Word&Way News: Feb. 17
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. Lent starts this coming Wednesday. So if you’ve procrastinated, now’s the time to finally order our Unsettling Lent devotional book. You can order print copies, or get a digital version.
This week at A Public Witness, we sent to everyone a defense of pastors amid attacks by partisan activists, and we sent to paid subscribers a report on efforts to post “In God We Trust” in public schools.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
Churches That Don’t See Color Won’t Reach People of Color. Nabil Tueme used Springtide Research Institute’s latest research report to argue that when faith leaders ignore racial/ethnic identity, this makes young people of color feel misunderstood and unwelcome.
Review: The Church After Innovation. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed The Church After Innovation: Questioning Our Obsession With Work, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship by Andrew Root.
Pastors’ View: Sermons Written by ChatGPT Will Have No Soul. David Crary reported on pastors experimenting with and warning against artificial-intelligence chatbots.
Why Students at a Kentucky Christian School are Praying and Singing Round the Clock. Bob Smietana reported on the ongoing revival occurring at Asbury University.
Latino Evangelicals Launch Campaign Against Florida Execution of Donald David Dillbeck. Alejandra Molina reported on an advocacy effort to stop an execution planned for next week.
This week: Jason Porterfield on Fight Like Jesus
Other noteworthy shows this week:
NPR’s All Things Considered talked with Robert P. Jones, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, and Tim Whitaker about Christian Nationalism.
Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty talked about Christian Nationalism on Point Black with Adolphus Pruitt and Darryl Gray.
by Beau Underwood, Word&Way Contributing Editor
On Tuesday (Feb. 14), Lamar Johnson’s life changed. After being wrongly convicted of murder and spending 28 years in prison, Johnson walked out of a St. Louis, Missouri, courthouse as a free man.
We’ve written extensively about Johnson and the campaign to free him. More personally, I’ve had the privilege of serving as Johnson's spiritual counselor for the last several years — which involved exchanging emails, sharing phone calls, and visiting him inside the Jefferson City Correctional Center.
Like so many, I rejoiced when learning that he would finally be released. A tragic and painful injustice was finally being corrected. Yet, I also found myself experiencing a new wave of anger as the judge’s ruling made clear how much time the state had stolen from him, with those in power mostly ignoring his plight despite his protestations of innocence and mounting evidence of a flawed verdict.
The lack of financial accountability by the government only exacerbated my frustrations. Thankfully, an effort is underway to raise funds to support his new lease on life. I’ve already donated and would encourage you to do the same. It’s one way that all of us can make amends for the wrong that’s been done towards Lamar Johnson in this democracy of “we the people.”
Other News of Note
In the aftermath of the shooting at Michigan State University, a nearby Presbyterian church is ministering to students and advocating for better gun control laws.
Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone reported on a self-proclaimed “prophet” who backed Donald Trump in 2020 but now says God wants Ron DeSantis.
Hannah Phillips of the Palm Beach Post reported about ex-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaking at an evangelical church in Boca Raton, Florida, a month after some of his supporters carried Christian messages while ransacking government buildings to protest his election loss.
Nuria Martinez-Keel of The Oklahoman reported on an effort by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to open the nation’s first Catholic charter school.
“We are not going to have racial harmony by ignoring the past.” —Rev. Jeffrey Harrison, coordinator of the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project, in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about the downsizing of his staff that has been studying Jesuit ties to slavery in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.
Baylor University unveiled its first detailed design for a “Monument to the Unknown Enslaved” to honor those enslaved by founders of the Baptist school in Texas.
Rona Kobell wrote for the Washington Post about Black and White churches that started worshiping together during the pandemic and haven’t stopped.
Sophie Lee of Christianity Today reported about visiting pastors in Ukraine who continue to minister in the midst of war with the understanding that they could “meet God at any moment.”
Thomas Lyons wrote a guest piece at Scot McKnight’s Substack newsletter about why he thinks the revival at Asbury University in Kentucky is “the real deal.”
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