CHURCH BUILDINGS – DO THEY MATTER?
28 JULY 2020 – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unprecedented decree (10 July) converting Hagia Sophia once again into a mosque continues to reverberate across the region and beyond. The controversy raises some interesting questions regarding church buildings. Where do church buildings fit in? What is their purpose in the life of a Christian? Are they necessary? And if so, in what way? In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, many church buildings have been closed for months and some wonder what the future holds for traditional church buildings?
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USA PROTESTS: THE STING OF DESTRUCTION AND THE BEAUTY OF UNITY
5 JUNE 2020 – In a time that has been mired with sickness, isolation, and national quarantine, the U.S is experiencing both the sting of destruction and chaos and the beauty of unity and action. So, as Christians, how do we respond in the current climate? What are our rights, and what are our responsibilities?
THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS ON GLOBAL MISSIONS
20 MAY 2020 – Over the past five months, the world as we knew it changed forever. The coronavirus brought about changes to humanity on an unprecedented scale. The Church has not been exempted from these changes. Although most Christians were affected by the changes brought upon their own congregations, not many are necessarily aware of the impact the coronavirus has had on the mission field. This article aims to shed some light on this area of Christian society.
THE POWER OF WORDS: CORONAVIRUS FEARS - REALITY OR PERCEIVED REALITY?
10 MARCH 2020 – Words have the power to change the way we understand and relate to the world. The coronavirus outbreak serves as a timely reminder that the use of words can either strengthen hope, or place entire populations in fear. It either gives life or drains life, there is never a neutral exchange. The words used to describe the COVID-19 coronavirus – its communicability and the risk of death – have caused widespread fear and uncertainty. For Christians, who find their hope in Christ, the outbreak of the virus should be seen as an opportunity.
"DEMONIC" ARTWORK IN SCHOOLS: A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
25 OCTOBER 2019 – A video was posted on social media by a parent about “satanic” artwork displayed by a grade 12 pupil at a school in South Africa. The video provides very little context and none of the clarification which the pupil had posted with each piece of art. The video went viral, igniting anger and demanding action. Such incidents raise the question, “How should Christians respond to such incidents and to highly emotive social media posts?” Is it of any use to send it to as many people as possible and ignite a ‘holy anger’ in the hearts of the recipients or should there be a different response? FIVE things to consider before you respond.
LOADSHEDDING: MAKING US BITTER, OR MAKING US BETTER - A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
18 OCTOBER 2019 – A main topic of discussion among many South Africans in recent days has been LOADSHEDDING. South Africa has suffered some of the worst power cuts in several years (earlier in the year and recently) and residents have expressed frustration with the electricity utility company, Eskom, as they battle to keep the lights on. Sadly, for many Christians, loadshedding is a practical reality that has little to do with spirituality. But life’s unexpected challenges have a way of affecting our spirituality by making us either a better person or a bitter person.
AN AGE OF GLOBAL DISCONTENT: LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
17 OCTOBER 2019 – Humanity is currently under siege by mass protests, acts of terror, a deep-seated discontent and a generation with an ‘inherited’ anger. Scripture is clear – days of evil will present moments of opportunity. Only Christ is the answer and only the Church can provide solutions. This is a global opportunity that the Church needs to identify, respond to and actively provide solutions for. It is now or never.
WAGING PEACE IN A 'WARZONE': 7 KEYS TO HEALING A TRAUMATISED NATION
20 SEPTEMBER 2019 –It has been a traumatic few weeks in South Africa. Various writers, commentators and politicians have gone so far as to describe the situation in almost war-like terms. However, it would be wrong to think that South Africa is alone or unique in experiencing tremendous upheaval on a national scale. There are other nations – outside of warzones – that are currently going through similar traumatic and challenging struggles. If, in the midst of the agony of a nation at odds with itself, the Church in that nation does not provide an answer or response, then that nation is indeed in a very dark place. Here is where the role of the Church, Christ’s Body, is vital.
ROBERT MUGABE: MOURNING THE LOSS OF A LIBERATOR OR CELEBRATING THE DEATH OF A DICTATOR? A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
10 SEPTEMBER 2019 – Former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, passed away on Friday 6 September 2019 in Singapore. He was 95 years old. Mugabe was a man who divided global public opinion like few others. To some, he was an “evil dictator” who should have ended his days in jail for crimes against humanity. To others, he was a “revolutionary hero” who fought racial oppression and stood up to Western imperialism and neo-colonialism.
BORIS JOHNSON: "THE NEW DONALD TRUMP OF GREAT BRITAIN"?
23 JULY 2019 – Boris Johnson became the new leader of the Conservative Party, and in effect the new Prime Minister of Great Britain. There have been countless comparisons between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, the president of the USA, but most of the similarities are superficial while the differences are profound.
10 LESSONS FROM SYRIA FOR A POST-ELECTION SOUTH AFRICA AND A PRE-ELECTION USA
21 MAY 2019 – A team from INcontext International travelled to Syria in May in order to understand the realities of faith when a Church is caught in a prolonged war. The war has not only produced a strong and vibrant Church but has created lessons of faith that few would have the privilege of experiencing. The team found strength in the midst of brokenness and beauty amongst the ashes. The Church in Syria truly reflects the words of Brennan Manning: “In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”
UNDERSTANDING PERSECUTION: RECALIBRATING A THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING
7 MAY 2019 – The Easter season of 2019 saw a wide range of news reports in which Christians made the headlines, many of which were for incidents of “persecution”. The modern Western Church has created new definitions of old truths in order to remain as ‘Biblically true’ as possible in a sacrifice-free, comfortable and risk-free society. We didn’t change the Gospel, but we altered the ‘point of calibration’.
THE SRI LANKA BOMBINGS: 3 MISCONCEPTIONS CREATED BY CHRISTIAN MEDIA
30 APRIL 2019 – The Easter Sunday bombings drew much attention in the media. Sadly, posts on social media pointed to “inconsistency” in news reports, and many embraced a victim mentality that personalised the attacks and turned compassion into self-pity. Here are three misconceptions circulated by Christians in the wake of the attacks.
NIGERIA'S 'MIDDLE BELT': A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE OF A COMMUNITY IN CONFLICT
9 APRIL 2019 – During the first three months of 2019, hundreds of lives were lost and hundreds of homes were burned, raising new concerns about the truth behind the violence occurring between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and predominantly Christian Bachama farmers in Nigeria’s ‘Middle Belt’ region.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE MOSQUE SHOOTINGS: UNCOVERING THE GOOD AND THE SAD IN THE MIDST OF THE UGLY
18 MARCH 2019 – Any tragedy has the potential to make us either better or bitter. The lessons in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque shooting are clear – the tragedy should be mourned, the good that came from it should be celebrated and the failures should be acknowledged and rectified.
THE NEW ZEALAND MASSACRE: THE FINAL LINK, THE GREAT STINK AND THE MUCH-NEEDED LIGAMENT
15 MARCH 2019 – On Friday 15 March 2019, 49 people were killed and more than 20 seriously injured in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand. Christians can learn three valuable lessons from this tragedy.