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  1. <?xml version="1.0"?><rss version="2.0"><channel><title>Christianity Today Magazine</title><link></link><description>News and analysis from the world's leading Christian magazine.</description><language>en-us</language><pubDate>Mon, 22 Apr 2024 20:23:58 GMT</pubDate><lastBuildDate>Mon, 22 Apr 2024 20:23:58 GMT</lastBuildDate><copyright>Copyright 2024, Christianity Today</copyright><item><title><![CDATA[Let the Seas Rise and Feed the Poor]]></title><description>
  2. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">Helping marine biodiversity flourish is a means of participating in God’s work, says an Indonesian theologian.</p>
  3. <img src="" /><p class="text">Indonesia is the largest archipelagic nation in the world. It&rsquo;s made up of an astounding 17,000 islands, with 70 percent of the population <a href="" target="_blank" class="">living in</a> coastal areas. Many view the country as a divers&rsquo; haven because it is home to vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish, and it&rsquo;s also where the largest mangrove ecosystems <a href="" target="_blank" class="">on the planet</a> exist.</p>
  4. <p class="text">But my country is facing a severe marine ecological crisis today because of destructive fishing, pollution, climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions. Our ecosystem of mangroves, seagrass, and coral reefs is in decline. Fish stock is also decreasing, while other sea creatures are frequently poisoned by land-based pollution.</p>
  5. <p class="text">This crisis is a serious threat in the Indonesian context, where ecological and social lives are often inseparable. Over half of the population&rsquo;s annual protein intake comes from fish and seafood, and around 7 million people depend heavily on the sea for their livelihoods. But now, more than 2.5 million Indonesian households involved in small-scale fishery activities are <a href="" target="_blank" class="">at risk</a> of losing their way of life and source of income. Fishing grounds are increasingly limited, triggering conflicts among traditional fishermen.</p>
  6. <p class="text">Poor people in our coastal areas have suffered the most due to their dependence on the sea for survival. Many use traditional techniques and equipment such as <em>pudi</em>&mdash;fishing weirs that channel fish to a particular location&mdash;and <em>bubu</em>, fish traps made of bamboo, to collect various kinds of seafood during low tide to feed themselves.</p>
  7. <p class="text">The marine ecological crisis, however, is increasingly destroying their source of food. It&rsquo;s also erasing our culture of caring for the needy, in that coastal communities often give ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  8. ]]>
  9. </description><author>Elia Maggang</author><link></link><pubDate>Mon, 22 April 2024 09:02:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[Panic Won’t Protect the Planet Well]]></title><description>
  10. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">I grew up as a climate change denier. Now I understand we must care for God’s creation and people alike.</p>
  11. <img src="" /><p class="text">I grew up believing that Earth Day was a liberal holiday. Climate change was a lie, a ploy by leftist political activists to dismantle US economic superiority by undermining domestic energy production and crippling our industries. Humans had a God-given right to have &ldquo;dominion&rdquo; (Gen. 1:26) over the earth, I was taught. The natural world was ours to &ldquo;steward&rdquo; (Gen. 2:15), which to us meant it could be used as desired to improve the lives of industrious, hard-working families like ours.</p>
  12. <p class="text">Everywhere I turned, I saw this definition of stewardship in action. It was well-intended but, I now think, ill-considered. My home then was the Texas Panhandle, atop the <a href="" target="_blank" class="">Ogallala Aquifer</a>. The Ogallala is the largest aquifer in the nation, but after decades of High Plains farmers tapping it with abandon, <a href="" target="_blank" class="">it&rsquo;s drying up</a>.</p>
  13. <p class="text">These days, I live five hours south of my hometown atop another major geological formation: the <a href="" target="_blank" class="">Permian Basin</a>, the nation&rsquo;s most productive oil field and the heart of the US oil and gas industry. Thirteen years ago, <a href="" target="_blank" class="">I cried when we moved to Midland</a>, Texas, for my husband&rsquo;s new job with a natural gas company, not wanting my family to be part of an industry I&rsquo;d come to believe was destroying the earth. Needless to say, by then, I no longer believed climate change was a lie.</p>
  14. <div class="article-embed" articleid="180876"></div>
  15. <p class="text">I&rsquo;d spent nearly four years in a small village outside of Beijing where the drainage creek bubbled with dangerously toxic sludge; we&rsquo;d go days without seeing the sun through the industrial haze; and blowing my nose in the winter would leave me with a tissue blackened with coal dust. I didn&rsquo;t have to be a climate scientist to conclude that there would be consequences for ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  16. ]]>
  17. </description><author>Carrie McKean</author><link></link><pubDate>Mon, 22 April 2024 08:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[Died: Mandisa, ‘Overcomer’ Singer and American Idol Star]]></title><description>
  18. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">The Grammy-winning artist was found dead at her home in Nashville at age 47. </p>
  19. <img src="" /><p class="text">Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian singer Mandisa Lynn Hundley, a former Lifeway Christian Resources employee and top-10 <em>American Idol</em> finisher, was found dead Thursday at her Nashville home, her publicist announced on social media.</p>
  20. <p class="text">No cause of death was given.</p>
  21. <p class="text">&ldquo;We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased. At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details,&rdquo; according to an official notice <a href="" target="_blank" class="">posted</a> April 19 on the official X account of the performer known simply as Mandisa.</p>
  22. <p class="text">&ldquo;We ask for your prayers for her family and closeknit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time.&rdquo;</p>
  23. <p class="text">Before <a href="" target="_blank" class="">finishing in the ninth spot</a> on <em>American Idol</em>&rsquo;s fifth season in 2005, Mandisa worked for Lifeway as a telephone customer service representative from 2000 to 2003, Lifeway told Baptist Press.</p>
  24. <p class="text">She partnered with the Lifeway women&rsquo;s ministry team, performing and leading worship at some events, and later performed at Living Proof Live events.</p>
  25. <div class="twitter-embed" embedid="1781369128428745087" style="text-align:center"></div>
  26. <p class="text">&ldquo;Our team at Lifeway is heartbroken to hear of the passing of our friend and former co-worker,&rdquo; Lifeway CEO Ben Mandrell told Baptist Press. &ldquo;Her teammates recall the joy and kindness she brought to work every day. Our heartfelt prayers are with her family.&rdquo;</p>
  27. <p class="text">Lakisha Mitchell, the late wife of Southern Baptist pastor Breonus Mitchell, inspired Mandisa&rsquo;s hit &ldquo;Overcomer,&rdquo; the title song of the album that garnered a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Breonus Mitchell, senior pastor of Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tennessee, remarried in 2018.</p>
  28. <p class="text">&ldquo;Obviously we are saddened ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  29. ]]>
  30. </description><author>Diana Chandler - Baptist Press</author><link></link><pubDate>Fri, 19 April 2024 15:07:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[Kenyan Pastors Are Praying for Haiti. They’re Also Shaping the Police Mission to Save It.]]></title><description>
  31. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">President William Ruto commissioned church leaders to meet with Haitian law enforcement, military representatives, and a gang leader to discuss Kenya’s security mission.</p>
  32. <img src="" /><p class="text"></p>
  33. <p class="text">Kenya&rsquo;s leaders aren&rsquo;t saying much publicly about the security force they plan to send to gang-embattled Haiti. But they&rsquo;re talking a whole lot with God.</p>
  34. <p class="text">Last month, as armed groups escalated their insurgency in Port-au-Prince and plunged Haiti deeper into a historic humanitarian <a href="" target="_blank" class="">crisis</a>, pastors advising Kenya&rsquo;s government met for three days at a hotel in Nairobi to pray.</p>
  35. <p class="text">In a sky-blue conference room at the Weston Hotel, three Kenyan pastors joined Haitian and American ministry leaders and Kenya&rsquo;s first lady, Rachel Ruto, to plead for divine assistance for the beleaguered Caribbean country. They prayed for the 2,500-person multinational police force Kenya has volunteered to lead to help Haitian law enforcement. At one point, meeting participants told CT, group members wept.</p>
  36. <p class="text">After two days of prayer, the first lady dropped in on an album release party in another part of the Weston, which President William Ruto owns, and announced her office had formed a prayer committee for Haiti. &ldquo;We cannot allow our police to go to Haiti without prayer,&rdquo; Rachel Ruto <a href="" target="_blank" class="">told</a> fans of the Kenyan gospel group 1005 Songs &amp; More.</p>
  37. <p class="text">Kenya agreed last October to spearhead a UN-authorized international security mission to Haiti, but the deployment has faced various delays, including legal challenges and questions about funding.</p>
  38. <p class="text">The prayer marathon was part of a broader effort by the Ruto administration to strategize &ldquo;a spiritual solution for our police and people of Haiti,&rdquo; according to the first lady. The initiative, coordinated by the administration&rsquo;s &ldquo;faith diplomacy&rdquo; office, has so far included a national prayer gathering, a 40-day prayer guide for Haiti, and an official fact-finding ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  39. ]]>
  40. </description><author>Andy Olsen</author><link></link><pubDate>Fri, 19 April 2024 14:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[‘Bluey’: A Heavenly Vision of Life Together]]></title><description>
  41. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">The popular kids series reminds parents that playfulness is next to godliness.</p>
  42. <img src="" /><p class="text">When my oldest daughter, Elaine, was four, I watched her chase a soap bubble around the yard, utterly spellbound, and it struck me as a tiny window into how God must have felt as he watched Adam and Eve encounter each of the animals in Eden. Likewise, when I discovered that my youngest, Olivia, had held a full conversation with me while cutting our kitten&rsquo;s whiskers under the table, I felt attuned with God&rsquo;s anger when he flung his judgments at Israel through the prophets.</p>
  43. <p class="text">These kinds of moments, and a thousand others, make raising kids and building a family spiritually illuminating tasks&mdash;especially when they ask theologically stimulating questions like &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank" class="">Does Jesus wear undies?</a>&rdquo; And although the creators of <em>Bluey</em>, an Emmy-awarded animated kids series, seem to have no overtly religious leanings, the show unexpectedly taps into unseen realities.</p>
  44. <p class="text">If you haven&rsquo;t yet discovered <em>Bluey</em>, let me catch you up. The series, streaming on Disney+, centers around a family of Australian blue heelers: six-year-old Bluey, her younger sister Bingo, Mum (Chilli), and Dad (Bandit). Each episode is less than 10 minutes long and targets a preschool audience&mdash;but the popular show draws all ages, and, in 2023, was the second-most acquired streaming program with 43.9 <em>billion </em>minutes <a href="" target="_blank" class="">consumed</a>.</p>
  45. <p class="text">When the producers announced that a longer episode was slated for season 3, the public <a href="" target="_blank" class="">grew panicked</a> that the show may be ending (thankfully, <a href="" target="_blank" class="">it&rsquo;s not</a>!), revealing just how deeply the series meets a need in our culture&mdash;and I think it&rsquo;s worth exploring why.</p>
  46. <div class="article-embed" articleid="195266"></div>
  47. <p class="text">The Heelers are just your average Australian family, with no superpowers or high-stakes problems to solve. But through their ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  48. ]]>
  49. </description><author>Katherine Lee</author><link></link><pubDate>Fri, 19 April 2024 11:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[You Can’t Reach People for Christ While Holding Their Culture at Arm’s Length]]></title><description>
  50. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">A veteran missiologist shares a lifetime of lessons on bringing the gospel into unfamiliar settings.</p>
  51. <img src="" /><p class="text"><span class="dropcap">I</span>n an important new book, missiologist Darrell Whiteman tells a revealing story about a missionary who had been preaching in a particular community. Without realizing it, the missionary gave offense by wearing expensive shoes in a place where people couldn&rsquo;t afford shoes of any type. For Whiteman, this anecdote illustrates how much missionaries need to learn&mdash;and how many presumptions they might need to abandon&mdash;in order to bring the gospel to people in other cultures.</p>
  52. <p class="text">Whiteman&rsquo;s book <span class="citation">Crossing Cultures with the Gospel: Anthropological Wisdom for Effective Christian Witness</span>, challenges his readers&mdash;and missionaries in particular&mdash;to recognize the possible ethnocentrism in their perspective, which can distort and impede their ability to communicate well across cultural boundaries. As he explains, each culture has its own ways of understanding and coping with the problems of life. All of us understand biblical truths in ways that seem natural to us in our own cultures but not to people who have grown up in other cultures.</p>
  53. <p class="text">In each community, traditions of communication and interaction develop over time, resulting in distinct customs. Every community has its own sense of the past, its own traditions of loyalty and obligation, its own rules of courtesy, and its own conceptions of virtue and honor. If missionaries are to communicate with people who have grown up in other cultures, argues Whiteman, they must lay aside their own presuppositions and cultural conventions and commit to acquiring knowledge of unfamiliar customs and ways of thought.</p>
  54. <h5 class="subhead2">Watching, listening, and asking questions</h5>
  55. <p class="text">The missionary project, as Whiteman reminds us, is to insert the universal message of the gospel &ldquo;within the very ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  56. ]]>
  57. </description><author>Robert Canfield</author><link></link><pubDate>Fri, 19 April 2024 10:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[The Best Christian Kids TV Shows, Not Tells]]></title><description>
  58. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">Series like <i>The Wingfeather Saga</i> bring children along for the adventure of following Jesus.</p>
  59. <img src="" /><p class="text">I picked up the first book reluctantly. Was I really going to spend my children&rsquo;s nap time reading children&rsquo;s fiction? But The Wingfeather Saga had been recommended to me by so many fans that I eventually joined the throngs of Christian adults and kids who&rsquo;ve enjoyed the series.</p>
  60. <p class="text">From the start, author Andrew Peterson captivated my imagination, building a world I could recognize while pushing the limits of familiarity. Aerwier has a bookshop with a nerdy owner; the three Igby siblings enjoy exploring its packed shelves. So normal! But just across the street is a city prison run by lizard monsters called Fangs. Not so normal.</p>
  61. <p class="text">The Wingfeather books have since been adapted into an animated series; the second season premiered at the beginning of this month, with new episodes released weekly. I remember the Christian animations from my childhood&mdash;Bibleman, Psalty the Singing Songbook, and VeggieTales &mdash;as either simplistic retellings of Bible stories or moralizing lessons. These shows did a fine job of teaching me what God expected. But they didn&rsquo;t captivate me with the idea of following Jesus.</p>
  62. <p class="text">The animated <span class="citation">Wingfeather</span>, by contrast, is lighthearted and sincere, witty without resorting to gimmicks. It cultivates endearing characters without creating familiar Christian caricatures.</p>
  63. <p class="text">What makes a good Christian children&rsquo;s show? Here are four things <span class="citation">The Wingfeather Saga</span> does well that I hope would be true of any Christian program that I watch with my kids.</p>
  64. <h6 class="subhead3">The show invites kids along for the adventure.</h6>
  65. <p class="text"></p>
  66. <p class="text">One of the quickest ways to bore kids is to talk at them. Shows that offer not much more than monologues, telling children what they should think and do, will rarely capture their hearts.</p>
  67. <p class="text">This principle ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  68. ]]>
  69. </description><author>Amy Gannett </author><link></link><pubDate>Fri, 19 April 2024 09:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[Filipinos and Americans Diverge on Trusting Pastors]]></title><description>
  70. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">Studies find that while less than a third of Americans trust church leaders, 90 percent of Filipinos do.</p>
  71. <img src="" /><p class="text">While less than a third of Americans <a href="" target="_blank" class="">rate</a> clergy as highly honest and ethical, across the globe in the Philippines, 91 percent of the public trusts religious leaders, according to EON Group&rsquo;s 2021 <a href="" target="_blank" class="">Philippine Trust Index</a>. Respondents of the survey ranked pastors as the most trusted leaders in Filipino society, compared to a Gallup poll that found clergy in the US ranked lower than 10 other professions, including chiropractors and police officers.</p>
  72. <p class="text">&ldquo;When people outside of church find out I&rsquo;m a pastor, their demeanor changes out of respect,&rdquo; said Aldrin Pe&ntilde;amora, director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches&rsquo; Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation Commission. Some people even ask him for prayer.</p>
  73. <p class="text">The disconnect is rooted in cultural differences, religion&rsquo;s role in society, as well as the impact of church scandals. Still, pastors from both countries noted the importance of having pastors engage with their congregations and local communities to build trust.</p>
  74. <h5 class="subhead2">Drivers of trust in the Filipino church</h5>
  75. <p class="text">In the Philippines, Catholics make up 80 percent of the population, while evangelicals make up about 3 percent. Catholicism came to the Philippines through Spanish colonialism and <a href="" target="_blank" class="">stuck</a> as Filipinos made their faith their own. Today, the Catholic faith has become a cultural attribute of Filipino life.</p>
  76. <p class="text">The high view of church leaders also reflects traditional Filipino values, said Pe&ntilde;amora: &ldquo;Filipino culture values respecting the elderly, which spills over to their submission to people in authority, including religious authority.&rdquo;</p>
  77. <p class="text">In the Philippines, older people are considered wise, and they provide a sense of order and direction to the life of the community, Pe&ntilde;amora ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  78. ]]>
  79. </description><author>Hannah Keziah Agustin</author><link></link><pubDate>Fri, 19 April 2024 08:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[For the Warming of the Earth: Worshiping in the Age of Creation Care]]></title><description>
  80. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">Christian artists work at the intersection of music and climate change. </p>
  81. <img src="" /><p class="text">Christians love to sing about creation. Hymns like &ldquo;How Great Thou Art&rdquo; describe the beauty of creation that moves the church to sing, &ldquo;I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder / Thy power throughout the universe displayed.&rdquo;</p>
  82. <p class="text">Nature can also be a source of confusion or anxiety for believers as they observe <a href="" target="_blank" class="">eclipses</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" class="">earthquakes</a> and try to <a href="" target="_blank" class="">discern God&rsquo;s role or intent</a> in their unfolding. And as climate change more visibly impacts humans, the natural world can seem increasingly hostile, even as it remains a source of inspiration and joy for the Christian.</p>
  83. <p class="text">Where is God&rsquo;s hand at work? And how should we respond to mysteries and chaos in our prayers and worship?</p>
  84. <p class="text">British scholar Mark Porter believes the Christian imagination can hold a complex view of creation&mdash;as can music. His research looks at the intersection of music, faith, and climate change, showing ways to engage nature beyond using it as a signpost of God&rsquo;s glory, contending also with its beauty, chaos, fragility, and brutality.</p>
  85. <p class="text">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not just one thing that nature imagery does,&rdquo; said Porter. &ldquo;It can do something besides inspire an individual to look to God in worship.&rdquo;</p>
  86. <p class="text">Porter&rsquo;s forthcoming book <em>For the Warming of the Earth: Music, Faith, and Ecological Crisis</em> describes how faith communities and organizations are responding to climate change and environmental crises with music, such as Resound Worship&rsquo;s <em><a href="" target="_blank" class="">Doxecology</a></em> album, the activism of groups like Christian Climate Action (CCA), and Catholic <a href="" target="_blank" class="">song festivals</a> centered on Pope Francis&rsquo; landmark encyclical, <em><a href="" target="_blank" class="">Laudato Si&rsquo;</a></em>.</p>
  87. <p class="text">It&rsquo;s not a how-to book for worship leaders looking to more explicitly address creation care or ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  88. ]]>
  89. </description><author>Kelsey Kramer McGinnis</author><link></link><pubDate>Thu, 18 April 2024 09:00:00 CST</pubDate></item><item><title><![CDATA[Biblical Literacy in a Postliterate Age]]></title><description>
  90. <![CDATA[<p class="deck">We must always be people of the Word, but we’ll have to reimagine deep engagement with Scripture.</p>
  91. <img src="" /><p class="text">Christians are readers. We are &ldquo;people of the book.&rdquo; We own personal Bibles, translated into our mother tongues, and read them daily. Picture &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank" class="">quiet time</a>&rdquo; and you&rsquo;ll see a table, a cup of coffee, and a Bible spread open to dog-eared, highlighted, annotated pages. For Christians, daily Bible reading is the minimum standard for the life of faith. <em>What kind of Christian</em>, some of us may think, <em>doesn&rsquo;t meet this low bar?</em></p>
  92. <p class="text">This vision of our faith resonates for many. It certainly describes the way I was raised. As a snapshot of a slice of the church at a certain time in history&mdash;20th-century American evangelicals&mdash;it checks out. But as a timeless vision of what it means to follow Christ, it falls short, and it does so in a way that will seriously impinge on our ability to make disciples in an increasingly postliterate culture, <a href="" target="_blank" class="">a culture in which</a> most people still understand the bare mechanics of reading but overwhelmingly consume audio and visual media instead.</p>
  93. <p class="text">We can see how this literacy-focused idea of Christianity will fail in the future by looking to the past. For most of Christian history, most believers were illiterate. Reading the Bible daily wasn&rsquo;t an option because reading wasn&rsquo;t an option.</p>
  94. <div class="article-embed" articleid="202168"></div>
  95. <p class="text">This doesn&rsquo;t mean Scripture was irrelevant to ordinary Christians&rsquo; lives. But the sacred page wasn&rsquo;t primarily a private matter for personal devotion; it was a public matter heard in the gathering of God&rsquo;s people for worship. The Bible was the church&rsquo;s book&mdash;a liturgical book, a book whose natural habitat was the voice of Christ&rsquo;s body lifted in praise. To hear the Word of God, you joined the people of God. Lectors ...</p><p class="more"><a href="">Continue reading</a>...</p>
  96. ]]>
  97. </description><author>Brad East</author><link></link><pubDate>Thu, 18 April 2024 08:30:00 CST</pubDate></item></channel></rss>
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