Word&Way News: March 24
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a look at claims that indicting Donald Trump is like crucifying him that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a report on controversies about Christian conscientious objectors to war in both Russia and Ukraine.
Support our journalism ministry by upgrading to a paid e-newsletter subscription today!
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Dehumanizing ‘Conversions’ and the Church. Darron LaMonte Edwards argued that Christians should be opposed to harmful conversion therapy.
Review: Deliver Us. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Deliver Us: Salvation and the Liberating God of the Bible by Walter Brueggemann.
Court Rehears Case to Protect Oak Flat, an Apache Sacred Site in Arizona. Emily McFarlan Miller reported on the latest in an ongoing religious liberty dispute.
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by 36 United Methodist Churches. Yonat Shimron reported on a ruling in North Carolina as a denominational split spills into the courts.
Johnny Hunt, Disgraced Former SBC Pastor, Sues Denomination He Once Led. Bob Smietana reported on a former denominational leader suing the Southern Baptist Convention for defamation even as he admits he lied about an incident where he’s been accused of sexual assault.
This week: Ilsup Ahn on the Church in the Public
Other noteworthy podcasts this week:
Journalist Sam Kestenbaum appeared on the StoryLine podcast to talk about the ReAwaken America Tour.
Sam Boyd appeared on The Bible for Normal People to talk about the political implications of the Tower of Babel story.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
There’s a blacksmith in eastern Ukraine offering a beautiful, yet haunting, prophetic witness. Viktor Mikhalev lives in the Donetsk region that has been ruled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014. So while the rest of Ukraine has been living under Russian war for the past year, Mikhalev and his neighbors have seen this kind of violence for nearly a decade.
But Mikhalev is doing something to transform the ugliness of the reality around him. He uses weapons and ammunition to create metal art of flowers. He calls them “flowers of war” (click here to see several photos). The news report doesn’t say if he’s a Christian, but the pictures show his workshop wall covered with Orthodox icons. With his work, Mikhalev is a modern-day version of the prophet Micah.
“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
Mikhalev is making Micah’s dream a reality. So is Mike Martin of RAWtools, a blacksmith in Colorado who transforms guns into garden tools. Both Mikhalev and Martin refuse to accept that the world is the way it should be, the way it must be. They are taking things meant to kill and destroy and instead turning them into beautiful symbols of new life.
“Real flowers will not last long, and my roses will become a reminder for a long memory,” Mikhalev said about his art.
Long after tyrants die and empires fall, the words and the works of the prophets will remain.
Other News of Note
The Kansas City Star criticized a proposed Missouri bill pushing concealed firearms in churches, and quoted Darron Edwards (a Word&Way board member). Brian Kaylor testified against the bill this week, with his comments reported on by Samir Knox of the Jefferson City News Tribune.
Anya Zoledziowski of Vice wrote about the Christian Nationalism in leaked emails between state lawmakers and lobbyists in several states as they pushed legislation targeting transgender persons.
Veronica Stracqualursi of CNN reported on five Republicans eyeing the White House speaking to a conservative Christian forum in South Carolina — but frontrunners Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis didn’t appear.
Tim Alberta of The Atlantic reported on various ways Republican presidential hopefuls are trying to win over White evangelicals.
“I expected to have to fight off Disney and Lucasfilm, not a Christian company.” —Scott Leonard, creator of Rogue Worship Leader, where he posted Star Wars-themed memes to make jokes about contemporary worship music and ministry. His account is one targeted by the magazine Worship Leader, which trademarked the term “worship leader” even though it was in use for decades before their publication even started.
Jayson Casper of Christianity Today reported on how some Russian Christians are making a strong case against their nation’s war on Ukraine, but doing so anonymously.
Kaya Laterman of the New York Times wrote about nuns who relocated their monastery from New York City to rural Pennsylvania because the street noise disrupted their times of silence and prayer.
In the aftermath of Northern Seminary’s president resigning amid allegations of bullying by multiple women, the acting chair of the board of trustees resigned to protest the board not apologizing to the women, and one-third of the school’s students signed a letter saying they have no confidence in the trustees.
A Pentecostal megachurch pastor in Springfield, Missouri, claimed a woman’s toes that had been shot off grew back during prayer. But skeptics want proof, including the anonymous creator of ShowMeTheToes.com.
Brian Kaylor co-authored with Josh Compton of Dartmouth College a study published in The Journal of Communication and Religion exploring a 19th century satirical poem by an opponent of vaccination.
Diana Butler Bass wrote at her Substack newsletter The Cottage about the political implications of Psalm 23:
Photo of the Week
Thanks for reading!
A Public Witness is a reader-supported publication of Word&Way. To receive new posts and support our journalism ministry, subscribe today.