The Religion of Star Wars

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Peter Jones, executive director of truthXchange, a ministry that exists to recognize and respond to the rising tide of neopaganism. Click here for the full article.

With the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, those who believe in the one true God have an opportunity to engage the culture with the truth about the timeless spiritual struggle that exists in the world.

I believe there are good reasons for viewing this film. We can certainly respect its artistic and entertainment value. Galactic battle scenes and human drama are entertaining. But also, by seeing this movie, Christians can sharpen their understanding of both contemporary culture and their appreciation of the Christian faith, allowing them to see in antithetical clarity both the Christian message and the message of Star Wars in order to present the gospel in a fresh way for our time.

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Year in Review: Barna’s Top 10 Findings

In its 30-year history, Barna Group has conducted more than one million interviews over the course of hundreds of studies, and has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, leadership and vocation, and generations. Barna Group has carefully and strategically tracked the role of faith in America, developing one of the nation’s most comprehensive databases of spiritual indicators. Barna Group works with thousands of business, nonprofit organizations and churches across the U.S. and around the world,

With the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, a jump in concerns about religious freedom, and an overall secularization of Americans’ views, 2015 was a year of increasing anxiety among people of faith. Barna compiled its top 10 findings and trends from a vast array of research conducted in the past 12 months:

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Glory Days with Max Part 2

This is the second of a two-part interview with Max Lucado on his new book, Glory Days (Thomas Nelson).

God promises to meet every need, yet we still worry and fret. Why?

I can think of a couple of reasons. We don’t know about our inheritance. No one ever told us about “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:19). No one ever told us that we fight from victory, not for victory. No one told us that the land is already conquered. Some Christians never live out of their inheritance because they don’t know they have one. And secondly, we don’t believe in our inheritance. That was the problem of Joshua’s ancestors. They really didn’t believe that God could give them the land. The Glory Days of the Hebrews could have begun four decades earlier, a point God alluded to in his promise to Joshua: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses” (Josh. 1:3). The reminder? I made this offer to the people of Moses’ day, but they didn’t take it. They chose the wilderness. Don’t make the same mistake. Joshua didn’t.

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Glory Days: Q&A with Max Lucado

“Glory Days” is Max Lucado’s newest work and follows Israel’s move from the wilderness into the Promised Land. Using the book of Joshua, Lucado shows the successful leadership of Joshua and how we can apply the Israelite’s wilderness journey to help us enter our own Promised Land and the glory days God has for us now.

Q: First off, tell us what you mean by "glory days."

It’s a reference to the Glory Days of Israel. On the time line of your Bible, it’s a seven year era that glistens between the difficult days of Exodus and the dark age of the judges. Moses had just died, and the Hebrews were beginning their fifth decade as Bedouin in the badlands. And sometime around 1400 BC, God spoke, Joshua listened, and the Glory Days began. The Jordan River opened up. The Jericho walls fell down. The sun stood still, and the kings of Canaan were forced into early retirement. Evil was booted and hope rebooted. By the end of the campaign, the homeless wanderers became hope-filled homesteaders. A nation of shepherds began to quarry a future out of the Canaanite hills. They built farms, villages, and vineyards. The accomplishments were massive. 

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Malestrom: An Interview With Carolyn Custis James

Who gets to define what it means to be a man? Pop culture? Church culture? Jesus? Evangelical thinker and author Carolyn Custis James has spent the last two years examining these questions, and she’s now calling Christians to the urgent task of recapturing God’s vision for men. The title of her new book, Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Current of a Changing World (Zondervan, June 2015), alludes to the dangers of whirlpools in the open seas, maelstroms. She chose this powerful title to help readers grasp the destructive and disorienting forces that took root as humans turned away from God’s original vision for men.

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Lee Strobel on Grace (Part 2)

The Case for Grace Is bestselling author Lee Strobel's most personal and, arguably, his most powerful book to date. In it he shares his personal transformation alongside seven real-life tales of men and women whose lives have been transformed by God's grace.

In a telephone interview with the editors of ConversantLife.com, Lee shared how the stories he chose for the book reflect his own lifelong quest for grace.

Did your own experiences with God’s grace help you choose the kind of people you wanted to interview, so you could show the different shades of grace?

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Lee Strobel and The Case for Grace (Part 1)

Lee Strobel almost died before his own story joined the pages of his newest and most personal book, The Case for Grace: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives (Zondervan, 2015). 

In this captivating book, the bestselling and award-winning author of several “The Case for” books shares his own personal transformation alongside seven real-life tales of men and women whose lives have been revolutionized by God’s grace.

These grace-filled stories are contrasted with world religions focused on earning divine favor. Only Christianity reveals a God who showers humanity with unmerited favor...amazing grace.

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Preston Yancey Q and A (Part 2)

In Part 1 of his interview with Michael Summers, Preston Yancey talked about prayer, the intimacy of God, the importance of exploring your faith, and what it means to be a generous evangelical. In Part 2, Michael asks Preston four more questions that spark Preston to offer insights concerning the silence of God, the twin gifts of faith and doubt, God's patience, and the importance of reading widely. These themes and more are found in Yancey's exceptional new book, Tables in the Wilderness.

A major theme in your book is the motif of the silence of God. What has the silence of God taught you, and how do we continue to follow God in light of such silence?

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Eric Garner and the Call for Justice

The following transcript is from a conversation with Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. You can also listen to the audio interview conducted by Phillip Bethancourt. The issue at hand is how to help churches navigate the types of controversy that’s going on in the wake of the decision of the Grand Jury in New York City to not indict an officer in the choking death of Eric Garner. Dr. Moore was asked  and what it means for racial reconciliation in our culture and in particular, the church. 

Russell Moore: Well, I've said quite a few times that when it comes to the Ferguson decision you have a lot of white people, particularly, who look at it only in terms of Ferguson itself. And they're saying, and they're right, that we don't know exactly what happened between Michael Brown and this police officer. We don't know exactly what happened between Michael Brown and this police officer. We don't know exactly what this altercation was about. 

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Preston Yancey Q&A (Part 1)

Preston Yancey is a lifelong Texan raised Southern Baptist who fell in love with reading saints, crossing himself, and high church spirituality. He now makes his home within the Anglican tradition. He is a writer, painter, baker, and speaker. His debut book, Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again (Zondervan), chronicles his faith journey while in college—from the one he was raised to believe, to a faith he could call his own.

Michael Summers, a senior business major at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, interviewed Preston in a café near Baylor, Preston’s alma mater. Michael asked some great questions, which encouraged Preston to offer some thoughtful answers that are longer than the usual “sound bites” you normally encounter in Q&As. Your commitment to read the entire unedited interview will be well rewarded.

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Amazing voices from the faith community. These are pastors, social justice leaders, musicians, cultural influencers, filmmakers and more who blog from time to time on ConversantLife.


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