On Sept. 20, Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief sent their first group of volunteers, including 13 men and women, to Bayboro, North Carolina, in response to damage caused by Hurricane Florence.
Boys behaving badly has become all too common. Sometimes it lands a boy in the news immediately, and sometimes it takes decades for the misdeeds to surface.
There is probably no common saying more ridiculous and unhelpful than “boys will be boys.” It reflects a determinism that leaves no room for the shaping of young male lives. Boys will, of course, be boys if left to their own devices, if they have no positive role models, if they are not given any instruction about how a boy ought to behave. And one result is that many men continue to behave as boys throughout their lives.
Why do we not hear the phrase “girls will be girls” to excuse their bad behavior? There are two possible reasons. Either we think boys are naturally bad and girls are naturally good, or we think girls’ bad behavior should not be defended. I think it’s more of the latter. Adults often do a nudge-nudge-wink-wink to boys’ bad behavior but shake their heads in rebuke at girls’ bad behavior.
Attitudes, fortunately, are changing. Boys and men are being held more accountable for bad behavior.
The “me too” movement has been necessitated by the reality that many boys and men have behaved as sexual animals free to pursue whatever satisfaction they like. They should never have felt such freedom, and it is good they now are being held accountable.
Instruction is a key. It does not guarantee right behavior, but it surely makes it more likely, especially if an example of good behavior lives in the same household. It surely is wise to help boys and man-boys to learn God’s truths about life and living well.
Of course, it’s also wise to help girls and girl-women to learn this.
We need help.
Proverbs! Turn to Proverbs!
When Elizabeth Mejía Laguna first came to the Buckner Family Hope Center, a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering recipient, she was shy and kept to herself. She often stayed in her home and did not interact with her neighbors.
There was a day that one of the most creative outlets for the “Senior Adult” minister was the opportunity to come up with a cute name for the senior adult group at the church.
By Abby Hopkins
Millions of people lack access to safe water in one country of sub-Saharan Africa. Within rural areas, many women and children walk more than three hours to collect water.
A married American couple recognized this need after several short-term trips to this African nation with their church and felt the Lord calling them to action.
“The need for water was the number one need constantly expressed by the people there,” said the husband, whom we need to keep anonymous.
They moved permanently to a rural part of the country to begin a ministry there. About half a million people reside in this area, with 90 percent not having access to clean water, he said.
The ministry conducts water projects in different communities, coordinating everything through local and national governments. So far, 15 water projects have been administered. The projects include water wells, WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) trainings and maintenance trainings for committee members of each community.
Attempting to communicate truths from Jesus’s time to people living in 2018 has its difficulties, and as Great Commission Director Delvin Atchison described, the margin for error is great.
Throughout the vast expansion of land, Robert Wheat, the director of missions for the association, wanted the churches to have a mobile resource to reach people in need of the Gospel. After months of dreaming, Wheat envisioned a ‘Life Trailer’ that was mobile and versatile for churches to utilize in reaching their communities.
James 4 gives us five checks we must make when conflict rises and joy drops.
During the Texas Baptist Family Gathering, I led a workshop about how Christians can steward their public witness in an age of increasing tribalism. While the workshop room was packed, I think there are lessons from my workshop that deserve a broader audience because I am increasingly alarmed by the polarization in the church and what it is doing to our ability to make disciples. Many Christians are struggling within themselves to keep their partisan identities secondary to their identities as followers of Jesus Christ and it has lead to increased conflicts among believers.
According to a recent report by Lifeway, more than half of Protestant churchgoers under age 50 say they prefer to attend church with people who share their political views and few churchgoers say they attend services with people of a different political persuasion.
The increased partisan rancor in our country will have dire consequences. The church is following the culture rather than modeling how those of different political inclinations, races, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds can work together for the common good.Christians are increasingly moving to opposing corners based on politics, and our churches and our gospel witness is suffering because we have put our allegiance to our political parties before our allegiance to Christ and each other.
Unity does not mean uniformity. Democrats and Republicans -- not to mention partisans from Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America -- will be in heaven. Civic engagement and advocacy are important parts of what it means to be an American citizen, but we are first citizens of another kingdom, and must keep things in their proper order.
My pastor’s wife puts it this way, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” We are so beholden to our respective political parties we have lost sight of the main thing, namely the kingdom of God and our responsibility to make disciples.
Here are four pitfalls of the partisan trap for Christians and some suggestions for avoiding them.