What Young Black Women Need from Their Black Brothers—and the Church

African American women still face significant challenges in their relationships with men.

In a recent episode of ABC’s dating show, The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, the first black female to participate, broke down in tears. “The pressures that I feel about being a black woman and what that is… I don’t want to talk about it,” she said. The show exposes the fraught dynamics of race, dating, and marriage for black women in America. “Even before the female-led spinoff of The Bachelor … in my mind ‘bachelorettes’ were white women who were brides-to-be or bridesmaids in their best friends’ weddings, throwing parties to celebrate the end of their spinsterhood,” writes Robin Boylorn for Slate. By contrast, “black women were just single and waiting.”

According to Akilah Butler, author of The Love Ethic, in the 1900s, most black adults were married. However, many contemporary black women—especially those who come of age in the inner city—are unmarried and often lack modeling for what a healthy African American marriage looks like. In my region of upstate New York, for example, it’s a rare sight to see a black male under 40 with a black female. (By contrast, my husband’s and my generation, the baby boomers, did tend to date and marry within our race.)

While intermarriage is becoming more common, black women in America still face significant challenges in their relationships with black men, and the problem is doubly difficult for women in the church. According to David Morrow in Why Men Hate Going to Church, “a staggering 92 percent of African-American churches in America reported a gender gap.” According to Morrow’s sources, “75 to 90 percent of the adults in the typical African-American congregation are …

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The BGC Gospel Life Podcast (Ep. 20)

Start each week with this encouragement to show and share the love of Jesus.

Episode Twenty | Are You Seeking to be a Fisherman or a Shepherd?

Colleen Cooper, Development Coordinator at the Billy Graham Center, shares a personal example of working through conflict in order to bring deeper conversation and trust. Colleen reminds us that in evangelism, and in all our relationships, we aren’t called to be quick and judging fishermen, but to be caring and compassionate shepherds who tend to those they are ministered to.

Episode Nineteen | Developing a Spirit of Acceptance When We Reach Out to the Unchurched

Rick Richardson, Professor at Wheaton College and head of academic programs and research at the Billy Graham Center, shares a story of a recent evangelism encounter. Rick explains that once unchurched people know they won’t feel judged or pressured by Christians, their hearts warm to the gospel and the opportunities for faith sharing are endless.

Episode Eighteen | Two Practical Ways to Show and Share the Love of Jesus with Others

Wes Holland, Program Administrator of the Rural Matters Institute at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that God went on a rescue mission for us, and that we must do the same for others. He shares two challenges that will help us truly serve God. These two simple steps – being present instead of just occupying space and writing down our gospel moments in order to share them with others – can make all the difference in seeing those around us come to faith.

Episode Seventeen | When It Seems as Though God Is Up to Nothing

Laurie Nichols, Director of Communications at the Billy Graham Center, reminds us that even when we don’t see God working, He is. And if we remain faithful in prayer and seek ways to reach out to those who don’t yet know the love …

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Buffet Discipleship: Picking and Choosing in Unbiblical Proportions

The root of being a disciple is discipline.

The allure of a well-stocked buffet is that you can load up on the foods you love and avoid those you dislike. For most of us, this means plates over-laden with entrees and desserts and void of foods we find unpleasant. We don’t include foods we don’t like, such as (for many of us) brussel sprouts, or even foods we think are boring, such as cottage cheese or gelatin. When faced with so many gastronomic options, we lack the discipline to fill our plates with well-balanced choices or to avoid sugary treats that really aren’t good for us. What we eat is based on our personal preferences, not based on the guidelines set forth by the USDA.

Arguably, many of us treat our spiritual lives like a buffet. Instead of following the entire menu of spiritual disciplines, we pick and choose what biblical guidelines we will or will not follow. While we know God prescribes a balanced diet of numerous disciplines, we tend to pick and choose in our spiritual lives just as we pick and choose in a buffet. Correspondingly, just as continually ignoring certain types of food at the buffet will result in us being physically malnourished, so continually ignoring mandates from God will result in us being spiritually malnourished.

Here are some reasons we suffer from spiritual malnourishment.

1. We don’t understand what we need to be healthy.

Since their inception, the USDA dietary guidelines have been presented in wheels, squares, pyramids, and plates. The recent iteration, My Plate, was launched in 2011, when the USDA abandoned the rainbow-banded pyramid that festooned our cereal boxes. After almost 20 years of redesign, they discontinued the graphic because people just didn’t understand what the pyramid meant in relation …

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Commentary: You Have God’s Blessing to Say ‘God Bless America’

Why a faith that transcends all nations leaves room for patriotic devotion.

Back in college, I belonged to a campus Christian fellowship. One night, at our weekly Bible study, a regular group member arrived looking frazzled. Evidently, it had been a hectic day. When we went around the room sharing prayer requests, she volunteered, in a voice both weary and playful, “The whole world—and everyone in it.”

We all shared a good laugh. “Guess that pretty much covers everything! We can keep prayer time short tonight.”

I thought back to that moment several years later, when I first encountered bumper stickers reading, “God Bless the Whole World. No Exceptions.” You can see why someone might find that sentiment attractive. “God bless America”? Too narrow and chauvinistic. We’re better off not beseeching the Almighty to play favorites.

Still, the new slogan left me discontented. Why imply that there’s anything unseemly, even ungodly, about loves and loyalties less than universal in scope?

We understand this readily enough in our prayer lives. If I ask my fellow small group members to lift up my ailing grandmother, no one expresses bafflement or outrage that I haven’t asked God to heal all the ailing grandmothers. No one imagines that I harbor indifference or ill will toward any other old folks. In other words, no one scolds me for failing to remember “the whole world—and everyone in it.”

In all likelihood, my ailing grandmother isn’t the world’s most meritorious grandmother. God doesn’t love her any more, or less, than your own kith and kin. But being my grandmother, her welfare naturally lies uppermost in my mind, and weighs heaviest on my heart. So it is with nations. You cherish your homeland—you …

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Why Christian Scholars Loved Peter Berger

His sympathetic treatment of faith made him a rock star among Christ-following academics.

In 1966, a Viennese-born sociologist, not quite 40 years old, produced a scholarly work that changed the world. Or more precisely, it changed the way we see and shape the world.

The Social Construction of Reality, named one of the top five sociology publications of the 20th century by the International Sociological Association, became required reading for graduate students around the world soon after its publication. Moreover, Peter Berger (who coauthored the book with Thomas Luckmann) became one of the most recognized social scientists of the last century.

On June 27, Berger passed away at his home in suburban Boston, concluding a lifetime of scholarly influence and a career that made him one of the most notable scholars of his generation.

It was Berger’s fascination with religion that made him and his work so significant to evangelical Christians. He called himself an “incurable Lutheran,” and his liberal Protestant theology might have placed him at odds with many evangelical leaders 100 years ago. But in our increasingly pluralistic world, Berger’s sympathetic treatment of spirituality and faith made him something of a rock star among Christ-following academics.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Berger’s work underscored the importance of social structures—and how they come to be through human actions (what social scientists refer to as individual “agency”). Culture, he argued, is most powerful when it is taken for granted. In The Sacred Canopy (1967), Berger explained how religion helped people make sense of the world by providing a “sheltering” tent under which all of life could make sense.

But over time (in Europe, tracing an historical arc from the 1755 Lisbon earthquake …

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A Walking Disaster

How a hurricane helped me weather my battle with cancer.

As I emerged from the fog of anesthesia, I heard the surgeon informing my wife, Kelly, that our worst fear had improbably come true.

“Cancer!?” I interrupted, before falling back into unconsciousness. That happened six more times before I fully awoke.

Earlier in the week, tests had revealed a suspicious growth atop a nerve bundle in my pelvis, which explained the shooting leg pains I had been experiencing. Baffled about where the mass might have originated, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. “Chances of cancer in someone your age and health are less than 1 percent,” the surgeon said just before performing the procedure.

Not long after, I found myself at a cancer center looking over an oncologist’s shoulder and examining my test results on his computer.

“It’s cancer,” he confirmed. He went on: The cancer was advanced, and the tumor in my colon had spread to create the mass in my pelvic region.

I cried as the shock started to wear off. The oncologist tried some small talk. “What is it you do for a living?” he asked. I told him I’m a college professor, and that I direct the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI), a Wheaton College research center dedicated to the study of faith and disasters.

“Looks like you’re in for your own personal disaster,” he said.

At the age of 35, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. I had multiple surgeries to remove it. Altogether, I underwent chemotherapy for close to a year. For the first six months, my oncologist would only respond to my requests for a prognosis by telling me, “I can’t tell you that it’s going to be okay, Jamie. It’s too early to tell. But if there’s anyone you want …

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Forgive Us Our Debts: How Christian College Grads Pay the Price

Evangelical schools work to capture the real cost of student loans.

When Christian students view college as a part of their calling, they won’t let the cost get in the way.

For some, that means doubling down on savings, hustling for scholarships, or working their way through undergrad or seminary: whatever it takes to cover rising tuition bills. Others see robust federal loan packages as a godsend, allowing them to enroll at a Christian college.

Recent student loan trends have left some Christian college grads feeling the economic impact for decades. Meanwhile, financial counselors are desperate to improve financial understanding within a system that makes lending an easy default.

“I don’t feel swindled. I needed the nourishment I received from my professors and the community I found there,” said Ashley Abramson, who racked up $50,000 in private loan debt from three years at Northwestern College (now the University of Northwestern–St. Paul). “But I’m still paying the price almost 10 years later, and it’s affecting my marriage and now, even my kids.”

Year after year, more Americans are getting degrees, and more of them are relying on loans to pay for them. In the US today, 44 million borrowers owe a total of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Students enrolled at private universities, including Christian colleges, are more likely to take out loans; three-fourths graduated with some debt last year.

Most students with loans end up with around $30,000, and the amount can be a little less at schools belonging to the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), where tuition is higher on average than public institutions but lower than fellow private four-year schools.

The $30,000 amount results in monthly payments of a few hundred dollars, …

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The Refugee Ban Is Back, But Church Connections Might Trump It

World Relief wants clarification over today’s big Supreme Court decision.

It’s been a tumultuous year for refugee resettlement, and the latest ruling on President Donald Trump’s highly contested travel ban introduces more questions about the prospects for foreigners seeking asylum in the United States.

After months of holdups in lower courts and declining refugee admittances, today the US Supreme Court partially reinstated Trump’s executive order that bars refugees and travelers from certain Muslim-majority nations from entering the country. The high court will rule on the case this fall.

Monday’s court decision included some notable exceptions to Trump’s initial ban, including allowing refugees with “bona fide relationships with a person or entity in the United States” to enter the country and allowing such connected refugees into America even after totals reach Trump’s limit of 50,000 this fiscal year.

World Relief, an arm of the National Association of Evangelicals that serves as one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the US, is waiting to hear more about the new qualifications. How the State Department interprets the decision will determine whether it will halt the flow of refugees or, possibly, allow in even more than planned.

Matthew Soerens, US director of church mobilization, said World Relief expects to receive guidance later this week, since the decision goes into effect Thursday.

Between 50 percent and 75 percent of refugees resettled through World Relief have some sort of tie to family or other contacts living in the US; however, some of these relationships may not meet the government standard for “bona fide relationships.” For example, “close familial relationships”—a term used in the decision—could …

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Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books

The Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books On Amazon

There are many books online and in local bookstores that not only talk about the benefits of Chiropractic care, but also the business models that make for successful practices. Here are the top 5 best selling books at the moment.

1.  Healing Pain – Book Description Referenced From Amazon

Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books - books on chiropractic care“Dr. John E. Sarno is a medical pioneer whose program has helped thousands upon thousands of people overcome their back conditions–without or drugs or dangerous surgery. Now, using his groundbreaking research into TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome), Dr. Sarno goes one step further: after identifying stress and other psychological factors in back pain, he demonstrates how many of his patients have gone on to heal themselves without exercise or other physical therapy. Find out: Why self-motivated and successful people are prone to TMS; How anxiety and repressed anger trigger muscle spasms; How people “train themselves’ to experience back pain; How you may get relief from back pain within two to six weeks by recognizing TMS and its causes. With case histories and the results of in-depth mind-body research, Dr. Sarno describes how patients recognize the emotional roots of their TMS and sever the connections between mental and physical pain… and how, just by reading this book, you may start recovering from back pain today.”

2. Gray’s Anatomy For Students – Book Description Referenced From Amazon

Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books - student book for back pain“2015 BMA Medical Book Awards Highly Commended in Basic and Clinical Sciences Category! Anatomy texts just don’t get any better than Gray’s Anatomy for Students! Now in its 3rd edition, this completely revised medical textbook continues its focus on just the core information you need for your anatomy courses, presenting everything in an easy-to-read, visually appealing format that facilitates study.2015 BMA Medical Book Awards Highly Commended in Basic and Clinical Sciences Category! Anatomy texts just don’t get any better than Gray’s Anatomy for Students! Now in its 3rd edition, this completely revised medical textbook continues its focus on just the core information you need for your anatomy courses, presenting everything in an easy-to-read, visually appealing format that facilitates study.”

• Obtain reliable, accessible coverage of everything you will learn in your contemporary anatomy classes with expert knowledge from a team of authors who share a wealth of diverse teaching and clinical experience.
• Easily locate and remember specific structures. More than 1,000 innovative, original illustrations by renowned illustrators Richard Tibbitts and Paul Richardson capture anatomical features with unrivalled clarity.
• Understand the practical applications of anatomical concepts through unique coverage of surface anatomy, correlative diagnostic images, and clinical case studies.
• Expedite the review of basic concepts from each chapter with Conceptual Overviews.
• Stay current and engaged in your anatomy courses with many new “In the Clinic” boxes, which offer access to in-depth clinical discussions related to specific diseases or procedures.
• Source your review material quickly and easily thanks to a list of additional relevant study aids at the beginning of each chapter.
• Improve your comprehension of cranial nerves with help from a brand-new visual map summarizing cranial nerve distribution and function.
• Access the entire contents online at Student Consult, where you can also take advantage of an online anatomy and embryology self-study course, medical clinical cases, physical therapy clinical cases, self-assessment questions, and more.
• Further enhance your learning by pairing this textbook with its companion review products, Gray’s Anatomy for Students Flashcards, 3rd Edition (ISBN: 978-1-4557-1078-2) and Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy 2nd Edition (ISBN 978-1-4557-4802-0)!

“Your purchase entitles you to access the web site until the next edition is published, or until the current edition is no longer offered for sale by Elsevier, whichever occurs first. If the next edition is published less than one year after your purchase, you will be entitled to online access for one year from your date of purchase. Elsevier reserves the right to offer a suitable replacement product (such as a downloadable or CD-ROM-based electronic version) should access to the web site be discontinued.”

3. The Frozen Shoulder Workbook – Book Description Referenced From Amazon

Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books - frozen shoulder chiropractic bookPowerful Techniques to Relieve Shoulder Pain and Stiffness
Author Clair Davies’ own case of frozen shoulder led him to undertake an extensive study of trigger points and referred pain that eventually resulted in his best-selling Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Now this renowned bodywork expert and educator revisits the subject of frozen shoulder with The Frozen Shoulder Workbook, offering the most detailed and comprehensive manual available for this painful and debilitating condition, a useful resource for self-care-with and without a partner-and for bodywork practitioners looking to expand their treatment repertoire.”

“Frozen shoulder, the syndrome name for several joint and tendon-related symptoms, is experienced as a loss of motion and pain in the shoulder and upper arm. It is most often observed in women between the ages of forty and sixty and individuals with type-two diabetes. Unlike traditional medical treatments for the condition, which rely on painkillers, steroid injections, and physical therapy and often do little to moderate symptoms or speed recovery, trigger point therapy can bring real and lasting relief. This gentle massage technique targets localized areas of tenderness in soft tissue. Put it to work for you to relieve pain, restore range of motion, and shorten recovery times.”

4. Muscles: Testing And Function – Book Description Referenced From Amazon

Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books - muscle pain relief “Publisher’s Note: Products purchased from 3rd Party sellers are not guaranteed by the Publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product.”

“This renowned classic provides unparalleled coverage of manual muscle testing, plus evaluation and treatment of faulty and painful postural conditions. The thoroughly updated Fifth Edition is completely reorganized and has new, expanded treatment and exercise sections in each chapter. Other features include a new section on post-polio syndrome, additional case studies comparing Guillain-Barré to polio muscle tests, a new full-color design, and a first-of-its-kind chart of upper extremity articulations.”

5. Neuroscience Exploring Brain – Book Description Referenced From Amazon

Top 5 Best Selling Chiropractic Books - exploring the brain “Widely praised for its student-friendly style and exceptional artwork and pedagogy, Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain is a leading undergraduate textbook on the biology of the brain and the systems that underlie behavior. This edition provides increased coverage of taste and smell, circadian rhythms, brain development, and developmental disorders and includes new information on molecular mechanisms and functional brain imaging. Path of Discovery boxes, written by leading researchers, highlight major current discoveries. In addition, readers will be able to assess their knowledge of neuroanatomy with the Illustrated Guide to Human Neuroanatomy, which includes a perforated self-testing workbook.”

These are currently the top selling books on Chiropractic care on Amazon.

When we asked Keller, Texas Chiropractor Dr. Dennis James how he felt about the books that made the top 5 he had this to say. “Performance Chiropractic supports all authors and contributors that write and publish content that benefits the growth and advancement of chiropractic care.”

Be sure to check out our other interviews:

 

The Church’s Biggest Challenge in 2017

Let’s get unchurched evangelicals back into church, and prejudiced evangelicals back to the Bible.

Every week, we are treated to another revelation about the alarming attitudes of white evangelical Christians. You would think that a people steeped in the Bible—which commands and exemplifies concern for refugees and others in dire straits—would find President Trump’s closing the door to the world’s neediest refugees repulsive. But white evangelicals support Trump’s exclusionary policy by a whopping 75 percent.

Or take attitudes toward undocumented immigrants. Evangelical Christians believe Jesus died for them while they were lawbreakers. They are a people who know themselves as those who live moment to moment by sheer mercy. You would think these people would try to make at least some allowances for illegal immigrants. It turns out, however, that white evangelical Christians, more than any other religious group, say illegal immigrants should be identified and summarily deported.

Since Trump’s election, social and political scientists in survey after survey have tried to unravel the mystery of the 81 percent of white evangelical Christians who voted for him. While the economy seems to be the main reason, with abortion and religious freedom being crucial as well, too many of them seem to show little mercy to those who are not white Americans.

Supporting hardline immigration policies does not itself a xenophobe make—in fact, there are prudential reasons for limiting immigration. We just don’t find them persuasive. And when the argument for excluding foreigners from our shores amounts to fearmongering or sheer prejudice, a political issue becomes a matter of church discipline. We’re dealing with character issues among fellow believers.

For various reasons, here’s the …

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