LISTEN: Urban Christian News Podcast (07/08/19)

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

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 the Baptist Press, Longtime Texas pastor and Southern Baptist leader Chris Osborne has been named to the faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Osborne will serve as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry beginning Jan. 1, 2020. President Adam W. Greenway said, “I am excited to welcome Chris Osborne to the faculty of Southwestern Seminary. Our seminary has long prioritized the combination of scholastic rigor and practical training. Both personally and pastorally, Chris Osborne exemplifies the best of the Southwestern Seminary legacy, and his joining our faculty makes clear our resolve to build the strongest possible faculty committed to training those who are called to preach the Gospel and shepherd the people of God.”

According to the AP, Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a once-secret plea deal, the U.S. government is taking another run at putting the wealthy sex offender behind bars with new sex-trafficking charges alleging he abused dozens of underage girls as young as 14. Epstein, arrested over the weekend, made his first court appearance on the new charges Monday in New York City. Prosecutors were likely to argue he is a flight risk and should remain in jail instead of being released on bail pending trial. The case deals with allegations that Epstein, a 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once hobnobbed with some of the world’s most powerful people, paid the underage girls hundreds of dollars in cash for massages and molested them at his homes in Florida and New York.

According to the AP, Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are marking their 73rd wedding anniversary, approaching George and Barbara Bush as the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history. The Carters married July 7, 1946, in a Methodist church in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, when he was 21 and she was 18. The Carters have three sons, one daughter, eight grandsons, three granddaughters and two great-grandsons. Carter was president 1977-81. He is 94.

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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!