Word&Way News: March 11
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on comments by disgraced politician Andrew Cuomo during a Sunday church service that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay looking at the Supreme Court and the concept of the “ministerial exception.”
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
HLGU Holds ‘Solemn Assembly’ Amid ‘Dire Financial Situation.’ Brian Kaylor reports on the financial crisis threatening a Baptist school in Hannibal, Missouri.
The Case for Lent. Greg Mamula argues that we are not spiritually, emotionally, or physically ready for Easter until we have journeyed through Lent.
There’s a New Kind of Christian in Congress. Rodney Kennedy explores the ways that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has come to represent a new form of Christians who work and pray for a rupture in deliberative democracy.
AME Church Suspends Payments to Retirees, Investigates Missing Pension Funds. Bob Smietana reports on a potential financial crime impacting the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Among Russian Orthodox, Glimmers of Dissent Against the Invasion of Ukraine. Jack Jenkins reports on Russian Orthodox priests speaking against Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Other News of Note
Ericka Andersen reported for Christianity Today about the rise of Bible-reading podcasts.
Charles Blow of the New York Times wrote about Rev. William Barber II as a “modern-day Moses.”
Ken Camp reported for Baptist Standard about a Cuban Baptist leader who fled the island nation and was granted asylum in El Salvador.
Sojourners interviewed artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg to consider “how do you memorialize one million U.S. pandemic deaths?”
Samira Izadi Page penned a column for Baptist News Global reflecting on the sudden influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey of the Washington Post wrote about how “Russia’s war on Ukraine has some Christians wondering: Is this the end of the world?”
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley responded to news that the property of a partner ministry, Village of Hope in Kyiv, Ukraine, was bombed by the Russian army.
Tish Harrison Warren wrote for Christianity Today about praying “imprecatory psalms” as Russia attacks Ukraine: “Go ahead. Pray for Putin’s Demise.”
This week: Rob Wilson-Black on the End of College
Other good podcasts this week:
On Freedom’s Ring Radio, host Alan Reinach interviewed Brian Kaylor about the Christian flag and a recent church-state case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
For the Because It Is podcast, Preston Clegg, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, interviewed Mitch Randall of Good Faith Media and Brian Kaylor on “truth in media.”
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
At a recent anti-vax event, someone had a large lamb-shaped balloon with a mask on it and a balloon vaccine syringe stuck in its back. On the side of the sheep was the anti-mask and anti-vaccine warning: “Don’t be a sheep!” But just before I scrolled past the photo on social media, I noticed smaller text printed on the legs: “Matthew 24:4.”
That verse doesn’t actually mention sheep: “Jesus answered, ‘Watch out that no one deceives you.’”
But if the person who made the balloon had simply turned the page, they could have found some references to sheep. In Matthew 25, Jesus told the parable of “the sheep and the goats.” And the moral of the story is literally be a sheep!
The sheep, according to Jesus, were those who helped “the least of these” by feeding the hungry, giving a drink to the thirsty, clothing the needy, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. The goats, on the other hand, were selfish.
During this pandemic, wearing a mask and getting the COVID vaccine were indeed ways of being a sheep. Those acts helped show love toward our neighbors and keep our communities safe. So, let’s reject the odd sheep balloon and instead sing that children’s song: “I just wanna be a sheep, baa, baa, baa, baa.”
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!