LISTEN: Urban Christian News Podcast with Danae Whyte (07/01/18)

This the Urban Christian News podcast. My name is Danae Whyte. Here are the top 12 stories you need to know about right now.

According to NPR, the streets of Annapolis filled on Friday as people gathered to mourn the loss of five Capital Gazette employees, who were gunned down in their newsroom on Thursday. The Maryland state flag was lowered to half-staff, and outside the building where the shooting took place, people left flowers, handwritten notes and American flags. Employees stood with their arms around each other, amid family members, friends and supporters. The killer, Jarrod Ramos, who has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, had reportedly sown a “legal oath” to kill a Gazette writer years earlier.

According to the Associated Press, thousands of protesters across America, moved by accounts of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, marched Saturday — in major cities and tiny towns — to demand President Donald Trump’s administration reunite the divided families. More than 700 planned marches drew hundreds of thousands of people across the country, from immigrant-friendly cities like Los Angeles and New York to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming under the banner. “Families Belong Together.”

According to the Associated Press, an autopsy report released Thursday reveals that the gunman responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and also had drugs in his system. Devin Kelley opened fire during church services on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November, killing more than two dozen people. He was later found dead in a vehicle after he was shot and chased by two men who heard the gunfire at the church.

According to the Associated Press, Like many religious conservatives in a position to know, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. suspects that the Supreme Court vacancy President Donald Trump fills in the coming months will ultimately lead to the reversal of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. But instead of celebrating publicly, some evangelical leaders are downplaying their fortune on an issue that has defined their movement for decades. Falwell told the AP, “What people don’t understand is that if you overturn Roe v. Wade, all that does is give the states the right to decide whether abortion is legal or illegal. My guess is that there’d probably be less than 20 states that would make abortion illegal if given that right.”

According to the Christian Post, The woman who came forward claiming that Paige Patterson mishandled reporting her alleged rape in 2003 says she’s forgiven him, but also claims that a letter she wrote back then, released by Patterson’s assistant’s wife in May, was “edited.” In a blog post titled “Redeeming Love”, Megan Lively of North Carolina said that although news has died down about the recent controversy that engulfed the Fort Worth, Texas-based seminary, Patterson and his supporters, she wanted to share a few things about the next chapter of her life. She wrote, “To the Pattersons and the Colters, I forgive you. My relationship with God is broken if I choose to be unrepentant and unforgiving. Scripture says — ‘bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.’ That is my prayer for you. That God will bless you.”

According to The Christian Post, Multiplatinum recording artist TobyMac took center stage at Friday’s “Fox & Friends” “All-American Summer Concert Series” and declared his full dependence on God to the show’s largest crowd of the summer in the heart of New York City. “Fox & Friends” hosts said Friday’s show brought out the “biggest crowd of the year so far.” Tobymac told the audience, “I try to write about the things I’m going through. I’m a needy man and I need a big God and I rely on that big God every day.” Along with his Diverse City band, TobyMac performed “I Just Need U,” his biggest single in six years, which has topped the radio charts as well as the Billboard’s Hot Christian Song chart.

According to Atlanta Voice, On Tuesday, the African Methodist Episcopal Church entered into a partnership with the presidents of 19 Black banks in the U.S., in an attempt to improve African-American financial vitality. The partnership is the byproduct of an initiative called Black Wealth 2020, which was created in 2015 to increase Black homeownership, grow the number of Black businesses and increase deposits and loans with Black banks. Michael Banks, former head of the National Bankers’ Association, said he sees this collaboration as imperative in terms of Black homeownership.

According to the Associated Press, Virginia authorities say an educator at the evangelical Christian university led by Jerry Falwell Jr. has been accused of trying to have sexual relations with a minor. News outlets report 63-year-old Liberty University professor Stephen Kilpatrick was arrested on Wednesday. He faces multiple charges, including using communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children. A task force against child internet crimes says Kilpatrick was arrested after travelling to meet someone who he believed was an underage girl.

According to BCNN1, The Jude 3 Project is hosting a very interesting event this Septfffffmber, pitting “African American voices trained at conservative evangelical seminaries or divinity schools with African American voices trained at mainline seminaries or divinity schools” to discuss controversial topics related to the Bible and Christianity. The first national Courageous Conversations conference will take place in Chicago, IL at the Historic Progressive Baptist Church on Monday, September 3, 2018. Two dozen scholars and pastors will be on hand to discuss the authority of Scripture, the Pauline epistles, Gospel preaching, justice, and sexuality.

According to CBC News, The manager of a popular Vancouver tourist restaurant has been fired after refusing service to a supporter of Donald Trump. A man wearing one of the U.S. president’s “Make America Great Again” hats was refused service at the Teahouse in Stanley Park by Darin Hodge. The Sequoia Company, which runs the restaurant, says Hodge was fired for not following its “philosophy of tolerance.”

According to the Associated Press, For the second time in two days, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is trying to assuage an Asian ally’s worries about America’s commitment to the region amid the ongoing denuclearization negotiations with North Korea. Mattis met Friday with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, and afterward told reporters that his visit represents “just how strongly we prioritize this relationship between our two militaries.” Mattis added that even as the U.S. is in “unprecedented negotiations” with North Korea, “in this dynamic time, the longstanding alliance between Japan and the United States stands firm.”

According to Religion News Service, Multiracial churches are on the rise and so is the percentage of U.S. congregants who attend them. A study in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion has found that the percentage of U.S. multiracial congregations almost doubled between 1998 and 2012, from 6.4 percent to 12 percent. In the same period, the percentage of U.S. congregants attending an interracial church has reached almost one in five, advancing from 12.7 percent to 18.3 percent. Co-authors Kevin Dougherty, a sociology professor at Baylor University, and Michael Emerson, provost at North Park University, defined multiracial congregations as ones in which no single racial or ethnic group constitutes more than 80 percent of the people in the pews.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!