jesus christ – Helviti http://helviti.com/ Fri, 25 Mar 2022 21:09:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://helviti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-1-1-120x120.png jesus christ – Helviti http://helviti.com/ 32 32 ‘The Chosen’ Director to Speak at Utah State University – Cache Valley Daily https://helviti.com/the-chosen-director-to-speak-at-utah-state-university-cache-valley-daily/ Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:22:22 +0000 https://helviti.com/the-chosen-director-to-speak-at-utah-state-university-cache-valley-daily/ Dallas Jenkins on set while filming The Chosen. LOGAN – Utah State University will host Dallas Jenkins, creator and director of ‘The Chosen.’ The free event will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall. Patrick Mason, Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History and Culture, will host a discussion with Jenkins […]]]>

Dallas Jenkins on set while filming The Chosen.

LOGAN – Utah State University will host Dallas Jenkins, creator and director of ‘The Chosen.’ The free event will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall.

Patrick Mason, Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History and Culture, will host a discussion with Jenkins about how the free show that depicts the life of Jesus Christ became so popular. He said the event is a collaboration between the Arrington Lecture Series, the Religious Studies Program, and the Logan LDS Institute of Religion.

“It’s because of the impact of The Chosen,” Mason said. “The popularity he has had with all kinds of people in the state of Utah, Latter-day Saints and people of other faiths. In fact, some of the supporters of our religious studies program have asked us to bring Dallas Jenkins to campus as someone who crosses and bridges these traditional divides. We reached out to him and his people, and it worked. We are really excited.

“The Chosen” began airing in 2017 and released two out of seven planned seasons. It depicts New Testament stories through the lives of the characters involved. The show is hugely popular among evangelical, Latter-day Saint, and Catholic audiences, among others.

Mason said the series has been quite a brave undertaking, trying to put words in the mouths of Jesus, not to mention the apostles, Mary Magdalene and everyone around her. However, providing a take on some of the human interest stories was what appealed to viewers the most.

“The New Testament Gospels as originally written are meant to be human stories, especially the Gospels of Mark and Luke. They are full of great human stories that I sometimes think are loses sight, especially in the translation and things like that. In a lot of ways, I think with this series, Jenkins captured the spirit or the ethos of those early gospels as they were written.

Jenkins is expected to talk about the birth of “The Chosen” and how it is one of the biggest crowd-funded media projects to date. There will also be a Q&A section where members of the public can submit questions.

Mason said many religions often disagree with each other over their respective beliefs and understandings of Jesus Christ. However, Jenkins, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian raised by Baptists, partnered with a production company operated by Latter-day Saints to distribute “The Chosen” and bridged some of those religious divides.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to talk about, some of Jenkins’ misconceptions about Latter-day Saints that were cleared up while he was working alongside them to produce this series. He was actually criticized by some members of his own community because of this close partnership with the Latter-day Saints.This relationship has not always been warm between the two communities.

A large and diverse audience is expected for Wednesday evening’s event. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. It will also be streamed live on the event webpage.


will@cvradio.com





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A virtual reality quest for community, brotherhood – The Denver Post https://helviti.com/a-virtual-reality-quest-for-community-brotherhood-the-denver-post/ Sat, 05 Feb 2022 13:00:52 +0000 https://helviti.com/a-virtual-reality-quest-for-community-brotherhood-the-denver-post/ Quarantined for exposure to COVID-19, Garret Bernal and his family missed a recent Sunday church service. So he strapped on a virtual reality headset and explored what it would be like to worship in the metaverse. Without leaving his home in Richmond, Virginia, he was soon floating in a 3D outer space wonderland of pastures, […]]]>

Quarantined for exposure to COVID-19, Garret Bernal and his family missed a recent Sunday church service. So he strapped on a virtual reality headset and explored what it would be like to worship in the metaverse.

Without leaving his home in Richmond, Virginia, he was soon floating in a 3D outer space wonderland of pastures, rocky cliffs and rivers as the avatar of a pastor guided him, him and others, through computer-generated illustrations of Bible passages that seemed to come to life as they prayed.

“I couldn’t have had such an immersive church experience sitting in my pew. I got to see the scriptures in a new way,” said Bernal, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon Church.

He’s among many Americans — some traditionally religious, some non-religiously affiliated — who are increasingly communing spiritually through virtual reality, one of several evolving metaverse spaces that have grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic.

From spiritual meditations in fantasy worlds to traditional Christian worship services with virtual sacraments in hyper-realistic, religious environments, their worshipers say the experience offers a version of fellowship that’s every bit as authentic as it gets. find in a brick and mortar temple.

“The most important aspect for me, which was very real, was the closer connection with God that I felt during my short time here,” Bernal said.

The service he attended was hosted by VR Church, which was founded in 2016 by DJ Soto, a former high school teacher and pastor of a non-virtual church. VR Church presents itself as a spiritual community existing “entirely in the metaverse to celebrate God’s love for the world”.

Soto had previously felt called to plant churches or start new physical churches. But after discovering social VR platform AltSpaceVR, he was awakened to the possibilities of connecting in virtual reality. He set out to create an inclusive Christian church in the Metaverse, an immersive virtual world that has been buzzing since Facebook announced last October that it would invest billions in building it.

Attendance was sparse the first year, as Soto often found himself preaching to a handful of people at a time, most of them atheists and agnostics who were more interested in debating faith. His congregation has since grown to around 200 people, and he has ordained other ministers remotely from his home in Virginia and baptized believers who cannot leave their homes due to illnesses.

“The future of the church is the metaverse,” Soto said. “It’s not an anti-physical thing. I don’t think physical gatherings should go away. But in the church of 2030, the primary focus will be your metaverse campus.

Reverend Jeremy Nickel, an ordained Unitarian Universalist based in Colorado and calling himself a virtual reality evangelist, also saw the potential for building community and “stepping away from brick and mortar” when he founded SacredVR in 2017.

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After a year-long hiatus, the North American Division hosts third Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast https://helviti.com/after-a-year-long-hiatus-the-north-american-division-hosts-third-religious-freedom-prayer-breakfast/ Wed, 02 Feb 2022 12:33:22 +0000 https://helviti.com/after-a-year-long-hiatus-the-north-american-division-hosts-third-religious-freedom-prayer-breakfast/ On January 13, 2022, more than 40 people from various faith traditions gathered for the third Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD). The event recognized January 16 as National Religious Freedom Day in the United States and included a prayer for elected officials, community, nation, global health […]]]>

On January 13, 2022, more than 40 people from various faith traditions gathered for the third Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD). The event recognized January 16 as National Religious Freedom Day in the United States and included a prayer for elected officials, community, nation, global health and healing, peace, religious freedom and unity. of mind. Representatives of several faith groups prayed over these topics, including participants from Adventist, Jewish, Muslim, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Baptist and non-denominational Christian traditions. Several NAD leaders and local church leaders participated with prayer and music.

Eric Baxter, president of the Silver Spring Stake—Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and senior counsel for Becket, a nonprofit, public-benefit legal and educational institute, delivered special remarks for the event, which was scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the prayer breakfast welcome, Orlan Johnson, NAD Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, provided a brief summary of the program and shared the significance of the January date for the event. . “We are here to celebrate an important day: National Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the signing in 1786 of Virginia’s historic Statute of Religious Freedom. It was a law by Thomas Jefferson, which included powerful language that later served as the basis for our First Amendment to the US Constitution – language that means you and I can each worship God in any way we see fit. appropriate.

Johnson further shared, “No matter what religious tradition we represent, we can celebrate together and be grateful to live in this country that respects religious freedom. Sometimes here in America, however, we begin to feel convinced that this is how it is, and this is how the world should be. But the Pew Research Center estimates that 80% of the world’s population lives in areas where religious freedom is severely restricted. The reality is that it’s a bit like looking in your car’s rear view mirror: the objects you see in the rear view mirror can come at you faster than you think! And if religious freedom is restricted in someone else’s garden, we need to be aware that it’s possible it could happen in ours as well.

Orlan Johnson, director of public affairs and religious liberty for the NAD, welcomes attendees to the 2021 Religious Liberty Prayer Breakfast at division headquarters on January 13. [Photo by Pieter Damsteegt]

During his address, Baxter noted that although people represent different traditions and beliefs, we can still work together toward the common goal of promoting and protecting religious freedom for all. “In today’s world, we have so many opportunities to feel division and discord. It is good, on the contrary, to focus on what brings us together,” he said.

Baxter told the story of one of the many religious accommodation cases he fought. Captain Simratpal “Simmer” Singh is a devout Sikh and decorated army captain who was forced to choose between serving his country and wearing the articles of his faith: his uncropped hair, beard and turban.

“He was forced to make the difficult choice between following his religion by serving his God or following his religion by serving his country. It was basically an impossible choice that no one should have to face,” Baxter explained. The case allowed the military to end its 30-year beard ban and issue new regulations stating that Sikh soldiers will not be forced to give up their religious turbans, uncropped hair or beards while throughout their military career.

“We need to stand in solidarity with those who don’t share our faith and even with those who have no faith at all,” Baxter said. “When we get to know each other, we can find ways to work together to protect religious freedom for all…We still have many challenges ahead of us, including a general decline in religiosity and a fairly widespread apathy toward the importance of religious freedom. ”

He acknowledged the difficult issues that have emerged in recent years, including the need to preserve religious freedom while ensuring non-discrimination. “I believe that the well-being of our society, and the world at large, depends heavily on our ability as individuals and religious organizations to support one another as we seek in good faith, with humility and compassion, to meet some of these challenges.”

prayer time

Seven special prayers were offered during the event. The prayer for religious freedom was delivered by Kyoshin Ahn, executive secretary of the NAD. Ahn gave thanks for the gift of religious freedom – the right to love and worship God. “We know that not only is religious freedom central to our relationship with you, but we also recognize that it is the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good,” he said. he declares.

A Prayer for the Community followed from Jennifer Gray, Director of Interfaith Outreach for the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.

“Our Lord, we pray that our nation, the United States, will remain loving and compassionate. Remove prejudice from our hearts and enable us to love our brothers and sisters of all faiths,” Missionary Umar Nayyar, of Wasaya Baitur Rehman Mosque, said during his prayer for the nation.

As he prayed for the elected, Lt. Col. YS (Lonny) Wortham, State Chaplain for the Maryland National Guard, said, “We pray for these officials, that you root them and root them in love. [for] their Lord, and it would not be by their purpose or their will, but they would hunger and thirst for the things of God. Father, we pray that You’ll save them from their pride; we pray that you save them from their desires for power, so that they may become servants of the people of this country and this nation.

Reverend Jerome Stephens, director of community outreach to Senator Ben Cardin, offered a prayer for global health and healing. He asked God to help overwhelmed healthcare workers during the pandemic. Stephens also said: “It is our prayer that all be encouraged. As we endure this season, it is our faith in God that [we know] a change will come for better health and better healing.

A prayer for peace followed from the Rev. Jennifer Hawks, associate general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Hawks addressed disturbing trends in society with domestic violence, racism and negative cultures in social media. She prayed: “Critics are ready to replay our mistakes and failures, trapping us in this negative loop, telling us we are never enough. May we find peace through rest so that we can be agents of shalom within our networks.…May the day soon come when we will treat everyone with the worth and dignity that comes from being created in your image.

Ivan Williams, director of the NAD Ministerial Association, closed the event with a prayer for unity of spirit.

“Oh, God, our maker of every race, tongue, language and people. From your providential hand, we have received our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You called us as your people and you gave us the right and the duty to worship you. Thank you for calling us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, accepting the faith of all,” Williams began.

He continued, “Give us the strength of mind and heart to easily defend our freedoms when they are threatened. And give us the courage to raise our voices – even beyond our own rights – for the rights of others. We pray [for] a clear, compassionate, and united voice for all your sons and daughters gathered together in your creation at this defining hour in our nation’s history, that with every trial withstood and every danger overcome now and with our children and grand- children… that this great earth will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all”.

This article originally appeared on the North American Division news site

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Create a culture and a religious faith https://helviti.com/create-a-culture-and-a-religious-faith/ Wed, 26 Jan 2022 20:34:03 +0000 https://helviti.com/create-a-culture-and-a-religious-faith/ Recently, I came across a very good definition of culture. It’s from sociologist Clifford Geertz. Describing a culture, he wrote the following: “A historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate and develop their knowledge and attitudes towards life.” […]]]>

Recently, I came across a very good definition of culture. It’s from sociologist Clifford Geertz. Describing a culture, he wrote the following:

“A historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate and develop their knowledge and attitudes towards life.”

Thinking about Geertz’s definition, I think I belong to several different cultures. This is probably the case for the readers of this column. For example, I belong to the culture of the United States, to the culture of New York, to the culture of the Roman Catholic Church and perhaps to other cultures.

Some of these cultures nourish my religious faith and others do not. The thought came to me that I have to choose carefully what will help me as a Christian believer and what will not help me. Above all, I need to be aware of patterns of meaning that actually contradict what I believe as a Catholic.

I usually, because of my own interests, ask my friends two questions: “Are you reading something interesting? and “Have you seen any good movies on TV?” A friend of mine almost always answers both questions with the comment “Just junk”. The comment saddens me. If you’re going to read, why only read junk? Why not read something that will enrich you, help you understand yourself and others, and even help you better understand the mystery of God? Finding such books or movies may take a bit of research in a culture that is very secular, but there are certainly many books and movies that can enrich a person’s religious faith.

Over the past 30 years, certainly from the time I started teaching at St. John’s University, I have been involved in two apostolates which have greatly enriched my faith and I hope for the faith of those who have been involved with me in both apostolates. One apostolate organized film festivals, the other ran adult education courses on the Catholic novel. The pandemic has temporarily suspended both apostolates, but hopefully at some point in the future they will be revived.

Over the many years of operation of film festivals, more than 300 films have been presented. All the movies were either classics or near-classics. A diet of such films must influence the consciousness and consciousness of a person. I can’t think of a great movie that didn’t make it to any of the festivals. Showing the films was a labor of love for me. I saw each film before showing it to an audience and made a few brief remarks after each film. Festivals have made a deep impression on me. I suspect they also did it on people who regularly attended.

In Catholic novels classes over a 30-year period, the students and I have read or re-read over 100 Catholic novels. Some of these novels were masterpieces; most were excellent; all were at least interesting.

I realize now that what I was trying to do for myself and for those who attended the festivals or read the novels was to create a Catholic culture that would coexist with other cultures. Both programs were attempts to keep our faith nurtured and challenged within a secular society. I hoped that both programs would provide symbols that would help participants see more deeply into their religious faith. The programs had to provide symbols other than the deeply secular symbols that surround us and some of the symbols that almost attack our religious faith.

These two programs could be carried out in the parishes. What it would take to organize a film festival would be someone who is interested in cinema and willing to do a bit of homework by thinking about the history of cinema. If the person running the festival was willing to read a book or two about film, that would help. To host a talk show, someone would have to be interested enough to choose a series of Catholic novels. If help was needed, I suspect a librarian would be more than willing. Most, if not all, of the novels are probably available in paperback and might even be available on Kindle.

More and more, I see the need in my life to create my own “culture” by choosing symbols that somehow support my Catholic faith. I suspect my experience is not unique. In the contemporary world, we are bombarded with images telling us explicitly or at least implicitly what it means to be a person and what our goals in life should be.

None of these messages can correspond to the Good News of Jesus Christ. I think each of us needs a culture to remind us of that.


Father Lauder is a professor of philosophy at St. John’s University, Jamaica. He presents two 15-minute lectures from his series of lectures on the Catholic novel, at 10:30 a.m. Monday to Friday on NET-TV.

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Who was John Calvin and what is Calvinism? https://helviti.com/who-was-john-calvin-and-what-is-calvinism/ Tue, 25 Jan 2022 13:00:02 +0000 https://helviti.com/who-was-john-calvin-and-what-is-calvinism/ In 1536, 27-year-old John Calvin (better known as John Calvin) fled his native France, where he had been persecuted for his new Protestant faith, and wrote a groundbreaking theological treatise titled “Institutes of the Christian Religion “. A wanted man in Catholic France, Calvin took refuge in neighboring Switzerland and stopped at an inn in […]]]>

In 1536, 27-year-old John Calvin (better known as John Calvin) fled his native France, where he had been persecuted for his new Protestant faith, and wrote a groundbreaking theological treatise titled “Institutes of the Christian Religion “.

A wanted man in Catholic France, Calvin took refuge in neighboring Switzerland and stopped at an inn in Geneva where he only planned to spend one night. But when the head of the local church, William Farel, learned that the author of “Institutes” was there, he burst into the inn and told Calvin it was God’s will that he stay and preach. in Geneva.

When Calvin tried to explain that he was a scholar, not a preacher, Farel turned red in the face (not harsh for a redhead) and swore that God would curse Calvin’s so-called “studies” if he dared leave Geneva. A man of great faith, Calvin took this as a sign.

“I felt as if God in heaven had laid his mighty hand on me to stop me in my tracks”, Calvin later wrote, “and I was so terrified that I did not continue my journey.”

John Calvin spent the rest of his life in Geneva preaching a new strain of Protestantism known as Reformed theology. A contemporary of famous Reformation leader Martin Luther, Calvin was the father of Calvinism, a faith inextricably linked to the controversial doctrine of predestination, according to which a sovereign God has already chosen who will be saved and who will be damned.

To better understand the life and legacy of Calvin – one of Christianity’s most influential and controversial figures – we spoke with Bruce Gordon, professor of church history at Yale Divinity School and author of the biography “Calvin” and “John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: A Biography.”

“God willing, it must be good”

In his early twenties, Calvin was studying law in France (his father’s idea) when he came across the preaching of Luther, who taught that God was found in the Bible, not in the saints and sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Much like his later experience in the Geneva Inn, Calvin was convinced that it was God’s will that he leave law school and follow in the footsteps of Luther and other early church reformers.

The will of God – or more accurately the “sovereignty” of God’s will – is a central tenet of Calvinism, the Protestant movement founded in Calvin’s name. For Calvin as well as for most early Reformers, the Bible made it clear that God was an all-powerful being who controlled everything, including the salvation of mankind.

In Romans 9:15, Paul quotes God saying to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.” In other words, God chooses to save whom he wants to save, and he has his own incomprehensible reasons for doing so; that is to say, he is sovereign. For Calvin, the important thing was not to understand the will of God, but to accept it.

“One of Calvin’s main themes was that we don’t know the mind of God,” says Gordon. “But if God wants it, it has to be good.”

If God alone is responsible, then there is nothing we sinful humans can do to “earn” our salvation. Yes, we can be “justified” by faith in Jesus Christ, as Luther taught, but even that faith in Christ is not the product of our will. It is a gift from God prepared since the dawn of time.

“Double Predestination”

Born nearly 30 years after Luther, Calvin was a “second generation” Protestant reformer, says Gordon, meaning he inherited much of his theology from those who came before him, including the influential Swiss theologian. Huldrych Zwingli, whose book Gordon has just published. about (“Zwingli: the prophet armed with God”).

One such widely accepted doctrine in the Reformation era was predestination.

“Calvin is famously associated with predestination, but what many people don’t know is that predestination was a core teaching of Christianity from early church fathers like St. Augustine,” Gordon says.

The accepted version of predestination was that God had “chosen” those who would be saved from before the creation of the world. But Calvin went one step further and took predestination to its next logical conclusion: if God alone decided who was saved and would dwell with him in heaven, then he also decided who was damned and would spend an eternity in hell. And here’s the kicker: there’s nothing we can do to change that.

In theological terms, Calvin’s belief in a sovereign God who both saves and damns according to his own will is called “double predestination”, and it was controversial from the start.

“The idea of ​​double predestination shocks a lot of people, because they start saying, Calvin created this God who is the source of evil,” Gordon says.

Keep in mind that Calvin was preaching in the 16th century, when the belief in a literal heaven and hell was universal. In this context, double predestination seems to raise a poignant question: if God has already decided who goes where, then how do I know if I am one of the lucky ones?

“Interestingly, Calvin was pretty optimistic about it,” Gordon says. “Calvin taught that if you are troubled by this question and try to find signs of your election, that in itself is a sign that you are numbered among the elect. fuck.”

Calvin came to believe that election could be “proven” by outward signs, including: the profession of faith, disciplined Christian behavior, and conscientious attendance at the Lord’s Supper (or Communion), the only sacrament inherited from Catholicism .

The Servetus Affair

Much like predestination, no discussion of John Calvin can omit an infamous incident that took place in 1553, when Calvin was the chief religious authority in Geneva, known as the “Servet Affair”.

Michael Servetus (Miguel Serveto) was a very literal Spanish “Renaissance man”. He was a self-taught scholar of the Bible, cartography, human physiology and more. Servetus got into hot water with Catholic authorities when he published tracts rejecting the Trinity, the doctrine that God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit were three persons. distinct united in one Divinity. For his crime of heresy, Servetus was sentenced to death by the Catholic Church.

But Servetus escaped from prison and fled to Geneva, where he appeared publicly at one of Calvin’s sermons and was summarily arrested. Calvin and Servetus had a history. They had exchanged letters for years, each trying to convince the other of their theological follies, and Calvin had even visited Servetus in Paris – at great risk to his own safety – to urge the heretic Servetus to repent.

Ultimately, Servetus was executed in Geneva for his heretical teachings. Calvin’s defenders argue that he had no power to save or condemn Servetus, and that it was the state that killed him. Critics of Calvin insist that a man in Calvin’s religious authority in Geneva could have intervened to save Servet’s life. Instead, he burned at the stake.

Gordon says the Servetus affair made Calvin look like a hardliner and provided ammunition for critics and opponents of Calvin, many of whom he had in the 1550s.

“This story makes Calvin infamous among many people as that ‘lightning-throwing Zeus’ who created a punitive and judging God in his own image,” says Gordon. “Calvin becomes associated with this very severe notion of God.”

Calvinism and the Protestant work ethic

In Geneva, Calvin helped create a theocratic society in which the Bible was the primary guide to moral and civic order. Ordained pastors, elders, and deacons oversaw the spiritual and temporal welfare of the city, ministering to the poor and rebuking the wicked. Sunday church attendance was compulsory. Lectures, sermons, and church services were held every day of the week, with Calvin himself preaching and teaching publicly every day. He maintained this tireless pace until his death in 1564.

In the following century, Calvinism arrived in England, where it was adopted by the Puritan movement. Not all Puritans who came to America were Calvinists, but sociologist Max Weber credits Calvinist theology with fueling the rise of capitalism in the colonies.

The Puritans, unlike Calvin himself, were consumed with anguish by the question of their predestined status: were they among the chosen or the damned? Puritans came to believe that an outward sign of election was economic prosperity. This Puritan doctrine fostered the development of what Weber called the “Protestant work ethic”, in which individuals accomplish God’s will through worldly vocations.

In the 18th century, Gordon says, Calvinism went into decline as Enlightenment ideals of personal freedom crumbled against the rigidity of predestination. In its place came a more liberal streak of Protestantism, which moved away from strict predestination to embrace the more inclusive concept of “universality”, in which all mankind can be saved through faith in Jesus. -Christ.

But that doesn’t mean Calvinism is dead. Far from there. Calvinism made a comeback in the resurgence of Reformed theology and the popularity of Reformed churches and pastors like John Piper and Timothy Keller. As chronicled in the book “Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists”, Calvin’s uncompromising teachings, including predestination, have made their way to a new generation of young evangelical Christians.

HowStuffWorks earns a small affiliate commission when you purchase through links on our site.

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Evangelicals battle ‘critical race theory’ in new online video course https://helviti.com/evangelicals-battle-critical-race-theory-in-new-online-video-course/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 13:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/evangelicals-battle-critical-race-theory-in-new-online-video-course/ In the right-wing crusade against “critical race theory,” there is a job for everyone: movement intellectuals and keyboard warriors, school board brawlers and politicians – from Congress to governors’ mansions to the new class of local right-wing bureaucrats eager to link student test scores to faculty demographics. It is therefore not surprising that there is […]]]>

In the right-wing crusade against “critical race theory,” there is a job for everyone: movement intellectuals and keyboard warriors, school board brawlers and politicians – from Congress to governors’ mansions to the new class of local right-wing bureaucrats eager to link student test scores to faculty demographics. It is therefore not surprising that there is also a role for church people.

This week, Focus on the Family – James Dobson’s right-wing Christian ministry, with nearly 900 staff, its own postcode and an estimated global audience of 200 million – did its part, asking its subscribers to sign up for free. in line Classes teach parents how to “empower” their families to “cope with CRT”.

The course consists of five videos, hosted by FOF Vice President of Parenting and Youth Danny Huerta, speaking with a handful of evangelical leaders: Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institution; John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview; and Carol Swain, co-author of the 2021 book “Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House.”

RELATED: ‘Critical race theory’ is a fairy tale – but America’s monsters are real

After each video, viewers are directed, like a textbook, to a series of additional tasks. First, ponder selected Bible verses (“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free…”) Second, consider a series of falsely neutral discussion prompts: “How do you think critical theory of race creates confusion, especially in children?? “What’s dangerous about people seeing themselves as victims or using shame and moral manipulation to get what they want? Or, more blatantly, “After watching this video course, do you have a better understanding of critical race theory and how it contradicts the truth of God’s Word?”

Overall, it’s a softer approach than most of the talk around the CRT last year – framed more as a public service announcement than threats to overthrow the local school board, perhaps. be with violence, which proliferated last summer and fall. But the message is largely the same, as Huerta and his guests cover a number of religious but familiar critiques: CRT “places what it means to be human solely in the context of race”; “God created only one race: the human race”; any white child who balks at being called an oppressor is “plac[ing] a target on themselves” (an accusation illustrated in the videos by a photo of a white boy being manhandled by two black boys); and the promise that “America’s victorious struggle with its imperfections” concerning racial equality reflects the gospel message of redemption.

But some larger themes of the videos highlight how conservative evangelical institutions grapple with debates about race today. First, there is the fundamental presumption that racism is real, but a matter of individual sin. Second, the idea that critical race theory is not only incorrect, but constitutes an alternative, “destructive” and “twisted” worldview, contrary to that which Christians should follow.

“The idea of ​​racism as an individual sin is a hallmark of evangelicalism,” said Anthea Butler, chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Religion and author of the 2021 book “White Evangelical Racism.” In the book, she clarifies, “Sin for evangelicals is always personal, not corporate, and God is always available to forgive deserving individuals, especially if they are white men. The sin of racism can also be swept away by an event. or a confession. Evangelicals rarely admit a need for restitution.

In November, Swain made that point when she spoke at the National Conservatism Scholarly Conference in Florida that brought together several hundred right-wing intellectuals. As one of the few non-white speakers, Swain called the CRT not only “un-American” but also “anti-Christian,” lamenting that a number “of churches that see themselves as awakened” adopted him. Among them, she said, was her own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, which has 16 million members, which was wracked last June by a bitter crisis, potentially schismatic debate on whether to adopt a resolution condemning the CRT.

“We have so many awakened members of [the SBC]. And when I think of Southern Baptists, the main thing I remember is apology after apology after apology — for slavery, for even existing,” Swain said, referring to the actions the denomination, founded in origin to defend the right to own slaves, has taken in recent decades to acknowledge its turbulent history. “And what that tells me is that the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention don’t understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross once for our past, present and future sins. Racism is a sin. apologize.”


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As pastor and teacher Andre E. Johnson wrote Last spring’s evangelical attacks on the CRT predate the current struggle, widely attributed to the Manhattan Institute’s sole principal investigator, Christopher Rufo. Evangelical heavyweights like John MacArthur have condemned the idea that “postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching”.

“[B]By the time Rufo began learning how to manipulate the CRT for political gain, white evangelicals in churches across the country were already laying the groundwork,” Johnson wrote.[I]In the hands of white evangelicals, the CRT is not just an academic theory, it is a worldly ideology of evil that believers should oppose. So, for better or for worse, those of us who teach CRT and intersectionality will now have to deal with those who would bring our assumptions of faith to the classroom.”

One of the chief complaints of the anti-CRT faction of Southern Baptists, said Daniel Eppley, a religious studies professor at Thiel College who has been following this debate, is that the CRT is “redefining” racism as something other than ” personal animosity towards others based on race.”

“In their view, racism is just thinking badly of another person because of their race,” Eppley said. “If you can look into your heart and honestly say, ‘I don’t think badly of people because of their race’, then you’re not part of the racism problem. That is, neither does structural racism. It’s very similar to how a former fundamentalist evangelical leader, Bob Jones Sr., presented his opposition to desegregation in the 1960s. denied seeing one race as inferior to another, but he thought the races should be kept separate. So his solution to racism was basically, “Love your black neighbour,” even though he is convinced, based on his reading of this particular passage from the Bible, that segregation is God’s will.”

In the end, Southern Baptists voted for a resolution which did not specifically call out the CRT but disavowed “any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or any other group dynamic”.

The term “worldview” was also repeatedly invoked in FOF’s Anti-CRT Lessons, such as in a post-video discussion prompt: “Why Is Critical Race Theory Really a Worldview Problem?” world ? »

This language is ubiquitous in modern conservative American Christianity, as American journalist and historian of religion Molly Worthen has said. observed. In the evangelical realm, Christian media promise to inculcate or reinforce a “biblical worldview.” Christian universities display the term on the side of campus buildings. Young people from the evangelical movement attend “Worldview Weekend” conferences without sleeping.

In its most basic and bona fide definition, according to Jacob Alan Cook, a professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity and author of the 2021 book “Worldview Theory, Whiteness and the Future of Evangelical Faith”, the concept of a biblical worldview goes like this: “If the Bible is what we say it is, then we should be able to logically extend its truths to encompass the most important things, and the most questions Morals should have a logical connection to the core of this thing we believe in.” In reality, he continued, “worldview theory” has a lot of “extra-biblical” baggage that has been merged with conservative evangelical doctrine, making things like capitalism, nationalism Christian or, in recent decades, segregation, seem to be matters of faith. .

What that amounts to, Cook said, is an evangelical way of saying, “Everyone has an ideology, but we have the truth.” In this context, it becomes “really difficult to challenge these things from within” faith, he observes, where a biblical worldview can function as “alternative facts” or a closed epistemological door.

This is exactly the message expressed by Focus on the Family’s Huerta, telling viewers: “Let’s not enter this discussion on CRT out of fear, but boldly: we have the word of God and this is the answer. to that.”

Read more about the political battle over “critical race theory”:

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What is so bad about religion in games? – https://helviti.com/what-is-so-bad-about-religion-in-games/ Tue, 04 Jan 2022 13:26:38 +0000 https://helviti.com/what-is-so-bad-about-religion-in-games/ It’s been four and three years since Yours truly and Suzanne Berget shared our thoughts on making the games more inclusive and having more diverse characters, so it’s unfortunate that things don’t have much. changed since then. Of course, we’ve seen more games with minorities and a larger part of the audience becoming a little […]]]>


It’s been four and three years since Yours truly and Suzanne Berget shared our thoughts on making the games more inclusive and having more diverse characters, so it’s unfortunate that things don’t have much. changed since then. Of course, we’ve seen more games with minorities and a larger part of the audience becoming a little more open to people who identify differently, but the problem will never be completely resolved. 2021 was a great example of this, as many games have come under fire for having or touching on passionate topics. The one that caught my attention the most was religion. People are obviously allowed to have different opinions on faith and the like, but going crazy when a game barely touches on religious themes is just ridiculous. Let me explain.

First of all, it’s important to note that I am what you might call a gentle Christian. I believe in God, but I have never read the whole Bible or attended church more than once a year. This means that I don’t become offended by someone with a different belief or when religion is portrayed in an unconventional way, which many do. Just look at what happened when players noticed pages from the Quran lying on the ground in Call of Duty: Vanguard’s Zombies mode. While I can understand why some found this appalling and Activision Blizzard decided to remove them, I also think the developers deserve praise for including them in the first place, as book burning and desecration was part of it. World War II (even a fictional version in this case). Very few games even dare to touch on these kinds of acts even though they were a big part of the real world inspirations. Why? Developers should be allowed to portray blasphemous and controversial things in their games if it leads to a better or more realistic experience. We are not talking about real people or objects here. These pages were virtual objects created by a group of talented people using ones and zeros on their PCs. It would have been something else if they’d done sacrilegious acts with the real deal in the developer logs or something just to get attention. Then they would have gone too far. It cannot be said to have pages of religious books and scriptures floating around or lying around in places ruined by supernatural powers and the Nazis. Are you seriously going to complain about games that lack impact because they don’t delve deeper into the darker sides of humanity or certain topics while turning bananas when they do something that is going to shake things up? someone ? The same goes for gods and religious figures.

A few months ago, I received a press release from Rajan Zed, a well-known Hindu activist and spokesperson for the Hindu community, urging Sega and Atlus to stop representing Hindu deities like Ganesha, Hanuman, Kali, Lakshmi , Sarasvati, Shiva and Vishnu as demons in the Shin Megami Tensei games. He said it was sacrilege and would confuse or mislead people, so an apology seemed justified. I’m glad Mr. Zed hasn’t played Final Fantasy or a lot of other games in the past thirty years, as Shiva and other deities have been and are quite often represented in this amazing medium and rarely seen. ‘in a way that I think is taken directly. of sacred texts. Perhaps a few players might be confused by these interpretations, but there is a limit to a player’s sensitivity. Developers should be allowed to take creative liberties with the overflow of great inspiration that stories and characters from the Bible, Quran, Vedas and more offer without fear of threats and being accused of misleading people. . Yes, I know that some holy texts and figures in the east are more sacred than the Bible and Jesus is in the west these days, but I think all religions would benefit from relaxing a bit.

Especially since the inclusion of some special interpretations of them could and will lead to more interest in the source material, something that can be said about me. Without games like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Final Fantasy X, Assassin’s Creed and Herc’s Adventures / Disney’s Hercules, I would never have been so fascinated or knowledgeable about the Cold War, Hinduism, a handful of ‘other religions and places in the east, and Greek mythology respectively. I might just be an outlier here, but it clearly shows that games can inspire us to learn more as well.

That’s why it’s such a shame that the games aren’t even allowed to launch until discussions about their portrayal of religion begin. Because Shin Megami Tensei V wasn’t the first time Raja Zed sent me a gaming statement. Zed also begged Naughty Dog to show Hinduism the respect it deserves a few months before Uncharted: The Lost Legacy launched in 2017, and likewise when Ubisoft showed more of Beyond Good & Evil 2 a year ago. later. Clever, because Ubisoft has never been careful to include politics and religion in its games … Oh, wait! For Pete’s sake. It’s been fourteen years since the French company included the following message at the start of Assassin’s Creed:

What is so bad about religion in games?

You can often see similar ratings before movies and series, which many lawyers have advised companies to do in the hopes of minimizing the risk of legal issues, but it shouldn’t be necessary. As long as we don’t talk about The Passion of Christ, the upcoming I Am Jesus Christ or similar projects trying to be more faithful to their source material, being beaten by the fact that what is happening is a work of fiction makes me feel stupid. For the last time, I’m mostly complaining about reactions to situations where it makes sense to include religious elements, because those who use them just to cover the headlines or provoke can go and fuck themselves.

Because, just like I wrote four years ago, we shouldn’t stop these creative and talented game makers from making whatever they want by forbidding representing something in a new and different way. Putting obstacles in their way would lead us down a very monotonous and boring path. One of the examples that The Last of Us: Part II and The Forgotten City are two of the best games of the past two years is that they have dared to highlight and question themes and storylines that few even dare to approach. When do the games cross the line? Should we be complaining about the attractiveness and freshness of the characters of Hades? How about taking advantage of what Germany was doing by censoring or editing certain symbols? Can’t an openly Christian or Jew be the hero or be killed in a game without protest? For God’s sake: let developers have religion and minorities in their games without complaining. Failure to do so will lead to a lack of innovation and less diversity, so don’t make such a big fuss.


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SOWING THE SEEDS OF FAITH: Real Christmas Gifts | Religion https://helviti.com/sowing-the-seeds-of-faith-real-christmas-gifts-religion/ Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:30:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/sowing-the-seeds-of-faith-real-christmas-gifts-religion/ Recently I shared a call from a family asking for help. Christmas can be a visible reminder of who receives generously and who receives little or nothing! Christmas was never meant to be like this. Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by farm animals. The heavenly angels of God appeared to a group of […]]]>


Recently I shared a call from a family asking for help. Christmas can be a visible reminder of who receives generously and who receives little or nothing! Christmas was never meant to be like this.

Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by farm animals. The heavenly angels of God appeared to a group of poor shepherds outside of Bethlehem. What happened to the original Christmas message?

“There were times when I got caught up in the Christmas craziness, the lights, the presents, getting into debt, trying to buy everyone a present. But I got older and the real meaning of Christmas has changed. I don’t worry about not having a gift to buy. With so many uncertainties today, we should focus more on giving and less on receiving. ” – Cynthia

“I grew up in a fairly large and famous church. So I called their office and asked them if there was a family that needed help and companionship. They had no idea what I was talking about. They didn’t know a single family, student, or senior that fits the bill. Something is wrong with this picture. Have we forgotten how difficult vacations can be for people? “- Rebecca

Mike Slaughter in his book “Christmas Is Not Your Birthday” writes: “We are called at Christmas and all year round to seek and serve Jesus. We can let the light of Christ shine in our lives through the love we show to others.

“We make food baskets in our church and buy toys for the children and give them to the needy in our area. I often remind people that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. “- Margaret

“We sponsor a family every year and buy gifts for the children. We want to help. – Buzz

How will you and your church react to the birth of Jesus Christ?

The churches I serve in Louisa County support the “Santa Council” which provides boxes with the complete ingredients for a Christmas meal, including a turkey, as well as clothes, toys, books and other gifts. for around 600 families each year. The council was formed in 1988 by people who wanted to distribute Christmas aid more evenly. Social services often provided many families who needed help. The Santa Claus Council is made up entirely of volunteers, so there is virtually no overhead.

One church met with community leaders several years ago and organized “Christmas Parents,” who honor “special” parents as examples, then receive donations and gifts from others across the county. to give Christmas to more than 500 children each year.

Another church solicits the names of needy children from elementary schools in the area, then matches those names with families in their congregation who include these children as part of their Christmas shopping. This church gives Christmas to hundreds of needy children every year.

One family read our devotion several weeks ago about a family asking for help and are now giving Christmas to children and parents.

Mike Slaughter is right: Christmas is not your birthday. So our challenge is to find creative ways to express our love for Jesus as we honor his birthday.

What better way to put Christ in your Christmas this year than by helping someone in need? God will bless you for it. Have a merry Christmas and be blessed 2022.


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What does the Christmas story mean to you and to me? https://helviti.com/what-does-the-christmas-story-mean-to-you-and-to-me/ Wed, 22 Dec 2021 10:20:11 +0000 https://helviti.com/what-does-the-christmas-story-mean-to-you-and-to-me/ “And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be for all peoples. Lord. ”Luke 2: 10-11 (Read Luke 2: 1-20) We know the story of Christmas. We know that, in fulfillment of ancient prophecies, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem […]]]>


“And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be for all peoples. Lord. ”Luke 2: 10-11 (Read Luke 2: 1-20)

We know the story of Christmas. We know that, in fulfillment of ancient prophecies, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem and was laid in a manger. But what does this historic event mean to us today? Is it just a quaint story to be repeated every year at Christmas time? Or, does it make sense to us every day of our lives?

To answer these questions, I draw your attention to the announcement of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds in the field outside Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. What did the angel say? Consider his words, for he brought the very word of the Lord God to the shepherds.

The angel of the Lord said first: “Do not be afraid; for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for everyone. After allaying the fear of the shepherds – and who wouldn’t be afraid so suddenly, in the middle of the night, an angel appeared and the glory of the LORD God Himself shone around them? – the angel said to the shepherds that he brought them good news of great joy, which will be for everyone. The message was not just for the shepherds, it is for everyone. It’s for you and me today! And, as the angel said, it is good news and great joy to those who hear and believe the angel’s announcement.

And what is this good news? “For today is a Savior born to you in the city of David, who is Christ the Lord. That day, in Bethlehem, the city of David, a Savior was born!

The long-awaited Messiah and Savior of sin, eternal death, and damnation was born. The seed of the woman promised in Genesis 3:15; the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who would be a blessing to all nations; the Son of David who would reign over an everlasting kingdom; the Child promised in Isaiah 7 and 9; the root of Jesse; the Sovereign promised in Micah 5; the Redeemer of Israel promised in Psalm 130 – it was all fulfilled in that Child born in Bethlehem.

And who is this Savior? The angel says he is “Christ the Lord”. He is the anointed of the Lord, the Messiah; He is the LORD God Himself who came to this world as a true man to fulfill the law of God for us and to bear the chastisement for the sins of all and to be resurrected in victory.

He is true man, born of Mary, so that he can take our place under the law and fulfill it for us and that he can take our place under the judgment of God and endure our punishment. And, it is true God that his holy life and his innocent sufferings and his death on the cross would be a sufficient ransom for the sins of the whole world. Cf. John 1: 1-14, 29; Girl. 4: 4-5; Collar. 1: 14-23; ROM. 5: 12-21.

What does this mean for you and for me? Why is this good news for us? Why does Christ’s first coming give us reason to rejoice and be filled with joy? Because the atonement was made for our sins. The righteous punishment demanded by God’s law for the sins of fallen mankind has been satisfied in the blood of Christ, shed on the cross!

Therefore, we who were unacceptable and under God’s condemnation because of our wickedness and sin are brought near by faith in the shed blood of Christ. We are, through faith in Christ and in His atoning sacrifice, pleasing to God, forgiven, and forgiven. We have peace with God the Father and have become His own beloved children through faith in Jesus Christ. Cf. 1 John 1: 7 – 2: 1-2; Ephesians 1: 6-7; 2: 11-22; Galatians 3: 26-29. Indeed, you and I and all who trust in Christ can be in a good mood, for our sins are forgiven us in Jesus Christ (cf. Matt. 9: 2).

Because God provided His own Beloved Son to be our Savior, we do not have to fear death. Christ Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead and conquered for us eternal life in the mansions of his Father’s house (cf. Heb. 2: 14-17; John 14: 1-6).

And, as the shepherds were filled with joy to know that God loved them so much that he gave his only begotten Son to be their Savior (cf. John 3:16) and rushed to Bethlehem to see the things that are happening. ‘had passed, and also returned to say to the others and “glorify and praise God for all the things which they had heard and seen, as it had been said to them” (Luke 2:20), so we worship and praise our God – joining the choirs of angels in heaven – for sending us a Savior, for making atonement for our sins, and for earning us forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven!

LORD God, we thank you and praise you for the gift of your Son to be our Savior and to earn us the forgiveness of all our sins and eternal life in your kingdom, and we thank you for revealing the message to us through your Word. from the angel to the shepherds, the “good news of a great joy which shall come to all men”, the good news that a Savior has been born to us, and that this Savior is Christ the Lord – God in the flesh – and that in him, and because of his blood shed for us on the cross, we have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in his name. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] Other Moll devotional writings are available for free at https://goodshepherdonline.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.]


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I may be biased: I support the GSA https://helviti.com/i-may-be-biased-i-support-the-gsa/ Wed, 08 Dec 2021 23:00:02 +0000 https://helviti.com/i-may-be-biased-i-support-the-gsa/ At the Washakie County School District School Board No.1 meeting on October 25, a number of students and community members approached the board with a simple request: to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club, also known as GSA. The board of directors unanimously approved the club. Personally, I was delighted for these children and their club. […]]]>


At the Washakie County School District School Board No.1 meeting on October 25, a number of students and community members approached the board with a simple request: to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club, also known as GSA. The board of directors unanimously approved the club.

Personally, I was delighted for these children and their club. Growing up in the LGBT community, I didn’t have that kind of support. I didn’t know there was someone else going through who I was until I met my friends, and even then it was sometimes difficult.

When I walked out of the school council meeting, the first thing I did was text a few of my friends about the club and its endorsement. They were all as surprised as I was that this was presented to the board, let alone approved. They all made a similar statement saying they were proud of the kids who created the club.

Of course, we had the right to be surprised. When it comes to living in the “Equal State,” this only applies if you are seen as equal to everyone else in the State. Being part of the LGBT community seems to automatically eliminate your chances of this happening. When it comes to homophobia and transphobia, there are worse places to live. I know some countries will kill you for being gay, so we take it a step further. What I’m trying to say is Wyoming isn’t known for being open-minded.

With that in mind, the inevitable has happened. People are really upset that this club has been approved. I’m here to do my best to explain why this club is a good thing and move in the right direction for this city by dividing it into two, one to talk about GSA and one to discuss identity ideology gender.

For starters, according to an article on childtrends.org by Dominique Parris and Brandon Stratford, in a recent review of LGBT-focused school policies and practices, researchers noted that, of all the interventions reviewed, GSAs are supported by the evidence. most consistent to show that they improve the climate and educational outcomes of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer / questioning youth.

To be specific, the researchers identified several studies that documented a reduction in homophobic victimization of LGBTQ students in schools with GSA. LGBTQ youth who participate in GSAs report that clubs are a source of community, a gateway to LGBTQ-friendly resources, and a marker of safety.

According to the article, evidence also suggests that the presence of GSA is associated with benefits for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including youth who do not identify as LGBTQ. For example, one study found a reduction in substance abuse, suicide attempts, and risky sexual behavior among youth in schools with GSA – the strongest effects appear to be among LGBTQ students.

GSAs have been proven time and again to improve the academic and personal lives of LGBTQ students. It just takes knowing that students are not alone to make a huge difference in their lives.

Contemporary LGBTQ adolescents are known to be disproportionately exposed to psychosocial well-being and health issues, according to a study published on the National Institute of Health’s website at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. A growing body of evidence shows disproportionate risk among transgender youth. Specifically, previous research indicates that young people from sexual minorities are at greater risk than heterosexuals for thoughts and attempts of suicide, depression, substance abuse and low self-esteem. Recent studies using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health document that the disparate risks reported by this population of suicidality and depression are particularly increased during the developmental period of adolescence and dissipate in adulthood for men. attracted to the same sex. These findings are of particular importance because they clarify for researchers, policy makers and those working with young people that a primary opportunity to potentially reduce risk to LGBT people is during adolescence.

Much of the time of adolescents is spent in school. Therefore, schools are a potential framework for the positive development and resilience of young people. LGBT teens report high rates of verbal and physical victimization in school and report that their school environment is unsafe. These negative school experiences have been linked to long-term negative mental health and health outcomes. And, before I comment on “mental illness is in your head”, yes; it is literally.

The disparity in positive school experiences for LGBTQ youth lacks information about the positive development of LGBTQ adolescents in positive school settings, such as extracurricular activities. In fact, just like their heterosexual peers, these school-based activities can be a primary framework that promotes positive youth development.

Research suggests that the presence of a GSA may serve as a protective factor for LGBTQ teens, so LGBTQ teens who report their school has a GSA tend to report more school safety and a greater well-being.

The presence of a GSA was further found to be associated with higher levels of school safety, fewer reports of being absent from school due to fear, and greater awareness of a safe adult in the school context. Finally, a few studies have documented that the presence of GSA is associated with a reduced risk of suicide in sexual minority youth.

Now let’s talk about the fears that some people are expressing about this club.

The main thing I want to discuss is that GSAs promote the ideology of gender identity. It seems people are worried that this is a bad thing, for reasons that I can’t fathom. Full Disclosure, as many readers know I am a transgender male. So I don’t see anything wrong with people exploring their gender identity. Gender is not black and white. Well, blue and pink. It’s a huge spectrum and everyone is in a different place.

With religion in mind, many people have the same argument. That you should not interfere with God’s purpose. To this I would like to call attention to Botox, diet pills, facelifts, braces, nuclear warfare, deforestation, laser hair removal, hydrogenated oils, hair dye, Viagra and literally thousands of other everyday things.

Now, on the science side, I’m going to start off by saying that in my experience no one pretends to be transgender. Anyone who decides “Hey, I want to be called insults and wear clothes that don’t fit well to make me stand out!” Is absolutely ridiculous.

Some transgender people suffer from what is called “gender dysphoria”.

According to psychiatry.org, gender dysphoria is clinically significant distress or impairment related to a strong desire to be another gender, which may include the desire to change primary and / or secondary sex characteristics. Being transgender is not something that is taught in schools, nor can it be taught, and it is not something that can be influenced on you. You cannot inflict gender dysphoria or the need to change gender on someone who is not already transgender, or question their gender.

In addition, the Worland High School GSA Club is by no means compulsory. Your children do not have to attend this club. It is not because this club takes place in your school that it changes the program. Just because this club was added doesn’t mean they’re suddenly teaching your kids to be gay. You can’t even teach people to be gay. Being gay is something you were born to, not something that develops or something that is taught.

Now I know I mentioned that I’m keeping religion to a minimum, but I think I’ve been in church enough to qualify to talk about it.

In an article written by Rev. Elder Don Eastman on Religiousinstitute.org, “Christians today do not follow the rules and rituals described in Leviticus. But some ignore his definitions of “uncleanness” while citing Leviticus to condemn “homosexuals.”

“Such an abuse of the scriptures distorts the meaning of the Old Testament and negates a message of the New Testament. ‘You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female: it is an abomination.’ These words appear only in the Leviticus Code of Holiness, a ritual manual for priests in Israel. Their significance can only be fully appreciated in the historical and cultural context of the ancient Hebrew people. Israel, in one place as a chosen people of one God, was to avoid the practices of other peoples and gods.

Reverend Eastman states that “the rituals and rules found in the Old Testament were given to preserve the distinctive features of the religion and culture of Israel. But, as stated in Galatians 3: 22-25, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. By faith they live in Jesus Christ, not in Leviticus. Of course, ethical concerns apply to all cultures and all ages. These concerns were ultimately reflected by Jesus Christ, who said nothing about homosexuality, but a lot about love, justice, mercy, and faith.

These children did nothing wrong. All they want is a safe space where they can be themselves and relate to the others around them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Despite your opinions and concerns, this club was approved unanimously.

This takes Worland away from its traditional state of being and on a path in the right direction. I don’t know about you, but I’m delighted to see what this small step can do for our city.

Stay nice.


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