#WhatsTheMessage EP 015: Different COVID Symptoms in Black Americans

In this episode, Carmela and Claudia talk with Dr. Prudence Pollard, Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development and Research, Professor of Management in the School of Business, and Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, and Nurse Ursula Roberts-Allen, Director of Nursing Services at OMV Medical Inc. Nurse Roberts-Allen actually went viral on social media sharing the different symptoms black Americans are experiencing with COVID-19 that the CDC and other media outlets are not talking about. Join us in this informative and inspirational conversation as these women talk to us about how COVID-19 is really impacting African Americans. They also share some great wisdom on how we should respond and advocate for ourselves during this difficult time.

Check out Oakwood University’s Healthy Campus Initiative here: https://www2.oakwood.edu/healthy-campus-2020/

Your children and youth can get COVID health updates at the Alleghany East Conference Children’s and Youth Ministry website here: https://www.visitaec.org/youth

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Your Liberation Library

Book Review of Tim Keller’s The Prodigal Prophet

Jonah  is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible, but you may not have heard it like this.

Timothy Keller examines the story from a different perspective and applies this story to not just people in general, but Christians who think that they don’t have their own cultural, racial, and ethnic biases and hidden agendas.


Title:                           The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy

Author:                      Timothy Keller

Publisher:                 Viking, 2018

Reviewer:                  Omar Miranda


What are the main concerns being addressed?

The main concern being addressed is simply that Keller wants Christians to understand, examine, and resolve their own “hidden” cultural, racial, and ethnic biases and hidden agendas.

Were those concerns clearly stated?

Yes. Timothy Keller clearly demonstrates his comprehensive and authoritative knowledge about the topic.

What are the book’s strengths and contributions?

The book’s strengths are two-fold:

  1. Keller clearly and powerfully “gets into the head of the reader” by masterfully decoding and effectively applying all the cultural specifics of this story, allowing the reader to clearly understand the importance of this story.
  2. Keller effectively applies all the cultural specifics and the lessons and principles learned from this story to today’s modern life and culture in which the reader inhabits.

Keller also contributes a deeper understanding of the unwritten, unresolved cliff-hanger of the “second-half” of this unbelievable story to show how it applies to every single human on earth—but especially to Christians.

What do you wish the author would have added?

I wish Keller added discussion questions at the end of each chapter. This is a short, succinct, and physically small book. But each chapter is immensely dense! Discussion questions would be helpful in allowing the reader to further and more effectively apply or live out the powerful principles brought out in each chapter.

What do you wish the author would have left out?

Nothing. The book was perfect! I actually wish it was longer.

What were some good conscience quickening quotes from the book?

“The book of Jonah yields many insights about God’s love for societies and people beyond the community of believers; about his opposition to toxic nationalism and disdain for other races; and about how to be ’in mission’ in the world despite the subtle and unavoidable power of idolatry in our own lives and hearts. Grasping these insights can make us bridge builders, peacemakers, and agents of reconciliation in the world. Such people are the need of the hour” (5).

“We are taught that our problem is a lack of self-esteem that we live with too much shame and self-incrimination. In addition, we are told, all moral standards are socially constructed and relative, so no one has the right to make you feel guilty. You must determine right or wrong for yourself. In a society dominated by such beliefs, the Bible’s persistent message that we are guilty sinners comes across as oppressive if not evil and dangerous. These modern cultural themes make the offer of grace unnecessary, even an insult” (74).

“How can a God relent from judging evildoers? How can he forgive and not punish sin? Many people in the modern West are not troubled by God’s mercy because they don’t accept the idea of a God who does not get angry when evil destroys the creation he loves…[it] is ultimately not a loving God at all. If you love someone, you must and will get angry if something threatens to destroy him or her. As some have pointed out, you have to have had a pretty comfortable life—without any experience of oppression and injustice yourself—to not want a God who punishes sin” (125-126).

“It is an understanding of God’s grace that removes our burdens. Religious people often invite nonbelievers to convert by calling them to adopt new sets of behaviors and new ritual practices, all the while redoubling their efforts to live a virtuous life. That, however, is to load more burdens on people. The Pharisees did this, laying ‘heavy, cumbersome loads’ on people (Matthew 23:4), and so they sank. All other religions put on people the burden of securing their own salvation, while God provides unearned salvation through his son (cf. Isaiah 46:1-4). While the gospel must lead to a changed life, it is not those changes that save you” (207).

What was so liberating about the book?

The most liberating thing about this book is that the author identifies the chief point of this book: that, if someone is a Christian, and recognized that they have been saved solely by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus, then they are no better than non-Christians. And due to that, Christians, more than anybody else, should treat others—everybody with the same love, grace, and mercy that they, themselves have received from God!

Overall rating: 5 out of 5

#WhatsTheMessage EP 014: Hope for Bon Air Juveniles

In this episode Carmela and Claudia talk with Valerie Slater, Esq., Executive Director of RISE for Youth about the experience many youths are having in juvenile justice facilities. We particularly talk about her work at the Bon Air Juvenile facility near Richmond, VA, currently the juvenile center with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in one juvenile correctional facility. Her passion and expertise for this work was electric! You do not want to miss this episode! We talked all things restorative justice, criminal justice reform, and the impact of our punitive system on black boys and girls. Click on the link above. We know you’ll be informed and inspired about the work of justice for black boys and girls.

A Devotional with Pastor Ndubuisi Nwade

We are so grateful to Pastor Buisi Nwade for giving our Friday devotional. Check out this lesson about empathy based on Exodus 22:21.

Devotional with Pastor Edsel Cadet

This week on #WhatsTheMessage we talked about the impact of COVID-19 on relationships with Dr. Willie and Elaine Oliver and Pastor Kim Bulgin. And for our weekly devotional we are so excited and grateful to have Pastor Edsel Cadet, Senior Pastor of Cambridge SDA Church, share with us a short devotional on relationships. Tune in to this short piece of inspiration to hear how to avoid pitfalls from your past during this quarantine season.

#WhatsTheMessage EP 013 Rona Relationships: Marriage, Dating, and Singleness in Quarantine

In this episode Carmela and Claudia welcome Dr. Willie Oliver and Elaine Oliver, Message Magazine Relationship columnists and the Directors for Family Ministries for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Pastor Kimberly Bulgin, Senior Pastor of the New Beginnings SDA Church and Founder of The Love God, Love Sex Experience. In this conversation, we discuss with them how quarantine has placed added pressure on marriages, the importance of intimacy for married couples and singles, and even discussed healthy ways for singles to enjoy their singlehood or date if they so choose. This entire episode is authentic and academic. Here you get amazing information, resources, counsel, as well as honest and transparent sharing. We know you’re going to love this episode and truly be blessed.

Be sure to follow our guests!

To get more content from Dr. Willie and Elain Oliver follow them on Facebook, they have content on YouTube, books for purchase, like Real Family Talk: Answers to Questions About Love, Marriage, and Sex, and Hope for Today’s Families—the world missionary book for 2019. They also have a show called Real Family Talk on Hope Channel that you can tune into: https://www.hopetv.org/realfamilytalk

To get more content from Pastor Kim Bulgin and to engage with her Love God, Love Sex Experience follow her on Instagram @_kimberlybulgin and @lovegod_lovesex, and on Facebook at The Love God, Love Sex Community. You can visit her website for more details on their next experience: https://kimberlybulgin.lpages.co/the-love-god-love-sex-exp…/.

As always, you can find more content from us and subscribe to our newsletter and bi-monthly magazine at www.messagemagazine.com

And follow us Instagram and Twitter @Message1898

Devotional with Pastor Nathaniel Drew

Make sure to check out this devotional by Pastor Nathaniel Drew. Based on the story of Joseph in Genesis 50:22-24, Pastor Drew helps us process this period of grief and death that we find ourselves in and gives us hope, encouragement, and inspiration.

#WhatsTheMessage EP 012: God Moving in Tanzania and Beyond

In this episode Carmela and Claudia talk with Dr. Carlton Byrd, Lead Pastor of Oakwood University Church and the Lead Speaker and Director of The Breath of Life TV Broadcast, sharing with us about the over 16,000 souls saved in their revival in Tanzania as well as their recent Easter broadcast “The Awakening.” We’re excited to discuss the powerful moments the Holy Spirit has moved oversees and here in the states, as well as tackle the times we’re living in and our own prophetic moment. But we’re also excited to talk with Donna Green-Goodman about her recent article where she pleads with African Americans to take their health into their own hands. She writes about how African Americans cannot look to the system to save or heal them and they must do it themselves. We’ll about about this with and more on preventive and prescriptive measures people take in dealing with coronavirus COVID-19.

You can read Donna Green Goodman’s article here

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#WhatsTheMessage EP: 011 To Close or Not to Close

Race, Faith, and Action in a Pandemic

In this episode Carmela and Claudia welcome Dr. Christina Wells, MD, a physician on the front lines on the Southside of Chicago at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Carmela catches up with her about her experiences, racial disparities, and how this pandemic is affecting African Americans. They also welcome Pastor Michael Kelly, Lead Pastor of Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church in Riverside, California and Evangelist Marquis Johns, Director of Adventist Community Services and Prison Ministries in Southeastern California Conference to discuss faith, church, and social action in the midst of social distancing. This is going to be an awesome episode that you don’t want to miss. Watch the play back on our Facebook page.

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Devotional with Pastor Phillip Wesley II

Check out this inspiring devotional from Pastor Phillip Wesley II based on Revelation 2:10. We know his testimony and teaching on the hope of last day events will truly encourage you. Also make sure you’re subscribed to our bi-monthly print issue to check out his media column, Elevation: Media That Takes You Higher.