The grandmother of Somalian Ayaan Hirsi Ali had her young granddaughter genitally mutilated at the age of 5. Her father, an intelligent dissident and outspoken critic of the backward tradition, was imprisoned during this time and her grandmother took charge. From that moment on, Ali knew there was something wrong with her culture's view of women.
As a professor and advisor at Armstrong, students often come into my office struggling with a variety of academic and life problems. On many occasions, it is the student's dating life that is most confusing to them when considering their future.
The 135th annual convention of the Sunday School Association of Effingham County will be held May 4 at 10 a.m. with participating Sunday schools ready to march under the tabernacle at 9:45 a.m. The convention will be held again at the historic Effingham County Methodist Campground.
Everyone loves Christmas. Trees, lights, presents, songs, parties, and meals make Christmas a very special time every winter. But for Christians, Christmas is really only significant in light of Easter. The manger reflects its glory only in the witness of the empty tomb.
It's a good bet that church pews will be more packed than usual these next two Sundays. Local congregants and pastors will likely struggle to remember the names of those who come to pray and sing next to them on Palm Sunday and Easter Day. Once again, it is time for the CEO ("Christmas and Easter Only") crowd to emerge. My perspective on such folks is perhaps unique, stemming from a conversation I had years ago.
Among the many revelations I've had over the past decade in my ministerial experiences in Effingham County are the following truths: (1) there are many people with real needs in our community, and (2) I am incapable of discerning exactly who they are.
In Christianity, hell is often characterized as a realm in which God or love is completely absent. The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky may not have been far off when he said, "I am convinced that the only hell which exists is the inability to love."
A few months ago, my teenage son Alex was competing in a national weightlifting competition outside St. Louis. The morning of his competition, I decided to forego the predictable hotel breakfast for fresh-cooked food at an omelet joint within walking distance.
Pastors, who are often in the position of providing some comfort following a death, have a unique vantage point from which to recognize the most beneficial actions to a congregant's family upon the death of a loved one. Often, friends of the deceased are left at a loss, not knowing what should be said or done to be a balm to those grieving.
Over the years in the role as pastor, I have come to see that the death of a loved one (whether expected or unexpected) often leaves people feeling not only grief and a sense of loss, but also anxiety - anxiety over what they should be doing and feeling in the wake of such a personal tragedy. In that regard, please accept the following as friendly advice I see as consistent with the Christian faith.
By the time you read this, you will have seen and heard a great deal about the senseless shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. Let me offer perspective somewhat different from what you may have encountered until now.
This past week, I was reminded how important it is to keep the essentials of the Christian faith in mind. Too often, we Christians get wrapped up in tussles about the non-essentials. And it is precisely those non-essentials that often make the news, which keeps those outside the church from appreciating the essence of the faith.
Those who know me and have seen me walking around occasionally in orange and blue are aware that my undergraduate degree was from the University of Florida. If that troubles you, please be comforted with the knowledge that all my children have gone to the University of Georgia, and I have sent much more money to Athens than I ever sent to Gainesville.