By Melissa Wuske
Olympian Praises God Despite Spinal Injury
Jamie Nieto, former U.S. Olympic high jumper from the 2004 and 2012 games, suffered a spinal injury in April that will keep him from attending the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Nieto coaches potential Olympic athletes, and while performing a high jump during a training exercise, Nieto did his signature back flip. But his body didn’t make the full rotation and he landed on his head, leaving him temporarily paralyzed. After life-saving surgery he is on the long road to recovery; he is now able to move is right arm and may slowly regain the ability to walk.
Nieto says he’s grateful to God to be alive. “I want people to see that I’m blessed,” he said. “I want them to see God exuding out of me—my relationship with him exuding out of me.”
Missionary Equips Guatemalan Firefighters
Reed Whitson, a firefighter from Fort Smith, Arkansas, went on a yearlong mission trip to Guatemala. As part of his time there, he was able to donate firefighting equipment from the U.S. to Guatemalan firefighters.
“With the help from the Fort Smith Fire Department, I was able to donate some fire gear to two different fire departments (states) in Guatemala,” Whitson wrote on Facebook. “It brought with it some emotions for me as this was the first time in over a year that I have been around any firefighters. After being away from it over a year, I understand even better now the brotherhood that comes along with being a firefighter.”
The Church and Racial Reconciliation
According to a recent study by Barna Research Group, most Christians recognize that racism is not just a problem of the past. More than half of evangelicals, practicing Christians, and those who attend church at least once a week agreed that people of color are often put at a social disadvantage because of their race.
Are churches part of the problem? Around a quarter of evangelicals (24 percent), practicing Christians (26 percent), and those who attended church in the past week (30 percent) think so. Most also said churches are critical to healing the damage caused by racism (94 percent of evangelicals, 88 percent of practicing Christians, and 86 percent of those who attended church in the past week).
A LifeWay Research survey found that more than half of ministers said racial reconciliation is a gospel mandate, and 32 percent of white ministers and 53 percent of African American ministers strongly agree with this statement: “My church is involved with racial reconciliation at the local level.”
America’s Place in the World
As the presidential election approaches, Americans’ views on how the nation relates to the world become more and more relevant. According to Pew Research Center, about a third (35 percent) of Americans think the U.S. should increase spending on national defense; around a quarter (24 percent) want to cut it back; and 40 percent think it should be kept about the same. Republicans are leading a surge in favor of increased spending; 61 percent of Republicans want more defense spending, up 24 percentage points from 2013. Overall the share of Americans wanting higher defense spending has risen by 12 percentage points.
In considering the role the U.S. plays in global affairs, 37 percent of Americans think the nation “should help other countries with their problems”; 57 percent think the U.S. should “deal with own problems/let others deal with theirs as best they can.” Overall, when addressing world problems, 27 percent of people think the U.S. does too little, 41 percent say too much, and 28 percent think America does the right amount.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).