Word&Way News: April 29
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to an essay looking at a critical Supreme Court case on school prayer that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a report on a split between evangelical leaders and former President Donald Trump when it comes to supporting 2022 candidates.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Al Mohler Fumbles. Brian Kaylor responds to comments by the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary about government prayers in public schools.
Review: My Body Is Not a Prayer Request. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church by Amy Kenny.
Marymount California University, a Half-Century-Old Catholic School, to Shut Down. Alejandra Molina reported about a college closing amid financial struggles.
Morris Brown College Regains Accreditation After 20 Years. A historically Black school founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Church is making a comeback.
Grove City College Rejects ‘Wokeness,’ CRT in New Report. Kathryn Post wrote about the political controversy at a Christian college where a report attacked Christian historian and best-selling author Jemar Tisby.
This week, Word&Way won three awards from the Baptist Communicators Association for our work in 2021:
1st place to Brian Kaylor in opinion/editorial writing for his column “We Can’t Massage Away the Scandal of the Gospel.”
2nd place to Holly Hyde and Brian Kaylor for magazine cover design (for the February 2021 issue).
3rd place to Brian Kaylor in medium-length news article for his piece “SBU Placed on Probation by Accrediting Body.”
Other News of Note
Randall Balmer wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times: “Jesus Said to Pray in a ‘Closet,’ Not on the 50-Yard Line.”
Writing for The New Yorker, Megan Stack considered, “Can Liberty University be Saved?”
Vox looked back at Frank Peretti novels that “sound like today’s headlines” of hysteria about “elite liberal conspiracies.”
Kathryn Lopez wrote for Christian Century about how “The Book of Job is a Parody.”
Alan Bean wrote for Baptist News Global about “Remembering the Struggle to Integrate Even ‘Progressive’ Baptist Churches in the 1960s.”
The Washington Post took a look at a troubling trend in American politics: “How it Became Normal for Public Officials to Attack Journalists.”
This week: Mark Noll on America’s Book
Another good podcast this week:
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Over the past couple years, the phrase “critical race theory” has buzzed in school board meetings, congressional debates, and denominational gatherings. Of course, much of what gets derided as CRT isn’t. I actually took a class on critical theory — including but not limited to CRT — but that wasn’t until my doctoral studies. Simply put, CRT isn’t really a thing being taught outside of law schools and other graduate programs.
Yet, CRT has exploded in political discourse precisely because some want to stop any conversations about ongoing implications of systemic racism. We know this because Christopher Rufo, who helped popularize criticism of CRT, actually admitted he calls lots of things CRT to confuse people and demonize the term. The strategy is working.
Last week, the board of Grove City College, a Christian school in Pennsylvania, released a report attacking “going woke” and anything that promotes “CRT concepts.” The problem is GCC’s leadership seems to think merely talking about racism is CRT. So, they’re banning books and presentations by Black Christians like Jemar Tisby and Bryan Stevenson. Ironically, such a move proves a key CRT point about institutional racism!
The effort by GCC is nothing short of political hysteria masked as theological purity. As Andrea Turpin, a history professor at Baylor University, put it: “What is within the bounds of Christianity for faculty is not defined theologically, but politically. In other words, Grove City does not have a statement of faith, but it does now have a statement of politics.” When politics becomes your religion, you refuse to listen to faithful Christians like Tisby and Stevenson.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!