Word&Way News: July 15
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to an essay on political nonprofits recategorizing themselves legally as churches that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a report on the problem of elevating the Constitution to the status of the Bible.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
Bryan Stevenson Urges Christians to Speak Truth of Racist History. Brian Kaylor reported on remarks by the head of the Equal Justice Initiative at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Global Baptists Consider Racial Injustices, Urged to be Angry. Brian Kaylor reported from the Baptist World Alliance annual gathering in Birmingham, Alabama.
Episcopalians to Study their Role in Native Boarding Schools. Peter Smith reported that a fact-finding commission of the Episcopal Church will research the history of the denomination’s role in operating boarding schools for Native American children.
Review: What Is My Calling? Robert D. Cornwall reviewed What Is My Calling? A Biblical and Theological Exploration of Christian Identity by William Klein and Daniel Steiner.
Don’t Make Me Go to Viewers: ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes.’ Juliet Vedral wrote about the new Amazon Prime film Don’t Make Me Go starring John Cho and Mia Isaac.
This week: Diana Butler Bass on Freeing Jesus & The Cottage
Anther good podcast this week:
NPR’s 1A spoke with Andrew Whitehead, Katherine Stewart, and Jemar Tisby about “Christian Nationalism’s influence on American politics.”
Other News of Note
NBC News reported about the new scrutiny on the Unification Church after the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (For more on contemporary religious and political issues of the Unification Church, read the recent report from A Public Witness).
The FBI arrested a youth pastor for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection … after tip from a Bible college acquaintance.
Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister who previously headed the Faith and Action group headquartered near the U.S. Supreme Court, told Politico about the secretive efforts of some conservative evangelicals to influence Supreme Court justices outside the courtroom.
The Interfaith Alliance named Paul Brandeis Raushenbush as its new president and CEO.
Jeff Brumley of Baptist News Global wrote about a Yale University professor tracing “how Black churches became centers of political engagement.”
Amy Kenny wrote for Sojourners about how “Ableism is Still a Core Part of Church Spaces.”
Kathryn Post of Religion News Service reported about the “First-Known Depictions of Biblical Heroines Jael and Deborah Uncovered in Israel.”
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
After two years of virtual life, it’s been great these last few months to see people at in-person events — even when we’re wearing masks it’s wonderful for people to be more than just a little box on the computer screen. No gatherings did I miss more than those of the Baptist World Alliance. The opportunities to be together with fellow believers from dozens of countries for worship, fellowship, dialogue, action, and theological reflection have greatly impact my faith and how I view the world.
This week has not been an exception. The BWA’s annual gathering moves around the world and happened this year to be in Alabama. And while I wasn’t particularly excited to trek to Birmingham in July, it’s been a fantastic week (especially since we stayed indoors most of the time).
Singing songs from different lands enriches worship. Hearing prayers and scripture readings in multiple languages expands our view of the global Kingdom. Listening to preachers from different contexts explaining the scriptures opens the text in fresh ways. Thinking about persecution while hearing from Baptists in Myanmar, Nigeria, and Ukraine puts in pathetic perspective the things about which U.S. Christians often complain. Talking about racism, slavery, and reparations with believers in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and elsewhere casts a spotlight on things many in the U.S. pretend not to see.
That’s why we must not allow artificial, human-made national boundaries to divide the Body of Christ. We are truly better together. But we first have to know and listen to each other. May God give us ears to hear.
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!