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?
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?
Let’s face it. Social media is the language of our generation. Within the last decade, technological advancements have exploded to provide us all with the capacity to present the highlights of our lives, and access to the highlights of other people’s lives. The selective information we take in deeply affects the way we perceive not only ourselves and other people, but especially our perceptions of ministry. How can we maintain a healthy understanding of ministry in light of its glorified presentation in social media today?
Families are close to God’s heart. Scripture reveals that from the very beginning God brought individuals together through family relationships. These relationships have great potential for demonstrating the love of God to the world, specifically when families join together in a church community. The necessity of these relationships makes it critical for the church to be intentional about helping families connect. How can our churches help families become better connected?
With the connectedness of the online world, we can use social media as a platform for community, not as our only source, but as a support mechanism to be a catalyst for new friendships and connections. One can not negate the importance of social media but still must acknowledge the fact that it is not a mere one-for-one substitute for face-to-face community. How do you find the balance between your community online and your community in day-to-day life?
Media, as of late, has seemed to embrace religious, and sometimes even Christian elements within TV, movies and music. There has been a “resurgence” so to speak of media caring about religious subplots and overtones. However, is it really that media has really embraced religious expression, or is it doing what it has always done, intersect entertainment with life?
Black History Month for me had been an annual moment in February of reflection on the historical accomplishments of African American men and women who had achieved great accomplishments in history. It was a time of celebration because so much had been accomplished for men and women of color with abolition of slavery, the civil rights era, desegregation of schools, voter’s rights, and the list goes on. Lest we celebrate too quickly, there is a human dignity that Dr. King expressed that we the American people are still seeking today.
In the season of Advent, it is fitting to think on and celebrate the birth of Christ. God’s message is woven through the story of Christmas, even down to the details of Christ’s birth in a stable. The story of Christ’s humble and unassuming birth paints a masterful painting of God’s love for the outcast and underprivileged. The story of the manger is much more than a yearly Bible reading or focus of a play, it is a call to action for all of those who claim to be followers of Christ.