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The Missing Voice in the Adoption Conversation

How our language would change if we heard more from adoptees.

November is National Adoption Month. Along with church observations of Orphan Sunday and the newly founded World Adoption Day, this is a time when adoptive parents talk, tweet, and blog to share their experiences and celebrate the families they’ve grown through adoption.

You’d think that this kind of public campaign promoting adoption would be something that gets adoptees like me excited. Instead, I find myself feeling ambivalent. Too often, parents’ voices dominate the adoption conversation, both in society overall and in American evangelicalism. Their generally positive narratives—stories of welcoming happy kids with open arms, of fulfilling a biblical call to care for orphans— often downplay the complexities of adoption and the viewpoints of the children involved.

In response to National Adoption Month, adult adoptees started a social media campaign (#FlipTheScript) to incorporate their first-person perspectives. It is our hope that by telling our stories, more people will consider the complicating factors in adoption—not to discourage adoption, but to truthfully present the dual realities adoptees are forced to live within. For example, one adoptee wrote of her birth mother and her adoptive mother: “I love both of my mothers. Just like how parents can love more than one child. Neither love can be measured.” Lost Daughters, a writing group featuring the perspectives of adoptees, spoke to the importance of sharing their stories in this short video about the #FlipTheScript campaign.

I believe incorporating adoptees’ stories can also help balance the discourse around adoption for Christians, too. We can do more to recognize that tragedy is inherent within adoption. ...

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Good News: Fewer Iraq War Veterans Receiving 'Radical Hospitality' in Jesus' Name

Gospel rescue missions report drop in visits by vets who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf.

Fewer veterans are seeking food or shelter from rescue missions, according to an October survey of almost 17,000 individuals.

Overall, veterans made up 12 percent of those seeking help from the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM), which surveyed more than 100 of its 285 members offering "radical hospitality in the name of Jesus."

The number of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan dropped from 12 percent of identified vets to 8 percent, while those who served in the Persian Gulf dropped from 16 percent to 12 percent. By contrast, the numbers of those who served in Vietnam (20 percent) and Korea (4 percent) remained steady.

The overall drop is welcome news after last year's report that twice as many Iraq and Afghanistan vets were seeking help from AGRM missions. The numbers reflect a larger drop counted by the Housing and Urban Development Department, which recently reported an 8 percent drop in homeless veterans.

The needs of homeless veterans are often complicated by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a Veterans Day broadcast, televangelist Kenneth Copeland and controversial historian David Barton told radio listeners that God's promises can release them from PTSD.

Religion News Service covered the heated response. "For them to denigrate the suffering of men and women traumatized by war—and to claim biblical support for their callow and doltish views—is both shocking and unconscionable," Joe Carter, communications director for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told RNS.

Many church leaders are working to engage veterans, aiming to be a consistent presence for soldiers as they transition back home. Veterans ...

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Goodbye, Mars Hill: Mark Driscoll's Multisite Empire Will Sell Properties and Dissolve

Come New Year's Day, 13 churches will go their separate ways or shut down.

Marking its own Reformation Day of sorts, Mars Hill Church will dissolve Mark Driscoll's multisite network and let each of its remaining 13 churches go their own way.

Founded in 1996, the Seattle-based megachurch planted 15 satellite sites across five states, its passion for creating new churches further evidenced by Driscoll founding the Acts 29 network. By New Year's Day, the multisite organization and the Mars Hill name will be no more.

"Rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities," Dave Bruskas, primary teaching pastor, announced today to the Mars Hill family. "This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams."

In the aftermath of Driscoll's surprise resignation, the lead pastor of each current site has three options to choose from by January 1:

(1) becoming an independent, self-governed church
(2) merging with an existing church to create one independent, self-governed church
(3) disbanding as a church and shepherding current members to find other local church homes

Meanwhile, Mars Hill as an organization will dissolve in four steps:

(1) All of Mars Hill’s existing church properties will either be sold, or the loans on the individual properties will be assumed by the independent churches, subject to approval by the lender (2) all central staff will be compensated for their work, and then released from their employment (3) if ...

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Answered Prayer for IDOP: North Korea Frees Missionary Kenneth Bae After Two Years

(UPDATED) Bae: 'Thank you ... for lifting me up and not forgetting me.'

Update (Nov. 10): At a news conference, Kenneth Bae thanked his supporters for "lifting me up and not forgetting me" during his long captivity in North Korea. "It's been an amazing two years," he said. "I learned a lot, I grew a lot, lost a lot of weight—in a good way—but I'm standing strong because of you."

“He still has a tremendous heart for the people of North Korea,” Bae's sister, Terri Chung, told reporters outside her Seattle church, Quest Church. “He only has the best wishes and intentions for that country, still.”

Quest pastor Eugene Cho shared via Twitter and Instagram a photo of Bae and his mother praying. "Prayer matters. It's a reminder of God's presence," he wrote. "Prayer sustained Kenneth Bae in NK. After he came home, we prayed." Cho, whose parents were born in North Korea, also reflected on praying for the country and its Christians.

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Good news for concerned Christians observing Sunday's International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP): Missionary Kenneth Bae, the longest-imprisoned American in North Korea since the Korean War, has finally been freed after two years.

"The day we’ve been praying for has finally arrived," wrote Bae's sister, Terri Chung, in a public statement. "Words cannot adequately express our relief and gratitude that Kenneth is finally coming home. We have been waiting for and praying for this day for two years. This ordeal has been excruciating for the family, but we are filled with joy right now."

Bae regularly led orphan-focused tours into North Korea from China. North Korea claimed he was working for YWAM (Youth ...

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Swaddling the Cradle of Christianity

IRAQ: Winter is coming. So Hollywood’s powerhouse Christian couple has joined with the king of Jordan to help displaced Iraqi Christians survive the cold. The United Nations reports 800,000 refugees, like this boy in Kurdistan, need shelter. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey aim to raise $25 million for Mideast churches. “Losing the presence of Christians accelerates instability,” said Chris Seiple of the Institute for Global Engagement, which manages the fund. "Rescuing, restoring, and returning them is not only the right thing to do, it is in everyone’s interest to do so."

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