Respond and Engage!
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Michigan Reformation Conference
Paul will be speaking at the 16th Annual Michigan Reformation Conference in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, October 26th (10am – 4pm). More information and free registration.
Yom Kippur Begins at Sundown Today
“Why is a Gay Hollywood Liberal sitting with a Conservative Republican President?”
“[One] case involves fired transgender funeral home director Aimee Stephens. She lost her job when she told Thomas Rost, owner of the Detroit-area R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, that she had struggled with gender identity issues almost her whole life. She was planning to exchange the dark suit and tie she had worn to work for nearly six years as an embalmer and funeral director for a conservative dress or skirt that was required for women who worked for Rost.
“Rost told Stephens her plan wouldn’t work and let her go. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on her behalf and, after losing in a district court, won a ruling in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.”
Mainstreaming Evangelical Apostasy
In most of these sessions, the work of deconstructing one’s faith was balanced by figuring out what — if anything — to replace it with. “I think our faith is evolving now, because we are waking up to the reality that that faith — that twisted, malformed faith that spoke human hierarchy into the world and reinforced it — we’re finally waking up to it and saying ‘no,’” said activist Lisa Sharon Harper during the final session. “But now we have to figure out what it’s supposed to be. What is the vision for what it’s supposed to be?”
During the opening session, Christian author and journalist Jeff Chu, who joined Sarah Bessey and Held Evans on the Evolving Faith team after the 2018 conference, welcomed a long list of groups ranging from introverts to the disabled, from the “frozen chosen” to the pansexual, from “you who do sex work to pay the bills,” Chu said, “and (to you) who are clutching your pearls because I just said ‘sex work.’”
“You who doubt, you who struggle, you who feel lost, you are loved.” Chu continued. “Atheists, agnostics, seekers, you are loved.”
The conference also offered a POC lounge for people of color as a place to “sit and rest, have a drink and something to eat, or find some company,” according to the event’s program booklet. “While gatherings like this one can challenge all of us, they are often especially exhausting for people of color.” A care team and several Evolving Faith speakers had “office hours” in the lounge.
The doubters were well supported with pastoral elements. In addition to the POC lounge, Evolving Faith also offered an Art Area with craft supplies — “for those who would like something to do with their hands as they listen to the speakers” — prayer request boxes where attendees could submit written prayer requests, and a “Spiritual Friend,” Dr. Grace Y. Kao, who was available for conversations to help “process all that you’re feeling.”
“A surprisingly large number of American adults perceive their engagement in politics as having negative effects on their social, emotional and even physical health,” said lead researcher Kevin Smith, chair of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- More than one in 10 people felt politics had adversely affected their physical health.
- Nearly one-third said they’d been driven crazy by media outlets that promote views contrary to their personal beliefs.
- Three in 10 Americans said they’d lost their temper over politics.
- A quarter of people said that politics has led them to hate some people, and to think seriously about moving away from their community.
- About 22% said they care too much about who wins and who loses.
- About 15% said they wish they would have restrained themselves more in political conversations or have posted things online that they later regretted.
“Today’s noise pollution, which includes both sonic noise and visual noise, is a hazard to our entire health, according to the World Health Organization. As such, we find ourselves in desperate need of quiet spaces both in our personal lives and also in our corporate life together as the church. The inclusion of silence in worship, then, is not just a matter of our physical well-being, it is also a matter of well-being before God.”
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