LISTEN: Black Christian News Network One Podcast (07/08/19)

This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Kirbyjon Caldwell, the embattled pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, TX, announced his diagnosis of stage one prostate cancer on Facebook Saturday evening. He said in the video, “I wanted to tell you myself before you heard it from someplace else, so you’d know what’s going on.” Stage one prostate cancer is generally slow growing and curable, and Caldwell said he viewed his prognosis as favorable. The pastor has recently been accused of using his position to help lure nearly $3.5 million in investments in fake Chinese bonds. Caldwell denies the claims and has pleaded not guilty to charges of federal fraud. The case is set to go to jury trial Dec. 2.

According to the AP, A large majority of Americans make important decisions without calling on religious leaders for advice. A new survey for the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that three-quarters of American adults rarely or never consult a clergy member or religious leader, while only about a quarter do so at least some of the time. The lack of personal connection with ministers even includes people who identify with a specific religious faith, though those who are most engaged with their faith are more likely to have relationships with clergy. Tim O’Malley, a theology professor at Notre Dame University, said he suspects that technological self-service is among the factors contributing to infrequent contact with clergy. He said, “Think about the use of Google. You can literally Google anything. There has been a democratization of information based on the seeking self. You can find the information more easily through a search engine than finding a member of a clergy.”

According to the AP, Religious publishers say President Donald Trump’s most recent proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could result in a Bible shortage. That’s because millions of Bibles — some estimates put it at 150 million or more — are printed in China each year. Critics of a proposed tariff say it would make the Bible more expensive for consumers and hurt the evangelism efforts of Christian organizations that give away Bibles as part of their ministry. HarperCollins Christian Publishing President and CEO Mark Schoenwald recently told the U.S. Trade Representative that the company believes the Trump administration “never intended to impose a ‘Bible Tax’ on consumers and religious organizations.” The two largest Bible publishers in the United States, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, are owned by HarperCollins, and they incur close to 75% of their Bible manufacturing expenses in China. Trump’s proposed 25% tariff would apply to all books, but critics say it would disproportionately affect Bibles and children’s books. Both tend to have specialized printing requirements that Chinese printers are set up to meet while many domestic printers are not.

According to CBS42, A church in Tuscaloosa, AL, is making history. On Sunday the First United Methodist church appoints its first ever African American senior pastor, Clinton Hubbard, Jr. Hubbard says he is ready to lead his new congregation. He remarkes, “Let’s trust God and let’s be excited and let’s work together to spread the gospel message. I am excited about it and a little nervous about the reality of it being history. But we also want to realize that the greater challenge is to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Hubbard has served as clergy in the United Methodist Church for almost 37 years, most recently as the Superintendent of the Cheaha District in east Alabama.

According to Christian Today, The Church of England has been told it must return to “the whole of Scripture and to Scripture as a whole” if it is to find a way forward through the disagreement over human sexuality. In his presidential address to General Synod, Dr John Sentamu said that instead of being a guide to others, the Church had become an “echo-chamber” and that debate had been reduced to “crisp soundbite”. He suggested that the Church, both laity and clergy, needed to increase in biblical literacy as he said that Anglicans had “got used to jumping to conclusions quickly” and that the Church had “come to rely on others to do its serious thinking for it”.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “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 for listening and may God bless your day!