolute best in terms of compassion, empathy, and striving for excellence.”

Putting patients first also means respecting different spiritual backgrounds. For example, at Mayo’s Saint Mary’s Hospital, though not a Catholic-licensed hospital, every room bears a cross on the wall. Brown explained if a patient requests it be removed from their personal room, it is done without fuss.

“We’re respectful of that patient’s perspective as we respect their physical, emotional needs,” he said.

From his first two-hour appointment, Roger said he benefited from the patients-first difference at Mayo. “It’s not a philosophy that’s flippantly written down on a plaque someplace. The basis is this ‘faith, hope, and science.’”

While the Mayo Clinic has no institutional data on the role of faith in patient outcomes, Brown acknowledged it’s an intriguing question. “There’s an increasing call for research to consider: What is the role of spirituality when it connects to outcomes in medicine?”

Balancing triumph and failure
The Mayo model certainly contributes to positive outcomes. Last year a study showed 88 percent of patients seeking a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic receive a new or revised diagnosis.

This was true for my mother twice. In 2010, she arrived with a previous diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her lung and liver. Diagnostics and procedures at Mayo showed there was, in fact, no cancer in the liver or lungs, and reduced her to Stage 2, eliminating the need for unnecessary surgeries, changing the treatment plan and improved her prognosis dramatically.

But not all outcomes at Mayo end triumphantly. As the film neared its conclusion, I wondered, would it only portray doctors as miracle-working gods? Would it make Mayo into a savior of sorts, usurping the position of the Great Physician? (Heroes, yes; gods, no.)

It did take several minutes to explore its imperfections, limitations, and even failures. Doctors share vulnerably about their personal “graveyard” of patients whose lives were unable to be saved.

The late Sen. John McCain also reflects on his care at Mayo, accepting his own terminal illness. And a narrator reads a poignant letter from a young patient who passed away, grateful for the extra time Mayo gave her.

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The Mayo effect in media
The Mayo model appears to have touched entertainment as well, adding to our national healthcare conversations on national television.

Premiering the same night as The Mayo Clinic, NBC’s medical drama New Amsterdam seems to have pulled from the Mayos’ patients-first playbook. Inspired by true events in the book Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital—the same historic New York hospital where the elder Dr. Mayo began his first job as a pharmacist—the docudrama centers around an unorthodox medical director determined to change a broken system.

Just as Burns’s signature style, coined “the Ken Burns effect,” influenced video production, perhaps “the Mayo Effect” will continue to influence art as well as life.

If it does, no doubt Brown and his more than 60,000 Mayo colleagues would welcome it. “If the generations that follow me at Mayo Clinic look back in 50 years and see we are the same values-driven organization that we were in 2018,” he said, “then we will have done our job and we will have shepherded this carefully considered culture forward in the next generation. That’s the legacy we need to leave for the colleagues that follow us.”




Jenny Collins, MA, is a freelance copywriter with a master’s degree in holistic health studies and founder of Jenetic Communications. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and also writes at HolisticGPS.com.



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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 | October 2018
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 09:03:58 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/october/sandra-mccracken-making-peace-with-change.html



Making Peace with Change



Transition is part of God's original design. So is his peace in the midst of it.


We’ve been shopping for a new home. It’s tiring and exciting, a roller coaster of emotion for all of us. My young son, for example, is sentimental about every tiny imperfection in our 90-year-old house. “It’s time for a new season,” I tell him. But looking into his eyes by the dim reading light on his bedside table, I feel as though I’m looking into a mirror. I was change averse, too, when I was young.

I still feel small sometimes. And in moments like this, my empathy and emotion threaten to scramble my own inner compass, making me want to hang back in fear. Resistant, I don’t want to let out the sails. I’d rather stay put.

Jennie B. Wilson’s gospel song has been a theme for me lately: “Life is full of swift transition, naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand.” Change is part of God’s original design for the world, part of the fall of man, and part of God’s ultimate restoration. Making peace with change is a matter of the heart, of spiritual posture.

Psalm 84 puts it this way: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion” (5, ESV). In this case, Zion is the pilgrimage where our hearts find rest while we’re in motion. While we follow him and follow the call on our lives, our souls find rest in God (Ps. 62). The peace of God is active within us, even as we journey on into the unknown.

We don’t have to be strong-armed by our emotions. We can keep on, knowing that ultimately the changes will not knock us off course. In every change, we are held secure. By faith, God holds us steady. Grace takes the external circumstances of our lives and works every detail and every unexpected change to transform our hearts, for God’s glory and our good. Tom Petty’s voice rings in my head like Solomon’s refrain from Ecclesiastes: “It’s time to move on, time to get goin’. What lies ahead I have no way of knowin’.”

The sooner we make peace with the fact that we are on a journey of perpetual change, the sooner we can move in close to the God who is unchangeable. His constancy proves him over and again to be our one steady hope.

Creation itself offers us a hopeful picture of change. We welcome change each quarter in the renewal of the seasons, each transition appealing to our senses. Like the cycles of the moon (Ps. 104:19) and the rising of the sun (Ps. 113), Scripture is full of God’s faithful refrains about hope—rather than fear—in the midst of change: “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” (Isa. 33:2).

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There is order and promise in these faithful demonstrations of grace. God is making all things new. He built this characteristic into creation, even as it anticipates the ultimate renewal of all things (Rom. 8:19). As Anthony Bloom writes in Beginning to Pray:

“Humility is the situation of the earth. The earth is always there . . . silent and accepting everything and in a miraculous way making out of all the refuse new richness . . . open to the sunshine, open to the rain, ready to receive any seed we sow and capable of bringing thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold out of every seed.”

In line with the humility of the earth, we have the opportunity to start over with every sunrise. We open ourselves to God’s greater redemption as we see that “he has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc. 3:11). Letting go of our old ways is an act of humility, trusting that when a tree is carefully pruned, it bears more fruit than before.

Deeper and older than the humility of the earth, we are invited to witness and take part in the humility of Jesus Christ. Jesus demonstrates his love for us in letting go of all that he held to take hold of us. His life brings us life. He is cheering us on into the places he has called us to go.

God has brought “thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold” out of every seed that falls, eternal and momentary. His unchanging love goes before and behind us in every transition, reordering and remaking all things.




Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter who lives in Nashville. Follow her on Twitter @Sandramccracken.




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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2018, 07:37:05 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/denis-mukwege-congo-nobel-peace-prize.html



Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Christian Doctor Who Heals Rape Victims


Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege is on a crusade for women’s dignity.


A Christian gynecologist who has dedicated his career to caring for victims of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been awarded a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

Denis Mukwege, nicknamed “Dr. Miracle” for his specialized procedures, was a co-recipient for the annual honor alongside Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist who survived rape and kidnapping by ISIS in Iraq. The Nobel committee said both winners modeled “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.”

Over the past 20 years, Mukwege has treated tens of thousands of women in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, many of who had been gang raped by militants in the midst of the country’s conflict, left scarred and stigmatized.

His faith influences his approach to caring for patients holistically, “not only to treat women—their body, [but] also to fight for their own right, to bring them to be autonomous, and, of course, to support them psychologically. And all of this is a process of healing so women can regain their dignity,” he told NPR.

Mukwege is the son of a Pentecostal minister and was inspired to pursue medicine after traveling with his father to pray for the sick. Panzi Hospital, which he founded in 1999, is managed by the Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa (CEPAC).

If Christians do not live out the practical implications of their faith among their communities and neighbors, “we cannot fulfill the mission entrusted to us by Christ,” he said at a keynote for the Lutheran World Federation last year.

Further, the 63-year-old doctor advocates out of a Christian understanding of men and women as equal in dignity before God. He wears a button on his lab coat that says, “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resources, Power to the Women and Girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

“It is up to us, the heirs of Martin Luther, through God’s Word, to exorcise all the macho demons possessing the world so that women who are victims of male barbarity can experience the reign of God in their lives,” Mukwege told the Lutheran assembly.

Christian groups have joined alongside Mukwege’s crusade against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the DRC, where violence has threatened the population for decades. (As CT reported, 3.9 million were killed and more than 40,000 raped in the decade since fighting began in 1996. It has gone on long past the official end of the civil war in 2003.)

“Dr. Mukwege’s incredible work with survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo inspires me, and many of us,” Rick Santos, president and CEO of the Christian nonprofit IMA World Health, said in a statement on Friday. “We are honored to call him and Panzi Hospital a partner in the effort to eradicate SGBV in a place where it is so pervasive.”

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Violent rape has left thousands of Congolese women bearing long-tem physical consequences, including fistula, which leads to incontinence and infection, as well as injuries that complicate childbirth.

Once the only doctor in the province to treat these women, he has become “likely the world’s leading expert on repairing injuries of rape.” The Pentecostal hospital also offers the patients therapy, legal assistance, community resources, and help reintegrating into their community.

Mukwege challenged fellow Christians to consider “the credibility of the gospel in the 21st century, to liberate the grace that we have received by making the church a light that still shines in this world of darkness through our struggles for justice, truth, law, freedom, in short, the dignity of man and woman.”

Christianity Today covered the ongoing DRC violence in a 2006 cover story, Hope in the Heart of Darkness.




The magazine also previously featured 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian activist and prayer warrior.



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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 03:17:45 pm »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/october-web-only/sexual-abuse-trama-victims-silenced-rachael-denhollander.html



Time Doesn’t Heal Sexual Assault If Victims Are Silenced


How churches can help victims decades after assault.


Christine Blasey Ford’s recent testimony added fuel to an already heated discussion on how we should respond to abuse allegations. Regardless of politics, pastor and author Ed Stetzer called for caution in how we speak about abuse so that we don’t harm victims within our own communities. Research confirms that victims stay silent because of a negative community culture toward abuse and often don’t receive emotional support. According to therapist Connie Baker, herself a sexual abuse survivor, our response as a church community can make tragic situations worse or they can help with the healing process.

Rachael Denhollander, the attorney who spearheaded the fight to take down Larry Nassar for sexually abusing hundreds of young female gymnasts, experienced both damaging and healing responses from her church communities. Before she came forward, she recalled the kind of church culture that had previously silenced her.

During a youth group discussion, Denhollander remembers a student asking whether they could consider King David’s misuse of power toward Bathsheba as sexual assault, and their teacher said no, opening the floor for others to give their opinions. (You can read why it is assault from a theological viewpoint here.) A friend of Denhollander’s raised his hand to share: “I think it had to have been her fault, because she could have chosen to die rather than have sex with him.”

“This immediately told me I would be better off dead than a rape victim. And if I didn’t fight to my death, it’s my fault,” Denhollander recalled.

The Impact of Silencing


Research indicates that when abuse victims feel like they can’t or shouldn’t talk about their experiences, their trauma can worsen.

“It does appear that withholding disclosure, or not telling about abuse or assault when one wants to tell is related to worse psychological symptoms, as is delayed disclosure,” according to University of Chicago criminology professor Sarah E. Ullman, in her book, Talking about Sexual Assault: Society’s Response to Survivors.

Indeed, many victims suffer in silence, since “studies indicate that only one half to two-thirds of adult women disclose their sexual assault experience to someone at some point in their lives.”

Baker, who has worked with sexual and spiritual abuse victims for many years in her private practice, told me that when victims are silenced, “The horrible impact cannot be overstated. [The silencing] is the majority of the [long-term] trauma most of the time.”

www.lst.ac.uk
Baker underwent her own healing journey years ago after her pastor abused her when she was a young adult and used threats of suicide to keep her silent. When the pastor finally confessed, Baker hoped other church leadership would give her protection and support. Instead, she learned, “I was to be the brunt and focal point of their anger, their hurt, their outrage. I was it.” She was forced to confess her “sin” to her church and leave the area so that the church could eventually restore her abuser to ministry.

“Part of why silence is so bad for us is because we're not made to do trauma in isolation.” Those in pain should be surrounded with support by their communities, the way they do when death or other tragedies strike.

This community support, she said, “is good for our brain and neurology. It's how we cope.” Unfortunately, most victims don’t get support, and that “isolation brings continued shame and confusion.”

When We Blame the Victim
Ullman’s research also shows that 80 percent of victims report some form of blaming.

Baker pointed out, along with problematic views about women and a history of blaming women in general, the power structure of many communities makes it risky for congregations to side with victims. Frankly, she said, “It's easier to dismiss or blame the person with less power.”

“It's essential to view this problem as a systemic problem. A leader or congregation that blames a victim does not happen in a vacuum.” When the abuser is a respected person in the community, such as a pastor, the community’s knee-jerk response can be, “Is she lying? Please tell me she is lying,” because the stakes are so high for the community if it were true.

This can lead to interrogating the victim with questions that imply guilt or cast suspicion onto the victim. She gave examples of minimizing comments often made to victims, such as the victim “took it wrong,” was “too sensitive,” they are “reading into things,” or “they are exaggerating.” Other blaming responses can include comments such as “they don’t dress modestly enough,” “they tend to flirt,” or “it takes two to tango.”

Both Christians and non-Christians questioned Denhollander: “Why didn’t you fight back?” and “How could you not know?”

Beyond Blaming: Harmful (Sometimes Well-Meaning) Reactions
In her research, Ullman explored common social reactions to a victim disclosing sexual abuse, finding several negative reactions besides blaming the victim, including taking control of the victim’s decisions, treating the victim differently, distraction from the abuse, or an egocentric response (such as concentrating on their own anger over the abuse, instead of the victim’s pain).

The line between positive and negative responses is, at times, thin. For example, many victims appreciated empathy but found pity unhelpful as it made them feel stigmatized or weak. “Distraction from the abuse” included encouraging survivors not to talk about the abuse anymore or to move on before they were ready, implying that they were overreacting or not healing quickly enough. Baker’s story of church leadership taking over her decisions is a glaring example of a controlling response.

Survivors in Ullman’s research listed clergy as some of the least supportive and helpful, and other research on clergy responses to sexual abuse is mixed as sample sizes have been small. An early study in 2002 concluded that many pastors blame victims and believe rape myths that deny and justify male sexual aggression, especially those who ranked higher on a five-point fundamentalist scale (whether they agreed to a literal interpretation of the Bible). However, a 2016 study sought to replicate those findings, with some adjustments, and found no link between fundamentalism and negative attitudes toward victims among pastors. The authors also pointed to other research where victims found faith communities to be healing post-assault.

When victims aren’t supported in their church, it can deepen their trauma, according to Baker, who said in her case, the sexual abuse was 25 percent of her trauma, while the spiritual abuse she experienced was 75 percent.

Denhollander linked improper theology to why churches mishandle abuse, blame victims, don’t report abuse, or re-victimize through counseling. She continued, “The church does a lot of other damage to victims in the way they handle grace, repentance, forgiveness, and minimizing of abuse. I have certainly seen that as well as sin leveling [i.e., making all sins equal].”

The impact on victims’ faith can be catastrophic because wrong theology “uses the only place that should be safe,” she said. “It uses your faith; it uses your Savior; it uses everything you rely on like a weapon. And when it uses that, you have nothing left.”

https://LifeWay.com/GospelFoundations
Denhollander also said that when conservative churches get their theology wrong about abuse, they interpret criticism as “being persecuted for following Scripture. So what happens is that they actually tighten down more. They become more protectionist.” This is problematic because it then becomes almost impossible to dialogue with them on the topic. As an evangelical Christian, Denhollander wants people to understand the Bible better, not give up on it.

When the Church Gets it Right
Ullman’s research didn’t only look at negative social reactions but positive ones as well, including tangible aid or actions, emotional support, such as expressions of love and caring, information support, and validation of abuse or believing the victim. Research found that these responses can buffer trauma in female victims.

Denhollander shared that in her life, her mom and dad were some of her earliest supporters. She credits their compassion and love, as well as their modeling a healthy marriage, with being a vital part of her healing process and giving her a healthy view of marriage and intimacy. She also told me that having a “husband that listens, who is compassionate, who reminds me of the truth and is able to deal with the impact of the effects of abuse in a way that is loving and grace-based is an incredible gift.”

While Denhollander experienced many of the negative silencing effects in earlier church experiences (read some of her other experiences here and here), her current church actively supported her during the court case against Nassar. They did a “phenomenal job supporting us in very tangible ways. Praying with us, grieving with us, keeping up to date on the case, supporting us very practically.” She gave examples such as helping care for her kids and bringing them meals and groceries when they were having to travel during the trial. “We were just cared for incredibly compassionately in very practical, meaningful ways, and that was amazingly healing for all of us.”

Denhollander cautions that you usually only get one chance to be a safe place for a victim, so both she and Baker emphasized the need for pastors to become educated on abuse. One resource Denhollander recommended was a conference on sexual abuse led by Brad Hambrick, a pastor of counseling at The Summit Church.

Baker pointed out that it is critical to recognize that trauma can cause memory gaps and a shifting story, not because victims are lying, but because of the effects of trauma. No one should force a victim to further explain, justify, or defend their abuse story. She also recommended pastors give power back to victims as much as possible, as abuse can make survivors feel powerless.

“In a nutshell, you model Jesus, you show them Jesus, which means you weep with those who weep, and you love justice, and you love holiness. You recognize that what was done to that woman or to that victim deserves justice and is an affront to God’s holiness, and you treat it like that,” said Denhollander.

To survivors who currently feel silenced, Denhollander encourages them to find one safe person to whom they can disclose—someone who can help them reclaim their voice, “who can grieve with you, and who can affirm the truth to you when it's too difficult to hold on to it yourself.” Yet both underscored that victims should know that no one is entitled to their story and not everyone is worthy of trust. The choice to disclose and when is theirs alone.

Finally, Denhollander noted the importance of recognizing the pain of sexual abuse and grieving freely, even when others insensitively lecture, “You put a smile on your face. God is going to bring good out of it.” She cautions, “Scripture doesn’t shy away from how broken the broken things are, and we shouldn’t either because when we diminish the brokenness, when we diminish the darkness, we diminish the contrast of God's light and God’s beauty.”





Kimi Harris writes at kimiharris.com and is the wife of worship leader and music teacher, Joel Harris. They live in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with their three girls and a cat.



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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 11:06:02 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2018/october/judge-kavanaugh-supreme-court-saga-says-about-view-of-sin.html


What the Kavanaugh Saga Says About Our View of Sin


Our political loyalties often prevent us from thinking biblically about the human condition.


I’ve read the words “credibility” and “character” more in the past two weeks than in the last two years. The underlying question—whom can we trust?—sits at the heart of our (un)civil discourse and seems to be the salient concern behind the Kavanaugh-Ford conversation. Both my newsfeed and personal inbox have been flooded with heartbreaking stories from people who’ve experienced assault (and therefore believe Christine Blasey Ford), as well as testimonies from those who personally worked with Judge Brett Kavanaugh (and therefore believe him). The court of public opinion has issued similar verdicts. The words “liar,” “saint,” and “smear campaign” are leveled with conviction and indignation against both. People may be sharply divided in their conclusions, but they seem to agree on one thing: There’s a guilty party and an innocent one, and it’s obvious which one is which.

As Christians, we affirm that character matters, and the way we handle accusations matters, too. But our attempts to find people above approach don’t negate the fact that we are, as theologian Francis Schaeffer put it, “glorious ruins.” Humans are capable of both egregious sin and tremendous good, and when our political discourse leads us to vilify or canonize people, we’ve overlooked or overemphasized either one or the other—sin or goodness. If we find ourselves continually drawing fixed conclusions along partisan lines, it suggests that our red-tinted or blue-tinted spectacles are preventing us from thinking deeply and biblically about the human condition.

The Kavanaugh-Ford conversation strikes at the center of my work in the areas of law, pastoral ministry, and advocacy against sexual violence. As a lawyer, I’m concerned about the way in which we approach evidence (both testimonial and circumstantial). But as a Christian, I’m particularly concerned about the way we talk about sin and how we weigh evidence of both good and evil in a person’s story. I see a real danger in taking a binary view of sinfulness: We are not “all good” or “all bad” all the time. We are neither sinners nor saints in discrete categories. Rather, the Bible tells us we are both.

Scripture is replete with examples of faith lived out by fallen, fallible people. The apostle Paul called himself “chief of sinners” and was a ringleader for those who persecuted Christians (1 Tim. 1:15, Acts 7:54–8:2), but he is also the one who enjoins us to follow his example as he follows Christ’s (1 Cor. 11:1). Peter may have been the “rock on whom Jesus would build his church” (Matt. 16:18), and yet his failings are well documented: Early on, he denied Jesus, and years later, he was called to the proverbial carpet for pastoral and theological errors (Gal. 2:11–14).

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The example that comes to mind most of late is that of King David, described by Scripture as a “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). In David, we find someone who faced onslaughts of false accusations and pled his righteousness before God (Ps. 109). 1 Samuel 24 tells of a particular instance when David had an opportunity to avenge himself against Saul but refrained. His fear of the Lord worked itself out in tremendous character: “I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed” (v. 10). In a showdown of damning accusations with witnesses from both sides, Saul finally acknowledged David’s innocence in the matter, and David was later appointed as king.

However, this same David was also the one who forcefully took Bathsheba into his bed and had her husband, Uriah, murdered in the cover-up (2 Sam. 11). Had Bathsheba or Uriah been able to stand up and say, “King David did this to me,” there would have been an army of people willing to leap to David’s defense, touting his trustworthiness as a friend, his humility in service, and his integrity and courage in battle. Every one of those witness testimonies would have been true, and yet he also did what he did to Bathsheba and Uriah and then lied to cover it up. He was God’s chosen king for Israel and also a sinner to the core (Ps. 51).

The implications of this are unnerving. As I read accounts of human sex trafficking, what frightens me most is that the clientele bankrolling the industry are, in large degree, “otherwise ordinary men.” They’re our doctors, coworkers, pastors, and spouses. It’s terrifying to think that respectable, safe-looking people all around us have the capacity to sin so deeply. It’s even more terrifying to ponder the great lengths they will take to suppress testimonies that might expose their evil. As a woman in this world and now as a parent, I would love to believe that I can “tell a sexual predator by looking at them,” but in truth, the only sure way I can tell a sinner is by looking in the mirror.

Here again, the point is not that we ought to let character slide in our assessment of leaders. The point is that we cannot definitively assess a person’s trustworthiness and furthermore, that we have to be willing to see sin in ourselves first before we see it in others.

I hope that when I die, there will be many people who can speak of my character, my contribution to society, and how I was both faithful and fruitful in my life. But there will also be people whom I hurt deeply and whose lives have been fractured by my words and actions over the years. Both of these things are true: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:18–19). Scripture teaches us to acknowledge the depth of our capacity for sin, but it also encourages us to leave room for reconciliation, forgiveness, and growth in ourselves and in one another.

This same tension applies to our discernment of leaders and public figures. As believers who acknowledge both sin and grace, we should be cautious of pronouncing absolute judgment on the sinners and saints around us or joining a shouting throng who wish to believe and justify (or disbelieve and discredit) people in the public square. We all have told both truth and lies for which there are consequences, and God—not the crowd—knows which is which.

Guilt and innocence are not determined by the force of a group’s convictions. After all, we serve a Savior who was innocent of every sin, and yet a crowd rallied for his death: “He’s a liar! He’s a criminal! Crucify him!” Accordingly, I am reminded to be aware of my own checkered history, to do due diligence in weighing what I hear about others, and to be slow to shout with the crowds.





Bronwyn Lea is a South-African writer and speaker living in North California. You can find her online at bronlea.com and connect on Facebook and on Twitter @bronleatweets.




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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 11:14:07 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/october/why-evangelicals-trump-vote-81-percent-2016-election.html



Why Evangelicals Voted Trump: Debunking the 81%


Ahead of the midterms, the Billy Graham Center Institute examined the most infamous statistic about faith and the 2016 election.


Over the past two years, few statistics have sparked as much debate both inside and outside evangelicalism as the fact that 81 percent of white evangelical voters picked Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Depending on your views, it’s either a sign of solidarity or one of compromise—a number wrought with opinions and commentary to the point where fact and fiction are blurred.

The statistic has often been used in the media and in academia to represent the idea that all evangelical Trump voters were “all in” for everything that encompasses Trumpism. As Americans (both evangelical and non-evangelical) tried to understand one of the most polarizing and surprising elections in our country’s history, the 81 percent became the go-to narrative for many. It fit longstanding criticisms that evangelicalism had become over-politicized, under-discipled, and hijacked by some of its most belligerent elements.

In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College worked with LifeWay Research to better understand the 81 percent and evangelicals’ political engagement. We polled 3,000 Americans in three categories: those who self-identify as evangelicals, those with evangelical beliefs, and those who neither see themselves as evangelicals nor hold certain core evangelical theological views (such as a belief in salvation through Jesus Christ alone).

Among other insights, the data reveal six key facts about the 81 percent statistic that are worth highlighting.

The 81 percent fails to differentiate the motivations behind voting.





In every election, people can vote with varying levels of enthusiasm and confidence in their decision. In an election that was one of the most polarizing in recent history, voters were often more reluctant than enthusiastic about their preferred candidate. For example, the Pew Research Center found in June 2016 that while 78 percent of self-identified white evangelical voters planned to vote for Trump, 45 percent were mainly voting against Hillary Clinton and only 30 percent were voting for Trump himself.

In our survey, we asked, “Which of the following best characterizes how you thought about your vote?” Only half of evangelicals by belief characterized their vote as “voting for their specific candidate.” Across Clinton, Trump, and third-party voters, evangelicals were just as likely to be voting in favor of a specific candidate as for another reason. So, while the who did matter (and 1 in 3 evangelicals said their vote was against Clinton, Trump, or both), the what and the why mattered also.

In fact, many voters chose to look past a candidate as an individual to vote for a specific issue, platform, or party that they represent, seeing the candidates more like objects of representation than as individuals whose values and ideals fit theirs. A majority of evangelicals by belief (59%) agreed that their political support should be tied more to praising or criticizing specific issues rather than individual political leaders.

Put another way, many of Trump’s evangelical voters were not enthusiastic about him as a candidate.


The 81 percent was not primarily about abortion or the Supreme Court.
When asked the most important factor in casting their 2016 vote, the top four answers given by evangelicals by belief were the ability to improve the economy (17%), a position on healthcare (11%) or immigration (10%), and the ability to maintain national security (9%). Religious liberty (8%), the Supreme Court (7%), personal character (7%), and abortion (5%) finished behind.

This breakdown largely remained unchanged when we asked respondents to list any of the factors that influenced their 2016 vote. Once again, the economy (62%), healthcare (55%), national security (51%), and immigration (49%) ranked as the top four factors among evangelicals by belief. While religious liberty came in fifth (45%), only about 1 in 3 evangelicals by belief even listed abortion, the Supreme Court, personal character, or vice presidential pick as one of their influences.

In other words, evangelicals voted more along Republican values than traditional social conservative values. The fact that abortion and the Supreme Court ranked so low is counter-intuitive to the prevailing narrative that evangelicals are single-issue voters.

Put another way, Republican Party issues were more important than pro-life issues.


Most evangelicals are willing to cross parties if given a pro-life alternative.
Abortion nevertheless remains an important issue for many evangelicals. Three-quarters of evangelicals by belief who are pro-life (75%) expressed a willingness to vote for a candidate who was truly pro-life, regardless of political party. Thus, while abortion’s importance in the 2016 election may have been overblown by analysts, it remains a major factor in evangelical voting and represents a major hurdle in their willingness to vote for Democrats with ardently pro-choice platforms.

In 2016 this posed a real challenge for many evangelicals: vote for a major-party candidate with whom they have serious concerns or register their protest by voting third-party. While some might scoff at this problem, it represents a sizable portion of Trump’s support (or those evangelicals who voted third-party or abstained from voting) who believed either choice was a violation of their conscience.

Put another way, while many did value other priorities, some evangelicals certainly chose to vote for Trump because they were pro-life.




The vote for Trump was about evangelicals’ view of the long run.
A majority of evangelicals by belief (57%) agreed with the statement that conservative goals achieved under Trump would last beyond his presidency (though only 1 in 3 strongly believe this). Whether it is the Supreme Court or religious liberty, many evangelicals appeared willing to accept a presidential candidate who is able to secure policy initiatives they favor in the long term.

Again, this is pointing to an 81 percent that is strategic, goal-oriented, and issue-oriented. Their perception is short-term pain for long-term gain with the decisions around the economy, healthcare, national security, and immigration.

Put another way, it’s true that many evangelicals voted for Trump for the future while overlooking the present.


Many evangelicals are willing to overlook personal character when voting.
In what would have been anathema to evangelicals in the 1990s who saw leadership as intimately connected to character, evangelicals today display a stunning pragmatism regarding behavior. In our research, this fact became strikingly clear: Of those with an opinion, 3 out of 4 evangelicals by belief agree that a political leader’s personal life does not need to line up with Christian teaching in order for Christians to benefit.


Read charitably, it is simply an acknowledgment that even immoral leaders can be used by a sovereign God. Indeed, the “King Cyrus argument” is one that several evangelical leaders have used when issues of President Trump’s character have arisen in the past. Yet this represents a historical departure for evangelicals. For example, a frequently cited stat is PRRI’s finding that the number of self-identified white evangelicals who believe “an elected official can behave ethically even if they have committed transgressions in their personal life” more than doubled between 2011 and Trump’s campaign in 2016, from 30 percent to 72 percent.

Some Trump voters legitimately wrestled through his personal immorality for national policies they believed in, others seemed oblivious to Trump’s personal life, and a sizable group justified and even embraced his controversial character as a sign of toughness.

Those concerned about compromising the church’s witness by ignoring or justifying immoral behavior for societal gain will be little surprised to learn that when our researchers asked non-evangelicals which characteristics describe evangelical Christians, the most cited (by almost 4 in 10) was hypocritical.

Put another way, many evangelicals struggle to hold favored candidates to the same standards expected of rivals.


Many of the 81 percent were not influenced by church leadership.
The data tells us that most American evangelicals are not looking to their pastors for political guidance, and most pastors are not willing to touch the subject lest they get burned. Only 4 in 10 respondents told us they wanted advice from their pastor on political issues. And only 4 in 10 told us their pastor uses Scripture to address political topics at least once a month or more.

Put another way, many evangelicals are likely turning to culture—and often the most outraged voices—rather than the church for political discipleship.


What comes next?
The fact remains that many evangelical Trump voters were reluctant supporters. They voted according to their political values while choosing someone they thought could actually win. In doing so, they secured several key promises from the Trump campaign. As CNN religion reporter Daniel Burke said, “They backed the right candidate during the election. And now they’re reaping the dividends. … The president has delivered on the campaign promises he made [to evangelicals].”

Yet this close association with a thrice-married adulterer with a history of disturbing comments about women, immigrants, and more leads to the uncomfortable question evangelicals will probably wrestle with for years to come: Was it worth it?

Notably, about 1 in 3 American evangelicals by belief today is a person of color, whose views get overlooked in discussions about how white evangelicals voted. Overall, of those with an opinion, 3 out of 4 evangelicals by belief recognized that the 2016 election revealed political divides within the church that have existed for a long time. Yet even in the midst of so many divisions today, statistics continue to show that evangelicalism is growing numerically across the globe. The movement is succeeding despite our best efforts.

And our research may encourage those who fear the church’s reputation is beyond salvaging: Only 1 in 3 non-evangelicals told us that they see evangelicals as “too closely aligned with President Trump.” And only 1 in 4 told us their perception of evangelicals has worsened since the election.

Perhaps more than a simplistic narrative, the 81 percent and the complexity behind it can help evangelicals submit their political engagement to God’s Word, in God’s community, and under the discipleship of godly people rather than to a party, politician, or pundit.




Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. Andrew MacDonald is associate director of the Billy Graham Center Institute.

Methodology:

The survey was conducted online May 9-16, 2018, and included:

1,064 Americans who have evangelical beliefs (margin of error: plus or minus 3.1%)

1,814 Americans who self-identify as evangelical or born-again Christians (plus or minus 2.4%)

1,000 Americans who are not evangelical/born-again by belief or self-identity (plus or minus 3.2%)

Unless specified otherwise, references to evangelicals in this study include only respondents classified as evangelical by belief according to the National Association of Evangelicals research protocol. This requires strong agreement with each of four separate statements:

1. The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.

2. It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

3. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.

4. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.




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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 01:57:12 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/asia-bibi-free-pakistan-blasphemy-death-supreme-court.html

Pakistan Frees Asia Bibi from Blasphemy Death Sentence




Jailed Christian mother acquitted by Supreme Court after eight years. But threats of violent nationwide protests persist.


OCTOBER 17, 2014 1:34 PM

Asia Bibi's Death Sentence Upheld by Lahore High Court

FEBRUARY 07, 2013 10:15 AM
Renewed Hope for Asia Bibi as Pakistan Acquits Second Christian of Blasphemy

INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan Frees Asia Bibi from Blasphemy Death Sentence
Jailed Christian mother acquitted by Supreme Court after eight years. But threats of violent nationwide protests persist.
ASIF AQEEL IN LAHORE OCTOBER 31, 2018 12:47 AM Pakistan Frees Asia Bibi from Blasphemy Death Sentence
Asia Bibi


[This story is breaking and will be updated]


Today the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Asia Bibi of committing blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable with death in the Muslim nation, amid threats of countywide paralyzing protests and “horrible” consequences to justices and army generals if the Christian mother of five was released.

Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih and their two daughters, currently in London, anxiously await her safe release and reunion with her after eight years of wrongful detention.

However, Agence France-Presse has reported that the Red Mosque [Lal Masjid]—a significant mosque in the capital, Islamabad, which played a pivotal role in the 1980s and ’90s in recruiting and training mujaheedin for the Soviet-Afghan war—filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court to put Bibi’s name “on the no-fly list” so that she could not leave the country. The Red Mosque “will become a center for the anti-government movement” if she is released.

Bibi was the first Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and only the second (after Ayub Masih, released in 2002) whose blasphemy case has gone up to the Supreme Court and been released.

Earlier this month, on October 8, a three-member bench—chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar and justices Asif Saeed Khosa and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel—heard arguments from both sides, but reserved their verdict until today.

The hardline Islamist party, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), held countrywide protests on October 14 and warned that the justices would meet a “horrible” end if Bibi was released. The TLP is “a staunch supporter of the blasphemy law and openly justify violence to safeguard what they call the honor of the prophet.” The current situation frightens the minuscule population of Pakistani Christian of repercussions after Bibi leaves the country. (The TLP is the more moderate side of Sunni Muslims in Pakistan, but they are more zealous than any other Islamic sect.)

“Any judge who acquits Asia must be killed,” TLP patron Pir Afzal Qadri told a public gathering the day the Supreme Court was reading Bibi’s case. “Even the state should kill him because he has become an apostate by releasing her. Earlier, based on my fatwah, Iqbal Bhatti [a high court justice who had released two Christians in 1997 in a frivolous blasphemy charge] was killed by a lion, Ahmed Sher Niazi. Now I give the same fatwah [for these Supreme Court justices].”

At least 60 persons have been killed over blasphemy accusations, and dozens of communal attacks have taken place against Christians on the pretext of blasphemy. Pakistani Christians are the only religious minority that has publicly demanded the repeal or amendment of the nation’s blasphemy laws, largely because they are the only religious minority that has—disproportionate to its size—suffered so many attacks, brutalities, and criminal litigation on account of the laws.

In Bibi’s case, the prosecution alleged that she was “a Christian preacher.” On the afternoon of June 14, 2009, she was picking falsa berries in the fields of Sheikhupura along with about 20 other female workers. There, she allegedly started speaking ill against the Qur‘an and the Prophet Muhammad. An “assembly” of clerics and village elders thoroughly investigated the matter for five days, and Bibi “confessed” to saying blasphemous statements before this “assembly” and sought “pardon.” After this extrajudicial confession, she was handed over to the police.

A trial court condemned Bibi in November 2010 to death for allegedly speaking three blasphemous statements. The then Punjab governor, Salmaan Taseer, went to meet her in prison and had her sign a clemency appeal after Pope Benedict XVI appealed for her pardon.

The pope’s demand and Taseer’s support of Bibi resulted in thousands of people protesting across the country, declaring it to be an intervention in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

In December that same year, renowned cleric Maulana Yousaf Qureshi put a $5,000 bounty on Bibi’s head while the Pakistani state couldn’t charge him.

Supporting a person suspected of blasphemy also translates in the eyes of many as committing blasphemy, and that resulted in Taseer’s murder. He was gunned down by his own security guard Mumtaz Qadri in January 2011.

Only two months later, the only Catholic Christian minister in the federal cabinet, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also gunned down by members of Tehreek-e-Taliban for supporting Bibi and for advocating that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws be amended.

In October 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld the decision of the trial court in Bibi’s case.

Qadri was hailed as a hero across the country, but despite warnings the Supreme Court of Pakistan convicted him. In February 2016, he was hanged. The TLP was founded by those finding Qadri’s hanging unjustified, and is now struggling for a full-blown theocracy in the country.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court started hearing the case in October 2016 but one of the justices recused himself after the first hearing, postponing the rest for an indefinite time.

In April this year, chief justice Saqib Nisar promised to pick Bibi’s case back up soon, and then heard it on October 8.

Most Pakistani Christians come from a downtrodden “untouchable” Hindu caste, which is why in rural settings they are often refused haircuts, eating and drinking from the same utensils, and rarely even shake hands with Muslims. Because most of them hail from such a background, Christians in general are considered “untouchable” in Pakistan, despite it being an Islamic country.

On June 14, 2009, Bibi was working in the fields and she brought water for her two female coworkers who refused to take it from her, telling her they couldn’t since she was “Christian.” Both the trial court and then the Lahore High Court did not take into consideration that it was not Bibi who initiated the argument, but the two sisters.

Bibi submitted in the trial court that an argument broke out over their refusal, and “some hot words were exchanged.” Her accuser’s lawyer contended before the Supreme Court on October 8 that “Asia Bibi exactly spoke what [hundreds of years ago] started as a ‘movement’ in Muslim Spain.”

“It started in Spain [when it was ruled by Muslims] and now it is part of the Christian faith to disrespect Islam and the Holy Prophet,” contended Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, counsel for complainant Muhammad Salaam.

“A priest gathered Christian youths in Spain and taught them that they could not enter the paradise until they disrespect the Prophet Muhammad. After this, each day one Christian youth came out who spoke disrespectful words against the Prophet and was beheaded.”

Bibi had submitted in the court that she was illiterate and the prosecution failed to prove that she was a “Christian preacher.”

Police superintendent Muhammad Amin Bokhari, who investigated the case, and the land owner, Muhammad Idrees, both testified in the trial court that the matter arose from an altercation over drinking water. But the prosecution claimed that Bibi was a preacher to hide the “provocation” element in the argument. However, Supreme Court justice Asif Saeed Khosa noticed this.

“But what do you think about the lawyer [who was never identified and presented in the court] who wrote the First Information Report?” Khosa inquired. The justice “remarked that it was possible that the blasphemous words that Asia Bibi was accused of uttering were actually made by the lawyer who drafted the complaint against her.”

Chaudhry said that faithful women observing purdah have come to the courts to give evidence and based on a few technical matters, punishment should not be canceled.

Khosa also stated that the witnesses and the complainant adulterated the truth by removing the part of the incident from their testimony which was not going in their favor.

“No Muslim can even think of doing this. The defendants turns into a hero after committing this crime. Their families get asylum abroad. There cannot be a worst crime than blasphemy but not a single individual is ever hanged,” Chaudhry argued.

The judges, however, did not seem convinced over these assertions and asked to be presented credible evidence. The chief justice said that extrajudicial confession was the weakest form of evidence in criminal law. “It is admissible evidence, but the weakest one.”





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Re: Christianity Today Magazine | October 2018
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2020, 10:43:03 am »
Good
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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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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