Word&Way News: Dec. 31
Here’s the top news of the week from Word&Way. Paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay on a debate about Christian identity and academic research at Baylor University.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Our 2021 in Review. We look back at this past year and reflect on key accomplishments here at Word&Way.
‘Go in Peace’: U.S. Church Founded in 1800 Holds Last Service. After 221 years, a Presbyterian church in Pennsylvania is shutting down.
Evangelicals a Rising Force Inside Argentine Prisons. German De Los Santos and Rodrigo Abd take you behind the bars to see religious life inside some of Argentina’s prisons.
Other News of Note
Good Faith Media ran a column by Wendell Griffen reflecting on the death this week of South African apartheid fighter and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. GFM this week also published a transcript of Allan Boesak’s remarks in October for Tutu’s 90th birthday celebration.
The New York Times reported on mask fights in Enid, Oklahoma, where comments about faith and church figure prominently on both sides. And at the heart of the conflict is a Southern Baptist pastor pushing conspiracies theories about COVID.
Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post about how “most evangelical objections to vaccines have nothing to do with Christianity.”
NPR reported on how “a biblical rest from farming in Israel could help Gaza’s growers.” Ultra-Orthodox Jews who farm in Israel will observe the upcoming yearlong agricultural sabbath called for in Leviticus 25. And that could provide an economic boost for farmers in the poverty-stricken Gaza.
This week: Daniel Williams on the Politics of the Cross
And check the list of out our top podcast episodes of 2021.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
On Christmas Eve, President Joe Biden and his wife Jill took calls from families as children anxiously awaited the gifts coming the next morning. After the Bidens talked with one family and wished them “a wonderful Christmas,” the father shouted back a coded obscenity: “Merry Christmas and ‘let’s go, Brandon!’” The latter phrase is a favorite way among conservatives to curse Biden. The president reacted gracefully with a laugh and said he agreed. O insult, where is thy sting?
But since our society rewards incivility, Jared Schmeck quickly became a new conservative folk hero. Among the stops on his media tour this week was the Todd Starnes Show. Schmeck, who repeats the lies about the 2020 election being “stolen,” told Starnes about his love for Donald Trump.
“I love the man and his family,” Schmeck said about Trump. “He stands up for God every single day. … I believe God put him in that place for a reason.”
Starnes noted some are now calling on Schmeck to run for office (just for being rude to President Biden on Christmas Eve). Schmeck said he’s considering it: “I want to pray about it, see what God has for me. At the end of the day, I want his will for my life and the direction that it goes. This is not anything I expected or planned. And I do feel like God put me in this position for a reason.”
Being a jerk on one phone call might somehow be the political resume some voters want, but let’s not pretend this behavior is godly.
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