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2014

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Latina, Pentecostal, and College-Bound


Dec 19 2014
How the church stands to benefit from rising educational attainment.
Latina, Pentecostal, and College-Bound
COD Newsroom / Flickr

Educational gains among Latino youth pose an opportunity or a threat to the growing number of Latino Pentecostal churches in the U.S.

Latinos are graduating from high school and enrolling in college at record-high rates. At the same time, Latino Pentecostalism ...

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What’s the Truth Behind Serial? Only God Knows


Dec 18 2014
Inconclusive storytelling stirs our longing for justice.
What’s the Truth Behind Serial? Only God Knows
Serial

Like more than 1.5 million others, I’ve spent the last several weeks listening to Serial, a podcast that debuted in October from the producers of the popular public radio program This American Life. The first season of Serial investigates the 1999 murder ...

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Bringing True Joy to the World


Dec 17 2014
How we can avoid over-sentimentalizing the holidays.
Bringing True Joy to the World
Pavlina Jane / Flickr

Christmas as a consumer event is designed for people like me. Saps, that is. People who inhale the smell of gingerbread and want to buy the whole tin because it reminds us of a happy memory, or a loving grandma, or the Best Christmas Ever.

This is sentimentalism, ...

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Christian Colleges vs. Hookup Culture


Dec 16 2014
The good intentions behind conservative campus rules.
Christian Colleges vs. Hookup Culture
Jason Parrish / Flickr

American college campuses are dangerous places. On our campuses, women are sexually assaulted in alarming numbers. Men are being hauled before campus sex tribunals, many of which lack any semblance of due process. United Educators, an insurance company owned ...

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Our Own Kind of Time


Dec 15 2014
Entering Advent and getting caught up in the church calendar.
Our Own Kind of Time
Jamie McCaffrey / Flickr

...

When I started observing the church calendar about a decade ago, the notion that time itself could be an entrée into worship, a retelling of the Christ story, felt like a magical discovery. I was new to liturgy and adopted each liturgical practice ...

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Holiday Traditions, Under Construction


Dec 12 2014
Why our shifting families and evolving rituals can still be cause for celebration.
Holiday Traditions, Under Construction
Gui Seiz / Flickr

When my adult son offered to host Thanksgiving last month, it felt as though a baton was being passed instead of platters of turkey and cranberry relish. For three decades, I’ve been the one to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Now, it was time to hand off the ...

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Playing God on Paper


Dec 11 2014
How composing 50,000 words of fiction deepened my appreciation for the Great Author.
Playing God on Paper
melenita / Flickr

Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn't try to write fiction. It's not a grand enough job for you. - Flannery O'Connor

As 2014 ends, it's time for the "Best ...

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The One Thing to Tell Pregnant Moms: ‘Congratulations’


Dec 10 2014
No family too big, no mom too young to hear our affirmation of life.
The One Thing to Tell Pregnant Moms: ‘Congratulations’
Andrew Seaman / Flickr

I’m pregnant with my fourth baby right now. Any mom who’s bore that many children—and even some with just two or three—knows what it's like to share the news of another pregnancy. People are quick to make comments like:

"Are ...

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A Lesson from Rape Stories: We Don’t Get What We Deserve


Dec 9 2014
It’s time to recognize that our world isn’t fair. And do something about it.
A Lesson from Rape Stories: We Don’t Get What We Deserve
Bob Mical / Flickr

Just one thing rivals the horror of being raped: divulging the details of that experience. Exposing yourself as a victim of rape is to be raped again; in the naked vulnerability of the telling, you not only relive those incalculably harrowing moments, but also ...

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Walking By Faith


Dec 8 2014
A spiritual discipline learned step by step.
Walking By Faith
Rupert Ganzer / Flickr

In the popular memoir-turned-film, Wild, Cheryl Strayed takes off to hike the Pacific Coast Trail. The unflinchingly transparent narration conveys how her determined but naïve aspirations to embark on the trek evolve into a physical and mental capacity ...

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Common Ground for Christians and Common Core


Dec 5 2014
A teacher’s perspective on how higher standards serve poor students.
Common Ground for Christians and Common Core
Brad Flickinger / Flickr

As a former public school teacher, I have taught both the traditional state standards and Common Core aligned standards. I have dug deeply into both, researched their effectiveness, and watched them play out in my classroom.

Outside of school, I have observed ...

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The Cosby Show Dilemma


Dec 4 2014
When fictional dads and happy endings get tangled in real-life scandal.
The Cosby Show Dilemma
Ted Eytan / Flickr

I really hoped that by now I would know what to do with Bill Cosby. Not what to think about him—at this point it’s pretty impossible to dismiss the rape allegations of 17 women, all with similar stories of being drugged and sexually assaulted by ...

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Body Talk: Beyond the Tween Abstinence Lecture


Dec 3 2014
Media shapes how youth see their bodies. What can the church teach them instead?
Body Talk: Beyond the Tween Abstinence Lecture
Matt Kowal / Flickr

Getting an abstinence talk from a parent or youth pastor has become something of a rite of passage for evangelical teens. As evidenced by purity balls and promise rings, our subculture is deeply concerned with protecting youth from premarital sex. But I wonder ...

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Why We Don’t Need a Mrs. Jesus


Dec 2 2014
Christian faith offers a fuller notion of God and gender than sensationalized stories.
Why We Don’t Need a Mrs. Jesus
Ralph Buckley / Flickr

Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson’s book The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Lost Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene released last month, the latest in an often-sensationalized genre that continues to make historical claims that go ...

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Study: Young, Nonreligious Women Give More than Christians


Dec 1 2014
The female dollar and the changing landscape for charitable donations.
Study: Young, Nonreligious Women Give More than Christians
Rocketboom / Flickr

With #GivingTuesday coming up, charities are readying their year-end holiday appeals to a changing body of potential donors.

Older, married couples with strong religious ties used to be the target demographic for charities, ministries, and other nonprofits. ...

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