0201 - Interracial Marriages: One Flesh but Two Families? (w/ SharDavia Walker)

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Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: SharDavia Walker

Overview: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9)

In the opening to season two, Trillia Newbell and Isaac Adams talk and pray with SharDavia Walker about interracial marriages—the beauty of them and the difficulty of them in and outside the church. How do you humbly and honestly navigate conversations with family who don’t approve of interracial relationships? Does the Bible speak about interracial marriages? How does the message of the gospel apply to this conversation? 

Facing different forms of awkwardness, difficulty, and outright opposition—from humorous things to horrible things—Isaac, Trillia, and Shar reflect on God’s faithfulness to them as those who are in interracial marriages. Regarding difficulties, Shar spoke wonderfully to the need for compassion and humility, especially in a way that reminded us of Francis Grimké, the brother who inspired this podcast. In 1898, Francis said: “Let us meet in our places of worship, and there…devoutly pray to Almighty God: First, that if it is our fault that the hearts of our fellow countrymen are so cruelly turned against us, he will show us the evil, and give us the wisdom to remove it.”

In other words, as we seek to be honest with others and call for repentance, let us also do the same in our own lives. May God grant us humility and honesty as we pursue unity and pray for it. 

Links & Show Notes:

Note: Due to the sensitive nature of this conversation, please be aware that as stories are recounted at the 8 minute mark, the n-word is used. You can read more about the context surrounding that sad story here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/mizzou-and-a-more-excellent-way/

1. Mark Dever’s Sermon Introduction In a sermon following the 2016 Presidential Election, Mark Dever shares a testimony about a friend of his who met opposition when pursuing a white sister.

2. Our Interracial Marriage and the Gospel A video testimony of Trillia Newbell’s interracial marriage. 

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0200 - So, We’re Still Praying?

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12b)

Taking racial struggles to the throne, United? We Pray is a podcast that calls for prayer about racial divisions in churches. With all that could be said about race and the church, why have a podcast on prayer? Here are four reasons: 

  1. The Bible commands prayer.
  2. Church History commends prayer. 
  3. Pastors know about prayer. 
  4. Christians agree on prayer. 

And so we pray. We’d love for you to join us for this second season as we approach the throne of grace—will you?

Links & Show Notes:

1. Francis Grimké Sermon Series The Negro His Rights and Wrongs, The Forces For Him and Against Him

2. Trillia Newbell’s Call to Prayer Blog Post

3. Isaac Adams’ Four Reasons for United? We Pray

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0108 - Season’s Greetings: Season’s Finale & Safe Places (w/ Jasmine Holmes)

Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: Jasmine Holmes

Overview:  “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2)

In the season finale, Trillia Newbell and Isaac Adams reflect on the first season of United? We Pray, and they speak with Jasmine Holmes about safe places. In the race conversation, at times, someone will say something unhelpful or downright racist, and if their statement is met with correction, they’ll respond by saying, “I thought you were a safe place.” 

Jasmine, Trillia, and Isaac reflect on the need to redefine the concept of a “safe place.” What does it look like to speak the truth and love, and hear the truth in love? How can Christians be honest with one another and yet extend heaps and heaps of grace to each other, as God has extended that grace to us in Christ? Trillia and Isaac continue to reflect on that grace as they look back on the episodes and start of Season 1 of United? We Pray. 

As we reflect on God’s goodness, we have to say thank you! Thank you to Karl Magnuson, producer of United? We Pray. Thank you to Dante Stewart, social media manager of United? We Pray. Thank you to Thern Newbell and Megan Adams, wonderful spouses to Trillia and Isaac. Thank you to all the listeners who joined us for Season 1 of United? We Pray, and most of all, thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ—our savior, Lord, and peace. To him be the glory now and forever, amen. 

Links & Show Notes:

A Call to Prayer During an Anxious Time This is the blog post that Trillia wrote to call for prayer in the midst of racial turmoil.

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0107 - Remembering Rightly: History, Race, and American Christianity (w/ Matt Hall)

Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: Matt Hall

Overview: “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility...that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace…” (Ephesians 2:14-15)

In our last episode with Karen Ellis, Trillia Newbell and Isaac Adam looked at underground churches in other countries to glean lessons about unity. In this episode, the hosts speak with Dr. Matt Hall, Dean of Boyce college, to look back at American Christianity and its history race. What is race? What does it mean in the Bible? How many races are there? How does racism in the past affect us today?

Matt Hall looks at and defines race from a biological, theological, and sociological perspective as he explains where the modern idea of race came from. Matt suggests that we can’t talk about race in America if we don’t understand where it came from and what it is. Further, if we want to see true gospel reconciliation, a measure of historical truth-telling is required—a stance that is not always comfortable, popular, or simple. 

How does the complexity of race and the past factor into our conversations about race today? What are helpful and unhelpful ways the current generation thinks about identity? How do the Scriptures’ constant reference to remembering the past accurately tether to our identity as Christians? Join us for prayer and discussion as we look at the reality of race, its incredible power throughout history, and God’s faithfulness in the midst of history. 

Links & Show Notes:

1. Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention edited by Jarvis J. Williams and Kevin M. Jones In this book, you’ll find a chapter by Dr. Jarvis Williams, whom Dr. Hall referred to. His chapter explains what race meant in biblical times and how the definition of it has changed. The definitions are fairly technical but helpful to those who want to dive in. In this book you’ll also find a helpful chapter on history and why it matters specifically for Southern Baptist churches as they live in a world in which race matters. 

2. Dream with Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win by John Perkins Dr. Hall referred to civil rights activist John Perkins—his legacy and hope. Dream with Me is Dr. Perkins' latest work and memoir in which he reflects upon the issues of race and its effects on his life. 

3. The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity by Benjamin Isaac This book is a long, scholarly treatment of the idea of race and racism in the ancient world (or in Biblical times). However, the introduction alone is worth the price of the book. 

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0106 - Small & Unannounced: Unity & Underground Churches (w/ Karen Ellis)

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Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: Karen Ellis

Overview: “Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field…” (Matt. 13:31)

Missiologist Karen Ellis joins Isaac Adams and Trillia Newbell to share insights about race and unity from her work with underground churches. Karen focuses on the faithfulness of brothers and sisters in churches around the world as they do work that is small and unannounced. That’s what the things of the kingdom typically are—small, quiet, unannounced. Nonetheless, Karen reminds us that, “Unity may not be loudest voice out the gate, but praise God, it’ll be the voice that lasts into eternity.” 

If you have ever felt like you’re not an expert on race and unity, if you have ever felt spiritually flabby in your prayer life, join us for this episode. In it, Karen reminds us of the freedom there is in faithfulness and in not having our voices dominate the scene and she speaks to other questions as well: 

Is race a only a challenge for American churches? How has the conversation about race changed for evangelical Christians over the years? Do you have to be an expert to speak about race, the church, and justice? 

The powerless have a word about power. If believers in a loud world can be quiet enough, we just might hear it. 

Links & Show Notes:

Follow Karen Ellis on Twitter

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0105 - Merciful Mouths: Bold & Foolish Words (w/ Jackie Hill Perry)

Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: Jackie Hill Perry

Overview: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

In this episode, Jackie Hill Perry discusses the difference between boldness and foolishness in speaking about race and the church. Jackie, Trillia, and Isaac discuss the power of prayer to guard the believer against unforgiveness and bitterness as well as other concerns about how the church is treated within this conversation. 

What might weary saints do as they wait upon the Lord? When it comes to the race conversation, what are the pitfalls in how Christians use our language? How does one walk the line between their honesty being boldness or foolishness? 

Join us in prayer, as we look to God’s Word and remember that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks; that mercy and justice are to go hand-in-hand; and that there is coming a day where justice, peace, and kindness will reign because Jesus reigns.

Links & Show Notes:

1. I Am Delivered Jackie mentioned that in this life God delivers us from sin, but we have not yet been finally delivered. In this article, she teases that idea and concept out more of what God has done and what he has yet to do.

2. “The Art of Joy Jackie’s first hip-hop album, “The Art of Joy” was mentioned in this episode; it focuses on how joy in Christ is what we were made for, and how that joy is better than anything else we might imagine.

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0104 - Evil Days: First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs (w/ Matt Chandler)

Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: Matt Chandler

Overview: As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4)

Originally, Isaac and Trillia planned to talk and pray about white supremacy with Matt Chandler. However, given the recent tragedy in Texas at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, we thought it would be appropriate to pray for our brothers and sisters there. 

While some may question the response of prayer in these times, we do not. And because of our unity in Christ, when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer. Regardless of our ethnicity, we are one—we share the same Spirit and the same Savior. Though there’s a question mark in the minds of many regarding racial unity, our unity in Christ is not in question. And so we pray. 

Join us as we lament, pray, and discuss the pitfalls of social media in an age of evil, too often seen in mass shootings. 

Links & Show Notes:

1. Deep Demons: Race & The Church (w/ Ray Ortlund) As referenced in this episode, here is the United? We Pray episode where Ray Ortlund explains our oneness in Christ. 

2. Texas Shooting Kills 26 at Southern Baptist Church A short article describing the massacre that occurred at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. 

3. The Enduring Effects of White Supremacy in American Culture Professor Jarvis Williams reflects on Dylann Roof slaying nine black brothers and sisters at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church.

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0103 - Weak, Weary, Strong: Enduring as a Bridge-Builder

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Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Overview: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

In this third episode, Isaac Adams and Trillia Newbell discuss why being a bridge-builder is so difficult and how bridge builders, in Christ, can persevere in their ministries. The reality for anyone building a bridge is that bridges get stepped on, they get driven on from both sides, and they’re the first to freeze over when the bad weather hits. How might a bridge builder guard against cynicism and despair? Why should they pray for the very folks who are burning bridges? What might taking care of yourself as a bridge-builder look like?

We don’t have all the wisdom to answer these questions, and so we pray. 

Often, bridge-building work can be discouraging work because of sin—both the sin of others and our own. What’s more, bridge-builders can be tempted to look for external fruit from their labors, when the reality is that we cannot calculate our own fruit. We labor, but God gives the growth. Yet the great hope of bridge builders is that when we are weak, we are strong in the Lord. His grace is sufficient. His mercies are new each morning. And so we pray with this hope, knowing that, as one theologian said, “God will change out his workmen but carry on his work.”

If you know someone who is doing good bridge-building work, why not drop them a note of encouragement? We can never encourage one another too much. If there’s a brother or sister, whether publicly or locally, whose ministry you’ve appreciated, why not encourage them?

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0102 - Deep Demons: Race & The Church (w/ Ray Ortlund)

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Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Guest: Ray Ortlund

Overview: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Join Trillia Newbell, Isaac Adams, and Ray Ortlund as they discuss racial strife and the church. While recording this episode, Ray made an apt analogy. He compared the evil of racism to the demon possessing the boy in Mark 9:14-29. Jesus said about that demon: "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." Reflecting on racism in the church, Ray said, "that demon is deep, baby; it's deep!" And so we pray.

We pray, as Trillia mentioned, that we wouldn't be smiling racists. We confess our weakness. And we do so because, as Ray said, "If we’re really going to make a difference regarding ethnic strife and unity, prayer must be at the foundation of everything.”

Links & Show Notes:

1. Black Lives Matter and Racial Tension in America Here's an article breaking down the statistics of racial divisions in American churches in light of the racial strife from the last few years. 

2. Divided by Faith A fuller-treatment that analyzes, from a sociological perspective, the differences in worldviews of different evangelicals and how that leads to racial divisions. 

3. No Racial Reconciliation Without Intersectionality and Privilege Is "white privilege" a term devised simply to make white people feel guilty? This article looks at privilege, and the different kinds of privilege, and suggests how we might both reckon with the truth and use the benefits God has given us for the service of others. It re-frames the understanding of privilege in a biblical perspective and speaks to the need for a more dynamic conversation about the complexities of race if racial reconciliation will occur.   

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0101 - Pilot: What A Chorus That Would Be

Hosts: Isaac Adams & Trillia Newbell

Overview: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

In this first episode, Isaac Adams and Trillia Newbell discuss the purpose of United? We Pray and share their hopes for the podcast. The Bible makes clear that God’s people are a praying people, and United? We Pray seeks to encourage more prayer about racial struggles. We hope to pray proactively, and we hope to praise God, confess to God, thank God, and ask of God. What’s more, we hope that brothers and sisters listening in on these prayer join in prayer because, as Trillia says, “what a chorus that would be!” 

The issue of race, unity, and the church may daunt you; it may have you altogether weary. Wherever you may be, join us as we come to the throne of grace in Jesus’ name. We pray that we would see these issues not as something entirely negative, something like a prison, but as something that can glorify God, a prism that reflects his beauty. 

Links & Show Notes:

1. Francis Grimké Sermon Series — The Negro His Rights and Wrongs, The Forces For Him and Against Him

2. Trillia Newbell’s Call to Prayer Blog Post

3. Trillia’s children’s book: God’s Very Good Idea

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey

0100 - United? We Pray (Teaser)

One thing is clear: when it comes to unity in the church across racial lines, we need divine help. Prayer is how we ask for that help (James 1:5). Christians don't agree on how to address racial divisions, but Christians do agree that we ought to rely upon God in prayer. We must do more than pray if we are to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, but we cannot do less. Will you pray with us?

To learn more about United? We Pray follow us on Twitter or our website. Please consider rating the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and subscribe using your favorite podcast client to hear more!

Recorded and produced by Karl Magnuson
Graphic design by Rob Alvey