Word&Way News: April 22
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on inappropriate Easter politicking that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay looking at the controversy surrounding an anti-racism effort by an Illinois church.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
Mandel Seeks ‘Army of Christian Warriors’ in Ohio Race. Brian Kaylor reported on a “faith & freedom” rally with Senate hopeful Josh Mandel and Michael Flynn.
Scriptural Narrative and the Future of the Church. Greg Mamula reflected on how we should allow the full narrative of Scripture to shape our holy imaginations.
Mo. Convention Helps Churches Defund SBC Entities. Brian Kaylor reported on new giving plan by the Missouri Baptist Convention that is drawing criticism from Southern Baptist leaders.
Review: Chasing After Wind. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Chasing after Wind: A Pastor’s Life by Douglas J. Brouwer.
Michigan Lawmaker’s Forceful Speech Rebuts ‘Grooming’ Attack. David Eggert reported on a viral speech by Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow as she responded to a political attack that she wants to “groom” and “sexualize” kindergartners.
Other News of Note
The Washington Post profiled Rick Lindroth in a piece by Sarah Pulliam Bailey (with numerous photos by Bonnie Jo Mount): “To Fight Climate Despair, this Christian Ecologist Says Science isn’t Enough.”
Daniel Desrochers of the Kansas City Star looked at U.S. Senate hopeful Vicky Hartzler’s faith-focused campaign in Missouri.
Andy Humbles and Liam Adams of the Nashville Tennessean reported on “the evolution of Greg Locke,” a pastor making waves for his presence at Jan. 6, his protests of COVID health measures, and his claims about casting out evil spirits.
NBC News reported on “Why one evangelical pastor left a radicalized, post-Jan. 6 America behind.”
St. Louis Public Radio told the story of “How a Gay St. Louis Pastor Triggered a War Within the Presbyterian Church in America.”
Maina Mwaura wrote for Baptist News Global about sitting down with the former CEO of Waffle House (after they met in, of course, one of the chain’s locations): “What if More Churches were Like Waffle House?”
Marisa Iati reported for the Washington Post about an effort led by Rev. Amy Butler to provide funds to help dying churches breathe new life into their communities.
Michael Gerson reflected on faith in light of the horrors in Ukraine: “War’s Horrors May Shake Our Faith. But God is Here, Even Amid the Pain.”
This week: Matthew Boedy on Charlie Kirk
Another good podcast this week:
Brian Kaylor was the guest on the Straight White American Jesus podcast to talk about “The Reverend Moon, the AR 15 Church, and the Republican Party.”
by Brian Kaylor & Beau Underwood
On the surface, Chuck Schumer was simply doing his job. Speaking in front of a large crowd of constituents, the Democratic majority leader for the U.S. Senate provided a legislative update specifically focused on efforts to diversify the federal bench and reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In particular, he celebrated the historic confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
But then came the ending of his remarks that sparked controversy online a couple days later: “Lord knows it took too long to get here, but now that we’re here there’s no going back. The stone has been rolled away from the tomb and all those good things we hoped and prayed for will come to pass. So, Happy Easter!”
Schumer’s remarks occurred on Easter Sunday at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York (and Gov. Kathy Hochul was also in attendance but apparently didn’t speak during the service). Although Schumer, who is Jewish, is up for re-election, he wasn’t overtly asking for votes (after all, he doesn’t really face competition). Yet, his comments during the church service had the effect of equating the resurrection of Jesus with a political achievement and societal progress. Easter became more about what transpired in Washington, D.C., in recent days than what once happened outside Jerusalem.
Had we learned of Schumer’s remarks before writing our piece published on Tuesday about politicians — Republicans and Democrats — using Easter for partisan gain, we would have included it. His appearance only reinforces our argument: When church services become campaign rallies, the wrong person is being worshiped. We must speak against efforts to co-opt sacred spaces and symbols for partisan purposes.
Photo of the Week
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