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4

Some Surprising Truths About Teaching
Posted by Clare

Every Christian has his/her favorite teacher; Tim Keller, the late Ravi Zacharias, Chip Ingram or perhaps your own pastor or BSF teaching leader.  While I’m grateful for these amazing teachers, that’s just the problem.  They set the mental bar for teaching so high and without any intention of doing so, the rest of us feel inadequate to teach.

While Paul was instructing Timothy in Titus, Chapter Two is applicable  for any reasonably, spiritually mature Christian.  Please take the time to read that chapter now, or when you’ve finished this blog.  The following are some valuable observations my pastor, Jim Samra made recently on teaching.

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2

A Permanent Enemy
Posted by Clare

This is a guest blog by Fred Smith. Fred is a trusted friend who runs a wonderful ministry which encourages generosity. His blog calls us to be “generous in spirit,” and the cost to our country if we are not.

In his documentary film, “Korengal,“ author and director Sebastian Junger recounts the stories of a platoon of American soldiers deployed to a tiny and dangerous outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The “grinding boredom gives way to bowel-emptying fear, followed sometimes by episodes of nearly psychedelic blood lust and the frankly sexual pleasure of unleashing a .50-caliber machine gun on enemies who are doing the same to you.”

While the film is horrifying to watch, Junger’s book, ”The Tribe” makes the case that coming home from war is often harder than risking your life: “There is something to be said for using risk to forge social bonds…Having something to fight for, and fight through, is a good and important thing.” It is re-entry into a divisive country that proves more difficult.

Coming home from such a “band of brothers” experience to enter what Junger describes as “the conflict of a society at war with itself” is painful and confusing: “People speak with incredible contempt about, depending on their views: the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign born, the President, or the entire US government. It is a level of contempt that is usually reserved for enemies in wartime except that it is now applied to our fellow citizens. Unlike criticism, contempt is particularly toxic because it assumes a moral superiority in the speaker…You don’t speak with contempt about someone who may be saving your life tomorrow or who you may need to risk your life for tomorrow. One of the amazing things about the current political season is to watch very powerful people in politics and in the media speak with contempt about their fellow citizens. Contempt is poison to democracy…People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united for long.”

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3

The Law Gives Me the Right! (Moral Dilemma or Opportunity?)
Posted by Clare

Years ago, I led a Bible study at a large, local law firm.  A number of the attorneys who attended were not yet Christians, or appeared to be Christians in name only.

What drew some of them was my topic for a few weeks, How to be sure being a Christian lawyer is not an oxymoron.  A few of the senior partners were put off by that title and said so at the first meeting.  I pointed out what I thought was obvious to everyone; there’s a reason there are a million lawyer jokes.  Attorneys in general have a reputation of bending the truth, or interpreting the law to benefit their client.  My goal was to make it less likely that stereotype was true of the attorneys in this firm who call themselves Christians. But this blog isn’t simply for attorneys or their clients, but it gets to the very heart of the question, “What does it mean to seek justice for a Christian?”

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7

Should Christians Obey Face Mask Laws in Church?
Posted by Clare

A week ago I received an email from a person, whose state required the wearing of a face mask in any public place, and the leaders of her church were debating whether to obey. You only have to watch Fox News or CNN for a few hours to find out how strongly people feel about this issue. I decided to blog about face mask wearing because of the diverse opinions even in my own family. So, even though I’m probably putting my fingers in the fan, here are my thoughts.

Let’s begin by narrowing the discussion down to the state or local laws that require or strongly urge the wearing of facemasks, even in church.

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