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refreshed | June-July 2015
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June-July 2015 | Refreshed
refreshed magazine brings home awards content and design, Refreshed was During the annual Evangelical Press awarded Awards of Merit in both the Association convention held in early April, Refreshed magazine received six print and digital divisions for finishing awards for work published during 2014, in the top five of each division. our first year of publishing in a magaThe judge said, “A lively publication zine format. that focuses in a compelling way on huFirst place awards were won for Best man-interest articles that highlight the Humor Article, written by humor colissues and concerns of its readership.” umnist Joanne Brokaw, and Best Short Although it just missed placing in the Article, written by Tim Walker. Best Cover category—sixth out of 50 enJoanne’s article, tries—the judge said “Insomnia: Questhe cover makes it tions that Keep Me “feel like a real newsAwake at Night,” stand magazine and Award of Merit appeared in the Septhat’s not faint praise. tember 2014 issue. So many entrants Refreshed The judge said: can’t (identify) the in the Christian Ministry category Lamar Keener, Lori Arnold, Theresa Keener “…imagination that basics of magazine has run amok… the covers, but this one story is funny and knows all of them. The allows a pause in cover is designed with someone’s hectic classic design prinday that allows them ciples and handles all to forget their trouof them well.” bles for a while and Published by be entertained.” 2015 Selah Media Group, Tim’s contemplaRefreshed magazine tive piece, “Colliding was launched in with God,” was pubearly 2014 to replace lished in September 2014. the Christian Examiner newspaper. The judge’s comments included: “ExChristianNewsJournal.com, launched cellent! The author had a premise, suplast July by Selah Media Group, won an ported his premise with excellent conAward of Excellence as the best online tent, and wound it all up with a call to Christian news site. action… Poor Tim, I and the rest of your The Evangelical Press Association is readers could feel your pain. You used the professional membership organizahumor for its emotive quality. We don’t tion for Christian periodicals in North all have to weep to get a point across.” America. The 300-member association The magazine was awarded third includes publications from such notable place in the Fiction category for a organizations as Christianity Today, Christmas short story, “Morning Mail,” World Vision, Focus on the Family, Billy published in the November-December Graham Evangelistic Association, Comissue. The heartwarming story was writpassion, and The Salvation Army. ten by Mary Moody and illustrated by At the EPA convention, held April Mary Hart. 8 to 10 in Denver, Selah Media Group A fifth place was awarded in the owner Theresa Keener completed her Standing Column category for Doug term as the president of the Evangelical Trouten’s Plugged In column. Press Association. Theresa is the web In the Christian Ministry overall developer for both refreshedmag.com category that encompasses the entire magazine, with judging based on both and christiannewsjournal.com. D’Arcy Maher Executive Director
refreshed | June-July 2015
Theresa Keener President
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PUBLISHERS Lamar & Theresa Keener COPY EDITOR Lis Trouten COVER PHOTO Sarah Tolson Photography CONTRIBUTORS Joanne Brokaw, Jim Jackson, Wendie Pett, Jason Sharp, Colette and Jonathan Stuart, Doug Trouten, Yia Vang Copyright © 2015 Selah Media Group Refreshed is an independent, faith-based magazine published monthly by Selah Media Group. It is distributed in bulk, free of charge, to hundreds of locations throughout the Twin Cities metro region. For a 1-year mail subscription, send $24.95 to the address below or visit refreshedtwincities.com. Refreshed welcomes story ideas. All unsolicited material is subject to approval of the publishers and is not returned. Viewpoints expressed in Refreshed are those of their respective writers, and are not necessarily held by the publishers. Reasonable effort is made to screen advertisers, but no endorsement of the publishers is implied or should be inferred. The publishers can accept no responsibility for the products or services offered through advertisements. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising. ADDRESS ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO: P. O. Box 2606 El Cajon, CA 92021 E - MAIL email@example.com PHONE/FAX (763) 746-2468 ADVERTISING (763) 746-2468 x305 FOUNDING CORPORATE SPONSOR
6 Taking shots
Emotions run strong in vaccination debate
12 From terror to joy
Christian writer Margaret Feinberg shares breast cancer struggles, lessons on joy
14 Words for the whole world
New methods, technology create Bible translation boon
16 6 reasons society still needs dads 18 Gridiron grit
Football great Jim Kelly’s faith sustains a family tested by trials
20 Christianity’s changing landscape Evangelicalism fares best in Christianity trends survey
COLUMNS 26 Doug Trouten | plugged in
Is the gospel newsworthy?
27 Jon Huckins | perspective
The costly work of peacemaking
28 Dean Nelson | in plain site A single red balloon
29 Jim & Lynne Jackson | purposeful parenting
Empathize. Encourage. Equip. How one mom did it
30 Joanne Brokaw | that’s life!
10 ways to know you’re ready to get a puppy
23 Events calendar 24 Outtakes 25 Tunes 30
June-July 2015 | Refreshed
Taking shots Emotions run strong in vaccination debate by LORI ARNOLD
The late winter measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, traced to an unvaccinated child visiting from overseas, is a good example of how a once-eradicated disease can come roaring back.
refreshed | June-July 2015
ust like any new mom, Mary Miller educated herself on the ABC’s of childbirth and rearing, wading through often conflicting information in books, periodicals, and the World Wide Web. She listened to trusted friends, and got plenty of unsolicited advice, she prayed, read her Bible and soul-searched. The confusion over best approaches only seemed to magnify when the baby alphabet took her to the letter “V.” “There wasn’t enough research, but a number of prominent voices in the antivaccine field were absolutely convinced that vaccines were tied to autism and I simply did not feel safe,” she said. Miller is not alone. Experts believe that 90 percent of public school children should be vaccinated in order to limit the threat of a disease outbreak. Almost one-third of schools in Central Minnesota did not meet that threshold in 2013-14, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. While 90 percent is enough to earn an “A” in any classroom, proponents of childhood vaccinations say the low rate is dangerous because of a phenomenon called “herd immunity.” The concept, embraced by the Centers for Disease
Control, means that by immunizing as many children as possible, those who cannot take the vaccines because of serious medical conditions will be protected against outbreaks. Medical experts and the CDC recommend vaccination rates of at least 92 percent to maintain the sought-after herd immunity. Nearly 23.5 percent of schools in Minnesota were below the accepted herd immunity threshold. Although the debate over immunizations has percolated for decades— peaking with a now-debunked 1998 British study linking vaccines to autism—a recent outbreak of measles cases, and as Minnesota’s political leaders want to make it more difficult for children to be exempt from getting vaccinations has fueled increased angst on both sides. ••• When Miller’s son, Ian, arrived in 2003, many parents were leaning on a study authored five years earlier by British researcher Andrew Wakefield, who concluded there was a direct correlation between autism and the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The study, though later proven to be fraudu-
PHOTO BY SARAH TOLSON PHOTOGRAPHY
Pastor Mark Miller and his wife, Mary, have struggled over the issue of childhood vaccinations for their children Ian and Julianna. lent, instilled panic as parents opted to forgo the widely accepted health protocol. With the findings disputed and Wakefield accused of manipulating the data for financial gain, the journal that published the study retracted it and the UK medical register stripped him of his license to practice medicine. But those who question the mandated use of vaccinations argue that the same can be said for research supporting the use of vaccinations. In his documentary “Bought,” producer Jeff Hayes discusses the lack of independent research and
oversight in connection with vaccine development. Dr. Tami Meraglia, who has an integrative and natural medicine practice in Seattle, said in the documentary that more needs to be done to protect the integrity of the development process. “Medications, including vaccinations, are not all bad, but they’re not all good,” she said. “We need to bring up questions. We need to have science and data be the focus and get the money people out of the conversation.” As a concerned mom, Miller agrees. “This is a billion dollar industry and I kept thinking to myself, ‘If vaccines really work, for the good
of the public why don’t they provide them free or at much more affordable rates?’” Miller said. “If this was a ‘public service’ they wouldn’t be making insane amounts of money. There’s a huge profit here. I’m always leery of anything that’s being pushed upon the American people when it’s for profit for somebody else.” As with many Americans, immunization costs were an issue for Miller and her husband, Mark, the pastor of a small congregation. When their second child, Julianna, was born in 2006, they had no health insurance and opted for a home birth. “We had no way of paying for vaccines and she was home with us and I certainly felt like she wasn’t in any kind of a risk category and I decided not to vaccinate her,” Miller said. When Ian began home-schooling a couple of years later, the Millers had him im-
June-July 2015 | refreshed
munized. “He did the vaccines, but he did them on my time table,” she said. “I am still profoundly uncomfortable with the idea of loading an infant with vaccines. “I have also read about too many children who went in and overnight had severe reactions to the vaccines after what amounted to, like, 12 shots in one day.” ••• PHOTO BY CAROL SONSTEIN
The CDC recommends that children get 69 doses of 16 vaccines between day of birth and age 18 with many states mandating that children get 29 doses of nine vaccines to attend kindergarten. “Parents should be told of the benefits of vaccination, while also being provided an accurate presentation of the risks, which include a myriad of potential side effects, including death,” said Dr. Brian A. Stenzler, a chiropractor and the president of the California Chiropractic Association. “Many of our members choose to vaccinate
Dr. Wayne True visits with patients and family friends Don and Denise Ashley. True, a family medicine physician, is a staunch advocate for childhood vaccinations. His work in Haiti conﬁrmed to him what he learned about disease prevention in medical school. their children and many choose not to vaccinate. “Chiropractic is the largest drug-free healthcare profession in the country and as such, attracts people to become doctors of chiropractic who are typically more holistically oriented and prefer to avoid drugs and surgery for themselves and their families whenever possible.” Despite frequent depictions that those who opt out of the vaccine protocols are naïve, uneducated or living on the fringe, Stenzler said chiropractors and their patients who make that choice do so out of deeply held beliefs in the body’s “inborn ability to heal and regulate naturally, all the while keeping their immune system functioning at the highest possible level. “They often choose to live a proactive lifestyle consistent with building strong immune systems naturally which includes (but is not limited to) proper diet, exercise, relaxation, positive thinking, prayer, meditation and keeping their nervous system functioning optimally; rather than remain passive and ‘hope’
Dr. Brian A. Stenzler, a chiropractor, believes there is enough uncertainty about vaccinating that parents should be given the choice of whether to immunize their children.
refreshed | June-July 2015
not to be stricken with illness,” said Stenzler. ••• While the chiropractic industry may be divided on the issue, traditional medicine is not. Those in public health circles and most private practice physicians believe strongly that failing to comply with the vaccine schedules is not only dangerous to young patients, it’s also perilous to the wider community. The recent Disneyland outbreak, traced to an unvaccinated child visiting from overseas, is a good example of how a once-eradicated disease can come roaring back. Dr. Wayne True, who specializes in family medicine through the Sharp ReesStealy Medical Group, said his confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccinations was formulated by his disease prevention work while earning a master’s degree in public health studies at the University of Michigan. His views, he said, are also shaped by his own personal experience. “When I was in fourth grade, a measles epidemic swept our school,” True said. “One of my best friends had mea-
sles encephalitis, was never quite the same after the infection. In our school district there was at least one death from measles.” The disease, he said, was halted several years later after the immunizations were made available to the public. True was further convinced while doing medical work in Haiti, where neonatal tetanus resulted in mortality rates of 50 percent. The infant deaths there stopped with the implementation of immunizations and training programs that taught midwives to use sterile razors to cut the umbilical cord and to tie them with sterile shoelaces. Because of those advances, True was able to help a woman through a successful pregnancy after losing 10 previous children to the disease, each dying within two weeks of birth. “(It) made the efforts all worthwhile,” he said. While much of True’s practice centers on the science of medicine, the physician said that as a practicing Christian his personal faith also plays a role in how he approaches healing. “Through sin, death and disease entered in to the world,” he said. “This includes the childhood diseases. It seemed right to me to use any of the modern medical advancements to prevent these illnesses. This seemed to be a blessing from God, that we could prevent some measure of disease and suffering in the world.” ••• Although the link to autism has been disproved, there are still serious risks associated with the vaccines, many of which include trace amounts of mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, antibiotics, eggs and MSG. The Internet is rife with testimonies from parents whose children have experienced vaccine injury.
In 1986 Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in an effort to stabilize the country’s vaccine program after juries began awarding large monetary damages for vaccine injury. As a result of the act, the government established the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which pays expenses and reparations to families whose children have been harmed or killed by vaccines. More than $2.8 billion has been paid out by the fund to date. Among those receiving compensation were the parents of Porter Bridges, a now 20-year-old who suffers from autism and severe seizures resulting from a pertussis vaccination when he was just four months old. In the “Bought” documentary, his mother, Sarah Bridges, said medical costs associated with his care have topped $2.1 million. After fighting the government for seven years the family finally reached a settlement. Stenzler said compensation payouts from the fund demonstrate a real risk when taking vaccines. “The feeling is, if there is risk, there should be a choice,” he said. True said although he once believed that all vaccines were good, he understands that some may be problematic with certain patients, something he witnessed first-hand in treating one of his teen patients. “There is more data today on folks who react adversely to the trace amounts of preservatives, or some ingredient used in manufacturing,” he said, adding that
patients should seek out preservativefree shots when possible. According to the teen’s mother, the young man responded to his childhood immunizations with extreme fever, marked behavior change, and then arrested mental development. “The family chose not to immunize any more after the age 6-month shots,” True said. “But by then the damage seems to have been done. He seems to have suffered the most severe type of reaction to the immunizations.” ••• Last year, Miller reluctantly immunized her daughter, now 8, with several basic vaccines. As with Ian, it was an immensely difficult decision made even tougher with her own diagnosis two years ago of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that is highly reactionary to food and other environmental factors. “One of the reasons that propelled me to vaccinate Julianna were all the illegal immigrants who were crossing the border,” she said. “Some diseases that were extinct in the United States at one time are crossing the border now. We are seeing an upswing in this.” She also struggles with the decision on whether she will have Julianna take her follow-up shots since her daughter battled high fevers for two days after the injections. Despite pressure from her neurologist June-July 2015 | Refreshed
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to take the standard minimally effective medicine for her MS, Miller, already an advocate of healthy eating, opted instead for a more holistic approach. “I began to research the adulteration of our food supply,” she said. “I am in complete remission through a healing diet. How much of our corrupted food supply, coupled with overloaded toxins in our bodies, leads to some of the neurological conditions parents believe are caused by vaccines? I don’t know.” She does know, however, that there are no simple answers, and that each parent needs to decide what works best for them, although she personally believes that children should not be immunized until they are at least six months old. “While I wouldn’t identify as provaccine, I also do not claim to be antivaccine,” she said. “You could call me an independent. I believe more solid, nonsensational research needs to be presented where parents can make an informed choice. I respect my friends who have chosen either path. “I understand why the vaccine companies are trying to push this because they believe many people are not informed and educated and this is true,” she said. “There are people who make wild-hair decisions regarding their kids. But America is the great melting pot. We have people from all races, ethnicities, religions, cultural backgrounds and we have given people freedom to make their own decisions.” Her true heart is that the dialogue will become more civil and people will stop demonizing the other side, whichever one that may be. “It’s really challenging to swim upstream and to hold your belief and be willing to defend your belief in the face of ridicule and opposition,” she said. n
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June-July 2015 | Refreshed
Christian writer Margaret Feinberg shares breast cancer struggles, lessons on joy by Jonathan Merritt
“…the church isn’t always a safe place to be when you’re sick.”
refreshed | June-July 2015
ertigo. Anemia. Depression. Receding gums. Early menopause. A double mastectomy. These are just a few of the many terrors that Margaret Feinberg hid from the public after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 before age 40. While the popular Christian author’s books have sold nearly a million copies and she speaks to more than 80,000 people each year, she couldn’t find the words to share
this part of herself. “I felt shame after the diagnosis, wondering if I had somehow brought it on myself,” she said. “And I felt a little embarrassed since it involved my female body parts.” With the weight of her secret mounting, Feinberg sought the advice of Matt Chandler, the prominent pastor of the 11,000-member Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, and a recent cancer
The experience revealed the “crappy theology” and “tired teachings” held by many Christians that promise prosperity and a clean bill of health to the faithful.
survivor himself. Chandler said she had two options: Round up the wagons and tell no one, or invite her readers into the journey. She decided to test the waters of the second option, but the results were not what she’d hoped for. “Many people were supportive and prayerful, but then there were those who filled our inboxes with unsolicited medical advice, stories of everyone they knew who had died from cancer, retribution theology and accusations that I had brought the cancer on myself because of a hidden sin or lack of faith,” Feinberg said. “Those kinds of comments are devastating when you’re in the fight of your life.” The responses taught her “the church isn’t always a safe place to be when you’re sick.” With half a dozen trade books and numerous Bible studies published for the popular “Women of Faith” network and LifeWay Christian Stores, Feinberg continued to tour the country to teach at churches and conferences — darting back to her home in Denver for chemotherapy in between trips. But she continued to conceal the cavalcade of agony from her readers and fans. Feinberg has now decided to break the silence and share much of her battle in a new book, “Fight Back With Joy.” In it, she shares dreadful side effects of treatment known all too well by cancer survivors: “I had anemia, fatigue, rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, mouth sores, itchy eyes, ringing ears, vertigo, chest pain, receding gums, drilling headaches, even nerve pain that felt like electrocution coursing under my skin. They poisoned me until my toenails fell off and
somewhere in there I experienced an early menopause. There was so much torturous pain.” At her lowest point, Feinberg admits struggling to maintain the will to live. “Once during treatment, I caught myself thinking, ‘I’d rather be dead,’” Feinberg said. “In those moments, if God would have let me die, I’d have been more than okay with that.” Many Americas can relate to her struggle, and not just women. An estimated 1.66 million people in the U.S. received a cancer diagnosis in 2014 alone. Approximately 66 percent of them survived five or more years after the diagnosis. But even those familiar with the disease may be surprised by the spiritual lessons Feinberg said she learned. The experience, she said, revealed the “crappy theology” and “tired teachings” held by many Christians that promise prosperity and a clean bill of health to the faithful. As a result, many Christians aren’t equipped to face such crisis. “She’s always been a gifted Bible teacher,” said Christopher Ferebee, Feinberg’s agent for nearly a decade. “But there’s a new depth to her writing now that she’s faced this trial. When you can see God’s face in the abyss, it changes you.” Feinberg decided to see the experience as an opportunity to rediscover a cornerstone Christian virtue: joy. Through participating in an ancient Jewish grieving ritual, she found joy in mourning. She attempted to impart joy to others by gifting red balloons to other
patients in the hospital cancer ward and baking brownies for nurses. She even sang cheerful songs in CAT scan machines. Through the experiment, she realized that Christians have misunderstood the Christian quality. While many Christians teach that joy is better than the circumstantial emotion called “happiness,” Feinberg says the two are inseparable. And though it is tough to muster in times of suffering, deep joy is almost always accessible even if it looks different than we expect. “Joy is far more than I ever thought or been taught,” said Feinberg, recently named by Outreach Magazine as one of the top young leaders shaping the American Christian church. “It’s a more dynamic, forceful weapon than most of us realize. When we fight back with joy, we lean into the very presence of God — the one who fills us with joy, even on our most deflated todays.” She said she believes joy can be an effective armament to fight diseases such as cancer because it reduces anxiety. But she doesn’t think it is a replacement for proper medical treatment, which she credits with the success of her fight. After more than a year of treatment and a double mastectomy, doctors have told Feinberg that she’s cancer-free. But she is well aware that it could return at any moment. “I live in fear, but I’m not controlled by fear,” she said. “I’ve found my capacity for joy expanding against all odds.” n Religion News Service June-July 2015 | refreshed
Words for the whole world New methods, technology create Bible translation boon by LORI ARNOLD
ible translation, which used to take as long as 30 or 40 years for a single language, is speeding up, thanks to new approaches and digital advances.
refreshed | June-July 2015
team members worked to Volunteers with Wycliffe speed Bible translations in Associates, one of the globe’s 66 different countries. leading translation minisIn addition to the work by tries, for instance, recently Wycliffe, other translation completed 48 percent of the groups are using technolNew Testament in just two ogy, including phone apps, weeks through a pilot proto improve access as a way to gram using native-language eradicate “Bible poverty.” translators. In February, for instance, “Rather than a single team Deaf Bible and DOOR Intertranslating their way through national announced a new the Scriptures sequentially, A Nepalese woman assists in a Bible translation project for Wycliffe. Since it is a initiative to make Bible conmultiple teams of national country that persecutes Christians, the faces are not visible for their safety. tent available in more than translators, church check350 sign languages worlders, and certified translation wide, in hopes of increasing access to consultants translate Scripture portions Smith said, should be ready to print that population. simultaneously, working in parallel,” sometime this summer. An audio version According to both groups, just 2 persaid Bruce Smith, president and CEO of should also be completed by then. cent of the global deaf population has Wycliffe Associates. During the project, Wycliffe officials ever been exposed to the gospel. The new translation and training apsaid they found no decrease in the qualproach, Mobilized Assistance Supporting DOOR International, an acronym for ity of the translation compared to tradiTranslation, or MAST, launched late last Deaf Opportunity OutReach, Internationtional translation methods, which can year and included a group of minority al, has trained deaf leaders in evangelism, take 25 to 30 years for completion of a Christians who were routinely persecutdiscipleship, church planting and leaderNew Testament. Even updated translaed for their faith. ship development for more than 15 years. tion methods limited completion time to “The whole translation strategy is Eleven years ago they teamed up with the an average of 6 to 10 years. based on learning principles that have Wycliffe Global Alliance to begin work in While the pilot has proven successful, been tested and proven over a long perisign language Bible translation. DOOR there is little time for these teams to rest, od of time in a wide range of educational now has projects in 12 sign languages, with as translators estimate there are 30 to 40 settings,” Smith said. four more to begin this year. more Asian languages still in need of the The 13 national translators were diOfficials with Deaf Bible said they are Bible. In addition, 25 other groups have vided into teams of four, and each team committed to coming alongside translaasked Wycliffe Associates to facilitate was assigned one of the four Gospels: tors to help get the sign language transthe MAST strategy for their languages, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Next, each lations into the hands of those who need and Wycliffe Associates has made plans team member was assigned a portion it. to begin additional translations in 2015 of the book. The translators worked 12“What we really see ourselves as is using the MAST program. hour days and completed approximately translation accelerators,” said J.R. Buck“We have a rapidly expanding number 34 verses each day, drafting during the lew, director of Deaf Bible. “Whether it’s of partners and languages who want to mornings and using a five-step process raising funds, providing support matetest this strategy as soon as is practical,” to verify the verses in the afternoons and rial and labor, or working on the newest Smith said. “The great news about this is evenings. tech innovations, we will do everything that it will not only increase the number By the end of two weeks, the group within our power to open God’s Word to of languages that have Bible translation had completed the drafting and checkthe Deaf.” in progress, but it will also significantly ing process for Matthew, Mark, Luke, The Deaf Bible is an online platform expand the team of trained facilitators— John, and 1 and 2 Timothy, representing developed by Faith Comes By Hearing meaning that even more languages can approximately nearly half of the New and is the No. 1 deaf app in the market, benefit in the years to come!” Testament. The entire New Testament, Last year, 2,544 Wycliffe Associates according to its website. n June-July June-July2015 2015| |Refreshed Refreshed
— 6 reasons —
Society still needs dads by MIChAeL fOUsT
here’s a river about half a mile from my house that my 7-year-old son and I enjoy. We hunt for fossils, skip rocks off the water, and watch boats speed along. Every now and then, we even catch a beautiful sunset. It’s a perfect father-son destination and brings back memories of that opening tranquil scene in “The Andy Griffith Show”—minus the whistling, of course. But on one recent afternoon, my son did something that could have been set in fictitious Mayberry. He picked up a stick and was writing in the sand, shielding his creation from my eyes. “Don’t look,” he demanded. A few seconds later, he asked me to turn around. “I love Daddy,” it read. It was one of those “awww” moments that every parent has, the kind you want to bottle. But on this night—after he went to bed—I began thinking not about him or me but about our society. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, one-third of all children in America live in a home without their biological father. Meanwhile, we are in the midst of a great cultural debate over whether children need both a mother and a father. No doubt, there are heroic single mothers who do an amazing job and overcome obstacles every hour of every
refreshed | June-July 2015
day, but what is the ideal? Fathers, it turns out, are still needed, despite what culture may say. Why would God require both genders to make a child, but not to raise the child? Yes, God has gifted moms and dads in unique and complementary ways. With a hat tip to sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox’s excellent research for points 4 to 6, let’s look at why kids still need dads:
Children need male role models. Studies show that girls without fathers in the home are more likely to enter puberty sooner. Crazy, huh? My daughter needs me to affirm her and tell her each day she’s beautiful, or else someday she’ll seek affirmation from boys who don’t have her best interests in mind. My two sons need a man in the house who has experienced what they’re experiencing—who once was an energetic boy who liked dirt and hated girls, and then a pubescent teen who liked girls and hated dirt. And they need to know it’s OK to like both.
Children need marriage role models. Our society’s objectification of women is tragic, and I tremble thinking what my children will learn if they simply watch the culture. If my sons are to learn how to treat women— whether it’s their future date or their
future spouse—they will learn simply by watching how I interact with their mom. Likewise, my daughter will see how she should be treated as she grows and begins interacting with boys. I feel inadequate for this role, but honestly, it’s good motivation.
Children need a well-rounded home. Most moms and dads have different interests—vastly different interests. Kids with a dad in the home often learn about traditional male interests—whether it be fishing or football, car repair or carpentry—from their father. They also learn what it’s like to interact closely with a father, who, after all, is part of a group that comprises half of all people on earth. That seems pretty important.
Children need a different form of discipline. A male presence—even the male voice—can force a child to behave when nothing else will. My sons know that I’m big enough (and willing enough) to pick them up and carry them to their rooms when they’re misbehaving. Dads and moms discipline differently, and a tag team approach is often required.
Children need a physical style of play. Some may call this stereotyping. I call it the norm. For the most part,
dads play rougher with children—wrestling on the floor, rolling in the yard, even holding a child high over their head. What does a child learn from this? Simple: They learn not to kick, hit or bite. They learn to control their emotions, and they learn boundaries for physically interacting with their friends. Moms can do this, but dads for the most part want to do this.
Children need an intimidating form of protection. The average size of the American adult male is 69 inches, 195 pounds. For women, it’s 63 inches, 166 pounds. Men simply are bigger and stronger, and this gives them unique abilities to protect their family. The mere presence of a man around a woman and child can scare away potential predators. Often my tiny 3-year-old daughter will ask me to carry her in public, as she holds on tightly and asks in her sweet voice, “Will you protect me from the mean people?” And, of course, I do. n Michael Foust is the father of three small children, a writer and editor, and blogs about parenting at www. michaelfoust.com.
June-July 2015 | refreshed
PHOTO COURTESY OF REUTERS/ADREES LATIF
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly is all smiles after being named to the 2002 Class of Enshrinees by the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 2, 2002, in New Orleans.
football great Jim Kelly’s faith sustains a family tested by trials by KIM LAWTON religion News service
ro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is considered one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. He led the Buffalo Bills to a record four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s — and they famously lost all four. Nonetheless, he earned a reputation for a gridiron grit that became known as “Kelly tough.” But for Jim and his wife, Jill, that Kelly toughness was tested most profoundly by what followed off the field: a terminally ill son, problems in their marriage and Jim’s struggle with cancer. “You can only be tough so much. And I’ve just been very blessed that I have an open heart now,” Kelly told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.” “Those things that we go through that cause us to be tested, or to doubt, or to fear,” his wife added, “those things make us stronger in our faith.” The thing that sustains them, they
refreshed | June-July 2015
say, was and is their evangelical faith. The Kellys met and married at the height of Jim’s football career and enjoyed the celebrity that came with it. They had a daughter, Erin, and then in 1997, just a few weeks after Jim retired from the Bills, their son, Hunter, was born. Daughter Camryn came along in 1999. When Hunter was just 4 months old, he was found to have a genetic disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy, which affects the nervous system. The Kellys were told he likely wouldn’t survive to his second birthday. Both Jim and Jill had been raised Catholic, but neither was very religious. Jill said her devastation over the diagnosis sent her on a desperate spiritual search that ultimately led her to become a born-again Christian. “It was Hunter’s suffering that caused
me to seek after God,” she said. “Everything changed then.” Jim Kelly said that at the time, he was angry with God and told his wife not to push her newfound beliefs on him. “I didn’t come to faith until after Hunter passed away,” he said. Neither of their daughters has Krabbe. The Kellys were determined to help Hunter live the best life possible. They launched the Hunter’s Hope Foundation to promote awareness and research about the rare disease. In 2004, the Kellys and the foundation helped found the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute at the University at Buffalo. Through their efforts, more and more newborns are now screened for Krabbe so they can be given an umbilical cord blood transplant in the narrow window of time when progression of the disease can still be slowed.
© WICKEDGOOD | DREAMSTIME.COM - JIM KELLY BUFFALO BILLS PHOTO
From the perspective of Jim Kelly’s wife, Jill, and oldest daughter, Erin, “Kelly Tough” is a deeply personal account of the love a family can have for each other during the darkest times.
Quarterback Jim Kelly led the Buffalo Bills to a record four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s. “The bottom line is, you want to make a difference,” Jim Kelly said. Beating all medical expectations, Hunter lived until 2005, when he was 8 and a half, although he was never able to walk or talk. “God used him in so many ways,” said Jill Kelly. “We learned patience and love, unconditional love, selflessness, all of the things that you don’t learn in books, and that neither of us had learned up to that point in our lives as an adult.” Jim Kelly calls Hunter a role model: “Talk about people that you admire, I admired his toughness in what he went through, and how he changed my life.” The Kellys have been open about their marital problems. They don’t speak about it in detail, but in Jill’s 2010 book “Without a Word,” they describe how after Hunter’s death, Jim confessed he
had been unfaithful. He sought pastoral counseling and decided to embrace his wife’s newfound faith for himself. “I wanted to be able, for my two daughters, to walk in that front door and when they do, to look at their daddy with respect. I was losing all that,” Jim Kelly said during a recent appearance at Liberty University. “I knew that if I didn’t change my life, I was going to lose everything that I worked so hard for.” The Kellys still live in western New York, where they attend The Chapel, a large nondenominational church. They say their faith has been crucial in dealing with their latest battle. In June 2013, Jim was found to have cancer of the jaw. After surgery, he was proclaimed cancerfree. Last year, more cancer was discovered in his nasal cavity, and more aggressive treatments followed.
At first, Jim didn’t want to go public about their latest ordeal. But he said his wife convinced him the family needed as many prayers as possible. Jim’s former teammates and the western New York community have rallied around them. Although Jim still has some lingering health issues, a recent MRI declared him again cancer-free. “I live every day to its fullest,” he said. Jill and their eldest daughter, Erin, have written a forthcoming book about the family’s experiences. Called “Kelly Tough,” the book was scheduled for release May 1. “It’s not, ‘Oh, look at the Kellys.’ It’s ‘Look what God has done,’” said Jill Kelly. “Even though it’s our story, it’s really about the greater story.” n Kim Lawton is the managing editor of PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. June-July 2015 | refreshed
Changing Landscape evangelicalism fares best in Christianity trends survey by LOrI ArNOLd
he number of Americans who identify as Christian has dropped nationwide over the past seven years while the number of “nones,” agnostics, atheists and unaffiliated, has risen, according to an extensive survey by Pew Research Center. Lost in the blaring headlines from the U.S. Religious Landscape Study survey, however, was a finding that evangelicals fared the best among Christian subgroups, losing just under 1 percent of its share, compared with mainline Protestants (3.4 percent) and Catholics (3.1). The study also found that 50 percent (up from 44 percent) of all Christians self-identified as either evangelical or born-again. Further, the Pew study, released May 12, found that the evangelical Protestant tradition is the only major Christian group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost through religious switching. Roughly 10 percent of U.S. adults now identify with evangelical Protestantism after having been raised in another tradition, which more than offsets the roughly 8 percent of adults who were raised as evangelicals but left for another religious tradition or who no longer identify with any organized faith. The survey, which questioned 35,000 respondents, is the first follow-up to Pew’s 2007 inaugural Religious Landscape project. Officials with Pew said they undertook the study because there are no official government statistics on the religious composition in the United States. The nation’s official demographic record, the U.S. census, does not survey Americans about their religious preferences. In addition, denominational statistics vary widely on how they count and track membership, and some do not maintain membership records. Among the key highlights presented by Pew researchers was the discovery that those who self-identified as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4 percent
refreshed | June-July 2015
“… the cultural cost of calling yourself ‘Christian’ is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a ‘Christian’ according to their convictions are starting to identify as ‘nones’ because it’s more culturally savvy.” — Ed Stetzer June-July 2015 | Refreshed
n 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated—describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”—jumped more than six points, from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent. And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1.2 percentage points, from 4.7 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent in 2014. The drop in Christian affiliation was particularly pronounced among young adults, though it is occurring among Americans of all ages. Similar trends were also seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a
high school education; and among women as well as men. Ed Stetzer, vice president of LifeWay Christian Resources’ Insights division and executive director of LifeWay Re-
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search, cautioned against Chicken Little cries about the demise of Christianity. “Not one serious researcher thinks Christianity in America is dying,” Stetzer, a noted researcher himself, said in a commentary for Baptist Press. “What we see from the Pew Religious Landscape Survey is not the death-knell of Christianity, but another indication that Christianity in America is being refined.” In an article on his website, Stetzer said that he believes the one percent drop in share among evangelicals can be accounted for by denominational affiliation since the percentage of U.S. adults who self-identify as evangelical actually rose from 34 percent to 35 percent over the same period. “Christianity, overall, isn’t dying and no research says it is; the statistics about Christians in America are simply starting to show a clearer picture of what American Christianity is becoming—less nominal, more defined and more outside the mainstream of American culture. “For example, the cultural cost of calling yourself ‘Christian’ is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a ‘Christian’ according to their convictions are starting to identify as ‘nones’ because it’s more culturally savvy.” The main news, he said, is that survey underscores the lack of appeal of nominal Christianity. “Christianity is losing—and will continue to lose—its home field advantage; no one can (or should) deny this,” Stetzer said. “However, the numerical decline of self-identified American Christianity is more of a purifying bloodletting than it is an arrow to the heart of the church.” The telephone survey polled 35,071 adults from June 4 to Sept. 30 and has a sampling error of plus or minus 0.6 percentage points. n Learn more at www.pewforum.org.
refreshed | June-July 2015
JUN 3 • WEDNESDAY
JUN 15-19 • MON-FRI
Celebrate Recovery, 6:30pm. Come be supported in your own recovery, and learn how to support others. Frontier East Side Equipping Center, 1139 Payne Ave., St. Paul. Free • (651) 231-0286, celebraterecovery. com
Pure Worship Institute presents Darrell Evans & Cory Asbury in concert. North Central University, 910 Elliott Ave. South, Mpls • (612) 343-4132, pureworshipinstitute.com
JUN 5 • FRIDAY
Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. “Evolution, Astronomy & Men on Mars” Seminar with Brian Young speaking, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, MN Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 • tccsa.tc
JUL 16 • THURSDAY
JUN 17 • WEDNESDAY
Sonshine Festival 2015 with Skillet, Lecrae & Newsboys in concert. Somerset Amphitheater, Somerset, WI. $5 off discount (expires 5/31/15), code REFRESH15 • 1-800-327-6921, sonshinefestival.com
MN Gospel Opry with The Nelons & Paul Burton & Mercy’s Bridge Band in concert, 7:30pm. Richﬁeld Middle School Auditorium, 7461 Oliver Ave. S, Richﬁeld. Free-will offering • (612) 361-9912, MinnesotaGospelOpry.com Zak & Lauren, “While under the White Oak” Album Release Party, 7:30pm. Elmwood Evangelical Church. Free • (651) 380-1230, facebook.com/events/814584081954698/
JUN 5-6 • FRI-SAT 98.5 KTIS Joyful Noise Family Fest with TobyMac, Matthew West, For King & Country, Jamie Grace, Kristian Stanﬁll, Sidewalk Prophets, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Carrollton, Moriah Peters & more. National Sports Center, Blaine • joyfulnoisefamilyfest.com
JUN 6 • SATURDAY Hallelujah Homecoming with The Talleys & Sweetwater Revival in concert, 6pm. Benson Great Hall, 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul • (615) 300-1283, sweetwaterrevival.com
JUN 10 • WEDNESDAY Celebrate Recovery, 6:30pm. Come be supported in your own recovery, and learn how to support others. Frontier East Side Equipping Center, 1139 Payne Ave., St. Paul. Free • (651) 231-0286, celebraterecovery. com Moriah Peters in concert. Redeemer Lutheran Church, 869 7th Avenue SE, Rochester • (507) 289-5147
JUN 16 • TUESDAY
Celebrate Recovery, 6:30pm. Come be supported in your own recovery, and learn how to support others. Frontier East Side Equipping Center, 1139 Payne Ave., St. Paul. Free • (651) 231-0286, celebraterecovery.com
JUN 18 • THURSDAY MN Association of Church Facility Manager meeting, 7:30-10:30am. S&T Products, 1000 Kristen Court, St. Paul • macfm.org, Chanhassen 2015 Concert Series, Dinner Theatres, “Gary Rue’s Only Love Can Break a Heart” the music of Gene Pitney. $40 + $15 dinner option • 1-800-362-3515, ChanhassenDT.com
Northwestern-St. Paul, 3003 Snelling Ave. N, St. Paul • (630) 323-2842, (630) 323-9800
JUL 6-10 • MON-FRI
JUL 24 • FRIDAY
Camp Kilimanjaro Vacation Bible School, 9am. Berea Lutheran Church, 9308 Rich Valley Blvd., Inver Grove Heights • (651) 454-1915, bereaclc.org
Tour De Compadres with Needtobreathe, Switchfoot, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors and Colony House in concert. The Cabooze, 917 Cedar Ave., Mpls. By Live Nation • (612) 673-1666
MN Association of Church Facility Manager meeting, Educational Tour. TBD • macfm.org, email@example.com
JUL 16-18 • THU-SAT
JUL 21 • TUESDAY Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. Seminar/ Creation Video, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, MN Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 • tccsa.tc
JUL 21-24 • TUE-FRI Family Conference. University of
AUG 7 • FRIDAY MN Gospel Opry with Master’s Voice & Sweetwater Revival in concert, 7:30pm. Richﬁeld Middle School Auditorium, 7461 Oliver Ave. S, Richﬁeld. Free-will offering • (612) 361-9912, MinnesotaGospelOpry.com
AUG 14 • FRIDAY Tim Hawkins Live, 6:30pm, New Hope Church 4225 Gettysburg Ave. N., New Hope. $20 groups (10+), $22 advanced, $25 day of. Premium $30 groups (10+), $32 advance, $35 day of • www. trinitycommunications.org, 1-888-780-1116
EVENTS ONLINE For more events, please visit www.refreshedtwincities.com.
JUN 19 • FRIDAY
Daren Streblow in concert. Easter Lutheran Church, 4200 Pilot Knob Road, St. Paul • (651) 452-3680
JUN 19-20 • FRI-SAT Chanhassen 2015 Concert Series, Dinner Theatres, “The Sensational Sleepers: British Invasion Music & the American Response.” $40 + $15 dinner option • 1-800-362-3515, ChanhassenDT.com
JUN 24 • WEDNESDAY
Bike MS: C.H. Robinson MS 150 Ride, 8am. Duluth to Twin Cities • (855) 372-1331, bikems.org
Celebrate Recovery, 6:30pm. Come be supported in your own recovery, and learn how to support others. Frontier East Side Equipping Center, 1139 Payne Ave., St. Paul. Free • (651) 231-0286, celebraterecovery.com
JUN 13 • SATURDAY
JUN 26-27 • FRI-SAT
Stop the Trafﬁcking 5K Walk/Run for Justice, 8:30am. Purgatory Creek Park, Eden Prairie. $20/youth, $30/adult • stopthetrafﬁckingrun.org
Chanhassen 2015 Concert Series, Dinner Theatres, “Sherwin Linton: The Johnny Cash Story.” $40 + $15 dinner option • 1-800362-3515, ChanhassenDT.com
Color of a Soul Concert with Kimberly Brown, Josh Joaby & Courtland Pickens, 5pm. Town Green Pavilion, Maple Grove. Free admission, but tickets encouraged • (763) 458-1107, eventbee.com
JUN 27 • SATURDAY
JUN 12-14 • FRI-SUN
Falls • campvictory/index.php/events/ zumbro-river-community-festival
JUN 13-14 • SAT-SUN
Walk & Run for Life with Emcee Pam Lundell (KTIS). 2 mile walk & run, kids races, famous Dave’s BBQ. By New Life Family Services • nlfs.org, facebook.com/ NLFSWalkRun
Marriage Encounter. Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center, Farmington • (651) 454-3238, marriages.org
Zumbro River Community Festival with Mark Schultz & Todd Agnew in concert, 4-11pm. Camp Victory, 58212 403rd Avenue, Zumbro
SATURDAY, JUNE 27, LAKE NOKOMIS 2 Mile Walk & Run, Kids Races, Famous Dave’s BBQ
REGISTER: www.nlfs.org facebook.com/NLFSWalkRun June-July 2015 | refreshed
Kevin Downes on faith, freedom and fatherhood ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ opens July 1 by Ann - Margret Hovsepian By the time the Vietnam War ended in 1975, more than 3 million people had been killed. This summer, fifty years after the start of the war, millions of people will remember loved ones who either fought (well over 500,000 American military personnel were involved by 1969) or lost their lives while fighting (at least 58,000 Americans). On July 1, 2015, producers and brothers Kevin and Bobby Downes will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War—and honor the troops who served—by releasing Faith of Our Fathers, a film that celebrates faith, freedom and fatherhood. The story spans the 25 years between two young men reporting for duty and their sons later meeting as strangers, thanks to handwritten letters their fathers had sent from the battlefield. Kevin Downes, who plays the character of John Paul George in this film and is also known for his roles in faithbased movies such as Courageous and Mom’s Night Out, was drawn to this story because “it explores and expresses the importance of fathers in our own lives. We need dads so much. They are there to guide us on our paths and we should never take that for granted.” Though the Downes’ father was a teacher and didn’t serve in the military, two of their uncles fought in Vietnam and their grandfather had been a soldier too. “I have incredible respect and love for my dad,” said Kevin. “He gave up so much so that my brother and I could
refreshed | June-July 2015
‘Faith of Our Fathers’ follows the story of two men (played by Kevin Downes, left, and David A.R. White) who are strangers but whose fathers were friends in Vietnam. The sons use letters to discover more about each other’s family, and they then embark on a journey to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. have the options we did growing up, always supporting what we wanted to do. That sacrifice is not lost on me and this film is an opportunity to honor that.” In Faith of Our Fathers, two men team up—not without butting heads or stumbling across obstacles along the way—to piece together their fathers’ relationship during the war and take a road trip to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. The visit to the veterans memorial was a first for Downes. “It was overwhelming,” he said. “To be able to stand there with all of those names—it was so vast, so huge—and to realize that each one of those names sacrificed their lives. It literally brought me to my knees and I cried for 15 minutes.” Downes then recounts how the shooting of the scene at the wall unfolded. “You have to go through a long process to get permission to enter. We had to be done by 9 a.m. and the park service provided no guidance about what to do with tourists.” The crew prayed that God would open the doors for them and, during the one hour needed for filming, not a single tourist walk through the set. “The moment we called cut, a hundred tourists pulled in!” Asked how he feels about the recent increase in faith-based films being produced, Downes said, “I think it’s incredibly positive. I commend the filmmakers whether or not they’re Christians. Some of them have a take on those stories that
might not line up with my views, but it brings about discussion and awareness.” Downes would like to see more evangelicals “craft the stories we’re passionate about. These are opening doors for us.” Since the start of his career in 1994, Downes has done nothing but produce faith-based films, nearly one a year. In 2015, Downes Brothers is releasing two. Three months after Faith of Our Fathers hits theaters, Woodlawn, based on the true story of a high school football team torn apart by racism and hate in the early 1970s, will be released. “It’s about reconciliation and love,” said Downes. “I’m passionate about that. It’s a call to revival through the telling of a true story and true perspective… I love producing and making films that glorify God and bring people to a better understanding of how God loves them.” Faith of Our Fathers, co-produced by Pure Flix, stars other familiar faces such as Stephen Baldwin, Candace Cameron Bure, Rebecca St. James and David A.R. White, who has worked on several films with Downes and played a key role in exploring and developing this story. Downes said he and White fell in love with it because “we can all relate to the themes. We all have a heavenly Father who loves us so much.” Ann-Margret Hovsepian is a freelance writer. Visit www.annhovsepian.com.
Daniel’s powerfully penned statement of Truth is not only a defining song in Inpop’s history, but it continues to encourage people around the world to stand for Christ.” The band, featuring lead vocalist Michael Tait, has been performing across the country this spring as part of its God’s Not Dead tour.
Audio has a chart topper
Audio Adrenaline’s Sound of the Saints, the band’s second album since reforming in 2012, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart after its May 5 release. The Fair Trade Services project also entered the Billboard 200 at No. 69 for the week of May 23. Adding to the traction was the decision by “MLB Now” to use the album’s lead track “Move” for the show’s opening theme. The show airs on the MLB Network. Another highlight of Sound of the Saints is the title cut, described as “a foot-stomping, Americana-tinged anthem” co-written by founding member Mark Stuart and frontman Adam Agee, along with Seth Mosley and award-winning singer/songwriter Jared Anderson.
Sada K. debuts solo album
Sada K., former lead vocalist for Press Play, has debuted her first solo album, Long Story Short. Sada K returns to the Christian music industry four years after a devastating knee injury nearly that temporarily derailed her career. The album includes the song, “Live Love Laugh,” which creatively tells her story. “I hope the song will encourage people through the life les-
sons I’ve learned through my ups and downs,” said the artist, who also discovered that both her parents had cancer. “Through all that I’ve been through I’ve truly learned that it’s important to take a moment and remember what matters the most and never forget to live life to the fullest, walk in love and find joy in something every day.” “Complaining is not an option for me,” she said. “I have my private moments, when I cry out to God and have to gather myself, but I know that I have to be strong and that there is something to learn from everything I go through. Helping people, while fulfilling my purpose, is my destiny. God never gives us more than we can bear, and I have learned through this journey, I am a lot stronger Sada K. than I ever knew.”
‘God’s Not Dead’ roars to Platinum status
Four years after its initial release, The Newsboys’ God’s Not Dead album, featuring the iconic anthem, “God’s Not Dead (Like A Lion),” has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, thanks in part to the success of last year’s Pure Flix film by the same name. Written by Daniel Bashta, “God’s Not Dead” was a multi-week No. 1 hit and helped inspire the blockbuster Pure Flix film of the same name. Both the God’s Not Dead album and single earned RIAA Gold certifications last year. “‘God’s Not Dead’ is among Christian music’s most significant songs of the decade,” said Mark Lusk, president of Inpop Records, which recorded the album. “Newsboys’ impassioned performance of
Sweetwater Revival Friday, August 7, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Richfield Middle School Auditorium 7461 Oliver Ave. S., Richfield
Also Sing-Alongs and Live Music from the Gospel Opry Band Free admission | Freewill offering
See website for more concerts
June-July 2015 | Refreshed
plugged in dOUg TrOUTeN
Is the gospel newsworthy? The ordination of a former journalism student got me thinking that journalists and pastors aren’t entirely different. Both are devoted to truth. In fact, the word “gospel” has roots in the Old English for “good news.” Journalists decide if a story is worth telling based on “newsworthiness,” which usually means the story has some of these seven qualities: timeliness, proximity, prominence, impact, novelty, conflict and human interest. Using those criteria, the gospel message continues to be the most newsworthy story of our time. Timeliness: It’s happening now. And although the gospel story is 2,000 years old, each person’s need for it is immediate. Jesus is ready to welcome broken sinners to brand new lives this day, and every day. The gospel’s truth is timeless; our need for it is timely. Proximity: It’s happening here. Jesus told his disciples that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” And while the gospel story took place some 7,000 miles away in Israel, its significance is as nearby as anything can be, because the hole that Jesus fills is as close as each of our hearts. Prominence: We care more about things that happen to famous people than to non-famous people. Jesus Christ easily fulfills this criteria, because Jesus is the most prominent person in history. We actually measure history from his birth. He is the focus of the best-selling book in all of history. The world’s large religion takes its name from Christ, and
refreshed | June-July 2015
even those who don’t claim the name of Jesus often utter it when they stub their toe. You can’t get much more prominent than Jesus. Impact: Does the story pass the “so what” test? No story has more impact than the gospel message. If we really believe the things we say we believe, we can’t live as though we don’t. The Christian faith isn’t
something you can just tack on to a life that’s already all set. It’s not a final coat of paint that dresses up something you’ve already built, but a radical, life-changing stain that goes to your very core. Novelty: It’s unusual. There’s an old saying in journalism that when a dog bites a man, that’s not news, but when a man bites a dog, that’s news. If you like stories with novelty, you’ll love this one. An all-powerful being loves us so much that to reach us He became a human being, be born in a stable, preach against religious corruption, and be executed as a prisoner. Then He came back to life, defeating death and Hell, and today wants to offer each of us eternal life. How’s that for a weird story?
Conﬂict: Sadly, stories about people being kind to one another don’t exactly grab attention. That’s part of why the news seems so negative. Of course, the gospel is a story of conflict. It’s God versus Satan in a battle for mankind, with Jesus launching a sneak attack on the gates of Hell from the grave itself. Each day that conflict is played out in each of our lives. Like the current “war on terror,” we don’t always see this conflict, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. In some ways, not being able to see it only makes it more dangerous. Human interest: This can be a slippery concept, but the idea is that people are interested in other people. We are drawn to stories that tugs at our heartstrings, that connect with us emotionally. And at its core, the gospel is about sinners saved by grace, about broken people finding wholeness in the arms of a loving God. Is the gospel newsworthy? It’s as timely as today and as close as our own hearts. It involves the most prominent person in history, and His desire to have an eternal impact on our lives. It’s a story filled with novelty – a miracleworking person who is both God and man, who brings life through His death. It’s a story huge enough to be the central conflict in all of creation, yet as personal as each individual Christ came to save. That’s a story worth sharing. Dr. Doug Trouten (@ TheDougTrouten) teaches in the communication department at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.
perspective JON hUCKINs
The costly work of peacemaking The world is swirling with issues. Picking up my phone and opening my news app each morning is being met with more and more dread each day. When something hits the news, it is fascinating to watch people jump onto social media and begin “yelling” out their answers for how to heal our broken systems. Of course, there are almost always at least two completely different opinions for how these problems should be fixed, which typically leads to people drawing lines in the sand, picking their stance and not budging. Relationships often fracture and a polarized world gets more polarized, rendering it immobilized for the work of reconciliation. Whether it’s on our Facebook page, Twitter feed or around our table, I assume most of us can think of an interaction where this unhelpful and potentially destructive reality played out. So, does this “yelling” of our opinions actually help heal the broken systems and the people whom those systems are breaking? I’m all about using our voices to call out injustice. By offering a critique of power and a hope for those on the underside of it, the ancient prophets did this beautifully throughout history. But, in a globalized, virtually interconnected world, I’m concerned we have too many self-appointed prophets (which, by definition is NOT a prophet), and not near enough practitioners. Far more constructive than a verbal or written argument is actually doing something. I don’t think the world needs more armchair advocates…especially when our arguing or defending leads to the fracture of real life relationships. I’m
not saying we all need to passively waltz around the world’s issues. No, I’m proposing we actively engage them in two ways: 1. Healthy, constructive discourse that doesn’t require that we all agree to remain in relationship. 2. We spend less time talking, and use our best energy to actually do something.
What this world needs are people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. And not for a week or a month or a year, but for the long haul. The world needs people embedded in the center of these conflicts equipped with the practices that make for peace. These people don’t have time to debate solutions on social media because they are already hard at work making the solutions a reality. They don’t have to transplant themselves to the center of the issue, because they are already embedded in it. They don’t have to seek the approval of their constituency, because it’s not about their reputation, it’s about the flourishing of those they have been called to serve. • They are sharing meals with the forgotten in their neighborhood. • They are building lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with those of other faiths who we are often taught to
fear. • They are sitting at the hospital bedside of the family who is suffering loss at the hands of unjust people and systems. • They are in the churches, schools and homes of our black and brown communities to listen, learn and support. • They are in detention centers and deportation shelters to pray with and look in the eyes of those in our society’s shadows. • They are encouraging and walking with our faith and political leaders as they navigate the potentially compromising positions of power. It’s a way of life that is costly. It is not glamorous. And it often comes without our desired outcomes being met in the short term and, potentially, not even in the long term. This is the work of a trained, strategic and intentional community of Jesus followers who are prepared to move to the center of our society’s conflicts with the weapons to transform rather than destroy. It’s the gritty, subversive and costly work of peacemaking. More than ever, I believe the work of peacemaking is discipleship. It’s the long, hard road of the cross that will lead to the flourishing of others and allow our deepest calling to meet the world’s deepest needs. May it be so. Jon Huckins is the cofounding director of The Global Immersion Project, Missional Leadership Coach with Thresholds, family man, speaker and author of “Thin Places” and “Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling.” Follow his blog at www.jonhuckins.net. June-July 2015 | refreshed
in plain sight deAN NeLsON
A single red balloon Picture this: Southern Ohio in the late summer, no air conditioning, sweltering heat, no breeze, and a 2-year-old with half of his body suffocating in a heavy plaster cast. Makes me sweat just thinking about it. It started out beautifully—my wife, toddler son and I moved to the area so I could go to graduate school. The university was in the Appalachia region, tucked into the hills and rivers that carved out the triangle of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. When we’d walk off the campus grounds it felt like we were stepping back 100 years into American history, past the old typewriter factory and the buildings that made bricks. Some days it was so hot that it felt as if I was walking through those brick ovens. The house we rented was about two miles from the campus, and I would walk there early each morning before the real heat of the day started. A few hours later my wife and son would walk to the campus during a break from my
down, and landed awkwardly with one leg extended forward and the other bent underneath his body, that he was hurt. And parents know the different cries of their kids. This one was serious. We took him to the hospital, where they told us he had a spiral fracture in his femur—his thigh bone. They put him in traction and set the break with a cast that started at his torso, went down the entire length of his leg on one side and halfway down the other leg. He couldn’t bear weight on the broken leg for a few weeks. The cast made it hard for us to pick him up, and even harder for his skin to breathe in that heat. We did everything we could to make him comfortable, but for the first few days all he wanted to do was lay on the floor of our living room with a fan blowing on him. It hurt too much to do anything else. Occasionally he’d let us put him in a wagon with a bunch of pillows around him and we’d pull him through the neighborhood. One Saturday our elderly neighbor lady came to the front door. She was in her 80s. I’d guess she weighed about 90 pounds. Her posture was stooped from osteoporosis so that her head preceded the rest of her body. She looked frail and weak. “I was wondering if there was some-
She could tell by the way he fell partway down, and landed awkwardly with one leg extended forward and the other bent underneath his body, that he was hurt. classes so we could eat lunch and play on the hill where the journalism building was located. On one particularly steamy day, after we had played together, I went back inside the classroom, and our son wanted to run down the hill one last time while my wife watched from the top. She could tell by the way he fell partway
refreshed | June-July 2015
thing I could do to help with your son,” she said. My wife said, “What did you have in mind?” “Well,” our neighbor said, reaching into the pocket of her house dress, “I brought something we could play with.” She pulled out a single red balloon. She blew it up, tied a knot in the end and batted it meekly toward our son on the floor. He lit up, laughed, and swatted it back at her. She sat in a chair across the room and hit it back to him. This was the first time he had laughed since his accident. After about 30 minutes, our neighbor said she had to go. As she told our son goodbye, he said, in his Elmer Fudd voice, “You can come back tomorrow.” Which she did, for most of the days during his recovery. Our neighbor didn’t have a degree in social work. She just knew that she had something in her hand that could help her neighbor. It was a minor thing. But it felt like a cool breeze. Dean Nelson directs the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. His book about seeing God in everyday life is “God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World.”
purposeful parenting JIM JACKsON
Empathize. Encourage. Equip. How one mom did it Julia was fed up. Her kids fought nearly every request and Julia was at the end of her patience. The daily power struggles were beginning to define their relationships as the kids grew more discouraged and Julia more determined to stop the “misbehavior.” So Julia sought help. Julia’s description of the turmoil made it clear that there was more going on than mere misbehavior. We discussed how kids’ “misbehavior” is often just the tip of the iceberg of hunger, discouragement, anxiety, or tiredness. We explored some strategies for helping Julia choose a different way to approach her kids’ challenges. She went away with a resolve to better understand the “under the surface” stuff with her kids, and with some ideas about helping them better understand themselves. A couple weeks later she wrote this update. “We had a couple great victories recently. On Wednesday my daughter Ashley started falling apart because she was struggling with schoolwork. My natural impulse was to get frustrated and anxious, but instead I stayed calm and helped her in a compassionate way.
Instead of ordering her to calm down I made and showed her a little list of the possible “under the surface” factors: Am I hungry? Am I tired? Do I need to switch subjects? Do I need something to drink? Do I need help?” In this list Julia had sent a new and powerful message to Ashley: “I care about why this is hard for you. With a little help you can figure out what you need in order to be successful.” The tide had turned. Julia’s note continued. “Ashley ﬁlled out the list by putting four checks by ‘I am tired.’ So I suggested some ice water in her fun Rapunzel cup with the crazy straw and then rubbed her back while she drank it. She went back to work, turned her attitude around and did great the rest of the day! On Friday she started falling apart again while doing homework. I took out the list again and reminded her of how great we both did on Wednesday.” Can you feel the difference? Julia’s approach became encouraging instead of discouraging. Ashley was still accountable to do her work, but in an environment of support instead of control and criticism. But Julia’s note wasn’t done.
“I snuggled with her, tried to make her laugh and reminded her that she is ‘my sunshine girl.’ I also added some silly humor from a movie that we watched recently. When we had a little playful momentum going, I said, ‘Let’s add to the list:’ Do I need to tell my mom how awesome she is? Do I need to serve my smart, beautiful, awesome mom? Then Ashley added: Do I need my mom to sing opera and dance to ‘Call me, Maybe?’ With a little dancing and singing we turned it around again and she got through her school work, with both of us really having fun and enjoying each other. I’m so excited about the victory of empathizing, helping Ashley communicate about her needs, and being playful. I am hopeful. Yay!” Are you kidding? Dancing and singing during homework? We are not kidding. This actual struggle was transformed to a powerful connective dynamic because a mom came to understand that below the surface of apparent misbehavior can be a whole host of complicating factors. This realization helped her empathize and encourage on the way to equipping her daughter to better manage those complexities. The simple process here: Empathize. Encourage. Equip. Julia did it. So can you! Jim and Lynne Jackson are writers, speakers, parent coaches, and co-founders of Connected Families Ministry. Learn more at www. connectedfamilies.org. June-July 2015 | refreshed
that’s life! JOANNe BrOKAW
10 ways to know you’re ready to get a puppy A friend recently told me that her husband and son are trying to convince her to get a puppy. “I’m trying to be positive about the whole thing,” she explained as she asked her dog-owning friends for advice. But she clearly has her doubts. The decision to add a dog to your family is a big one. That cuddly ball of puppy fur will soon become a rowdy adolescent dog that can wreak havoc on your home, unless you’re armed with lots of patience and a plan for training. As the owner of two dogs (in a long line of dogs), and after years reading about dog behavior, shadowing dog trainers and writing about dog rescue, I’m more than happy to share some thoughts on her dilemma. It can be boiled down to “10 ways to know you’re ready to get a puppy.”
Volunteer to pick up the neighbor dog’s poop for a week. If, at the end of seven days, the task seems like a treasure hunt instead of a chore, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Pour a measuring cup full of dirt onto your freshly laundered bed sheets. If, after sleeping on them for several days, you find you enjoy the feeling of crunchy linens because it reminds you of your last vacation at the beach, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Have your spouse take one shoe from every pair of shoes you own and hide them somewhere in your house or yard. If you can still get to work on time every day, wearing shoes that match, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Get up at 5 a.m. every morning and walk around the block, stopping at every telephone pole, tree and fence post. Stand there repeating the phrase,
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“Go potty. Please go potty.” If patrolling your neighborhood like this, especially in the rain or snow, seems like a good way to start your day, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Cash your next two paychecks. Drive directly to your local animal hospital and hand over all the money to the vet. If you don’t suffer a massive heart attack on the spot, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Several times a day, tip over the kitchen garbage pail. Strew the contents around the living room, dining room and kitchen. Then clean it up. If you are overjoyed at finding banana peels under the sofa cushions, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Position two 20-pound bags of bird seed end-to-end on your bed so that they mimic a 40-pound dog stretched diagonally across your mattress. If you can sleep comfortably for a week on the remaining space, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Dig holes in your lawn directly in the path where you normally walk. If you can maneuver through your yard, in the dark, without spraining your ankle, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Run through mud puddles and then jump on your furniture. Knock over at least one lamp. If you think your living room looks better this way, you might be ready to get a puppy.
Sprinkle dog hair on all of the food you eat and in every beverage you drink. If you find that your meals taste
better with fur as a condiment, you might be ready to get a puppy. I told my friend that in exchange for the trouble a new puppy brings, she’ll get love, companionship, security and more joy than she can imagine. But a dog is not for everyone. Of course, my dogs are brilliantly well-behaved, so I’m biased. As I sit here writing, I can hear the gentle snores of darling Bailey and Bandit, who are both sound asleep in the ... wait, is that Kleenex strewn across the living room? ... I made a sandwich but I don’t remember eating it ... why are there pawprints on the kitchen counter…? Award-winning freelance writer Joanne Brokaw spends her days dreaming of things she’d like to do but probably never will— like swimming with dolphins, cleaning the attic and someday overcoming the trauma of elementary school picture day. She lives with two dogs, a cat, six chickens and one very patient husband. Learn more at www.joannebrokaw.com.
Mn Adult & Teen Challenge
HELP WANTED MN Adult and Teen Challenge offers exciting opportunities that will challenge your abilities, expand your skills and reward your contributions in an atmosphere that encourages both personal and professional growth for all. Additionally, MN Adult and Teen Challenge offers competitive compensation, excellent benefits, and a positive work environment designed around the philosophy of mutual respect and the challenge of contributing to the continued success of our organization. View all current & available positions and fill out an online application by going to our website at: www.mntc.org and click on job opportunities. Not interested in employment, but interested in volunteering? Are you looking for an opportunity that allows you to play a part in restoring hope to those with life controlling addictions? If you want to spend your time in a way that has real meaning and significance, then check out our volunteer and mentor opportunities by going to www.volunteer.mntc.org where you can view all options and apply online!
For complete up-todate job, internship and volunteer opportunities, visit www.mntc.org.
H.E. H.A.D. Faith Ministries A non-denominational Christian Church worshiping on the seventh day Sabbath (Saturdays) Teaching Scripture alone, not the traditions of men. Discover the biblical truth about the Sabbath, end time events, hell, and the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Grace Seventh Day Baptist Church
A Baptist Church with a Difference! We are small but ready to grow • Traditional worship services • Fellowship meal after each service
• Solid Bible teaching • Everyone welcome
Services every Saturday 10 AM to about 11:15 AM We meet at Emmaus Lutheran Church, 8443 2nd Ave. South, Bloomington, MN Call 952-432-7490 or visit our website for more information: graceseventhdaybaptist.org
Come celebrate Christ on Sabbath Grace is a branch church of Dodge Center 7th Day Baptist and the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference, Janesville, WI
June-July 2015 | Refreshed
refreshed | June-July 2015
Published on Jun 1, 2015
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