In light of our responsibility to listen to those most affected by the Parkland shooting, how else should we respond to this type of injustice? It is necessary for us as Christians to allow the Holy Spirit to speak in the midst of these tragedies. Being proper vessels for the Spirit, however, depends on us understanding what exactly we are called to as bearers of the Spirit. Our vision for justice must be submitted to God’s vision if we are to demonstrate a proper Christian response.
It has been nearly a month since the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. While some may not have heard of Parkland until this event took place, for others it hit very close to home. In seeking to find a proper Christian response to this tragedy, then, perhaps it is the voices of those most affected that we should look to for advice.
In 21st century America, we as Christians want to customize what our walk with Jesus looks like. With user-friendly technology at the tip of our fingers we change the filters on our photos, change our layouts to what’s trending, and even attempt to create a relationship with Jesus that fits our aesthetic. How do we follow the call of bowing to the lordship of Christ if we are primed to do, and be, whatever feels right to us?
In October 2017, an explosive movement of empowered voices swept through social media. Many watched in astonishment as seemingly endless stories and memories of sexual harassment, coercion, and assault emerged; others gathered strength and resolve in recognizing that they were not alone in their own experiences of abuse. The shared narrative of sexual violence emboldened survivors to tell their stories through an interconnected network of strength and solidarity, as millions of women and men collectively shouted: #MeToo. As the Church, we have an important role to play in response to this movement.
In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the all too familiar calls for prayer and political change have rung out. 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 years. We here at ECCLĒSIAM want to help you find your voice and a foundation upon which we can act. 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.
In a culture defined by productivity and success, rest has become taboo. Even among Christians, the Biblical precedent of rest laid out in the pattern of creation has been cast aside in favor of the hyperactive rigor of contemporary society. But what is there to gain from remembering the Sabbath that can’t be obtained through hard work? More than you might think.
We know that the Kingdom of God remains a fundamental theme throughout Jesus’s entire ministry. An establishment of this Kingdom in the form of peace and justice is long awaited among the Old Testament prophets. But when power, prominence, and possessions threaten to characterize the kingdoms of the world today, how should the church react and renew Jesus’ missional intent?
Disciple-making is a priority of the Christian faith originating in Jesus’ ministry, continuing on in the early church and into the present day. Over time, however, it seems that the art of disciple-making has been lost. The gap between our current understanding of disciple-making and that which is present in the Bible is growing, and today’s church leaders are recognizing this in their own ministries. How can we as church leaders move past this dilemma?
Grief is something no one truly wants to experience but that we all must go through at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, we often ignore our grief and fail to process the reality of the situation in a constructive way. Instead of ignoring it, however, what if we were to engage our grief in ways that reflected how Jesus processed it himself. For Lily, this meant allowing God to provide healing through her art.
We often think of the commercialization of Christmas as a uniquely American phenomenon. Unfortunately, the truth about Christmas has been overshadowed all around the world, including countries like Japan. However, despite the dominance of the market over the manger, there is still hope to be found in this Christmas season no matter where you are in the world.