Word&Way News: April 21
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week at A Public Witness, we published a look at why Christians should defend public libraries and a review of the book Corpse Care.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
God’s Other Divine Word. For Earth Day, Lauren Graeber reflected on the spiritual practice of working the land and the deep wisdom it can offer about where and how to encounter a life of faith.
Review: We Will Be Free. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed We Will Be Free: The Life and Faith of Sojourner Truth by Nancy Koester.
For Embattled TN Lawmakers, Liberal Faith Movements Were a Training Ground. Jack Jenkins reported on the religious activist backgrounds of two Black lawmakers in Tennessee who have been pushing for more gun reforms.
SBC Official Brent Leatherwood Urges Tennessee Lawmakers to Pass Red Flag Law. Bob Smietana reported on a gun reform push by the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy leader — whose kids attend the Christian school in Nashville that was recently the site of a mass shooting.
Lutherans Launch Initiative Joining Indigenous-Led Truth and Healing Movement. Emily McFarlan Miller reported on a new effort by the country’s largest Lutheran denomination to help its members better understand the “colonizing impacts” the church has had.
This week: Cody Sanders & Mikeal Parsons on Corpse Care
Other noteworthy podcasts this week:
Rainn Wilson appeared on Faith for Normal People to talk about his new book on spirituality.
On Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman discussed the oral arguments this week in a Supreme Court case about religion in the workplace.
Over the past week, we received 16 awards for our work in 2022 — proof of our commitment to bringing you quality Christian journalism. We won 3 awards from the Evangelical Press Association:
3rd place in editorial to Brian Kaylor for How I Became a Marxist Pastor.
4th place in e-newsletter for our weekly news roundups like, well, this!
5th place in critical review to Juliet Vedral for Invitations to Abundance.
We won 5 awards from the Religion Communicators Council:
Winner in editorial series and Best in Class for specialty writing for Unsettling Advent.
Winner in magazine feature story to Brian Kaylor for The ReAwaken America Worship Service in Branson.
Winner in feature photography series to Brian Kaylor for Scenes from a MAGA Revival.
Award of Merit (3rd place) in podcast series for Dangerous Dogma.
And we won 8 awards from the Associated Church Press:
Award of Excellence (1st place) in biblical interpretation (long format) for Unsettling Advent.
Award of Excellence in devotional (short format) to Angela Parker for Who Are You Following?
Award of Excellence in news article (long format) to Brian Kaylor for Baptist Megachurch Pastor Leads Prayer Event for Herschel Walker after Abortion Allegation.
Award of Excellence in denominational politics article (short format) to Brian Kaylor for Will SBC Denounce Jan. 6 — or Affirm False 2020 Election Claims?
Award of Merit (2nd place) in devotional (long format) to Sarah Blackwell for A Different Kind of Pilgrim.
Honorable Mention in editorial to Brian Kaylor for A War With Christmas.
Honorable Mention in magazine event coverage to Brian Kaylor and Holly Hyde for reporting on the annual meeting of the Baptist World Alliance.
Honorable Mention in podcast series for Dangerous Dogma.
by Jeremy Fuzy, Word&Way Digital Editor
I spent this week at the Religion Communicators Convention in Chicago where the theme is “Listening to Life: Telling Stories that Matter.” There have been a number of wonderful panels, but I can’t stop thinking about the first one, “Illusion of Fairness: ‘Objectivity’ in the Age of Inclusion.”
The fruitful discussion, led by Deborah Douglas, director of the Midwest Solutions Journalism Hub at Medill School of Journalism, centered on the idea that news journalism is in the midst of a war over “objectivity.” The idea being that the old ways of framing and sourcing stories has resulted in a distortion of the truth through “bothsidesism” (presenting two sides of every conflict as equally valid) with the journalist presenting a detached “view from nowhere” that ultimately serves to reinforce the status quo.
It is certainly true that trust in journalism is at an all-time low and a number of complicated factors are at play. But I think there is something to the idea that using “objectivity” as the anchoring principle for journalistic writing should be retired. Douglas presented the idea that transparency could replace it. I could also see arguments for other norms like accuracy, fairness, or accountability.
And I would argue that religious journalism, like what we practice here at Word&Way, already solves some of the problems with traditional journalism by being open about the perspective we’re coming from. This means we routinely emphasize bringing context to complicated issues, exploring the full humanity of the people we cover, and holding powerful people and institutions accountable. We certainly promise to always offer a view from somewhere.
Other News of Note
Rachel Laser of Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote for The Oklahoman about why “public schools aren’t — and should never be — Sunday Schools.”
Emily Belz of Christianity Today reported that the city of Chicago settled a case after authorities stopped Wheaton College students from evangelizing in a city park near the Bean.
Elle Hardy of the London Guardian reported on demon deliverance evangelists in the U.S.
Ruth Graham of the New York Times reported on Ron DeSantis’s speech at Liberty University as the Florida governor tests the waters for a presidential run.
Politico looked at how GOP presidential hopefuls are reaching out to White evangelicals and noted how “Trump killed the ‘values voter’ wing of the GOP.”
Obit: Charles Stanley, a megachurch pastor and televangelist who also played important roles in evangelical involvement in GOP politics.
“Christ — the central focus of Christianity — is not a king, and not a fighter, but an advocate for the downtrodden. His ministry has no apparent interest in nationalism — indeed, welcoming strangers is one of its hallmarks. He is insistently nonviolent, and almost every gesture he makes is one of compassion.” — Bill McKibben in The New Yorker on the need for more Christians to confront Christian Nationalism.
Oklahoma Baptist University was badly damaged by a tornado on Wednesday (April 19).
In light of Tennessee expelling two Black lawmakers, Dorothy Sanders Well wrote for Christian Century about the time when Georgia kicked out 33 elected Black lawmakers, most of whom were ministers.
A Black man in Florida who spent 32 years in prison was released by a judge because prosecutors withheld evidence. But after an appeals court reinstated his conviction, he was ordered to return to prison. The Washington Post went with him to church on his last day of freedom for now.
Diana Butler Bass wrote at her Substack newsletter The Cottage about history and the present amid a controversy over racism and threats of violence in McCurtain County, Oklahoma:
Photo of the Week
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