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Word&Way News: Dec. 23
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. And Christmas is almost here! Did you procrastinate in buying gifts? We can help you out! Give a gift subscription to A Public Witness. And since we assume you’ve been nice this year, don’t forget to treat yourself if you’ve not yet upgraded to a paid subscription!
This week at A Public Witness, we published a piece reflecting on what we’ve learned from the Unsettling Advent devotionals.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
A War with Christmas. Brian Kaylor reflected on Russian pro-war propaganda dressed up like a Christmas decoration, which he called a sacrilegious assault on celebrations of the birth of the Prince of Peace.
The Bible According to Cavity Sam. Sarah Blackwell reflected on how we are teaching our Christian young people a version of reading the Bible that closely resembles the game Operation.
Review: Unruly Saint. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Unruly Saint: Dorothy Day’s Radical Vision and its Challenge for Our Times by D.L. Mayfield.
Baptist & Catholic Leaders Meet Pope Francis Amid Yearslong Dialogue Effort. Steven R. Harmon and Juan Usma Gómez reported on a recent meeting of international Catholic and Baptist academics, clergy, and denominational leaders.
William Barber Launches New Center at Yale, Will Retire From Church. Jack Jenkins reported on the creation of the a Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School.
This week: Alan Streett on Songs of Resistance
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
Rev. Otis Moss III appeared on Madang with host Grace Ji-Sun Kim.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
There’s that magical moment that happens in countless Christmas or romantic movies. Near the end, as things are working out for good, beautiful snowflakes suddenly start falling. It’s a Wonderful Life. A White Christmas. Groundhog Day. Serendipity. It’s such a common trope that I suspect if Hollywood had written the story of Jesus’s birth that the text would note flakes starting to fall just as he was born!
While it makes for movie magic, especially when paired with an emotional swell of music, we know it’s not necessarily true. In real life, magical or romantic moments can happen without snow. And in real life, snow can bring hardship and tragedy.
Right now, many people across the U.S. are struggling due to snow and the chill that has swept in from the north. And in Ukraine, many more are trying to keep warm and safe amid snow, power outages, and Russian bombs.
Unfortunately, things aren’t quite as simple as a Hollywood movie. We can’t just shake some fake snow, cue the orchestra, and give ourselves a happy ending. So we’ve got to look out for each other and love our neighbors. We might not know who’s merely acting that things are joyful right now. Maybe we can be the ones to spread some good cheer this season.
I hope you have a merry and blessed Christmas, with or without snow.
Other News of Note
Gordon College settled a lawsuit by a fired social work professor after the Christian school in Massachusetts unsuccessfully argued the professor should be considered a minister and thus could not bring a discrimination lawsuit (a report in March at A Public Witness covered the issues in the case).
Diana Butler Bass wrote at her Substack newsletter The Cottage about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, D.C., and comments about “just peace” and Christmas.
Due to religious and geopolitical clashes, Ukrainian believers can celebrate Christmas twice!
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading! And Merry Christmas!
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