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Four practical steps churches can take to eliminate sexual violence.In our first article we shared lessons taken from our work as mental health professionals with survivors of sexual violence. We continue the conversation here by offering further considerations for churches wishing to respond to sexual violence in an informed manner. We do not consider our assertions and recommendations to be exhaustive, but offer them as pieces of an important, broader conversation.1. Recognize that sexual violence is in the sanctuary. Given the prevalence rates of various forms of sexual violence, churches must continue coming to terms with the reality that members in their congregations have experienced sexual violence.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report sexual violence involving physical contact at the astounding frequencies of one in three women and one in six men (2018). Child sexual abuse is underreported, but estimated at one in five girls and one in 20 boys (The National Center for Victims of Crime, 2012).Over 7,000 claims of sexual abuse by church staff, congregation members, volunteers, or the clergy were made to just three insurance companies over a 20-year period (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007). Recently, a study of over 300 alleged child sexual abuse cases in protestant Christian congregations found the overwhelming majority took place on church grounds, or at the offender’s home, most frequently carried out by Caucasian, male clergy or youth pastors (Denney, Kerley, & Gross, 2018).Beyond the large number of individuals directly affected by sexual violence, many more lives are impacted indirectly through relationships with family, friends, acquaintances, or in connection to the larger community. Without an acceptance of the scope of this problem, along with the ...Continue reading...
What Christians gain from traveling the world.Peter Grier caught the travel bug at an early age. But as he journeyed off to destinations across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, he began pondering the relationship between his Christian faith and his wanderlust: Does God really want us spending time and money on travel for its own sake, apart from any missionary or evangelistic motivation? In Travel: In Tandem with God’s Heart, Grier—who works with students at several Irish universities as a Christian Unions team leader—walks through a Christian approach to travel. Andrew Wilson, an avid hiker and author of Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther, spoke with Grier about his adventures abroad and how they have deepened his faith.What drove you to start exploring the world?I grew up in Belfast during the 1980s and ’90s. It was a troubled spot with much violence, and I lived through it all. Because so few people wanted to come to a country that was so divided, it was very monocultural.It was also monocultural in another way: It was one of the largest evangelical Christian populations in the world, certainly in Europe. I grew up in a Bible-believing household, got taught the Bible from a young age, and experienced the privilege of the community there establishing me in my faith. It was only when I went off to university in Nottingham that I started to meet people of different worldviews and upbringings. That was a great challenge and a great turning point in my life of faith. Since then I’ve worked with various Christian unions to help students of faith maintain their belief and explain it to the world.I was traveling a lot—mostly by car— for my job, and I kept hearing that it was a waste of time ...Continue reading...
Link: https://www.thingsofthesort.com/blog/2018/12/6/how-to-forge-a-friendshipFormat: Web PageTopic(s): Community, FriendshipAuthor(s)/Speaker(s): Reformed Study
Last month, Christians around the world celebrated when Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian on death row for the crime of blasphemy, had her conviction set aside by the Pakistani Supreme Court. Bibi had been accused of blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with several women after she shared a drink with them, thereby making the water ceremonially unclean. She was subsequently convicted, and spent the following eight years awaiting her execution.Following Bibi’s release, thousands of Islamist Pakistanis demonstrated in the streets to demand she be put to death. Since her acquittal, Bibi has been held in protective custody in Pakistan due to threats of violence as she hopes to be granted asylum by a Western nation.In a recent video message, Bibi’s husband pleaded with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, in addition to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and U.S. President Donald Trump. The objective was to bring his family to the West to avoid the religiously motivated persecution they face in Pakistan.Earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported that UK Prime Minister Theresa May personally intervened to prevent Bibi from receiving asylum in the UK, contradicting the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who has argued that the UK should provide Bibi refuge.Asylum was made for cases like this. It’s to protect political and religious refugees who are facing persecution in their home country. So, why would the UK—which is usually so open to immigration—choose to deny entry to a Christian farmworker fleeing religious persecution?The Daily Mail reported that Prime Minister Theresa May was persuaded that letting Bibi claim asylum would raise tensions within the Muslim community in the UK. May’s refusal to give Bibi refuge is devastating for Bibi and her family. It is a discouraging sign that the British government isn’t prioritizing religious freedom. Instead, the government is letting the fear of the mob dictate who earns the protection of the state and is validating the criticisms of politically-correct “multiculturalism.”The UK first needs to embrace religious freedom at the cultural level so that religious refugees in crisis will be welcomed into the shelter of their country. This requires leaders who have the moral courage to stand up for religious freedom, even when a percentage of the population may oppose it.The UK had an opportunity to make a stand for religious freedom and they chose not to. Thankfully, other nations have this same opportunity. As Bibi and her family continue to look for a safe place to live, we can pray that a Western country whose laws and culture still value religious freedom will grant her asylum and safe haven.Arielle Del Turco is an intern at Family Research Council.
Dear Friends,At a retreat I attended some years ago, a priest said something that I will never forget. He said that whenever we are feeling spiritually dry and it seems like God is far away from us, or even when we begin to have doubts about our faith, there is one simple action we can take that can ground us again and stabilize our disillusionment. It is to simply remember those precious moments in our lives when God has shown Himself to us very clearly, filling us with unearthly gratitude and peace.As it happens, I had one of these moments a few weeks ago. While I was reading Scripture before starting work one morning, I was struck by a passage from Luke 18, when a blind man calls out to Jesus to have pity on him, and what happened next: “Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He replied, ‘Lord, please let me see.’ Jesus told him, ‘Have sight; your faith has saved you’” (Luke 18:40-42). After reading those words, tears immediately filled my eyes, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of immense comfort and peace, as if Christ was holding my shoulders, gazing into my eyes, and speaking those words directly to me: “Your faith has saved you.” In that moment, I felt as though I was being given a brand-new understanding of the enormity of the gift of faith that God had given me—“I offered you salvation, and you accepted it. See now how you flourish because of this gift! Don’t ever forget that!”For me, moments like these happen rarely and inexplicably, seemingly out of nowhere. I am truly grateful to God for them because I know what He is doing: He is giving me a taste of Heaven, a spiritual consolation and confirmation of His existence and His personal, fatherly care for my soul. When I am feeling spiritually listless, all I need to do is recall one of these moments when God broke through the earthly veil of tears and spoke directly to me. When I do this, I am reminded of the Hope that is always there, even amidst the worst crisis of faith I could ever conceivably experience.As we enter the Advent season, it can be easy to get caught up in earthly preparations and worries, and we may even find ourselves feeling a bit lethargic about the real “reason for the season.” If we do, one way we can stay grounded is to simply remember. Remember the origin story of when we were first given the gift of faith or any of those extraordinary moments when God broke into our lives with supernatural clarity. By doing this, we can remind ourselves about and reflect upon the origin story of salvation, when the Christ-child broke into history and into the soul of every person who has ever or will ever live, calling us all by name to Himself.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC Articles'Boy Erased' film misrepresents sexual orientation counseling – Peter SpriggNational Adoption Month Launches with Assault on Faith-based Adoption – Mary Beth WaddellWhat Could Have Been, and the Hope of What Is to Come – Cassidy RichTimes Op-Ed Admits Key Justifications for Gender Transition are False – Peter SpriggLet There Be (Christmas) Lights – Alexandra McPheeIn India, Twitter Gets a Taste of the True Danger of Viewpoint Suppression – Alexandra McPheeFaith-based Adoption Providers Are Answering the Pro-Life Call and Must Be Protected – Madison Ferguson Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareCalifornia Professor Fired for Challenging Student's Beliefs About Sexuality is Reinstated – Emily Jones, CBN NewsSalvation Army Warns Officers to Stop Posting About Gay Marriage – Todd Starnes.comMom Says 6-Year-Old Son Is Transgender. Dad Disagrees. Now He Might Lose His Son. – Amanda Prestigiacomo, The Daily WireAG Paxton Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Take Up Religious Liberties Case – Ken Paxton, AG of TexasSURVEY: Christian & Conservative Students Silenced, Intimidated into Keeping Views Private – Jennifer Wishon, CBN NewsEWTN wins lawsuit over HHS contraception mandate – Ed Condon, CNADC church asks to intervene in atheists’ lawsuit that seeks to force churches to file tax returns – Alliance Defending FreedomPublic School Bans All Christmas Songs That Mention Jesus – Todd Starnes.comSenators Urge IRS to Delay Taxes on Churches: 'It's Going to Cost the Non-Profit Community Up to a Billion Dollars' – Jennifer Wishon, CBN NewsCity Of Pasadena Banned A Pro-Traditional Marriage Speaker, Federal Lawsuit Claims – Alex Parker, RedStateInternational Religious FreedomThe Lessons of the Asia Bibi Case – Nina Shea, National ReviewReport: Half a Billion Christians Facing Global Persecution – Edwin Mora, BreitbartChina Demolishes Crosses, Mandates Surveillance in Churches as Religious Persecution Rises – Josh Shepherd, The StreamBishop, priest and more than 40 others killed at Central African Republic church and refugee camp – John Burger, Aleteia'A Scene From Hell': Christians Talk Being Bloodied, Pelted With Stones, Metal by Muslim Mob in Kenya – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian PostWoman describes torture, beatings in Chinese detention camp – Maria Danilova, APChristian Bridal Magazine Forced Out of Business for Not Featuring Same-Sex Couples – Virginia Hale, BreitbartFreed British missionary forgives men who killed his best friend – Alex Williams, PremierFamily Forgives Tribal Members Who Allegedly Killed American ‘Missionary’ – Katherine Rodriguez, BreitbartYoung Girl Orphaned in Uganda After Father Converts to Christianity – International Christian ConcernIraqi Christians who fled IS return to find properties seized – Eno Adeogun, Premier LifeAbortionGroups Ask SCOTUS To Hear Case That Could Overturn Roe – Hank Berrien, The Daily WirePlanned Parenthood’s Share of U.S. Abortions Increased in 2015 – Alexandra DeSanctis, National ReviewPresident Trump Names Pro-Life Neurobiology Professor to National Science Board – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsTrial over controversial Kentucky abortion law now in judge's hands – Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier JournalHow a ‘scheduling error’ saved a baby with Down syndrome from abortion – Sarah Terzo, Live ActionKenya: Board orders Marie Stopes to stop offering abortion services – Angela Oketch and Soni Kanake, Daily NationAbortionist Defends Killing Babies: “A Fetus Needs Permission to Reside in a Uterus” – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsAdoptionCountering the ‘Soft Stigma’ Against Adoption – Elizabeth Kirk, Family StudiesInstant Family Offers a Funny, Yet Honest Portrayal of Foster Care and Adoption – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies7 ways to support adoption – Ally Wall, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionWhen Families Un-Adopt a Child – Jenn Morson, The AtlanticBioethicsWhy Tissue From Abortions Isn’t Needed to Save Other Lives – Rachel del Guidice, The Daily SignalHHS official vows to pursue research ‘alternatives’ to aborted fetal tissue – Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn, PoliticoObamacare650 Obamacare State Exchange Plans Cover Abortion on Demand in 2019 – Caffeinated Thoughts FamilyMarriageA Simple Way to De-Escalate Couple Conflicts – The Family Institute at Northwestern University‘Sex Recession?’ Blame Marriage Stagnation – Charles Fain Lehman, Family StudiesModern Love. Cohabitation on Rise in U.S.: Demographic Trends – Alex Tanzi, Bloomberg QuintNo, Legislatures Cannot Abolish Marriage – Adam J. Macleod, Public DiscourseParentingNo Man in Their Corner: Why Every Son Needs a Father – Greg Morse, Desiring God4 practical ways to raise thankful kids – Chris Gaynor, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionMeasuring the Long-Term Effects of Early, Extensive Day Care – Jenet Erickson, Family StudiesEconomics/EducationWatch out: Schools don’t like the prying eyes of parents in the classroom – Jay Mathews, The Washington PostThe Fruits of College Indoctrination – Walter E. Williams, The Daily SignalWhy Christians shouldn’t abandon universities – Alex Ward, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionHow Economic Inequality Drives Family Formation and Dissolution – Andrew Cherlin, Family StudiesRegent University Launches the Center for Christian Thought & ActionFaith/Character/CultureWhere Americans Find Meaning in Life – Pew Research CenterSuicide rate up 33% in less than 20 years, yet funding lags behind other top killers – Anne Godlasky and Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAYThe Tragedy of the European Family – Ted Malloch, Intellectual TakeoutGive Thanks for What Others Have That You Don’t – Megan Hill, Christianity TodayThe Great American Heartache: Why Romantic Love Collapses on Us – Jonathan Leeman, Desiring GodThe Ungrateful Nation – Ben Shapiro, TownhallTwitter Banned Me For Literally No Reason, But In The End They’ll Lose – Jesse Kelly, The FederalistAtheism as Bad Religion – Madeleine Kearns, National ReviewDutch court denies businessman's request to legally identify as 20 years younger – Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Fox NewsHuman SexualityWhen a Gay Activist Comes to Jesus – Andrew T. Walker, The Gospel CoalitionWhen Young People Aren’t Having Sex, Something’s Wrong – Josh Herring, Public DiscourseThe New York Times Reveals Painful Truths about Transgender Lives – Ryan T. Anderson, Public Discourse#MeToo reminds us that Christian ethics are timeless truths – Andrew T. Walker, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionMy high school's transgender bathroom policies violate the privacy of the rest of us – Alexis Lightcap, USA TODAYSchool has SEVENTEEN children changing gender as teacher says vulnerable pupils are being 'tricked' into believing they are the wrong sex – Sanchez Manning, Daily MailHuman TraffickingThe Midterm Battle Around Legalized Prostitution Nobody’s Talking About – Haley Halverson, National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyHow Early Porn Exposure Traumatizes Boys And Fuels Toxic Masculinity – Matt Morrissey, Fight the New DrugNew Documentary Shows Individual, Societal Threat of Pornography – Perry West, National Catholic Register
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