NEW YORK — Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, creators of "A.D. The Bible Continues," have not shied away from pointing out that their new series includes an "accomplished cast hailing from more than 10 different nations." But that is because the couple has also acknowledged that they "could have done a better job in hiring a diverse cast" for their 2013 ratings blockbuster, "The Bible."
Although "The Bible" series "made strides ... we needed to see more of the diversity of the church," Barbara Williams-Skinner said during a diversity chat on Twitter last week. "For too long religious programming has neither reflected the look of biblical times (nor) the diversity of the church today."
"We made this point to Mark and Roma after ("The Bible"), and quite frankly they listened. I'm glad for that," she added. more >>
Rapper and pastor Trip Lee, who ministers under the name Trip Barefield at his Washington D.C. church, recently commented on pop culture and what role it plays in the perception of black men in America at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's Leadership Summit that took place on Friday, March 27 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Barefield, who sat on a panel that featured pastor David Prince of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, worship singer Robbie Seay, and pastor Jason Cook of Iron City Church in Birmingham, Alabama, titled "Pop-Culture and Racial Reconciliation: Hip-Hop, Sports, And Everyday Life," commented on hip-hop's role in reflecting and shaping black culture.
Barefield explained how the music basically does a bit of everything including reflecting inner-city culture as well as shaping it in mostly negative ways. He also talked about rappers using their environment to justify the things they rap about. He also challenged the notion, however, by saying that a lot of these artists use their music to encourage people to continue in the negative things they see. more >>
Hooked by the biblical call for racial reconciliation, two Dallas area pastors — one from a predominantly white church and one from a predominantly black church — swapped pulpits last Sunday to discuss the obligation the Gospel places on the church to work through racial tensions and unite people from all ethnic backgrounds.
On Palm Sunday, Rev. Bryan Carter, an African-American pastor at the Concord Church in south Dallas, traveled about 25 minutes north to lead the services at the mostly-white Park Cities Baptist Church, while Caucasian Park Cities senior pastor, Jeff Warren, gave a sermon at Concord Church.
The two pastors have developed a strong relationship through their interaction as integral parts of a coalition of approximately 18 Dallas-area pastors from across the city who periodically meet to discuss racial tensions in their communities and ways that the church can begin to help alleviate those issues. more >>
Rapper and pastor Trip Lee believes music has the power to unite people from different cultures and races within the church, but adds that Christian unity must be biblical and reflect the kingdom of God because it's about more than bringing different races under one roof for two hours on a Sunday morning.
"Music has a way of uniting people, [but] our end goal is not just getting black and white in the same building; Jay Z can do that," Lee quipped, adding that the type of unity the church should be striving for "can only be achieved through the Lord Jesus Christ."
Speaking at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's Leadership Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday as part of a segment titled "Rise: Calling the Next Generation to Racial Reconciliation, Lee, who serves as a pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. where he uses the name Trip Barefield, focused his talk on the millennial generation and how music brings different ethnicities together. more >>
Almost seven months after the fateful, fatal encounter between Michael Brown and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder officially announced a truth he had been holding close for months – that the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" mantra that had been used since August was based on a lie. The lie was widely embraced by the media, public officials, and some with celebrity status. We witnessed not only protesters in the streets, but Rams players, members of Congress, and CNN 'journalists' in 'hands up' poses.
The lie of 'hands up, don't shoot' concealed deeper truths, truths all too common in America – that Michael Brown was yet another young black male engaged in serious crime and who invited a deadly encounter with a police officer who was merely doing his job. The vastly disproportionate involvement of young men of color as both victims of crime and as offenders had yet again materialized as a deadly specter, opening the door to the harder conversation on race and policing that the superficial 'hands up' chant did nothing to resolve.
As some commentators questioned use of the mantra while facts of the fatal encounter were yet unknown to the media and public, a few protesters recognized the risks of the lie being exposed and by late fall the phrase, "Black lives matter," found its way into the protesters' messaging. Their assertion begins with an assumption, of course, that law enforcement, or worse, the public at large, don't believe they do. more >>
A black pastor who dared to be different by challenging racially stereotypical church models to become a leader in a white church in Louisville, Kentucky, explained at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership summit Friday that he did it in pursuit of the unity of the faith.
Kevin Smith, assistant professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and who is also teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, explained at the summit themed, "The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation," that becoming a pastor in the predominantly white church was something he had to challenge himself to achieve and maintain because of the cultural differences between the white church culture he transitioned into and the black church culture in which he was raised.
"Blackness can be weighted and graded in a way that whiteness just isn't. You got the look, you got the look," he said of being white at the summit held in Nashville, Tennessee. "A matter of fact, it's so superficial at the look level that throughout American history, some people from other ethnicities have been able to pass. So it's not really about content it's just about the look." more >>