Word&Way News: Nov. 11
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. This week we published three pieces at A Public Witness, two just for paid subscribers: a photo essay from ReAwaken America in Branson (paid), a written report on ReAwaken America in Branson (everyone), and a look at lessons from the midterm elections about Christian Nationalism (paid).
Support our journalism ministry by upgrading to a paid e-newsletter subscription today!
Top 5 at wordandway.org
How I Became a Marxist Pastor. Brian Kaylor reacted to being called a “Marxist pastor” by political trickster Roger Stone.
People of Faith Delivering Democracy this Midterm Season. Andrea Marta of Faith in Action wrote a piece about faith-based efforts to challenge Christian Nationalism.
Review: How to Inhabit Time. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed How to Inhabit Time: Understanding the Past, Facing the Future, Living Faithfully Now by James K. A. Smith.
United Methodist Church Announces Date, Location for Thrice-Postponed General Conference. Emily McFarlan Miller reported that United Methodists will finally meet in 2024 after COVID delays.
Religion Plays a Role in Native American Adoption Case Before Supreme Court. A critical case heard this week about the Indian Child Welfare Act cannot be understood without looking at religious motivations at the heart of the case.
This week: Mike McMahon of the Hymn Society
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
Author D.L. Mayfield appeared on the CBF Podcast to talk about Dorothy Day.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
In September, we wrote a piece urging Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman to speak out as an election-denying politician used “The Great Adventure” as a campaign theme song. We documented how Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who espouses Christian Nationalism and was in the pro-Trump crowd in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, repeatedly used the song by Chapman at campaign rallies and in online videos.
Since Chapman had penned and performed a powerful song praying for peace in response to the Jan. 6 insurrection, we thought he might not like his song being used by Mastriano. But our efforts to reach him for comment were ignored. He also stayed silent after we tagged him on social media and our friends at Faithful America created a petition with more than 10,000 Christians calling on him to repudiate the partisan use of his song.
I thought Chapman didn’t speak out because he didn’t want to get political. But I was wrong.
On Thursday (Nov. 10), Chapman performed at a banquet for the Family Research Council, a political group that recently sparked controversy by claiming to be a church for tax purposes. The FRC is led by Tony Perkins, who helped push election “fraud” claims ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Joining Perkins and Chapman on the stage were other election-denying politicians like Mike Pompeo, Ken Blackwell, and Michele Bachmann (who not only spread misinformation about the 2020 election and the insurrection but is also making fraud claims after Tuesday’s votes). Chapman showed up, sang “The Great Adventure,” and praised the speakers to come as “brilliant, amazing” people.
Before the Capitol had even been cleaned up on Jan. 6, Chapman released a song praying for peace on Earth. But now he seems determined to make sure that prayer won’t be answered. That’s how one turns great music into the annoying sounds of a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Church attendance still has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Other News of Note
Kathryn Joyce wrote for Salon about what the midterm results revealed about Christian Nationalism (and she quoted Brian Kaylor).
Christopher Mathias reported for HuffPost from inside the election night watch party for Doug Mastriano where the music stayed lively even as he lost the race for Pennsylvania governor.
Sarah Posner wrote for MSNBC about Ron DeSantis’s ad suggesting God sent the Florida governor to save America (and she cited Brian Kaylor)
Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post reported about how Christian “prophets” acted as GOP surrogates during the recent campaigns.
David Gilbert and Tess Owen of Vice News reported on the “Black Robe Regiment” of pastors spreading Christian Nationalism (and they quoted Brian Kaylor).
Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead wrote for the Dallas Morning News about people embracing the term “Christian Nationalist.”
Ken Camp of the Baptist Standard reported on a Burmese military attack on a Kachin Baptist seminary in Myanmar.
A Catholic Cardinal at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt told international leaders they have “a moral obligation” to act.
The Bible used in the movie The Shawshank Redemption — with its rock hammer cutout — has been sold for more than $440,000.
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.