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“Church after the rain,” Frankfurt, Germany

Eisenach and Erfurt plus Warburg Castle

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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 One Comment

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

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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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Why Study Church History?

By Women 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, Dr. Glenn Kreider (we both teach at DTS) and I were in Austin talking with Jennie Allen, founder of IF:Gathering, to film segments included in the new study they are offering—Anno Domini or “AD.” AD focuses on the Book of Acts and what followed—the 2,000-year history of the church, the bride of Christ. You can sign up for the free 8-week course. Below I spend about 30 seconds talking about why I encourage people to study this topic: The following video lasts about five minutes, and we talk more in depth about the value of understanding our history.  This is the intro to lesson one. I hope you’ll consider joining in. Click here and scroll down to get started and read the encouraging responses to this video.

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“Locker Room Banter”: A Teachable Moment

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My Engage post at bible.org got a lot of traffic this week. It’s not about politics . . . .  The candidate for the US presidency who has received the most enthusiastic support from evangelicals made the following comments, which were leaked recently from a 2005 conversation in which he was talking with a member of the media: “I moved on her like a [vulgar use of term for female dog], and I could not get there, and she was married. And all the sudden I see her and she’s got the big phony [vulgar word for breasts], she’s totally changed her look.” “I’ll admit it. I did try to f***her. She was married … and I moved on her very heavily.” “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you…

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Calvin Worship Symposium

By Arts, Beauty No Comments

The annual Calvin Symposium on Worship is a three-day conference sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching. The conference brings together a wide audience of artists, musicians, pastors, scholars, students, worship leaders and planners, and other interested worshipers. People gather from around the world for a time of fellowship, worship, and learning together, seeking to develop their gifts, encourage each other, and renew their commitment to the full ministry of the church. This is not your typical conference. Attendees also experience much of what they study. You can see one example of the conference’s ramifications in the video above. The program for the 2017 event has been posted, and presenters include N. T. Wright. I plan to take a group of students for graduate credit (additional readings and some written assignments required in addition to attendance). We rent a house, share meals, and…

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“The Student Body”: Do Students’ BMI Tests Do More Harm Than Good?

By Bioethics, Justice, Life In The Body No Comments

When Bailey Webber interviewed people for her new documentary, The Student Body, she took a set of bathroom scales with her. And every person with whom she spoke, she asked, “Would you be willing to step on the scales so we can get your BMI?” To a person, they balked. Most ultimately refused, though some reluctantly agreed. A lot of kids in our schools don’t get the choice to decline. And then a letter arrives notifying them that they are too skinny or too fat. In the ground-breaking and excellently produced film she made with her dad, Bailey, a young journalist, tackles the heated topic of childhood obesity and misguided efforts to solve our national childhood obesity epidemic. And just what are those misguided efforts? Lawmakers in dozens of states have passed mandates requiring schools to perform body mass index (BMI) tests on students and then send letters stating their results….

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A Great Film

By Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women No Comments

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War tells the story of a US couple’s courageous private war against the Nazis in 1939. The Sharps, a Unitarian minister and his wife, are two of only five Americans honored as Righteous Among the Nations in Israel’s Yad Vashem. You can watch their story online at PBS until October 5 by clicking on the above link. This film is the latest from Ken Burns, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentaries. Defying the Nazis is an incredible story of great personal sacrifice. In this film you will see many similarities to the current social environment in America. How does an unlikely candidate rise quickly to power? How does racism thrive? Why don’t people care for refugees? Is national security more important that children’s lives? We’ve been here before. When you finish, read Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939. We must love one another or die.

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On the ESV’s New Rendering of Genesis 3:16 (“Contrary Wives”)

By Gender & Faith, Marriage, Women No Comments

In light of the volumes written about recent changes in the ESV, I thought I’d offer a few reflections on the interpretation of this text (Gen. 3:16), especially because the verse is foundational to many people’s understanding of gender roles. First, the change: Previous ESV translation of Genesis 3:16: Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. New text of Genesis 3:16: Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you. First, an underlying reason for some of the mistrust: The ESV committee had pretty conservative complementarians on it. I’ve identified about five different kinds of complementarians, and many on this committee are at the traditionalist end. And here’s the rub: They included no women translators. And no egalitarians. In a world growing more aware of the blindness inherent in homogenous groups, this seems odd—especially coming from people who acknowledge…

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Is Jesus Really a Friend to Women?

By Women One Comment

I received this question recently: If Jesus was so “for” women, why in Luke 14:25–27, when addressing the crowd (which obviously had women in it), did he basically exclude them or communicate they were not worth considering or addressing when he said “wife” and not “husband”? Great question. First, let’s look at the text in question: Luke 14:25–27: “Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said,  ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple . . . .” The person who wrote the question wonders why Jesus, when speaking of the cost of following him, exhorts husbands to hate wives, but does not tell wives to hate husbands. Why…

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Life Is Hard, but God Is Good

By Arts, Books, Infertility, Life In The Body 4 Comments

In the past two months, I have buried my father and walked my daughter through open-heart surgery. The “windsock in her heart,” as her surgeon described it, that had blood flowing the wrong way, was apparently congenital, but we didn’t discover it till this past July. She is still in the hospital, but she made it great through surgery on Tuesday. So now, in my great relief, I have some time to reflect on the whirlwind that has been my life for the past two months. My overwhelming sense is that I’ve been covered in the love of God. The Almighty works with precise timing that may not always thrill us in the moment (surgery the day before my first day of classes!?), but in retrospect is always perfect, and designed for our greatest good. That my father died during the summer meant Oregon was beautiful (such beauty heals me),…

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Prophesy: Women through the Eras of Redemption History

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Recently, a reader wrote to ask about the history of women prophesying throughout Scripture. . .   While the text records the stories of fewer women prophets than men, in every era in which men prophesied, at least one woman (often multiple women) has prophesied. Prophesy, it should be noted, was/is not just predicting what will happen, but to build up, encourage, and console (1 Cor. 14:30). The transmission of God’s truth through inspired proclamation has always had both human and divine elements (like a pair of scissors—both blades work together). So when we read 1 Timothy, for example, we understand that Paul is writing God-breathed scripture, but he is doing so via a letter to his protégé, Timothy. When he writes to the Ephesians, however, a number of structural markers in the book suggest he has a wider audience than one person in view. God used Paul’s audiences, both…

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A Lesson from the Olympics

By Life In The Body No Comments

My Engage blog post this week: Mo Farah, 33, said he thought his Rio 2016 Olympics “dream was over.” This member of the Great Britain team was defending champ (London, 2012) of the 10,000m event, and he had every reason to believe he could win it again—until he tripped on his training partner and fell on the track. But rather than give up, Farah did something remarkable. He jumped back to his feet. And he didn’t just prove he could get up and make it to the finish line. No—he took off and ran for 16 more laps and pressed on to won the gold! The apostle Paul uses a running metaphor for the Christian faith in his letter to the Philippians: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing . . . though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world.” How?…

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Hope: Amy’s and Caleb’s Stories

By Justice, Uncategorized No Comments

My husband, Gary, is the East Africa field leader for East-West Ministries. About a year ago, I went with him to Kenya, and we had a video/writing team with us. Two of the children in our sponsorship program, Amy and Caleb, shared their stories with the team. And now we can finally share their words with you. We love these kids! Thank you to those who have had a part in alleviating their suffering. You make such a difference! Follow the link above to find out more.  

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Willis R. Grafe (1920–2016)

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My dad died in mid-July. Those words twist my stomach. He would have been 96 today. He lived a long and vigorous, virtuous life, still collecting bread from grocery stores and delivering it to the poor well into his 90s. He taught me to hike (backpacked the Grand Canyon with his brother, my hubby, and me at age 69) and to canoe and to sing at the top of my lungs at sunrise on Easter. In my early elementary-school days, he could be found at night sitting in the doorway to my bedroom with the autoharp in his lap, singing to my sister and me as we lay on our bunk beds. He stopped saying “I love you” only after Alzheimer’s took his mind in the past few years. But he would still deliver a bear hug. Here is the eulogy I wrote with help from my mom and siblings, and…

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Olympics in the Bible?

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The ancient Olympics started in Olympia, Greece, in 776 BC, and they lasted for nearly 1,200 years. Emperor Theodosius banned them for being pagan and unworthy of Christian culture. The modern Olympics were reinstated in 1896 in Athens. The apostle Paul may be alluding to the Olympics when he uses running a race as a metaphor for the Christian faith in Philippians 2:14–17: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing . . . though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world by holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain.” He may also be making an analogy to torch races when he speaks of shining as lights” as they are “holding on.” The Athenians held races, called…

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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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