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March – April 2018 Issue

Expanded l♥ve

Couple models good stewardship of unexpected parenting experiences   KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Chris and Ashley Ward, sweethearts since their high school days, never imagined the future that would unfold before them. Reality would bring a lot less idealism but more love than they could have ever envisioned. The couple sat calmly in their historic Knoxville, […]

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Worth Repeating

“There is no institution with greater capacity to create protected spaces for healing and restoration for survivors, as well as confession, repentance and rehabilitation for perpetrators.” -From a statement, accompanied by the hashtag SilenceIsNotSpiritual, issued by female Christian leaders urging churches to assume a greater role in combating violence against women (RNS) “When Christians resort […]

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EDITORIAL: Whatever happened to being a good witness for Jesus?

Evangelism, or “witnessing” as it was often called, was considered a highly important function of what it meant to be a Christian in many church circles including the one of my Baptist upbringing. This task, rooted in Jesus’ call to “Go ye therefore…,” was clear: Those who had heard the Good News of Jesus and […]

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Dreaming Again

A conversation with Bob Dale about growing healthy congregations for changing futures The 1981 book, To Dream Again: How To Help Your Church Come Alive by Robert D. Dale, was a proven, go-to source for church leaders eager to re-envision congregational ministry. The publisher deemed it their most important book of the decade. Nearly 500 […]

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Being church in changing times

A column provided in collaboration with the Center for Healthy Churches (chchurches.org) Let’s talk about boundaries Over the years I have seen great harm inflicted on congregants and clergy alike by boundary violations. As part of offering guidance to clergy and churches, I attended my first Boundaries Workshop. Wow! I KNEW: Boundary violations have become […]

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DIGGIN’ IT: Where everything old is new again

Last year ended with some interesting stories from the world of archaeology that are worth highlighting. One doesn’t relate directly to the Bible, other than to the highly metaphorical stories of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. An article in the June 2017 issue of Nature revealed that fossilized remains identified as Homo sapiens were […]

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THEOLOGY IN THE PEWS: The Mission of God

It has become very common in the last few years to hear reference to the mission of God as the basis for understanding the mission of the church. This is the broad consensus of the ecumenical movement in the 20th century that the mission of the church finds its rationale in the missio Dei, “mission […]

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REBLOG: Is my example worth following?

Short little legs, with a red rope dragging in the dirt behind them, trailed behind a pair of much longer ones. We were on my dad’s farm, my youngest’s favorite place to be. And he was with his Papa, one of his favorite people to be with. This little boy loves everything about the farm. […]

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THE LIGHTER SIDE: Prince Harry and Me

We questioned their judgment when the Coopers asked us to take care of Harry for a week. We are good people, but we are not dog people. I have not lived with a dog since my Chihuahua Catastrophe lived up to his name in an encounter with a brand new 1968 Ford Mustang. Our only […]

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RECOGNITION & REMEMBRANCE

J. Estill Jones died Dec. 30, 2017 in Chatsworth, Ga., at age 96. He taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and served with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Pastorates included First Baptist churches of Chatsworth and Thomson, Ga., and Dogwood Hills Baptist Church in East Point, Ga. In his latter years he was active in First […]

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Let’s keep giving!

The Charities Aid Foundation uses what it calls the World Giving Index to measure global generosity. The criteria includes: the percentage of population engaged in monetary giving, volunteer time donated and kind acts toward others. Nations with the highest scores, these researchers concluded, are those with populations whose generosity is tied to spiritual commitments and […]

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Remembering two remarkable women

Everyone needs more mature, mentoring people in their lives who lead by words and deeds. Pearl DuVall, who died Dec. 26, 2017 in Cordele, Ga., was one of those for me. She had the perfect balance of standing up with firmness for what is right while being compassionate beyond measure. Her death brought a couple […]

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A framework for maintaining unity

Baptists tend to “multiply by dividing.” The emphases on individual freedom and local autonomy make it easy to go separate ways when facing disagreement with one another. History is replete with splits and splinters, and Baptists’ cherished principles certainly allow for that approach to dealing with conflict. Too often conflict separation is preferred over conflict […]

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What’s missing?

Revisiting the story of Jesus as told by the Church When have you read an obituary that only included information about a person’s birth and death? Never, most likely. Yet, from the fourth century to the present time the story that the church has typically told about Jesus begins with his birth and then skips […]

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Alive and well

Review and Expositor is a steady voice for theological scholarship Long ago and far away, the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) – founded in Greenville, S.C., in 1859 – formed a “Faculty Club” that met occasionally to present papers about their current work and to discuss various topics related to theological education. During […]

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Aging is life

Reflections on living between the ‘now’ and the ‘evermore’ Editor’s note: In the fall of 2017 Larry McSwain, retired professor from Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, began sharing his reflections on the experiences of aging in a series of posts on his personal Facebook page. The following is an adapted and edited version of […]

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History matters: Author explores the exodus story

A review by Tony W. Cartledge Does it really matter whether there’s any real history behind the exodus? Richard Elliott Friedman, professor of Jewish studies and Hebrew Bible at the University of Georgia, believes it does. In Exodus: How It Happened and Why It Matters (HarperOne, 2017), Friedman picks up an idea he first suggested […]

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RELIGION AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS: Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909)

Born into a rich New York City family in 1858, sickness plagued Theodore Roosevelt during his boyhood. Aspiring to overcome his frailty, a teenage Roosevelt avidly explored nature, embraced gymnastics and took up weightlifting in a successful effort to build up his strength. Roosevelt thereafter graduated from Harvard, married Alice Hathaway Lee, and briefly enrolled […]

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Responding spiritually to anxiety and envy

Sometimes my reading runs together in unexpected but interesting ways. Such is the case recently involving three books. British journalist Ruth Whippman moved to the U.S. — California’s Silicone Valley, in particular — and discovered America’s obsessive pursuit of happiness. “It seems as though happiness in America has become the overachiever’s ultimate trophy,” she writes […]

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Questions Christians ask scientists: How can we understand Jesus in light of evolution?

Often I speak to church groups about faith and science. Perspectives from Old Testament books such as Genesis, Job and Ecclesiastes are part of the discussion, but the New Testament says comparatively little about creation, so I mostly leave it out. Therefore it’s not surprising that during the dialogue time I get asked some version […]

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Day of Contrasts

Fools for Christ or just plain fools? The contrast is striking: One is a day for silly pranks while the other commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One calls for tying someone’s shoelaces together while the other marks the hope of eternal life. When Easter falls on April Fools’ Day, as it does this year, […]

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