If the Church can learn anything from the recent shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX, it is that persecution is a scary and painful thing to endure. When we witness persecution, especially within the Church , we often resort to political responses rather than Christian responses. Perhaps this is because we don’t know how to respond as Christians. Join with us as we discover ways in which we, as a Church, can respond to persecution in a way that allows Christ to work through us.
It’s now been several months since the horrific events at Charlottesville, but in light of Richard Spencer’s recent speaking engagement at the University of Florida it’s clear that the conversation is just as relevant today as it was then. Understanding the cultural dynamics which inspired these events is integral to a constructive Christian response. In light of these dynamics, how should we as Christians help pave the way towards progress?
In the aftermath of the terrible events at Las Vegas this past week, calls rang out across America to pray for Vegas. As Pentecostals we believe in the transformative power of prayer. However, in times like these it is often difficult to put into words the full extent of what we are feeling or want to say. This is made especially difficult when there are issues requiring prayer and attention that have been plaguing our society for months now. We here at ECCLĒSIAM want to help you find your voice. The following prayer is inspired by the Prayer of St. Francis and reflects the situations which we find ourselves in today. We ask that you pray this prayer with us, meditating on its words and finding ways in which we can all put it into action.
The terrifying reality of racism still plagues our world today. Even among Christians, racial prejudice is all too common. Why has this dangerous sentiment seeped into a community founded on the teaching of “love thy neighbor?” What actions can we take to demonstrate a cruciform life to a world and a church that are hostile to the message of Christ?
Florida is facing the strongest storm ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Irma has already devastated the small island of Barbuda and wreaked havoc on several other islands. Now, this monster is headed right toward us. Hundreds of thousands are evacuating. Others are looking for shelter locally. Many of us in Florida are taking careful steps to ensure our homes survive. How can we, as people of faith, endure the terrible storm around us? What hope can we cling to when everything we own is threatened by circumstances beyond our control?
With the mounting racial tensions in today’s social, political, and religious climates, the Church needs to function as a facilitator for reconciliation. Unfortunately, Christians have tended to approach the issue of reconciliation with apathy in recent years. How can we as Christians overcome these sentiments and ignite change both within and without the Church? Furthermore, why are churches especially equipped to serve as agents of reconciliation within our society?
The new Martin Scorcese film Silence (set at the end of the era of Jesuit missions in Japan in the mid-16th Century) is loaded with theological elements from various sects within and beyond the Christian traditions. Scorcese effectively and powerfully puts the viewer into the mind and heart of the Jesuit priests and the Japanese Christians, each of whom is asked to renounce their faith in Christ or suffer. Would Christianity today be able to survive the same persecution from several centuries ago?