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Christians Shouldn’t Be Culture’s Morality Police

reblogged from Relevant

Police

Cara Joyner

By Cara Joyner

July 13, 2015

Cara Joyner is a freelance writer and work-from-home-mom living on the East Coast with her husband and three sons. She loves hanging out with college students, watching Scrubs and eating choc… Read More

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Restored and Remarried

Restored and Remarried

an Interview with Gil and Brenda Stuart

(reblogged from Project Patch)
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Every family is dysfunctional, some families get away with it while others can’t because more is required of them.  Blended families, single parent homes, homes with illness, homes with any kind of job loss or a host of the challenges requires the family to have a higher level of “family skills” than a “normal” family.  It isn’t fair.

Actually, I don’t think there is such a thing as a “normal” family.  At some point every family will experience a season that requires more communication, problem solving and dealing with conflict.

Some families can’t predict when they will be called upon to be less dysfunctional.  However, for blended families, even before the “I do” is said, they know dysfunction is near and have to elevate their game.

This podcast interview is with Gil and Brenda Stuart who’s mission is, “Encouragement for remarried couples in a stepfamily.”  They are all about helping step families discover God’s purpose for their newly formed family and the skills to live them out.


About our guests:Stuart

I met Gil and Brenda several years ago and my first impression was that I not only liked them, I also felt like I had known them a long time.  They are a couple with a lot going on.  They have seven children between them and now have two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.  Gil is an insurance broker and Brenda leads a team building organization.  They are popular speakers and lead seminars to help other couples like them who are remained.  They also have developed a seminar called “Rearview Mirror” which helps all couples focus on what matters.

Key Points from Interview:

  • Foundation of honesty
  • Necessity of forgiveness – especially for yourself
  • How your marriage is strengthened through community and information.
  • Importance of parents taking time to trust and rely on each other, especially for discipline of kids
  • How it is a long term focus rather than need for immediate results

Resources:

Their website:  www.restoredandremaried.com
Their books/materials:  Visit their store

Top 10 Blended Family Points

  1. There are 67 types of stepfamilies
  2. 72 differences between first marriages and remarriage
  3. 40% of all marriages today are creating stepfamilies
  4. New Stat (6/2014: from The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn)  Remarriage divorce rate is 34% not the 60% previously thought. Some stats state 40-50% of remarriages end in divorce. 80% of those marriages that failed could have been saved with information/education and support small group/fellowship with other stepfamilies.)
  5. Churches are reluctant to engage in a Stepfamily ministry for fear of condoning divorce
  6. Many remarried couples do not ask for the help/encouragement they need because of the “shame factor”
  7. Kid issues: grieving, schedules, POW swap, holidays, jealousy, parenting styles
  8. The step parent/step child relationship creates more threat to the remarriage than money, sex, work stress or in laws than in first time marriages
  9. Co-parenting: child support, schedules, two different life styles/values
  10. Modeling a healthy remarriage can reduce the divorce rate for kids in a stepfamily; which can change the legacy of the family

Related Posts:
Blended Families Podcast
The Opportunities of a Blended Family: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Minimizing Domestic Violence

A telephone survey of 1000 senior pastors by LifeWay Research in Protestant churches in America revealed that most of them are aware of domestic violence in their congregations, but 42% of them “rarely, if ever” address the issue.

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In addition, the majority of pastors (52%) do not believe they have sufficient training to address situations of domestic violence.

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Most pastors said that less than 5% of people in their congregations have been victims of domestic violence. When in reality, more than 1 in 3 (35.6 percent) women and 1 in 4 men (28.5 percent) have “experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime”, according to a report from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This statistic is virtually the same for Christians and non-Christians.

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As the above chart illustrates, only 5-10% of pastors correctly identified the percentage of domestic violence in their congregations.

Clearly, pastors are not aware of the extent of domestic violence in their churches. The Lifeway study revealed that over half of senior pastors (52 percent) do not feel that they have sufficient training to deal effectively with domestic or sexual violence.  And most (81%), say they would do more to reduce domestic violence if they had more training.

Domestic violence can take many forms. Commonly, we think of domestic violence as only being physical or sexual. The Duluth Model shows some of the other forms.

PhyVio

For example:

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

These forms of abuse can be equally harmful to people.

We need to address domestic violence, both inside and outside of our churches. What can we do?

  1. Get domestic violence training. The National Center for Domestic and Sexual Violence provides training, as well as several community agencies. This applies to pastors, church members, and anyone that works with families. I get trained two times a year with the Northwest Marriage Institute.
  1. Provide training in schools. One of the best ways to avoid problems is to be proactive. This means addressing potential problems with children. Many of them are already either victims of domestic violence or they have witnessed domestic violence firsthand.
  1. Keep your eyes open. We should not assume a family is not struggling with domestic violence issues. According to the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

What would you like to add to this discussion?

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Study Reveals Decline in Religious Orientation Among Teens

One of the largest studies on religious beliefs in American youth has just been released. It revealed that change in culture is strongly influencing lower religious involvement.

journal.pone.0121454.g001

As the above figure illustrates, the gap between teens and their parents’ religious affiliation is widening. Since 2000, there has been a steep decline in religious “nones” (those that do not claim adherence to any religion). Between 2000 and 2013:

  • 87% more college students claim no religious affiliation.
  • 50% more 12th graders claim no religious affiliation.
  • 43% more 10th graders claim no religious affiliation.

As the chart below reveals, girls, whites, and those living in the Northeast had the largest decline in religious affiliation.

survey

The trend of religious decline affects all demographic groups, except possibly for African Americans.

The authors of the study present some possible explanations for the decline in religious orientation:

  1. An increase in individualism. This is characterized by focusing less on religious adherence and more on the self. Dr. Twenge, one of the researchers, stated, “Individualism puts the self first, which doesn’t always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires.” She added, “when people become deeply involved in religious faith, they may be committing to a value system that may bring some costs to the self – albeit with the hope of benefiting others.”
  1. An increasing acknowledgment that religion is inconsistent with science. The researchers said it is possible that “debates about teaching creationism or intelligent design in U.S. schools, such as those in Kansas in 2005, pushed some young people away from religion.”
  1. Increasing religious pluralism in the U.S. “This could also result in the questioning or minimizing of all faiths”, the study suggested.
  1. Increase in online activities. The study stated that “a generation of “digital natives” heavily involved in online activities might simply have been less interested in religious teachings.”

What other possible explanations do you see for the decline in religious orientation in American youth?

Source: Jean M. Twenge, et. al. (2015). Generational and Time Period Differences in American Adolescents’ Religious Orientation, 1966–2014. May 11, 2015 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121454

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Why You Should Not Plant a Church

7_reasons_your_church_plant_might_fail_190307698Recently I co-taught a session at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures entitled, “Why You Should Not Plant a Church.” The title is a little tongue-in-cheek. We basically said one should not plant a church unless you are willing and able to face certain realities. There is nothing “sexy” about church planting.

Don’t plant a church unless:

  • You have spent a lot of time in prayer first.
  • God has clearly revealed to you His desire to use you in this way.
  • Your faith is mature and you are willing to continue to grow.
  • Your family is with you.
  • You are prepared to fight spiritual battles.
  • You are prepared for hard work.
  • You are committed to the vision God has given you.
  • You are prepared to manage your time effectively.
  • You are ready to experience disappointment, heartache, and pain.
  • You can handle freedom.
  • You are willing to grow.
  • You are prepared to meet people where they are.
  • You are passionate about developing relationships with non-Christians.
  • You are prepared to face opposition (even lose friends because of your convictions).
  • You are willing to face risk.
  • You are prepared to experience joy of changed lives.
  • You are ready for an adventure.

These are all based on my own personal experiences. Church planting is certainly not for everyone!

Which point speaks to you?

What else have you experienced and grown from?

Related posts:

10 Lessons Learned in Urban Church Planting

How Great Church Planters Think

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