Word&Way News: Jan. 13
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on Christian symbols and clergy in the attack on Brazilian government buildings that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an analysis of the prayers by the U.S. House chaplain during last week’s impasse over electing a new speaker.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
A Different Way To Honor MLK This Year. Sarah Blackwell argued that this MLK Day, we should honor his great teacher Dr. Howard Thurman by walking in nature, sitting in reflective silence, looking at the ways creation works together, and then applying these lessons to our lives.
Why I Prayed Outside the Capitol at Sunrise. Nathan Empsall reflected on why he sought last week to provide a Christian witness against the heretical ideology of Christian Nationalism that helped inspire the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago.
Review: Becoming Human. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race by Luke A. Powery.
Dispute Over Abuse Hotline Reveals How Far the SBC Still Has To Go. Bob Smietana reported on a controversy over an early effort by the Southern Baptist Convention to address clergy sexual abuse.
Agape Boarding School Will Close Its Doors This Month After Years of Abuse Allegations. Clara Bates reported on the long-awaited closure of a Christian boarding school in Missouri accused of numerous allegations of abuse.
This week: Terrell Carter on What the Church Can Relearn about Reconciliation
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
On Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman reflected on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection and the work of the U.S. House Select Committee that investigated it.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
The state persecution of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua continued this week. The country’s authoritarian ruler, Daniel Ortega, has been cracking down on Catholic bishops, nuns, and organizations for years in an effort to silence criticism of his government.
For instance, last year Ortega expelled the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa. The nuns ran a home for abused adolescents, a facility for elderly persons, a daycare center for poor families, and more. Ortega’s regime also shut down several Catholic radio and TV stations. Even as such persecution occurred, Church leaders kept speaking out.
“The Church has gone through difficult times in its history, it has gone through times of darkness,” Bishop Rolando Alvarez of Matagalpa said last July. “But even in the most difficult moments, in the hardest moments, even in the cruelest moments, the Church has sustained itself because it belongs to Christ.”
Now, Alvarez himself is the target of state persecution. A court ruled this week that the bishop, who has been under house arrest since August, will stand trial on charges of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news.” All that simply means Alvarez committed the political sin of criticizing Ortega’s regime.
In countries lacking freedom of speech or religion, speaking the truth is officially “false news.” But as people of the Truth, Christians must continue to proclaim the good news that might not sound so good to despots.
Other News of Note
Abe Streep reported for the New York Times about the rise of Christian Nationalism in Montana.
Daniel Grear of the Arkansas Times wrote about the inaugural prayer service for new Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Diana Butler Bass wrote at her Substack newsletter The Cottage about what it means that Congress doesn’t match the U.S. at large when it comes to religion.
Ken Camp reported for the Baptist Standard on the installation of new officers for the North American Baptist Fellowship.
Leaders of the nation’s largest Black Baptist denomination met in Alabama to consider what church life will look like post-pandemic.
John Lavenburg of Crux reported on the findings of a recent Kansas Bureau of Investigation report on Catholic clergy child sex abuse.
The Church of England announced the creation of a £100 million (about $122 million) fund to “address past wrongs” of financially benefitting from slavery. The money will be used toward “improving opportunities for communities adversely impacted by historic slavery.”
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