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ANALYSIS/OPINION: In America, religious persecution against Christianity means fighting the American Civil Liberties Union for the right to read a Bible at lunchtime in school. In...

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...

‘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!”

Baltimore Pastor Refuses To Attend White House Meeting

Reverend Donte Hickman, a pastor from East Baltimore who was scheduled to host President Donald Trump in his community last winter, revealed he was...

‘This is Absolutely Not True’: Pastor John A. Moore and Wife...

Dr. Juanita Bynum should’ve either spoke to Pastor John A. Moore in person or contacted him on the telephone, which is what Moore and his wife said in a YouTube video that was posted on July 24. The clip was a response to Bynum’s belief that Moore went into her Hilton hotel room- while she wasn’t there -and saw her undergarments that were laid on the bed. Pastor John A. Moore (C) and his wife Kenya L. Moore (L) responded to Dr. Juanita Bynum’s (R) claim that the pastor entered her room and saw her undergarments. (Photo: Lailah Lynn’s YouTube Page / Brian Killian / WireImage via Getty Images) Bynum talked about the alleged incident in a Facebook Live post on Sunday and said she was disgusted by the act. In fact, so much so, she couldn’t preach that night at Moore’s “Breaking The Rules” conference at his Experience Church in Chesapeake, Virginia. “The fact that I’m getting ready to go and stand in somebody’s pulpit who’s seen my underwear, I’m sorry people, I just felt naked and I still do and just felt so violated,” she explained. In his response, Moore said he truly respects Bynum and was honored that she was going to preach at his conference. But he’s incredibly let down that she took her issue with him to social media. “Through miscommunication, misunderstandings and a Facebook Live post, the details and frustrations have been made public,” said Moore. “We want to be the first to apologize for any misunderstanding, miscommunication, disrespect and offense. We always operate from a place of excellence.” “We are saddened and heartbroken that it has played out the way it has,” he added. “We are heartbroken that her offense was aired on Facebook as opposed to an in-person conversation or over the phone.” The pastor’s wife Minister Kenya L. Moore spoke after that to offer clarity of the situation. She also shot down a rumor that the pastor planted a camera in Bynum’s room. “Today we want to refute those allegations as they are personally and professionally offensive, derogatory and highly unacceptable,” said the pastor’s wife about all of the allegations. She then said that before Bynum arrived, the pastor went into Bynum’s room with hotel staff to ensure everything was up to par. At some point, Pastor Moore entered the “hallway of the suite” without realizing Bynum had already checked in, and he saw luggage in the main room. So he called out to see if anyone was inside, didn’t get a response and left immediately after. Kenya L. Moore said Bynum’s belief that her husband saw her underwear came from a conversation that took place between the hotel manager, Bynum’s assistant and Bynum herself. “This is absolutely not true,” she stated. The pastor’s wife also said she would’ve loved to explain this all to Bynum but never got the chance to. At the end of the video, Pastor Moore said that he still spoke highly of Bynum at the conference even though she didn’t attend. [embedded content]

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...

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.

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.]

Cooperation stressed at African American conference

WACO—Cooperation, remembrance and thanksgiving emerged as key themes during the first day of the African American Fellowship Conference. “We are called to cooperate,” said Pastor...

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...

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