Trump-speak allows open discussion of problems usually only spoken about behind closed doors

Trump’s “open source” thoughts are unprecedented in any modern politician. Trump, by breaking from the “offend no one” style of political discourse, still appeals to those Americans who share beliefs with him that are largely overlooked by the incumbent political class that the president is dismantling. His takeover of the Republican Party was a hostile one that paid lip service to most of the party’s ideological dogma. What Trump is about is remaking the American body politic. Trump-speak is a key component of that overhaul, because it allows for the open discussion of the many problems America and the world is facing but are usually only spoken about in whispers behind closed doors.

Source: How Donald Trump is retooling politics for the 21st century

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$700 billion for what? Military expenditures provide no benefit

Many left-liberal groups ignore the Pentagon’s swollen budget even as it devours resources that could be put to much better use. Sadly, a bipartisan majority in Congress gave [Trump] all he asked for [and] then some. Beyond spending sufficient to provide reasonable defense, military expenditures provide no benefit; they fail utterly to improve our quality of life. The growth in so-called “Islamist terror groups” was largely blowback — the result of and reaction to U.S. intervention in the region. The citizenry would be far better off if our nation abandoned the role of global hegemon, led the world into multilateral disarmament negotiations and redirected billions into investments in our people and infrastructure.—Mark Haim

Mark Haim is a longtime advocate for peace, justice, sustainability and climate action. He serves as director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, a grassroots activist group.

Source: $700 Billion For What? | The Indypendent

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Billy Graham’s granddaughter, Jerushah Armfield, says Donald Trump needs to clean up his act

I just don’t want [President Trump] to be held up as the poster boy for Christian evangelicals because he doesn’t represent most of us. I understand a lot of evangelicals supporting him because of his policies. I’d love to see a Christian leader come out and say that they support Trump for his policies, but that his behavior disgusts them, and he needs to clean up his act. I would love to just hear one of them say that. If they support his policies, they also feel like they have to stay hush(ed) on his behavior and I just feel that it’s sending the wrong message to the world about what Christianity is and what Evangelicals are, or I guess, have become. — Jerushah Armfield

Jerushah Armfield is an evangelical writer, the granddaughter of the iconic evangelist Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham’s niece. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jerushahruth.

Source: Billy Graham’s granddaughter: Donald Trump needs to apologize – CNN

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Pope Francis denounces “fake news” as evil and urged reporters to rediscover the “dignity of journalism” and search for the truth

Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests. It grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration. The tragedy of disinformation is that it discredits others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict. Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. There is no such thing as harmless disinformation. Even a seemingly slight distortion of the truth can have dangerous effects. We can recognize the truth of statements from their fruits: whether they provoke quarrels, foment division, encourage resignation; or, on the other hand, they promote informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue and fruitful results. ensuring the accuracy of sources and protecting communication are real means of promoting goodness, generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace.

Source: LII World Communications Day, 2018 – “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace | Francis

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Every word that a president utters projects American values around the world

When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him “fake news,” it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press. Mr. President, every word that a president utters projects American values around the world. — Senator, Jeff Flake (Jan 2018)

Source: Read Sen. Jeff Flake’s speech criticizing Trump – CNNPolitics

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Christian escapism is really bad theology

Christian escapism is really bad theology. If God so loves the world, then how does it makes sense that we’re trying to leave it? Rapture theology is dangerous theology because it essentially says that we aren’t stewards of creation – it’s all going to be destroyed anyway so why bother. Oh and war – no biggie, remember, all the unsaved will be killed by God and the earth will be ravaged, so why bother. Makes for great foreign policy, environmental stewardship, and more, doesn’t it? We are called to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom of God right now, here on earth. We’re called on to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick and imprisoned, to go and make disciples. If God wanted to whisk us away, then why on earth would Jesus command us to do these things?

Source: OnFaith Commentary: Christian Escapism

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There’s got to be a better way to engage Jesus’ teachings in the 21st century

We don’t have to push each other away. We can actually come together in our differences. We come together to practice connection, contemplation, critical thinking, creativity, and compassionate action for the common good. Our gatherings emphasize building friendships over a meal and having deep conversations about topics that transform the way we see the world while inspiring us all to live peacefully with more beauty, wholeness, passion, urgency, and love.

The Way Collective is a new movement in Santa Barbara, CA, and is a community for people looking to unite by living well for the common good in an increasingly divisive world.

Source: Way Collective

 

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We must learn to regard people more in the light of what they suffer

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, spy, and anti-Nazi dissident. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential. He was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being accused of being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried and then executed by hanging.

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For early church fathers like St. Basil, “friendship with the world” meant attachment to wealth, power, and other worldly idols

James 4:4 says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” For early church fathers like St. Basil, “friendship with the world” meant attachment to wealth, power, and other worldly idols that get in the way of our connection with God. But for many white evangelicals today, being addicted to wealth and power is not a problem as long as you don’t associate with liberals. Whenever anything good or beautiful or true happens, God is at work no matter whose human agency God is using to accomplish his work. — Morgan Guyton

Morgan Guyton is director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA. He is also a United Methodist pastor, blogger, and author of dozens of articles featured in Red Letter Christians, Huffington Post Religion, Think Christian, Ministry Matters, and others.

Source: If Donald Trump wins, I will blame toxic Christianity and here’s why

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I am Mennonite, and we are Racist

“Segregation is one face of racism. The Mennonite tradition perpetuates through family. It shows charity to the outsider, but does not necessarily allow the outsider to be included unless they assimilate into everything – the faith, the culture, the family traditions. Despite being a people who endlessly preach peace and justice, who claim to be fighting against the evils of prejudice, most of us aren’t even aware how complicit we are with our own racism. I need transformation. We all do.”

Source: I am Mennonite, and we are Racist | Pastors in Exile

Pastors in Exile (PiE) is an Anabaptist-rooted movement of community pastors outside of church walls. We believe that church is evolving into something beyond just a specific community in a specific place at a specific time. Everyone who seeks to join God’s loving and transforming work in the world is invited to be a pastor in exile with us.

Follow them on Twitter at: @pastorsinexile.

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The megachurch bubble is about to burst: What will that mean for American culture?

Dominionists aren’t looking to escape the world via rapture; they want to transform the world in all its aspects: religion, family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment and business. Dominionism is evangelical triumphalism run wild. It blossomed in the days of white evangelical expansion and will die the moment the evangelical tide begins to turn.

Source: The megachurch bubble is about to burst: What will that mean for American culture? – Baptist News Global

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Racism, white supremacy are ‘a Christian problem’ 

“We need to be much more vocal and proactive in speaking out against racism in all its forms — individual and structural. If we can’t do that, we’re going to be irrelevant as a church.” – Floerke Scheid

Source: Christian ethicists: Racism, white supremacy are ‘a Christian problem’ | National Catholic Reporter

Anna Floerke Scheid is associate professor of theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Her research interests are in the area of Christian social ethics.  In particular she is concerned with ethical issues surrounding human rights, conflict, and post-conflict reconciliation.  She explores Christian perspectives on war and peace-especially just war theory and just peacemaking theory-and studies how restorative justice has been enacted in truth and reconciliation commissions around the world.

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Dear World, Franklin Graham Doesn’t Speak For Us, Or Jesus

“Dear world, Franklin Graham is not our leader, not our pastor, not our spokesperson, nor our example—and with all due respect, in my personal opinion, he’s nothing like Jesus. The screeching sound of his bigotry, pride, self-righteousness, mean-spirited condemnation, and imperialistic faith overtakes and overshadows all.” — Chris Kratzer

See: Dear World, Franklin Graham Doesn’t Speak For Us, Or Jesus

Chris Kratzer is a husband, father, pastor, author, and speaker. His focus is communicating the message of Grace and the beauty of Jesus particularly as it relates to life, culture, and church.

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Embracing criticism gives us lots of chances to love our enemy

““When you embrace criticism instead of avoiding it, you get lots of chances to love your enemy.” — Brian D. McLaren

See: How to be a purple church in a red state

Brian D. McLaren is a prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker. His latest book is The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian.

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Saeed Abedini Blasts Prosperity Preachers: ‘Churchianity Killing Millions of Christians’

“Radical Muslims may kill hundreds of us in terror incidents, but ‘Churchianity’ is killing hundreds of millions of Christians all around the world and keeping the rest in a deep sleep.” — Pastor Saeed Abedini

Saeed Abedini is an Iranian American Christian pastor who was imprisoned in Iran for threatening “national security” by making Christian gatherings.

See: Saeed Abedini Blasts Prosperity Preachers: ‘Churchianity Killing Millions of Christians’

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Greg Gianforte is what toxic Christianity looks like

“The ugliness of toxic Christianity is being laid bare for the whole world to see.” — Morgan Guyton

Greg Gianforte is a right-wing fundamentalist Christian who funded the creationist Dinosaur and Fossil Museum and is on the board of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools.

Morgan Guyton is the director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA.

See: Greg Gianforte is what toxic Christianity looks like

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The loudest voices are defining who Christians are

“In an increasingly post-Christian culture fewer people have contact with real Christians. We’ve hidden ourselves in a Christian sub-culture bubble. As a result only ‘the loudest voices are defining who we are’. Only when we have real contact with people in the culture where love and friendship can be established will we change their perceptions of the church.” — Dan Kimball

See: Live from Shift: Bursting the Christian Bubble: Dan Kimball calls us back into the world.

Dan Kimball is an author and was a leading voice in the beginning years of the Emerging Church movement in the USA. Much of Kimball’s writings question the existing forms of church and their effectiveness in an increasingly post-Christian culture.

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