Home Christian Awareness

Christian Awareness

‘Already?’: Fans Stunned That Porsha Williams’ Baby Girl Has Gotten Old...

At 4 months old, it seems Porsha Williams’ baby girl has hit her stride. Not long after “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star’s daughter Pilar Jhena’ began holding her own bottle, it now seems that she’s gotten the hang of rolling over, too. “Roll over, roll over, roll over, ” Williams chants in an Instagram video she posted Sunday, July 29. As she continued to encourage her daughter to get from on her back and onto her tummy, she said, “Come on, boo-boo. Come on, boo-boo. You got it!” Then, when PJ finally made it to her belly, her mom cheered, “Yay, boo-boo! Yay, mama! Yay, boo-boo!” “ROLLLLL OVERRRRR! @pilarjhena #4Months She rolls like a champ now!” Williams added in the video’s caption. Fans responded by showering PJ, whom Williams shares with ex-fiancé Dennis McKinley, with praise. “Oh wow! Go PJ❤️?” “SHE’S ADORABLE!!!?” “She’s a determined little something! ?” Some were stunned that Pilar had already mastered the art of rolling over. “Already.. geesh” “Cousin why it seem like you just had her last week @porsha4real ??❤️❤️” “No way!!! That’s amazing ?” “She’s rolling already !!!!! ?wow she’s making room for a brother or sister ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️?” This is the latest milestone Pilar Jhena’ has reached. The little one was seen holding her own bottle as early as 3 months old, even beating Williams’ pal Kenya Moore’s baby to making that achievement. “My baby already tryna hold her bottle! #10weeks ??? @pilarjhena #Motherhood #MyZen,” Williams wrote of a pic of her feeding PJ back in June. The next month, when PJ turned 4-months-old, her former betrothed, McKinley, posted a photo of the same “achievement,” as he put it on Instagram. “I don’t know if holding her bottle at 4months is an achievement or not but I’m one proud papa! Happy 4months @pilarjhena good job mommy,” McKinley, who was formerly engaged to Williams, wrote on Instagram July 22. While Williams is enjoying watching her baby’s developments, she’s not worried about going hard in the gym to get back into her pre-baby shape. The “RHOA” star has firmly embraced her “mommy rolls” and recently shared on Instagram that she’s not in a rush to lose the extra pounds she gained during her pregnancy. “I have def been taking my time when it comes to loosing my baby weight!” she said in part on Instagram last week. “I’m big on enjoying every step of this experience and I didn’t want to cloud it with worrying about my size. I have thoroughly been enjoying motherhood and making Pj priority number one!”

One of state’s oldest Baptist churches will celebrate 200 years of...

COOPER COUNTY – One of the oldest Southern Baptist churches in Missouri will celebrate 200 years of Christian work at a special worship service...

Wagner: That day we didn’t get the memo

- We saw the elderly white lady in her ancient station wagon, feverishly trying to get it to start. Behind her, traffic was backing up, and people were behaving somewhat predictably. This is to say that some were finding ways to get around her, others were honking and throwing temper tantrums. I parked the vehicle, and I and the young man from my church who was with me at that moment rushed over to see if we could push her car out of traffic and into a safe place. The lady, clearly shaken, thanked us, put the vehicle in neutral, and we began to push. A station wagon. Uphill. Years of power lifting has given me a good bit of strength, but honestly, we were struggling badly, and after a few seconds it became clear to me that we were going to lose that battle. And then I felt a “thump” beside me on the back of the vehicle, and I looked over to see a pair of black hands beside my own. A young gentleman, probably late teens or early 20s, had joined in to help. Between all of us we got the lady safely out of traffic where she could call for help and wait till it arrived. That was a few years back, but I thought about it again this week while watching the news and seeing once again how ubiquitous race-baiting and hate hoaxes have become in America. I see such a disconnect between day by day reality and the “made for political gain theater” of manufactured racial strife saturating the 24-hour news cycle and social media. Simply put, people would get along a lot better if they did not have people in pursuit of power telling them they shouldn’t. Proverbs 6:12-14 describes what the Bible calls a “naughty person,” and chief among the characteristics of such is that he or she “sows discord.” Hard on the heels of that, verse 19 says that God hates, “A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” So even back in Solomon’s day there were people who would tell lies for the specific purpose of getting people at each other’s throats. If he thought it was bad then, imagine what he would say now! The incomparable Thomas Sowell once said, “The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’” He was spot on. And I would add that there are people who are investing heavily in that ketchup, hoping to make a fortune from it and a name off of it. As long as there are human beings there will be sin, since everyone is born a sinner (Romans 5:12) and hatred will always be one of those sins. This is to say that I am not pollyannaish; I know that there will always be some evil people who hold racist views and even people who do and say racist things. But there will also always be people who see racism where it does not exist, claim racist attacks that did not happen, and spin every confrontation into a racial issue even if race had nothing whatsoever to do with it. And this vile habit flies in the face of everyday experience for, I suspect, the vast majority of people. There is a waitress at a local restaurant, a sweet African-American lady. Each time she serves me she calls me “sugar.” It makes my day each and every time. For those not in the know, that is a distinctly Southern way of simply being kind and brightening someone’s day. As I walk in and out of buildings I see white people holding the door for black people. When we have the gym outreach on Thursday nights, I see a 50/50 mix of white and black young men having the time of their lives and getting along like the best friends on earth. A church member who works at a nearby college said, “Preacher, it is like this at the school as well. Everybody just gets along.” And then she made this telling statement, “at least until somebody tells them they shouldn’t.” As we drove away from that station wagon that day, I could not help but think of the hands on the back of the car, the very white ones on my left, my very tan ones in the middle, and the very black ones on my right. Apparently none of us got “the memo” that day that we should hate each other. We were just human beings, all made in the image of God, behaving in a way that pleases the God who made us. Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. His website is wordofhismouth.com. Email him a 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

Baylor University is Now Collecting and Preserving Sermons from Black Civil...

(image via digitalcollections.baylor.edu) According to the , the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is branching out to find and preserve...

Sainthood causes draw focus to black Catholics and need for justice

Pope Francis declared on June 11 that Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African-American Catholic priest, lived a life of heroic virtue, a move that put a man who'd been born a slave one miracle away from being declared Blessed, the step before official sainthood. As Tolton (1854-1897) joins the dozen or so U.S. sainthood causes at this stage, his wasn't the only U.S.-based cause to advance last month, nor the only one dealing with racial issues in the United States. The Diocese of Brooklyn completed the diocesan phase of the cause of Msgr. Bernard Quinn (1888-1940), a white priest who ministered to African-Americans, drawing the opposition of the Ku Klux Klan in the process. Still in the diocesan phase — in Jackson, Mississippi — is Sr. Thea Bowman (1937-1990), the first black member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, whose cause went before the U.S. bishops for consultation last November. The move brought Sister Thea's story full circle, as she famously addressed the U.S. bishops in 1989. "Her demeanor, her positive love for our Church linked to her African-American heritage was inspiring," recalled Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington who, as an auxiliary bishop of Chicago from 1983-1993, met Sister Thea on numerous occasions. Redemptorist Fr. Maurice Nutt, who is vice postulator of Bowman's cause and author of the book Thea Bowman: Faithful and Free, said the overwhelming reception by the bishops, nearly 30 years later, means the issues she embodied "are still essential and evident today." Nutt added that this confluence of sainthood causes related to African-American Catholics — who often feel like second-class citizens in their own church — means that God is calling everyone's attention to the role and witness of black Catholics. Confluence of witnesses "It's endorsing the African-American saga," said Bishop Joseph Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago and postulator of the Tolton cause. Perry emphasized that sainthood causes in general are "not so much proclaimed by the hierarchy as they are pressed forward by the faith of the people who honor them, who carry on their memory." This journey in memory has led to very real encounters with holiness for the postulators who guide these causes, even at a distance of decades. Fr. Paul Jervis, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise Parish in Brooklyn and postulator of Msgr. Quinn's cause, first encountered Quinn's story in 1983, while assigned as a young priest to the parish Quinn founded, St. Peter Claver. Parishioners who remembered Quinn were still alive then, and they spoke with fervor about the priest who loved the black community, founding a parish for them in 1921 and an orphanage in 1928, which the KKK burned down twice even before it was opened. "This priest seemed to be bigger than life," Jervis recalled. Perry, who was ordained a bishop about a century after Tolton's death, cited the extensive research of a canonization cause as helping to make Tolton so real to him and someone he speaks to in prayer almost daily. "I think I've come to know him as if he was just a fellow priest, a fellow brother," Perry said. Nutt knew Thea Bowman for the last six years of her life, meeting her as a seminarian. She was too ill to attend his ordination in 1989, but he went to her afterward, knelt down and asked her to lay hands on him. "I needed one of her blessings," he said. "I knew that she was special. I knew that she was holy. I knew she had a closeness with God." Nutt said that lots of people knew that "in encountering Thea Bowman, you had an experience with God." Gregory concurred: "She was one of those individuals who enriched you simply by being in her holy and enthusiastic presence." Challenging the church That Thea Bowman was a "prophetic witness to the eradication of racism," as well as a witness to the role of women in the church, Nutt said is reflective of how many saints challenge the church to reform or, at the very least, act with integrity. He encapsulates the message of Thea Bowman's life to the church as: "I'm not asking you to be any more than who you say you are." Perry said that Tolton and Quinn's stories both "surface some of the more embarrassing pages of our Catholic life" in terms of Catholics displaying racist behavior. He notes that Tolton's "pastoral openness to any and everybody, indiscriminately, when society and the church was not ready for … white and black worshiping under the same roof" was so disturbing to people "that a couple of people organized against him to be sure that it was obliterated." Jervis in Brooklyn cited the lack of any support from the official church for Quinn's ministry at the time as a sign of his prophetic witness. This extended to his encouraging his parishioners to learn about their own history and culture. "He told them they had a history to be proud of," Jervis said, noting that Quinn also worked to foster vocations among black youth, realizing he could only do so much as a white, Irish-American priest, and that "people should also have the pride of having their own." Another way these sainthood candidates challenge the church comes with the canonization process itself, said Katie Grimes, assistant professor of Christian ethics at Villanova University and author of Fugitive Saints: Catholicism and the Politics of Slavery. She cautioned against the process becoming "a form of exoneration of the church," using the example of how a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., itself a positive development, obscures how, while he was alive, King was hated by many white people. It's the tendency, she says, to see oneself as "the good guy in the story of the past," instead of being disturbed by reality. Perry agrees that racism in the church "offers the opportunity for the church to pause and to understand where we have been deficient." Reflecting on a story like Tolton's, he said, "We have to pose the question, 'Are we learning from these folks?' " The national(ist) moment At the same bishops' conference meeting as the Thea Bowman consultation, the bishops also adopted a new pastoral letter on racism, "Open Wide Our Hearts." The letter, Perry said, rose from the desire to address the "critical moment" of the last few years, with church vandalism, neo-Nazi demonstrations and other disturbing signs. Nutt saw the timing of the pastoral letter with Sister Thea's cause as a "clarion call for racial justice in the Catholic Church and in society at this time." "The church needs a saint or saints who can speak to the issues of the day," Jervis concurred. "We're still really dealing with an upsurge of racism, very nasty racism." Jervis added that "Father Quinn was totally opposed to racism in all matters" and that his advocacy extended into structural reform, appealing to local government to help get people access to housing and jobs. He noted that, when Quinn died, The New York Times hailed him as a "champion of Negro rights." Drawing a straight line from Quinn's ministry and racist rhetoric currently in the news, in 1927 the Times listed a Fred Trump — father of Donald — among those arrested following a clash between the KKK and police in Queens. On racism today, Perry asked, "Why does this continue to plague a prosperous, technological and educated society like ours? It's contradictory." But like the saints, he said, living the Gospel heroically can lead to positive change, "if we can keep ourselves from being so fearful about one another, fearful about shortages and preserving our own space and naming each other the enemy." [Don Clemmer is a journalist, communications professional and former staffer of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He writes from Indiana. Follow him on Twitter: @clemmer_don.]

Cleric urges Christians to pray for nation’s growth

Rev. Fr. Kizito Fogos, the Parish Priest of Church of Assumption Chongo’ Pyeng, Jos, has urged Christians in the country to constantly pray for...

Photos of the Week

(RNS) — Each week Religion News Service presents a gallery of photos of religious expression around the world. This week’s gallery includes the Hindu Ganesh Chaturthi festival, Shiite commemorations of Ashura, and more. Afghan Shiites flagellate themselves with chains and blades to mark Ashura, outside the Abul Fazel Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 10, 2019. Ashura falls on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, when Shiites mark the death of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala, in present-day Iraq, in the 7th century. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) Faithful hold statues of the Virgin Mary as they attend Pope Francis’ weekly general audience, at the Vatican, on Sept. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Orthodox Christians and clergy take part in a procession along Nevsky Prospect in St.Petersburg, Russia, to mark the anniversary of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery on Sept. 12, 2019. Russian Orthodox faithful commemorate the date of September 12, 1724, when Russian Tsar Peter The Great transferred the relics of prince Alexander Nevsky from the town of Vladimir to St. Petersburg, the new capital of Russia at that time. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) Pastor Jeremiah Saunders stands among the ruins of his church that was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, on Sept. 11, 2019. “I spoke to the water: ‘Peace, be still.’ It never listened,” Saunders said with a wide smile and then grew serious as he focused on the task that tens of thousands of Bahamians now face on two islands devastated by the Category 5 storm: the clean-up. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa) Devotees participate in a procession with a large statue of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh in Mumbai, India, on Sept. 12, 2019. Every year millions of devout Hindus immerse Ganesh statues into oceans and rivers in the ten-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival that celebrates the birth of Ganesh. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) An Indian Muslim man sells blades used by Shiite Muslims to flagellate themselves to mark Ashura in Mumbai, India, on Sept. 10, 2019. Ashura falls on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, when Shiites mark the death of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq in the 7th century. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) A view of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Sept. 9, 2019. New official data obtained by The Associated Press shows a spike in Jewish settlement construction in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem since President Trump took office in 2017, along with strong evidence of decades of systematic discrimination illustrated by a huge gap in the number of construction permits granted to Jewish and Palestinian residents. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) People carry a statue of the Virgin of Charity, or Our Lady of El Cobre, on her feast day in Havana, Cuba, on Sept. 8, 2019. Cuba’s patron saint is important to both observant Catholics and followers of Afro-Cuban Santeria traditions in Cuba. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco) People at a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the Monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius, on Sept. 9, 2019. Francis arrived in the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius to celebrate its diversity, encourage its ethical development and honor a 19th century French missionary who ministered to freed slaves. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Sparrow Falls: ‘Whiteness’ Brings Down Dallas’ Biggest Christian Racial Reconciliation Conference

Women were getting up and walking out in twos and threes, and at some point I realized they weren’t all taking a potty break....

Is History Repeating Itself? Yolanda Weighs In on Kanye West’s Pop-Up...

Kanye West’s weekly Sunday service is showing no signs of slowing down, and as the rapper plows ahead with the spiritual event, which recently made its way to his hometown of Chicago, he has the support of gospel star Yolanda Adams behind him. Adams spoke exclusively to Atlanta Black Star on the red carpet for the Black Music Honors Sept. 5. She explained why West’s foray into the church via his upcoming gospel album as a mainstream rapper is nothing new. Adams dished on the shoe being on the other foot when compared against the history of gospel artists of the 1900s stepping into mainstream genres. “As long as the message of hope, inspiration and encouragement is coming out, it’s not any different than what happened in Mahalia’s day,” the “Be Blessed” singer says. “Mahalia Jackson was a gospel artist, but she did the Newport Jazz Festival … she was everywhere with Louie Armstrong. She was one of his favorite singers in the whole world. She never did veer away from her message, but she was everywhere. “It’s not like me and Kirk [Franklin] and Mary Mary started this,” Adams continues. “James Cleveland, Andraé Crouch, The Hawkins Family, they were all going to Woodstock way back in the day. Coachella is a mimic of Woodstock, so everything just happens in cycles, and this just happens to be a cycle where people are recognizing we need some hope, we need some God right now.” With that in mind, Adams says West and anyone else who wants to spread the message of a bigger plan and higher power has her backing. “I applaud Kanye, I applaud anybody who is trying to get people to latch on to something bigger than themselves,” she tells ABS. West first ventured into gospel by launching his weekly pop-up church deemed Sunday service, which debuted at Coachella this spring but has continued weekly ever since. Recently, it was reported that the Chicago MC is readying the release of his debut gospel record, “Jesus Is King,” according to a tracklist Ye’s wife Kim Kardashian tweeted on August 29. The LP is due for release on Sept. 27. And by the looks of it, Ye’s album will have backing from folks within the gospel industry, as Adams is only the latest gospel act to back West in his continued venture. In April, Kirk Franklin and Erica Campbell hailed the “Life of Pablo” performer for welcoming God into his career. “Let them start where they start and let God do the work,” Campbell said of West and other secular artists venturing into her home music space. “You can’t sing about Jesus too long without him changing you. … Let ’em all do records! [Lady] Gaga, all y’all! Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj — do a gospel records! Keep singing about Jesus, because when you call him, he answers.” Franklin explained he’s “excited for any human being that is finding the medicine that lies within the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He added it’s “the healing balm” that’s good for all “so it’s good for Kanye.”

VICTOR JOECKS: Harris slams African-American pastor for believing the Bible

A pastor believing the Bible shouldn’t be surprising. But it’s enough to cause Democrat presidential candidates to distance themselves from him — even though...

Christian Awareness