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Word&Way News: Oct. 20
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on a talk by Jemar Tisby that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at Christians in the U.S. and Gaza reacting to war.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Church Darkens Hue of Stained-Glass Jesus. Brian Kaylor reported on a new look for Jesus in a Kentucky church.
The Gift Youth Sports Offers the Church. Sarah Blackwell wrote about how churches can offer counter-cultural recreational programs to put youth sports back at the right size and scale.
Gaza Churches Impacted by Blasts. Brian Kaylor reported on the war damage suffered by churches and Christian institutions in Gaza.
Review: bell hooks’ Spiritual Vision. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed bell hooks’ Spiritual Vision: Buddhist, Christian, and Feminist by Nadra Nittle.
Church Parking Near Stadiums Scores Big in a Win-Win for Faith Congregations & Sports Fans. Luis Andres Henao reported on how selling parking spots for professional games is saving some urban churches.
This week: John Fanestil on American Heresy
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
Respecting Religion played part of a recent panel conversation on Christian Nationalism featuring Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, author and scholar Anthea Butler, and Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Earlier this week, I reported that three Christian houses of worship were slightly damaged in blasts in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. The Orthodox church and an Anglican chapel were both hit with some sharp debris in the deadly explosion Tuesday at the only Christian hospital in Gaza. I also reported that a different blast brought minor damage to the only public Christian library in Gaza, which is housed in the Gaza Baptist Church.
Yesterday, the news for Christians in the besieged territory got worse. An Israeli strike targeting a nearby building badly damaged part of the Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church, the oldest church in Gaza. Hundreds of Christians and Muslims have been sheltering there because their homes were destroyed or because they believed it to be a safer place. It’s still early, but reports are that more than a dozen people were killed, including Christians.
This in the war that many U.S. evangelicals have called a “Just War.” How many thousands of innocent civilians must die before it’s unjust? How many thousands of children must die before it’s too much?
The atrocities and hatred of Hamas cannot — and must not — be justified. That does not mean we must support more war in response. Killing civilians is always wrong. Murdering children is always immoral.
What if an eye for an eye doesn’t work, except to make us all blind? What if Jesus meant it when he said to love our enemies and put away our swords? Maybe it’s easy to sit in Nashville or Fort Worth and support just another war. But for the Christians and others living in Gaza, war is hell.
Other News of Note
12 Catholic priests imprisoned in Nicaragua were released and sent to the Vatican after talks with the Holy See.
“Violence is deceptive, even — or especially — when it is well-intended retaliation for rank evils like terrorism. It produces, by its nature, more wreckage than we expect.” —Myles Werntz in a Christianity Today column about war, terrorism, and loving our enemies.
Teddy Wilson wrote at this Substack newsletter Radical Reports about school board candidates in Iowa backed by evangelical churches:
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