Word&Way News: Nov. 18
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a reflection on the potential demise of Twitter that is free for anyone to read (and tweet out while you still can), paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a report on the human rights abuses connected to the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Support our journalism ministry by upgrading to a paid e-newsletter subscription today!
Top 5 at wordandway.org
The Keys to Letting Go. Dawn Darwin Weaks reflected on what it was like for a once large and vibrant church community to relocate, rename, and relaunch together.
Review: Church on the Move. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Church on the Move: A Practical Guide for Ministry in the Community by G. Travis Norvell.
A ‘Missionary to Christian Nationalists,’ Phoenix Pastor Urges Conversion, Not Confrontation. Bob Smietana reported on the efforts of Caleb Campbell to help American Christians be more Christian than American.
As Trump Launches New Presidential Bid, Will Former Faith Advisers Back Him? Jack Jenkins looked at which Trump evangelical supporters cheered for his new candidacy, which so far isn’t very many.
Faith Groups Split Over Bill to Protect Same-Sex Marriage. David Crary reported on various religious responses to congressional legislation on same-sex marriage.
This week: Pamela Cooper-White on the Psychology of Christian Nationalism
Other noteworthy podcasts this week:
The Guardian’s podcast Science Weekly considered what’s happening right now at the COP27 global climate summit in Egypt and talked with climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who talked about how her Christian faith still gives her hope.
WNYC’s The Divided Dial explored the evolution of Christian talk radio host Eric Metaxas into a Trumpian “true believer.”
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Last weekend, as the election results went against Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake, some of her supporters showed up outside the Maricopa County tabulation center to pray for a miracle. They held a “Jericho March” and walked around the building seven times, which fortunately did not then collapse on the election workers inside.
Similar “Jericho March” events were held in Washington, D.C., ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, so the violence in the biblical metaphor shouldn’t be overlooked. And Lake not only denies her own election loss but also still refuses to accept that Donald Trump lost in 2020.
At the Arizona march, the group prayed into a bullhorn, blew a shofar, and sang songs like “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins. They also chanted the Lord’s Prayer, which follows a trend we previously documented of the prayer being co-opted at political protests.
All of this shows the ongoing danger not only to our democracy but to our faith as sacred symbols and words are used to support profane political agendas. As Annika Brockschmidt and Thomas Lecaque wrote in The Bulwark about the “Jericho March” in Arizona, “While this kind of belief can wane for any number of reasons, it has never been swayed by defeat at the ballot box. Rather, it takes defeats and twists them into stories of heroic martyrdom, of promises of revenge and retribution.” Some will even launch whole campaigns based merely on that premise. As Christians, we must not remain silent if they try to do so in the name of God.
The season of Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 27. And we’re back for the second year with our Unsettling Advent devotionals. These short daily email devotionals will connect the social context of Jesus’s time with unsettling news from our world this year. More than 20 writers will help us all consider Advent in light of the war in Ukraine, the global refugee crisis, and the plague of gun violence.
The Unsettling Advent devotionals are free, but you have to sign up to receive them.
Other News of Note
Josh Conaway of KSMU explored the role of Christian Nationalism in the politics of the Ozarks region of Missouri (and included comments from Brian Kaylor).
Tim Funk reported for The Assembly about misuse of scripture by the lieutenant governor of North Carolina.
Televangelist James Robison, who has served as a spiritual advisor for Donald Trump, compared the former president to “a little elementary schoolchild.”
Clint Schnekloth wrote for Christian Citizen to offer “a Christian case against prayer at public meetings.”
Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush speechwriter and longtime Washington Post columnist who often wrote about issues of religion and politics, died this week at 58 after a long battle with cancer.
Mark Wingfield of Baptist News Global reported on the historic election of a new executive director for the Baptist General Association of Virginia as Wayne Faison becomes the first Black leader in the group's 200-year history.
Jayson Casper of Christianity Today reported on Ukrainian Christians doing prison ministry to Russian POWs.
A Ukrainian Greek Catholic leader urged U.S. Catholic bishops to continue supporting Ukraine.
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.