PODCAST: Prominent Southern Baptists Drop “Southern” Label Amid Racial Tension (UCNN 9.15.20)

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According to the Houston Chronicle, Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are increasingly dropping the “Southern” part of their Baptist name, calling it a potentially painful reminder of the convention’s historic role in support of slavery. The 50,000 Baptist churches in the convention are autonomous and can still choose to refer to themselves as “Southern Baptist” or “SBC.” But in his first interview on the topic, convention president J.D. Greear said momentum has been building to adopt the name “Great Commission Baptists,” both because of the racial reckoning underway in the United States and because many have long seen the “Southern Baptist” name as too regional for a global group of believers. “Our Lord Jesus was not a White Southerner but a brown-skinned Middle Eastern refugee,” said Greear, who this summer used the phrase “Black lives matter” in a presidential address and announced that he would retire a historic gavel named for an enslaver. “Every week we gather to worship a savior who died for the whole world, not one part of it. What we call ourselves should make that clear.”

According to USA Today, Chick-fil-A said Monday that it no longer plans to open a restaurant in the San Antonio airport, even though the Texas city relented after more than a year of legal wrangling that began when some city leaders opposed the fast-food chain getting a spot, citing donations made by company owners to anti-LGBTQ causes. “We are always evaluating potential new locations in the hopes of serving existing and new customers great food with remarkable service.” Chick-fil-A said in a statement. “While we are not pursuing a location in the San Antonio airport at this time, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve San Antonians in our 32 existing restaurants.” Some San Antonio City Council members blocked the chain from opening a restaurant at the San Antonio International Airport, saying they objected because Chick-fil-A’s owners have donated to anti-LGBTQ causes for years. In May last year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to look into whether the city had broken federal law or transportation department regulations. He said the fast-food chain’s exclusion from the airport amounted to discrimination “due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs.” The complaint prompted an FAA investigation that ended July 24 with an informal resolution for San Antonio to allow Chick-fil-A to seek a lease in the city-owned airport.

According to the Daily Mail, The sheriff of LA County has challenged LeBron James to match the $175,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of the Compton gunman. The reward was swiftly offered following Saturday night’s ambush of two sheriffs deputies – one, a 31-year-old woman, the other a 24-year-old man. Both are in hospital in a critical but stable condition, and a massive manhunt is underway for the black gunman, aged 28-30. On Monday Alex Villanueva, sheriff of LA County, appealed to the LA Lakers basketball star – an outspoken activist and supporter of Black Lives Matter – to match the reward money. The LA board of supervisors offered $100,000, and an additional $75,000 was donated by two private individuals. ‘This challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match that and double that reward,’ Villanueva said, speaking on KABC Radio, on the John Phillips Show. ‘I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community. And I appreciated that. But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.’

According to the Christian Post, Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, will reopen its doors for in-person services next month as the city continues to see a decline in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, Osteen announced that on Oct. 18, the megachurch will resume in-person worship services at 25% capacity and require that all attendees wear masks. “We have a very exciting announcement: We’re going to come back to in-person services on October the 18th. We can’t wait to see you guys. We’ve missed you the whole time,” the pastor said in a video message to the congregation. He added that worshipers must sign up before services on the church’s website, and people will have to practice safe social distancing. Lakewood has remained shuttered since February due to ongoing lockdowns in response to COVID-19. However, the church has continued to hold worship in an empty chapel and stream the services online, via social media, satellite television, and SiriusXM. Victoria Osteen said in the video, “It is going to be so much fun to get together, to worship together. We know we’ve been doing it online, but to be in the presence of God in the house — it is going to be phenomenal.”

According to AccuWeather, Gulf Coast residents were rushing preparations to completion on Monday as the region braced for another hit from a hurricane — a little over two weeks after Laura’s devastating blow to areas farther west. Sally strengthened over the north-central Gulf of Mexico, with maximum sustained winds increasing to 90 mph Monday midday, as outer rain bands began soaking parts of the Florida Panhandle and western Florida. The hurricane is expected to strengthen further before it makes its first landfall Tuesday night to early Wednesday along the central Gulf coast. AccuWeather meteorologists are expecting the storm to reach Category 2 strength with winds of 96-110 mph. There is a chance the hurricane could reach major hurricane strength with winds of at least 111 mph, prior to weakening before making landfall. “While some additional strengthening of Sally is likely into early Tuesday, it is believed that the hurricane will weaken a bit prior to making landfall due to slow movement of the storm causing Gulf waters to cool and increased friction from the land,” according to AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski. “We also expect wind shear to increase over the storm prior to making landfall, which would imply weakening of the intensity as well, but regardless this will still be a significant hurricane strike in the region.”

According to Reuters, The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements on Tuesday to normalize relations with Israel, becoming the latest Arab states to break a longstanding taboo in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump hosted the White House ceremony, capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s decades-old dispute with the Palestinians. In front of a crowd of several hundred people on the White House lawn, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed accords with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani. The deals, denounced by the Palestinians, make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalize ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. All three of the Middle East leaders hailed the agreements and Trump’s role in glowing terms, with Netanyahu saying it gave hope to “all the people of Abraham.”

According to NBC News, The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has reached a $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family six months after she was killed in her home during a police drug raid. Mayor Greg Fischer announced the terms of the settlement at a news conference Tuesday afternoon with Taylor’s family and their attorneys, Benjamin Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker. The settlement does not require the city to admit any wrongdoing. Fischer said, “It is just an acknowledgment of the need for reform and the need for a settlement to take place.” He described Taylor’s death as a tragedy and noted that it had been 186 days since she was killed. “Her death has ignited a movement in Louisville, in the nation, for racial justice, sending thousands into our streets and cities all across the country and the world,” he said. “All crying out for justice for Breonna.” He said he was “deeply sorry” for Taylor’s death. “While we await a decision from Attorney General Daniel Cameron on whether or not charges will be filed in this case, my administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again,” Fischer said.

You can read these stories and more at UrbanChristianNews.com

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!