Word&Way News: Nov. 5

Here’s the top news of the week from Word&Way. In addition to an analysis of a constitutional amendment in Texas on religious services that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay on the use of “the chop” by fans of the World Series champions.

A Public Witness
On the Chopping Block
“It is a plucky assemblage of overachievers that could barely cobble together a full starting pitching staff.” That backhanded compliment is how David Waldstein of the New York Times described the Atlanta Braves following their World Series victory over Houston. Nobody who knew anything picked them to be champions at the season’s outset. Yet, they…
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Top 5 at wordandway.org

  1. Physical Media, Streaming, & Ministry as Metaphor. Greg Mamula argues why churches shouldn’t look to Blockbuster or Netflix an analogy for ministry today but instead consider Redbox.

  2. The Gospel of Revenge. Rodney Kennedy explores the theological problem of evangelicals adopting Donald Trump’s philosophy of “getting even.”

  3. As COP26 Conference Gathers, Faith-Based Environmentalists Fight ‘Eco-Grief.’ Elizabeth E. Evans reports on faith advocacy amid the international climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

  4. Foes of Death Penalty Offer Spiritual Support at Executions. David Crary reports on religious leaders who oppose capital punishment and also provide spiritual care for condemned inmates.

  5. Top U.S. Catholic Bishop Calls Social Justice Movements ‘Pseudo-Religion.’ Jack Jenkins reports on new comments by Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, attacking “wokeness” and “cancel culture.”

Other News of Note

Election night on Tuesday brought results in a couple states previously analyzed in issues of A Public Witness. In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe to become the 74th governor of the Old Dominion. As we detailed, both candidates campaigned in Sunday church services during the campaign. And in Texas, voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment to prevent restrictions on religious services. But as we noted, the overly-broad language will likely create a number of church-state problems.

Dangerous Dogma

This week: Jim Wallis on Faith & Justice

Quick Take

by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief

In case you missed it, John F. Kennedy Jr. didn’t make an appearance near the grassy knoll in Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday. And if you missed the news, that sentence probably makes no sense. This was the latest failed “prophecy” from some believers of QAnon— a conspiracy theory/religion that sees Donald Trump as a messianic figure fighting an international cabal of Satan-worshiping sex traffickers.

Apparently some QAnon followers believed JFK Jr. (who has been dead for over two decades) would reappear near the spot where his dad was killed to usher in the reinstatement of Trump as president and then also serve as Trump’s new vice president. I would say you can’t make this stuff up, but someone actually did!

Hundreds of people came from across the country with their “Trump-Kennedy” shirts and banners. But even after the time for the resurrection came and went, hope was not lost. A new theory emerged that JFK Jr. would instead reappear that evening at a Rolling Stones concert. But even then they can’t get no satisfaction.

While it’s easy to mock this gathering, the QAnon theories have previously led to a man shooting up a family pizza restaurant and people attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. And like with other cults when prophecies fail, the faithful just adjust the theory. We can’t ignore the preachers of QAnon and “rigged” elections because they are winning converts in our churches. We must push back against this false religion.

Photo of the Week

Close-up of a climate change installation at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31, 2021. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and Christian who is at COP26, told the Associated Press that her faith inspires her to act for those less fortunate: “Climate change disproportionally affects the most marginalized and vulnerable people in the world.” (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

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