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Formerly incarcerated artists can now apply to win a $20K arts fellowship

  • On Thursday, a national creative agency geared toward uplifting social justice causes in pop culture launched a $100,000 fellowship for artists who were once incarcerated. 
  • The Soze Agency, which shared details of the fellowship exclusively with Mic, said it believes their initiative is the first of its kind in the U.S.
  • “The Right of Return USA Fellowship” is part of the agency’s Returning Citizens Project aimed at establishing a network of painters, sculptors, filmmakers and performers who have served time in the penal system. 
  • The fellowship will award five artists with a grant of $20,000 each for projects addressing reform of the criminal justice system. 
  • The fellowship also includes a three-day retreat offering recipients master classes on campaigns, criminal justice policy and art history. 
  • The fellowship, which is being offered to people of all artistic disciplines, began accepting applications Thursday. Read more (3/23/17)

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5 keys to finding a good church

Anonymous asked: I need to leave the church I grew up in. I read what you write, and it sounds quite different from what I hear in my church. But all my friends go there, and I’m worried that they’ll freak out, and I’ll never see them again, and I know that’s a silly reason to stay. I don’t know where to start looking, and part of me is worried that all these other churches might be just as bad.

Unka Glen answered: I’m sorry that things aren’t working out where you are, but I think if we take a big picture look at this problem, we will immediately turn things around to the positive. Let’s look at five key steps to finding a new church:

1. It’s not about how bad it is, it’s about how good it could be. Your spiritual health is important, and your only obligation is to your Savior. He’s calling you to find a place where your spiritual needs are being met. It doesn’t matter how good or bad your church is, it only matters that you follow where He leads you.

2. Skip the guilt about leaving. One of the most bizarre and enduring myths about church, is this idea that you’d go to one church forever, and this one church would meet every need you have throughout your entire spiritual journey. While I guess it would be nice if that worked out, it is extremely unlikely, and far from the norm.

3. Churches vary wildly in quality. Part of our ministry is visiting, evaluating, and partnering with churches (we’ve looked at hundreds at this point). This often feels looks like going from McDonald’s, to Taco Bell, to KFC, to suddenly finding a home cooked meal by a relative who loves you and makes your favorite dish. Do a lot of looking, good churches are rare, but worth the effort.

4. Know where to look. There are good churches everywhere, but generally the suburbs are the worst place to start looking. Likewise, large membership churches are rarely good. Always look for a pastor who directly works with poor people. Look for good doctrine, and avoid any kind of manipulation through fear or guilt.

5. Fellowship is key. Good fellowship will create stability while you make the transition to a new church. If you have a small group where you feel comfortable, where you read the Bible and share your struggles on living it out, then you could basically add worship music, and you’re most of the way to having church break out. If you feel like a number where you are, and you feel lost in the crowd, and the pastor doesn’t even know your name, it’s time to be active in finding, or creating, quality Christian community.

anonymous asked:

I'm having trouble understanding Christian fellowship. I've been a loner all my life and haven't had a friend for 4 years (not including God). I don't really care if I have no friends but, I know it's important to "be a friend" to others. Everyone has plenty of friends, I'm not needed. There are plenty of better Christians/ friends than me. How important is Christian fellowship? How is fellowship like friendship?

Hi friend,

I had trouble with this too for a good bit. It’s similar to friendship, but is different in that Christian fellowship can only be between believers (as we are unified through and in Christ). 

Here is the definition of fellowship, according to the web:


And here is an article on the importance of Christian fellowship. I like where it says:

“We can have friendships and relationships with unbelievers, but true Christian fellowship can only occur within the body of Christ. We are united to one another by common beliefs, purposes and goals. Our hearts and minds are “other-worldly” because we follow Jesus Christ, who said that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We know that we are strangers in this world, and we long for the time when we will be in our true home, heaven.”

This article, about the word koinonia (which means fellowship and is mentioned in the Bible 20 times), gives an example from Scripture of what this fellowship should look like. 

I pray this information helps you. If not, do feel free to message me again.

PS You are needed, and no one is better than you. We are all sinners, and we are all saved by grace, and we are all loved by Him. Do you attend church, friend? Church is a great place to find fellowship. :)

All my love,

S. 

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Meriadoc Brandybuck was a hobbit of the Shire, He is a Brandybuck but also half Tookish through his mother. He is best friends with Frodo Baggins and first cousins with Peregrin Took. The hobbits of Buckland were different from others in that they were fond of boats, and some could swim. Before the events of the Lord of the Rings he was a respected hobbit of Brandy Hall, and he knew of the Ring’s existence having seen Bilbo use it to avoid the Sackville Bagginses. He was greatly involved in Frodo’s conspiracy to leave the Shire, including finding him a hideout home in Crickhollow and using his knowledge of the paths to escape unheeded. He helped lead the party through the Old Forest, and with them was captured by Old Man Willow. Rescued by Tom Bombadil, and captured again in the Barrow Downs by the Wights - and following Frodo’s call to Tom rescued again. Here he received a Barrow Blade, which to a man was simply a dagger. It was forged in Westernesse which gave it ancient power. In Bree he was attacked by a Black Rider but not injured, he was rescued by Nob. He accompanied the hobbits to Rivendell, where he was then appointed as a member of the Fellowship Of The Ring, for his cunning and loyalty to Frodo. He had to be carried by Aragorn in the failed attempt to pass Caradhras. At the entrance to Moria he was credited with helping Gandalf remember the pass through the Doors of Durin. In Lothlorien he was gifted a silver belt from Galadriel. During the Skirmish at Amon Hen Merry and Pippin were captured by the Orcs, after Merry had slew a few goblins. They were spared because the orcs’ orders were to capture halflings, in pursuit of the Ring. Outside of Fangorn Forest they escaped during a battle between the Orcs and the Riders of Rohan. Their journey through Fangorn included Merry and Pipping drinking the Ent-Draught, making them the tallest hobbits in legend. In Fangorn they met Treebeard and accompanied the Last March of the Ents, which engaged in the destruction of Isengard. Upon reuniting with The Three Hunters and the Rohirrim he rejoined the remnants of the Fellowship. Here he was separated from Pippin, and wanting to contribute to the war effort swore fealty to Theoden of Rohan. He was made a squire in a ceremonial sense. As they marched to Gondor to aid Minas Tirith he was denied the ability to fight as he was not big enough to ride a horse. However a knight named Dernhelm took him upon his horse, and he went to the Battle of Pelennor. During the Battle the Witch-King scared Merry’s horse, causing him to fall, however he remained next to the duel between Dernhelm and the Witch-king, fighting over the body of Theoden. Dernhelm reveals herself to be Eowyn, but is almost defeated by the Nazgul, until Merry uses his ancient sword to stab the Witch-king down the back, undoing his armor and he pierced the Ringwraith’s ethereal form, but by doing this he is gravely injured by the Black Breath. He is healed by Aragorn after the battle. After the destruction of the Ring he returned to the Shire and lead the hobbits in the Battle of Bywater, ensuring success and a reconquest of the Shire. He became the Master of Buckland, married a Bolger, and had no children. He visited Gondor with Pippin where they both died peacefully and were buried in the King’s Tomb, next to King Aragorn Elessar.

“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin - to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends Frodo. Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid - but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.” - Merry speaking for the hobbits and their loyalty after revealing they have known about Frodo’s plans. Fellowship of the Ring, A Conspiracy Unmasked.

God doesn’t want us to try hard to have good relationships with people because our business isn’t with people, it’s with God. Jesus was about His Father’s business even though His parents feared they had lost Him and didn’t approve of Him wandering off alone since they were desperately looking for Him. He was off doing what God commanded Him to do and what God wanted Him to say at twelve years old.

Jesus calls us to abide in His love, not in the love of those around us. Having constant fellowship with who Christ is in us is everything.