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?
Since antiquity, human beings have been entertained by and seemingly infatuated with violence. For the Ancient Greeks and Romans this hunger would have been satiated by gladiator fights and tragic plays. Today, these forms of entertainment have been replaced by professional sports and violent films. While the modern equivalents are not perfect translations of these ancient activities, the parallels between them cannot be denied. How then should Christians respond to different representations of violence in all forms of entertainment? What duty do we have as Christ-followers in response to violent entertainment?
How often do you go to the grocery store and see shopping carts strewn about the parking lot in all sorts of unusual places? We don’t often think about the consequences of something as simple as failing to return a shopping cart. However, what if our decision to return, or not return, the shopping cart speaks to deeper sentiments we hold within our hearts?
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?
University campuses are buzzing, students have been moving in and getting settled, parents are either celebrating sending out their child into the wide world of academia or uncontrollably sobbing the inevitable empty nest and how “they grow up so fast”. For us here at ECCLESIAM, however, it means that summer break is over, professors are getting back into the swing of their teaching schedules, and quite a lot has happened over the summer that needs to be discussed, dissected, and parsed. With so much going on within the world and the church, what needs to be talked about?
Rest. As a practice this word remains irrelevant to some people, and it occupies a marginal amount of space in the lives of others. We barely need to look around us to recognize how busyness is ingrained into not only what we do, but also virtually into who we are. How can we take time to step back from working, and reflect on the “daily grind”?
Many people, especially those who are dealing with loss within their family due to sickness, natural disasters, accidents, and more, are trying to comprehend God in light of their experiences. This is the struggle we find in Fry’s comments. He is trying to take what he has heard from the Church and from Scripture and make sense of it in light of the evil and suffering we see around us all the time. How then can we as Christians respond to those who struggle with the reality of evil in our world today?