Preach it, Teech: Minister mixes God, hip-hop

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Preach it, Teech (reporting from Santa Ana, Calif.): For California minister, rap music is a way to reach a new generation.

SANTA ANA, Calif. — As Jason “Teech” Darden grabs a microphone, loud music pulsates.

The audience — a group of urban students invited to a Saturday mentoring event — cheers as Darden begins to rap.

“Turn it up right here,” the Christian hip-hop artist instructs as he grooves to the rhythmic beat.

Darden, 34, sports an Oakland Raiders cap, a black hooded sweatshirt and camouflage pants as he invites the children gathered at Martin R. Heninger Elementary School to repeat the lyrics.

“I said, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart!’” he declares again and again.

Twenty-four hours later, Darden dons a different wardrobe — a white, button-down shirt, dark slacks and shiny brown shoes — as he steps to the pulpit of the 200-member Mission Viejo Church of Christ.

In each venue, he expresses the same passion: his love for Jesus Christ.

“For Teech, it’s always been about spreading the Word,” said Marcus Thompson, a West Oakland Church of Christ member collaborating with Darden and Anthony Nelson to create the hip-hop label Kerusso Music.

This story appears in the February 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

God in the rubble: Houses, lives lost in Texas twisters

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God in the rubble (reporting from Rowlett, Texas): ‘This world is not our home,’ says family that lost house in Texas twister.

ROWLETT, Texas — Rain poured on Mike Patterson.

The Texas church member stood by the cozy fireplace where he used to glance out the window and enjoy God’s creation.

Now, crumbled bricks, broken glass and sticky yellow insulation surrounded him as he stared directly into the dark sky.

Soaked as he picked through the remains of his family’s tornado-devastated house, the 50-year-old father of two counted his blessings.

“It’s been a very good reminder of how quickly what we view as a home here in this world can just vanish and be torn apart in 15 seconds,” said Patterson, a deacon of the Saturn Road Church of Christ in nearby Garland, Texas. “It’s been a reminder that this world is not our home, and we should be focused on what is eternal.”

Patterson, his wife, Michelle, and their sons, Blake, 21, and Cameron, 16, were celebrating the holidays with extended family in Georgia when an outbreak of tornadoes struck North Texas.

Twelve people — including Timothy Harris, a member of the Johnson Street Church of Christ in Greenville, Texas — died as the tornadoes wreaked havoc the day after Christmas.

Related stories:

•  Tornado victim lived by faith (reporting from Greenville, Texas)

After the storm, heeding Jesus’ words (reporting from Garland, Texas)

These stories appear in the February 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

January 2016: GetReligion

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Anti-Muslim backlash strikes again: Media can’t help falling in love with circumstantial evidence. Published Jan. 4.

Ten stories that inspired me — and hopefully you — during 2015

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Ten stories that inspired me — and hopefully you — during 2015: These Christians and congregations demonstrated faith, hope and love.

I am blessed.

As chief correspondent for The Christian Chronicle, I am privileged to tell the stories of Christians living out their faith — often under difficult circumstances.

Over the last decade, my travels with the Chronicle have taken me to 48 states (I’ll make it to the Dakotas eventually!) and 10 countries.

As we near the end of this year, here are 10 individuals and congregations who inspired me — and hopefully you — during 2015.

These are just a few examples among many who deserve to be recognized.

This column appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.