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.
The current generation of young adults occupies a peculiar position in our current social landscape. This group of “emerging adults,” as they are referred to, have developed a particular worldview which makes it difficult for them to find purpose and identity within the traditional church environment. How, then, can we better understand these emerging adults so that we, as a church, can help them navigate their way through this world?
Cross-cultural engagement is never an easy task, especially when it comes to evangelizing. The unfamiliarity of the societal norms of different cultures often causes us to want to force our own worldviews onto those we are engaging with. Such a mindset may have shaped Western Society as it now stands, but perhaps there is another, more effective way to view cross-cultural dynamics, even those that exist within our own society.
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.