Your Family Needs You (And You Need Them)
Earlier this month, in a piece for The Atlantic, Joshua Coleman described an epidemic that’s not COVID but that’s also afflicting America: family estrangement. As a psychologist who specializes in family therapy, Coleman reports that his practice is flooded with older parents mourning the loss of contact with their grown children and with grown children angry and hurt by conflict with parents. “The rules of family life have changed,” he said…
A Baby vs. the World
A Christmas message came to my mind a few years ago as I stood shivering in the autumn chill at the grave side of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. Jerzy was a young pastor who once delivered the dynamic messages that stirred the Polish people to overthrow their Communist oppressors.
His theme was always the same: The Christian is called to defend the truth and overcome evil with good.
Man has a propensity to forget why he was put on the earth:
Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) Larger:
Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
Don’t Stay for the Applause
A few years ago, a popular Christian singer ended her set by leading the audience in “O Come All Ye Faithful,” even though it wasn’t Christmastime. By the time the song was over, and the crowd’s attention was pulled back to the stage, the singer was gone. While it was her concert and not a church service, she hoped to point to God and not herself. When it was time for her well-earned applause, the singer was out of sight…
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This is a brilliant cooperative idea, and the churches and ministries participating are to be commended. I just wonder however if they can open their doors why the schools can’t? – Mike
Today’s BreakPoint: Public School … In a Church?
JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER
Most public schools across the country are either attempting to hold school remotely or, in some hybrid form, brings kids back in the classroom in a limited way, keeping the numbers low. And that’s just for now. The plan has already changed in many districts and will likely change again before all is said and done. The only sure thing, when it comes to this school year is that it is not going to be a normal one.
For a group of churches and ministries in Ohio, this is an opportunity to, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, seek the welfare of the city. A few months ago, public school districts in Columbus asked local churches to provide additional space for students who have working parents, and whose school would not be opening for in-person instruction. Looking for places where students could access tech devices and the internet, be under adult supervision, where food could be provided, churches in Columbus opened their doors…
COVID-19 has caused a myriad of problems in the U.S. and around the world. The obvious physical attacks on the human body, the loss of income from inability to work but an even greater ISSUE is the toll it has taken on the mental health of a large number of children and adults.
There have been renewed calls from certain parties for further lock-downs, but is this wise? The bible says Proverbs 18:1 ESV Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. I would say whomever forces said isolation they break out against all sound judgment.
Today’s BreakPoint: COVID Is Causing Increase in Suicidal Thoughts and Decrease in Mental Health
JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA
According to recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, “40 percent of American adults have reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse” during the COVID-19 pandemic. One-third reported feelings of anxiety and/or depression, and one-quarter said that they were struggling with trauma-related issues. One in eight reported either developing or increasing substance-abuse problems.
Worst of all, 11 percent reported that they seriously considered suicide in the last few months. Two years ago, by comparison, that number was just one in twenty-five. And, the CDC study revealed that certain segments of the population have struggled more than others. For example, one in five “essential workers” reported suicidal ideation, as have one in three unpaid caregivers for adults, and one in four 18- to 24-year-olds. And of course, there are others who don’t fit into categories like these, but who were already struggling with mental health issues before the pandemic…
Today’s Breakpoint: Children, the Church, and the Culture War
God’s Blessings Ain’t (Just) a Strategy
A few days ago, a colleague shared comments he and his wife get when people find out they have seven kids: “Are they all yours?” “Were they all planned?” “What are you, Mormon?” And, most awkward of all: “You know what causes that, right?”
This kind of reaction to large families, which I’ve gotten with only four kids, reveals the assumptions about children that largely go unquestioned in our culture, even in the Church.
It is widely assumed, for example, that children are a choice. This was not always so. The introduction of reliable contraception, especially the pill, made it possible to divorce the inherent connection between sex, marriage, and procreation…
Today’s BreakPoint: Pastor or Parrot?
Pastor or Parrot?
Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 11
JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER
Pastoring is always a difficult job. I can’t think of another job, in fact, in which someone is hired to do one thing (typically, lead and disciple God’s people) but evaluated on a completely different thing (namely, growing the audience and the budget).
Pastoring during coronavirus seems even more unenviable. Zoom stock might be way up as the new preferred platform for corporations and schools, but there is no digital substitute for the sort of face-to-face work pastoring requires.
When to close down was a tough decision. When to reopen is even more difficult. If pastors choose to strictly adhere to state guidelines, they will upset people. If they ignore or relax those guidelines, they upset others. In almost every church I know of, pastors face a no-win proposition right now…
Is Christian Unity Possible with So Much Disagreement?
Last week, a listener who follows a lot of Christian podcasts, including BreakPoint, wrote us with the following question, troubled by the conflicting opinions among Christians. Here’s how she put it:
“In most cases the Christian proponents seem to have a genuine love for Jesus and are trying to live out their belief faithfully. Yet their conclusions and interpretation of the Scriptures are often diametrically opposed…If intelligent, well educated, sincere Christians can come to such different interpretations of Scripture, how can I possibly hope to come to a correct understanding of the Truth?”
Given the hurt, anger, and even violence on streets across America right now, not to mention all of our social media news feeds, I imagine this person isn’t the only one wondering about the unity that Christ prayed for in the Garden, as recorded in John 17. “All mine are yours,” Jesus prayed, “and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
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Outrage erupted across the country this week after video surfaced of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly 10 minutes. In the horrifying video, Floyd begs for air before bystanders plead for his life. In the end, Floyd, an African American suspected of no violent crime but of “grocery store forgery,” died.
The four police officers involved were fired almost immediately. The FBI opened an investigation, and the Justice Department pledged to make the case a top priority. While, in the past, police have often defended fellow officers in similar incidents, this time, as the Washington Post reported, police chiefs across the country “denounced the prolonged suffocation of Floyd.”
Earlier this week, Detroit-area pastor Chris Brooks, a former Colson Center board member and close friend, posted a picture of Floyd on Facebook along with a quote attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” I admit, for the last few days, I’ve struggled to know what should be said and what could be done….
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