This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Christian Headlines, Jason Meyer, the successor to pastor and Desiring God founder John Piper, has resigned from his role as pastor for preaching & vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following allegations of abusive leadership. According to The Roy’s Report, Meyer’s resignation was announced last week in an email to the congregation by Elder Council Chairman Dr. Kurt Elting-Ballard and Bethlehem Pastor for Strategic Implementation Ken Currie. In the email, Elting-Ballard and Currie share that they “felt regret” and “a deep sense of loss” over Meyer’s resignation. In like manner, Dave Zuleger, pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem’s South Campus, addressed the church’s leadership situation in a blog post published on Bethlehem’s website last Thursday. Zuleger wrote, “By now, you have received notification of the resignation of Pastor Jason Meyer. This is another painful and confusing moment for us. It’s confusing and painful corporately because Jason took the mantle from Pastor John Piper and helped lead us to this point of campus-specific preaching. It feels jarring.” Meyer had served as pastor for preaching & vision at Bethlehem after Piper resigned from the church as its senior pastor in 2012. Three other pastors have also resigned from their leadership roles in the past four months.
According to the Daily Beast, A Florida man who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and took a selfie inside the Senate chamber while donning a Trump campaign flag and protective eye goggles is the first insurrectionist to get prison time for his crime. Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Tampa resident, was sentenced to 8 months in prison on Monday after previously pleading guilty to a single felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding. D.C. District Judge Randolph Moss also sentenced Hodgkins to 24 months of supervision after detention, on top of the already agreed-upon $2,000 in restitution and a promise to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their ongoing investigation into the riot. Moss did not order Hodgkins to immediately go into custody; instead, he will be allowed to self-surrender to the Bureau of Prisons at a later date. Federal guidelines stated that Hodgkins could have faced up to 21 months in prison and a fine of $250,000, and prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence. They said his actions were one of the reasons the Senate had to evacuate that day and that he “came prepared for confrontation.”
According to KBTX, The South Texas District Church of the Nazarene is canceling its annual Kids Camp after more than 80 people contracted COVID-19 from a youth camp held there the week of July 5, including some campers from Bryan. The church made the announcement on social media Thursday. In a post on the camp’s Facebook page, they note that more than 80 cases of COVID-19 have been linked back to the teen camp held the week of July 5-9, and that number continues to grow. The post goes on to say that several of those people were vaccinated, and they can not risk exposing more campers and counselors to the virus. The church district covers a wide area of Texas, including Bryan. Pastor Lonnie Green at The Church of The Nazarene in Bryan says they had ten teens and one counselor go to the camp during that week. Green says more than half have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning home.
According to BBC News, At least 120 people have died and hundreds more in western Europe are unaccounted for after some of the worst flooding in decades. Record rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks, devastating the region. In Germany, where the death toll now stands at over 100, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a determined battle against climate change. At least 20 people have died in Belgium. The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland are also affected. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared 20 July a national day of mourning. “We are still waiting for the final toll, but this could be the most catastrophic flooding our country has ever seen,” he said. Even the authorities say they don’t know for sure how many people are missing. There is no phone signal in much of the region, making communication all but impossible. But the death toll is expected to rise today and with every hour that passes the magnitude of this disaster becomes ever clearer. All along the River Ahr there are flooded homes, broken bridges, the twisted remains of campsites and caravan parks.
According to USA Today, A Texas resident who recently traveled from Africa has been hospitalized after catching what the Texas Department of State Health Services believes is the first case of monkeypox in the state, a diagnosis that comes 18 years after the nation’s last outbreak of the rare disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other heath officials are working to trace the person’s contacts to help prevent another outbreak of the illness. But health officials say the risk to the public is low, especially because COVID-19 precautions on the person’s flights likely kept the virus from spreading. Monkeypox, which originates from the same family of viruses as smallpox, is a rare disease that causes flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, progressing to a widespread rash on the face and body, according to the CDC. Most infections last two to four weeks. While it’s known to cause mild infection, it can become a potentially serious viral illness. People can catch monkeypox by coming in contact with infected animals or animal products, including by preparing wild game or being bitten or scratched by an animal, according to the CDC. Experts believe human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets.
According to WSET, A former employee is suing Liberty University for acts of sex discrimination, race discrimination and retaliation. LeeQuan McLaurin worked for Liberty from July 2018 to June 2020. McLaurin is a Black, gay, Christian who worked as an associate director of student engagement and the director of diversity retention. McLaurin claims he was subjected to discrimination by senior management for his race and sexuality. The lawsuit goes on to state there were clear differences in McLaurin’s pay rate and employees with similar positions. McLaurin claims that when he was offered the role of director of diversity retention, he was offered $52,000, while the previous director was offered $60,000. McLaurin declined this position due to pay; however, the university assigned it to him anyway. The suit states that McLaurin went to human resources several times with these complaints to no avail. After these complaints, he was “routinely excluded from meetings about diversity on Liberty University’s campus, directly impacting Mr. McLaurin’s role as the director of diversity retention and his ability to adequately perform his work.” McLaurin was “constructively discharged” on June 2, 2020. The discrimination led him to seek professional therapy and medication for mental health reasons. The complaint doesn’t state any specific monetary amounts; however, McLaurin requested missed pay, benefits and other damages. He also requested that Liberty teaches training courses on discrimination for all employees and supervisory discipline of any employee who engages in discrimination. He asks that the court or a federal agency monitors the university to ensure they comply with said requests.
According to ESPN, Kara Eaker, an alternate on the United States women’s gymnastics team, has tested positive for COVID-19 in an Olympic training camp in Japan. Al Fong, the personal coach for both Eaker and fellow Olympic alternate Leanne Wong, confirmed the positive test in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. The coach said Eaker, 18, was vaccinated against the novel coronavirus two months ago. Eaker and Wong have been placed in isolation. USA Gymnastics did not identify Eaker or Wong but said in a statement the athlete who tested positive and another alternate would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions. The positive test was the latest in a growing line of daily reports of athletes and others testing positive at the pandemic-delayed Olympics. Eaker is the first American to have tested positive after arriving in Japan.
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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!