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Word&Way News: Dec. 9
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to our 2nd annual list of top books that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at extravagant church Christmas pageants.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Review: Choosing Hope. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Choosing Hope: The Heritage of Judaism by David Arnow.
The Inherent Narcissism of ‘Love is Blind.’ Angela Denker reflected on Love is Blind, a reality TV show she loves to hate.
With Race in Mind, Christians Reconsider Language of Dark and Light at Advent. Emily McFarlan Miller wrote about how some U.S. Christians are rethinking Advent language and metaphors.
‘You Put the Baby in the Manger?’: New Podcast Looks at Sacred and Profane in the Gospels. Bob Smietana reported on Almelem, a new audio drama podcast set in first-century Palestine.
Theological Schools Report Continued Drop in Master of Divinity Degrees. Kathryn Post reported on the changing state of ministerial education.
Our Advent series continued this week, with devotionals by Elisey Pronin, Jennifer Butler, Joy Martinez-Marshall, Brian Kaylor, Rick Santos, Sarah Blackwell, and Beau Underwood. You can sign up to receive the rest of the daily devotionals each morning in your inbox.
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
Hark!, a podcast telling the backstories of Christmas carols has returned for a second season. This year they already have episodes out on “Carol of the Bells” and “Good King Wenceslas,” with more coming each week. And if you missed the show last year, you can binge those five episodes as well.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
The oldest surviving one-room schoolhouse for African Americans in Missouri is undergoing a rehab. A predominately White church with a Black pastor in a largely White community is helping restore the 127-year building. Members from United Methodist Church of Green Trails in Chesterfield, Missouri, are helping restore the historic schoolhouse along with community groups that have raised funds for the effort.
“To do something like this, to bring people from all walks of life out to this park, to do something like this shows the power of what we can do when we unite,” Rev. Linda Settles, the church’s pastor, told a local TV station. “We are all a part of this soil, and so to be able to have our hands in this schoolhouse, rebuilding it, and showing it for generations to come, to me it just shows that we are all linked and there’s nothing that divides us.”
This work to preserve history is important. It’s also a unique witness for the church, modeling how they value everyone through their remodeling work. The church members are learning about a part of their community’s history too often overlooked. And people in the community are learning about this congregation that’s putting their faith into action.
As this year comes to an end, many churches are already planning their mission trip and other projects for 2023. Often these involve painting, landscaping, and other manual labor projects. What if more churches followed the example of the Methodists in Chesterfield and took on local projects to save and restore sites of Black history that are in disrepair and in danger of being lost forever? Maybe it’s a historic schoolhouse or church building or a neglected cemetery.
This work shouldn’t be left to just Black congregations or Black pastors. We all need to honor sites and people too often pushed to the margins of our society.
Other News of Note
The mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, visited the Vatican to give Pope Francis a cross with an embedded piece of shrapnel removed from a young girl.
Brian Klaas wrote at his Substack newsletter The Garden of Forking Paths about why the midterms did not solve the threat of election deniers in U.S. politics.
Although the World Cup host nation of Qatar is an Islamic nation, there is one spot where the government allows Christians to gather and worship.
Photo of the Week
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