Over the years, reaching men with the Gospel has been an important but challenging effort. From the early days when Edwin Louis Cole launched the Christian Men's Network, to Coach Bill McCartney's Promise Keepers, hundreds of thousands of men have been transformed, and yet momentum has been difficult at best.
But now, a local pastor with a national media ministry is turning "men's ministry" on it's head. G. Allen Jackson, pastor of World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has taken his experience leading one of the largest churches in America and re-thought exactly what it means to reach men in the 21st century. That strategy is culminating in the "Mighty Men Conference" featuring Jackson and Angus Buchan in Nashville on November 23rd. I had the opportunity to discuss the subject recently with Pastor Jackson, and here's what happened:
Phil Cooke: What we call "Men's Ministry" is alive and well, but it's not in the headlines much anymore. In the 1980's and 90's it exploded and culminated with Promise Keepers, which was one of the biggest movements of it's time. What going on today? more >>
It has been exactly one year since the organization Leading Women For Shared Parenting(LW4SP) launched, as a fledgling organization with just a handful of women. The group was formed to remedy the unfair child custody system, which encourages parents to fight against each other, hurting children who are deprived of time with their parents and their extended family. As fathers' rights organizations have not been able to change the system on their own, it was hoped that with women speaking up about this drastically unfair situation, state legislatures would finally start revising antiquated family laws.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not just men, but many women who are hurt by the current system, whether as second wives to fathers who have been abused by the system, or as mothers, sisters or aunts of male family members. Less often, but still a problem, is when fathers are able to use the unequal laws against mothers. This is why LW4SP advocates for a rebuttable presumption of shared custody for most situations, instead of the unfair current primary custody default to one parent.
In its first year, LW4SP has attracted 70 Leading Women who come from all walks of life; columnists, practicing divorce attorneys, elected officials from six U.S. states, domestic violence practitioners, advocates, and others. There are women from all across the political spectrum, including the late Karen DeCrow, who served as a president of the National Organization for Women in the 1970s, and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. Ironically, these ladies used to debate each other on college campuses in the 1980s and 1990s. There is a significant presence of Leading Women in the U.S. and Canada, and a growing contingent in the U.K., with members coming from 47 states, every province in Canada and a whopping 27 countries across the globe. more >>
As a teenager, I'm used to facing peer pressure. Everything from T.V. and magazines to parents and teachers tell me how to live and act. Don't get me wrong, many of those influences are positive and uplifting, but a new pressure has completely blindsided my friends and me. This new pressure, namely liberal feminists, accuse me and other teenage girls who wear purity rings and pledge to save sex for marriage, of valuing our virginity too much. Umm, what?
Tracy Clark-Flory wrote an article, The Virginity Fetish, that compares young women like me who believe in saving sex until marriage, to Natalie Dylan, a young woman who sold her virginity online to the highest bidder. Clark-Flory claims that young women saving their virginity for marriage "auction off [their] virginity to the person with the biggest ring."
The person who compares love and self respect to prostitution obviously doesn't understand what a purity ring, or even virginity in general, represents. As a teenage girl, I can not disagree strongly enough with this portrayal of young women who have committed to preserve their virginity until marriage as greedy, unscrupulous women seeking to purchase financial security at the price of their own bodies. The irony that these are the same women who accuse conservatives of waging a war on women is not lost to me. more >>
A documentary being broadcast by PBS titled, "The New Black," examines how the Christian right capitalizes on "homophobia in the black community's institutional pillar — the black church" in order to "pursue an anti-gay political agenda."
"The New Black" aims to portray how the African-American community has grappled with issues related to homosexuality in light of the same-sex marriage movement in the U.S., specifically with the successful push to redefine marriage in Maryland in 2012 serving as the backdrop. Featured in the documentary are activists, families, and members of the clergy, all at odds on what proponents deem a civil rights issue and what opponents view as the legimitazion of sinful behavior.
Making an appearance in "The New Black" are Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, executive director and chief executive officer of the National Black Justice Coalition; Derek McCoy, president of the Maryland Family Alliance and the Maryland Family Council and associate pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland; and the Rev. Delman Coates, pastor at Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, and a candidate for lieutenant governor in the state. more >>
Randy Lewis, a former senior vice president of Walgreens, is the author of the highly inspirational book, No Greatness Without Goodness: How a Father's Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement. The book isn't only exceptional reading for business leaders who want their companies to become more efficient and profitable, but it also provides nuggets of wisdom and real life lessons for people who have the desire to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with those around them: friends, neighbors and coworkers.
Lewis and his wife, Kay, have three children. Their middle child, a son named Austin, has autism. During a speech in front of 5,000 Walgreens store managers at a conference in Las Vegas, he shared that "nearly 70 percent of individuals with disabilities and 95 percent of people with severe cognitive disabilities, like Austin, would never hold down a job."
This is not because people with disabilities cannot do the work, it's because many employers fail to realize that hiring people with disabilities will actually increase the overall performance among all of their employees. more >>
Attendees at the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on Tuesday affirming "God's good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one's self-perception," and disavowed "efforts to alter one's bodily identity."
The resolution, authored by Boyce College professor Denny Burk and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Policy Director Andrew Walker, denounced any efforts to "refashion [one's bodily identity] to conform with one's perceived gender identity] such as "cross-sex hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery."
It also argues that God created distinct genders with distinct masculine and feminine roles and suggested that "the fall of man into sin and God's subsequent curse" were responsible for transgenderism. more >>