“Church after the rain,” Frankfurt, Germany

“All Saints” Film Spotlights Church of 12 That Aided 65 Refugees

By Arts, Justice No Comments

By Michael Foust When sixty-five refugees from Southeast Asia started attending Michael Spurlock’s tiny church in Smyrna, Tenn., about a decade ago, he welcomed them, even though the struggling congregation was on the verge of closing its doors. Still, a question lingered in his mind: If the church of only twelve members couldn’t pay its own bills, how could it meet the needs of others? The answer, he says, came from heaven. Spurlock was walking through a large field owned by the church one day when he sensed God telling him, “I’ve given you land, and I have sent you farmers from the other side of the world. Get to work.” The solution seemed simple enough. The Karen refugees who fled Myanmar (Burma) had extensive experience in agriculture, and Spurlock’s congregation—All Saints Episcopal Church—had plenty of property. It even was adjacent to a creek. Church members and the Karen people…

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The True Beauty of Women

By Beauty, Life In The Body, Women One Comment

Whatever is true…think on these things. The Thai branch of a Japanese lingerie company, Wacoal, doesn’t feature scantily clad models in their ads. Instead, they tell true stories with life-affirming messages that everyone can watch and appreciate. The ads emphasize women’s true beauty. And the men in the stories are the kind of guys who appreciate goodness, and are not necessarily sexually involved with the women whom they admire and whose stories they tell. Check out the “My Beautiful Woman” ad campaign.

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The Protestant Reformation at 500

By Uncategorized No Comments

In January, I had the privilege of going on a press junket to Germany to retrace the steps of Martin Luther. This fall marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, so I visited the Luther sites. My travel/reflection article about it ran today over at Fathom. But they don’t have this picture of me standing next to Phillip Melanchthon. To get cool inside stuff like that you have to visit my blog here. Thanks for reading!

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On Feminism and Evangelicalism

By Gender & Faith, Justice, Life In The Body, Women No Comments

As part of my PhD research, I read Betty Friedan, heard Gloria Steinem in person, and spent a bunch of semesters exploring the history and teachings of feminism. And after I did so, I reached the conclusion that evangelicals in general need to pull back and regroup both in our representations of feminists and in our approach to reaching them. Just as there is not one “Christianity” but many Christianities (e.g., Orthodox, Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Armenian, Calvinist), there are many feminisms (liberal, radical, Marxist, socialist, lesbian, biblical, difference feminists [we are women—viva le difference! from men] and sameness feminists [we’re the same except for biology]), and more. Liberal feminists came out of the Equal Rights Movement. Betty Friedan was one of them. They are interested in equality, not to be confused with sameness. That is, they want the law to quit “seeing gender,” i.e., being biased against one sex…

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Update on My Nephew

By Uncategorized One Comment

In early May, Jonathan, my nephew and a busy college student, began feeling tired and congested. He pushed through to make it to classes, work, and AWANA, where he taught children about God’s love. Then a dark spot appeared on one of his front teeth. Exhausted, he slept several days away, and then another dark spot appeared on one of his upper front teeth—but this time, it was accompanied by intense throbbing. His dentist, who X-rayed his teeth and found everything to be normal, told him to see a doctor immediately. He suspected something immunological, And sure enough, blood tests showed acute leukemia. The physician called Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) and talked to the doctors there, then directed Jonathan and my sister, his mom, to go to the ER immediately. The OHSU team would be waiting. Jonathan quickly developed pneumonia and was moved to ICU. And we almost lost him.  We prayed…

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Drowning? Chris Can Help…

By Life In The Body, Uncategorized One Comment

Today I’m happy to have as my guest Chris Maxwell, who has recently authored a new book about some deep trials he and his family have experienced and survived with some wisdom to share.  Question: Tell us about your newest book, Underwater: When Encephalitis, Brain Injury, and Epilepsy Change Everything. Chris: Underwater takes readers through my battle with encephalitis—a time I almost died, but lived and became a much different person. I now live with severe brain damage and epilepsy. Many things that were easy for me before I cannot do, or I find them difficult. My wife, Debbie, and all three of our sons contributed to the book. We included stories about how our lives changed as well as stories from others who live with epilepsy.  We also included advice from a counselor for caregivers—those family members and friends who are often forgotten in underwater stories. Question: Underwater is an interesting title. Is…

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Responding to Religious Freedom Executive Order

By Justice No Comments

The NEA sent this press release yesterday – The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) commends President Trump for announcing today a policy of protecting and vigorously promoting religious freedom. Religious freedom is a gift from God to people of all faiths and none, and is an indispensable foundation for human flourishing. We are grateful for the extent to which our constitution and laws protect the freedom of all Americans. We welcome the promise, repeated today, that religious organizations will not be required to provide drugs that may act as abortifacients and services that violate their commitment to protect all human life. Now we call on the administration to promptly issue revised regulations and resolve lingering legal disputes over this issue. Most evangelical leaders do not think pastors should endorse political candidates from the pulpit, according to the February Evangelical Leaders Survey. As Leith Anderson, NAE president, said, “Evangelicals emphasize evangelism, and…

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My Thoughts on Gender

By Blog Interviews With Writers, Gender & Faith, Justice, Women No Comments

We Talk Different is a podcast on culture, race, ethnicity, gender, politics, and theology. Recently my friend Jurrita and I were featured on the podcast talking about gender and faith and race. You can get the scoop at iTunes. 5 The “Chrisitanity and Gender” Edition – 3.14.17 – Part II The WTD team wraps up their conversation with Jur… 3/13/2017 Free View in iTunes 7 The “Christianity and Gender” Edition – 3.7.16 – Part I This week the WTD Team brings in the real intelle… 3/6/2017 Free View in iTunes

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Vindicating the Vixens

By Gender & Faith, Women, Writing One Comment

On March 23 at DTS, I moderated a panel discussion with Dr. Glenn Kreider, Sarah Bowler, Sharifa Stevens, Dr. Timothy Ralston, and Karla Zazueta about women in the Bible whom we have either vilified or marginalized. Vindicating the Vixens (Kregel Academic, forthcoming) is the result of a diverse team of 16 male and female theologians who’ve partnered to take a second look at vilified and marginalized women in the Bible, and we got some of the contributors in Dallas together to talk about our findings. The church has often viewed women’s stories through sexist eyes, resulting in a range of distortions. In this panel discussion, three of us DTS profs and three graduates talk about the women we explored. Order Vindicating the Vixens.

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Protestants at 500 Years: The Best-Known Female Reformer

By Marriage, Women No Comments

In this year, which marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, many are focusing on the male reformers. But Germany is also focused on some of the females.  Though quite influential, they are often forgotten. And we can learn much from their lives. I’m thinking of one in particular. Come back in time with me to about 1499 in what we know today as eastern Germany—then called Saxony. And picture a girl born to a noble family. When she turns five, her mother dies and her father sends her to a cloister.  There she receives a nun’s education. When she is about 24, she and some of her friends—aware of the reform movement and dissatisfied with their lives in the monastery—seek to flee. Like so many others, they haven’t  taken vows of celibacy due to calling, but due to a parent’s decision (sometimes for reasons of economic and/or convenience)—something which…

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Eisenach and Erfurt plus Warburg Castle

By Uncategorized No Comments

So far I’ve had a whirlwind trip in frigid temps. In seventeen-degree temps yesterday, we walked more than nine miles. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I flew to Frankfurt and caught a train to Eisenach, where friends met me at the train station. On Epiphany, my friend Robin and I toured Eisenach, a picturesque town where Bach was born and baptized, and 200 years earlier Martin Luther sang in the same church as a choirboy. (Elizabeth of Hungary was also married here at age 14.) The Luther house and the Bach museum both had fantastic exhibits that we had pretty much all to ourselves. In the afternoon, we toured Warburg Castle, where Luther hid out as Squire George and translated the entire New Testament in ten months. He had sparked quite a controversy with his writings. In the evening, we took a train to Erfurt, where we’re staying in the now Augustinian monastery that…

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Departing for Germany

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The past month has been a flurry of activity. I visited my mom and sister and her family in Oregon for our third annual Christmas Ships on the Columbia parade. I wrapped up the semester and graded about ten pounds worth of papers. And I hosted a bunch of family for Christmas, which included a day in Waco visiting Magnolia Markets and the Dr Pepper museum. The new year brought more family and packing…for Germany. I depart today on a nine-day press junket in Luther country as a guest of the German National Tourist office. (Please pray for me!) This year will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, commencing on October 31, the day Martin Luther is said to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. I’ll update you here as I’m able. Snow covers the ground where I’m going. I also have a…

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Spiritual Mothers: A Guest Post

By Gender & Faith, Women No Comments

Today I’m happy to feature Kat Armstrong here as a guest post-er. Kat is a former student and savvy business woman (Baby Bow Tie) who co-founded Polished Ministries, an outreach to young business women. When I read this post she wrote on her own blog, I asked if I could run it again here:  My heart feels like it’s going to burst through my chest. I’ve tried working on other projects this weekend, projects I’m really excited about with looming deadlines, and yet I keep coming back to this keep-me-up-at-night message: We need all Christ-followers intentionally investing in younger generations now. Maybe it’s the Irish/Latino mix I’ve got in my blood, but I tend to get fired up about lots of things. But make no mistake, this is not your average Kat-plea to see again afresh the gospel of Christ, in general. This is urgent and specific. Although I am a…

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Giving Tuesday

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Each year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we have Giving Tuesday— a global day of generosity to kick off the charitable season. As you consider the best use of your giving dollars, please consider making a gift to our work with East-West Ministries in East Africa. Your gifts go to taking the gospel to unreached remote tribal areas, supporting widows and orphans (the latter placed in loving homes instead of orphanages), and training new believers in their faith in pre-literate areas. Here’s a link to the Glahn page with more info. You can find a “donation” link in the upper left corner once you access the page. Thanks!

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Black Friday: How to Shop Like a Christian

By Uncategorized No Comments

My piece on this subject ran on the Pastor Resources site recently:  The USA is the only place where people express gratitude on Thanksgiving for all the stuff they have and spend the next day shoving people over to get the stuff they don’t. Sadly, Black Friday is only the beginning. Maybe we won’t fight with another dad for the last pair of Nikes’ Prime Hype DF 2016 sneakers or push over a grandpa to get the Sky Viper V2400. But most of us still fall short of Christlikeness when it’s time to make Christmas purchases. To watch us, people might think we believe ’tis the season to be greedy and grumpy. So here are some suggestions for how to shop like a Christian: Decide to make Christ your focus. Pray for wisdom and ask God to help you honor him during this holy season. Set aside ten minutes this week to decide…

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Thanksgiving: Let’s Actually Give Thanks

By Uncategorized 2 Comments

A number of countries set aside one day every year for their people to gather and give thanks. I live in the USA, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. But no matter where we live, we are called in everything to give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18). So let’s actually take time to do what the day is set aside to encourage—give thanks. That may seem like a no-brainer, but often we’re so caught up in turkey and gravy and pumpkin pie and football and family togetherness and Macy’s parade-watching that we actually forget to give thanks beyond the table blessing. Here are some prompts to get us started. Even if you lack some of these, you probably have an overwhelming number of them: Inner wealth Knowledge that you are made in God’s image and therefore have dignity and worth. Recognition that the Father loves you; that Christ came for…

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Two Exhibits in Dallas

By Arts No Comments

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition Reopens  Thirty-four photographic reproductions of art from the Sistine Chapel have returned to the Dallas Women’s Museum and will be on display through January 8, 2017. The exhibit features enormous panels that allow viewers to gain a close-up view of Michaelangelo’s masterpieces. The most famous of these are The Creation of Adam and a 40×41-foot rendition of The Last Judgment.  The photos were taken by Austrian-born Magnum photographer Erich Lessing during the 1980–94 cleaning and restoration of the chapel. The now-enlarged images, exhibited on brilliantly illuminated panels have outstanding resolution, clarity and color. To aid viewers’ understanding are fully narrated audio tours (available in English and Spanish) that provide narrative and insight behind each panel on display. Nov. 1, 2016 through Jan. 8, 2017 – Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Adult tickets – $16 each Children 7+/Students with ID/Seniors – $12 each Family 4-packs…

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“Malestrom” on sale this week

By Uncategorized No Comments

A word from author Carolyn Custis James, author of Malestrom, whom I previously featured here: Like many of you I am trying to make sense of the election. As I reflect on these developments, I am persuaded that it has revealed deeper, more profound issues. If the pundits are correct, and I think they are, white working class men, including a large percentage of self-described “evangelicals,” have played a central role in this election. These males are outraged by their declining place of prominence and privilege in today’s America. They feel threatened by strong currents of change—the rise of women, globalization, and seismic shifts in the economy and culture—and are determined to regain what they have lost. For many, their vote was a vote for a revived American patriarchy. This is all too familiar to me. The macho posturing and oppressive, demeaning treatment of other subgroups is at the heart…

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An interview with a birth-mom who made an adoption plan: Christine Lindsay

By Blog Interviews With Writers, Infertility, Justice No Comments

November is Adoption Awareness Month. So I’m featuring here an author who has a book that considers all sides of the adoption triad.  SG: You are a reunited birth-mom—a woman who made an adoption plan for her baby who has met her biological child as an adult. Was the the day you met your birth-daughter a happy one? Christine: Sadly, no. It was as painful as the day I said goodbye to Sarah as a three-day-old baby in 1979. In fact, more painful. At least on the former day, I was filled with faith that she and I would be reunited one day when she became an adult. For the next twenty years as she grew up as another couple’s child, I prayed for the time when I would see her again. But on that day, Sarah’s mom and dad were extremely upset by my desire to meet the now-adult Sarah….

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Election Day 2016: Where Do We Go from Here?

By Uncategorized One Comment

A member of the US media tweeted, “Obama’s dad dumped him at birth & his mom got rid of him at age 10—did they know something we didn’t when we signed up for this guy?” We’re so used to such speech in America that for many of us, it’s doesn’t even make us cringe. But such statements are evil on many levels. And they’re in direct disobedience to a command in 1 Peter. Let us as Christians never be among those who would talk this way, even though we live in a world where we hear and read comments like this all the time. The apostle Peter, writing to believers scattered across the Roman Empire, exhorted his readers, as slaves of God to “honor all; love/esteem highly brothers and sisters in Christ; fear God; honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). Let’s look closely at the groups he had in view….

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7 Views on the Role of Women w/in the Inerrancy Camp

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Women No Comments

My Engage blog post for October 25: I’m speaking at an event today at which I’m outlining seven different views on the role of women held by those who hold to the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture: 1. TRADITIONALISTS Believe women are more easily deceived than men, but also masters at deceiving. Women are ontologically inferior to men at created level. “Women are the devil’s gateway.” — Tertullian. Augustine, Aquinas, John Knox, etc. COMPLEMENTARIANS (spectrum of about 4 views) Women equal before God, but in some form of hierarchy w/ men/ husbands. Authority = the issue w/ several views on the public ministry of women: 2. Male “headship” – all men = “head” over all women. Speak of “male headship.” Innate. At creation. Head = synonym for leader. 3. Male “headship” in the church and home – husband head of wife + elders head over women in church and home…

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New Film: New Life

By Arts No Comments

So I made a list of things I miss in a lot of movies these days. Many films have one or two of these elements, but why can’t I have them all? A story that makes me want to keep watching. Good acting. Realistic dialogue. Meaningful content. Solid cinematography. Realism that doesn’t constantly push the envelope of decency. The absence of clichés. Married people who actually love each other, even if they have imperfect relationships. Timeless themes. Racial diversity. Older people who aren’t portrayed as complete idiots. The absence not only of gratuitous violence and sex but also of gratuitous religion. I know—a tall order. Still, it’s possible. I was delighted recently to find them all in a little gem that releases today, “New Life (Nouvelle Vie)” starring Erin Bethea and Adelaide actor Patrick Moore. When a newcomer from overseas, Benjamin Morton, meets the little girl next door, he has no idea how…

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I post on the Engage blog for women in leadership at Bible.org every other Tuesday.

On the Nightstand/In My Kindle
Silence, by Shusaku Endo; Silence and Beauty, by Makoto Fujimura; The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, by C. S. Lewis; The Image of God in an Image Driven Age, ed. by Beth Felker Jones and Jeffrey W. Barbeau; Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God, by Lauren Winner.

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