Saturday, August 8, 2015

Apologetics in Indonesia

There is a common language among both believers and non-believers, and that language is Human Rights. Something stirs deeply in us when we watch the news or read headlines about public beheadings, girls taken captive in sexual slavery, or other horrible events. We know deep in our hearts that these things are WRONG. But why? Why do we care about Human Rights? What gives human beings value and dignity?

Interestingly, today Human Rights advocates influenced by post-modern, atheistic, philosophical teaching have no explanation for "why" Human Right are important. Many such scholars have publicly abandoned the conversation. But Christianity is the only worldview that can make sense of this "Why" question. What gives human beings value and dignity is that we were created by God in His image because He loves us.

How do we know our value? Value can be determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for something. Christianity teaches that God purchased us with the blood of His Son Jesus. He has shown us how much we are valued. (John 3:16) His love for us is enormous, too vast for us to fully comprehend.

I had the privilege of speaking on this topic at a recent Apologetics Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia.  What a fascinating country! A predominantly Muslim country which allows some freedom of religion for Christians and others. It seems paradoxical until we come to understand that God has a plan and He is working it out.

We discovered a hunger for Christian Apologetics in Indonesia. The time is right. The wheels of planning are spinning to return and bring more teaching.  I can't wait. My taste buds are already salivating thinking of another delicious Rotiboy bun and fried rice.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Female Apologists Needed!

Last year when I went to the National Apologetics Conference I felt a stirring. This year when I went, I wasn't just stirred again, I was shaken!

I had the privilege of attending the Women's Pre-Conference to this event. I was intrigued by a class about "Jesus Feminists." I had to go.  Since that time, I cannot stop thinking about this concept--Jesus Feminists or Christian Feminists. Can women be feminists and be Christian? What a great question!

This year I had the honor of teaching conflict resolution at the Ratio Christi Symposium and Retreat.  I love teaching. Have I mentioned I love teaching? I love teaching!!!

This stirring or shaking has given me much to ponder. Someone should lead this discussion.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Resolving Marital Conflict

More training in helping married couples resolve conflict. Delighted my friend Marla could join me. We had a blast connecting with other Iowa peacemakers.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Opening Soon!

I am thrilled to announce that John and I have recently acquired this beautiful building in Panora, IA for our office space.  On the lower level will be Stewart Law & Mediation, PLLC. On the upper level will be Ratio Christi International.

Stay tuned for Grand Opening information...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Teaching Peacemaking in West Africa

Sometimes opportunities come and you just can't say no.

On our last trip to West Africa, John and I met with a few Christian lawyers. They were very interested in the teaching I do on conflict resolution. The Christian lawyers in this town have a heart to start a mediation center. They asked if I would come and teach. This area has a history of heavy religious persecution, so the need was real and urgent.

When John & I returned the following year to teach, I had hoped for maybe 20 students. However, the interest grew. We were informed we should expect over 100 lawyers, judges, and other leaders in the community. We packed 6 suitcases to take with us, 4 filled with books and other teaching materials.

Thankfully they all arrived, despite cancelled flights, long delays, rerouting flights, and one suitcase temporarily missing.

Words cannot begin to describe this teaching opportunity. What do you say when a woman tells you story of bringing someone into her home to help flee from an attack, and then when she leaves to go get some food and returns, she discovers this person has killed her children? Or what do you say to the wife who's husband has never said he is sorry because the culture does not encourage that kind of communication? What do you say to someone who doesn't want to shop in a certain area for fear of being poisoned? What do you say to someone who decides to avenge a loved ones' death by killing the murderer and eating their organs in order to gain power?

These are very real problems facing very real people on a day to day basis. What could this white woman from America possibly do to help them? Share with them what I've learned about a peaceful approach to responding to conflict.

What did I teach? I started with the anatomy of conflict, explaining our tendency in responding to conflict (fight or flight) and how those responses can actually escalate conflict. Then I explained another way of responding, a peacemaker's way. It requires a new way of thinking, learning to see conflict as an opportunity.  Then we dived into how we must examine ourselves first in conflict. It is so easy for us to see what everyone else has done wrong, but do we take the time to look at ourselves first? If we honestly look at ourselves first and deal with our own wrongs, it helps us to see others more clearly. It helps us to respond to the wrongs of others more compassionately. We talked about how to talk to others respectfully, lovingly, and kindly to show them their errors. We talked a lot about confession and forgiveness. People who call themselves Christians are the most forgiven people in the world, so they should be the most forgiving people in the world. It is not easy to breathe grace naturally into the lives of others, but we can learn. We can change. We can do better.

The group has asked me to come back and teach conflict coaching and mediation. I am eager to return.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wedding bliss!

Delightful trip to Virginia where John married my niece to a really great guy!