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Things Our Mothers Told Us

Stories and advice from our interviews with moms.

“Your relationships are the most important… they make a life well lived,” Laura Bush tells her daughter Barbara in an on-camera interview. Their conversation is part of The Huffington Post’s recent Talk to Me series, in which children interview their parents. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’ve put together our own version of Talk to Me, in which the Her.meneutics writers chat with their moms about “a life well lived.”

The mothers represented here are diverse in every possible way. One grew up in poverty in Spanish Harlem and never went to school; another has a doctoral degree. Some went to work outside the house; others stayed home. Most are biological mothers, but one is a stepmother who loved her step-kids as her own after she lost her own baby. In conversations all across the country, these daughters ask their mothers the questions they’ve always wanted answers to.

What do you most want to know about your mothers? Tell us in the comments.

Halee Gray Scott

My stepmother Karen Joiner Gray was forced by her parents to have an abortion when she was 16 years old and as a consequence was unable to have children. Years later she married my dad when I was 16 years old, and I credit her with one of the most redemptive moments in my life. I talked with her recently about that moment.

“As the eldest child in a dysfunctional family, I often took responsibility for the care of the household, which felt like an enormous burden,” I said to her. “One day you came into the kitchen, took the cleaning rag from my hand and said, ‘Halee, you will never clean this kitchen again. You go be the kid you never got to be.’”

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Fri, 06 May 2016 07:15:00 PDT
News: Dobson and Dobson

"Doctor" returns to the radio as his wife's National Day of Prayer takes center stage.

Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.

Dobson Returns to Radio

James Dobson left Focus on the Family in February, bringing to an end three decades of hosting the popular radio program. This week, Dobson returned to discuss families, faith, and policy in a new show, "Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson." Dobson is joined by his son, Ryan Dobson, and former Focus on the Family producer LuAnne Crane for a 30-minute show unaffiliated with Focus.

Focus president Jim Daly said Dobson's new show is not in competition with the Focus on the Family broadcast. Indeed, Focus gave one million dollars to help Dobson start Family Talk.

"We've never been the only family-help ministry on the block," Daly said. "The needs of families worldwide are great—we will continue to dedicate ourselves to helping them, working together with like-minded groups to have the greatest impact possible."

The decision to ask Dobson to step down as host has raised speculation about the direction of Focus. Some conservatives worry that Focus is adopting a new tone that is less confrontational and less policy focused.

Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington, had earlier questioned where Focus was going.

"I am not very happy with the new, progressive, 'loving' leadership at Focus on the Family," Hutcherson said in March. "Dr. Dobson only wants to continue to speak the truth on the radio. Apparently, that truth has limited appeal to the new leadership at Focus."

Dobson said that while it was time to hand the baton to new leadership at Focus, he wanted to continue speaking out on cultural issues.

"Please don't expect me to take a 'softer, gentler' approach ...

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Fri, 07 May 2010 08:12:02 PDT
Church Journeys: Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, NC

I recently visited Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Here's a bit about my time there.

I was at the Summit Church this summer, preaching for my friend J.D. Greear.

It’s a contemporary church, with seven campuses, and with over 8000 weekly attendees. It is actually an older church that experienced a rather stunning revitalization (including a name change).

Some highlights of the church for me were its passion for church planting, its focus on expository preaching, and its facilities.

1. Church Planting as a Sending Church

Just before my message, they showed a video, announcing their new church planting residents, and asking for people from their church to relocate with those intense, nine months later.

Here is their video:

This is part of their emphasis as a sending church, which they describe here:

We believe THE most beneficial thing for every community is a church that can proclaim and live out the Gospel of Jesus. We believe the church is THE BEST organization on earth, and we believe it will survive as long as time itself.

So, we are committed to planting churches in strategic cities all over the world.

And not just where it’s easy, either. The Summit has members living in church plants in four of the hardest, most Christian-unfriendly places on the planet. Each year we give away at least 10% of our budget to these church plants overseas, and send hundreds of volunteers to serve those communities.

Mike McDaniel is doing a great job leading this part of their strategy, and I am thankful for the opportunity to address their residents after preaching on Sunday.

2. Its Focus on Expository Preaching

The church has a strong focus on expository preaching, and I preached from 2 Corinthians 5.

J.D. and I were recently on a panel to discuss expository preaching, and I ...

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Fri, 07 May 2010 08:12:02 PDT
Transgender Confusion Goes Beyond Elementary School Bathrooms

Researcher Mark Yarhouse on why mixing politics and gender identity has only left us more confused.

This week, 11 states announced that they would sue the Obama administration following its executive order mandating that school districts allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their preferred gender. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment aimed at preventing the US government from withholding federal funds from North Carolina, after the state passed its controversial “bathroom bill” this March, requiring people to use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate. This comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s decision to sue the state for the law for “state-sponsored discrimination.”

Few of these political fights have helped anyone better understand the nuances of transgenderism, says Mark Yarhouse, the author of Understanding Gender Dysphoria and founder of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity.

“People experience legislation as an attack on the things that they believe in, and other people think that legislation is symbolic of the things that matter the most to them,” he said. “You could easily have two sides speaking past each other. I think that’s what we have today.”

CT believes that God created people with male and female identities and we would generally encourage integration and alignment of gender identity with biological sex, based on a creational account of male and female (Gen. 1–2) and the overall goodness of bodies and embodiment. (Here’s Yarhouse’s feature story on the issue.) But what does that belief mean for how Christians engage this topic in the world?

Yarhouse joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to discuss what’s behind the term cis-gender, what the ...

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Thu, 26 May 2016 10:35:00 PDT
Curtains Up: Its Our New Entertainment Newsletter!

Introducing your new must-read cheat sheet.

Every summer, while everyone is out romping around in the sunshine, eating hot dogs or something, I spend hours in dark rooms, staring at brightly lit screens and scrawling blindly into notebooks. Vitamin D deficiency: an occupational hazard for critics.

But I’m not complaining. I get to watch a lot of movies and TV shows before they’re publicly available—many more than I can reasonably write long essays about. I get to dip my toes into the vast ocean of provocative, imaginative stories being told on our screens of all sizes. For Christianity Today readers, this is terrific news. There are so many ways to explore culture, directing our attention toward both beautiful and broken parts of our world, moving and reshaping and challenging us. It's a gift.

And yet not everyone has time to see everything that’s out there—especially now in the age of great television. Nor should everyone. You’ve got better things to do.

So to free you up for eating hot dogs and going on picnics—and, more broadly, cultivating a broad palette for great art and well-made entertainment—I’ll be writing our weekly newsletter from now on, starting next week. I’ll try to touch on the big releases and the small ones, and sometimes direct your attention away from the buzz and toward things you might otherwise overlook. This week you’ll get a sneak peek.

I don't know about you, but I'm especially fascinated by how religion shows up on screen—in obvious ways, through characters of faith or depictions of church, but in less obvious ways, too. So sometimes I'll write about that here when I see it as well. Sometimes I'll link to other voices and articles that can help us make ...

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Thu, 19 May 2016 14:19:00 PDT
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