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Word&Way News: Oct. 27
Top 5 at wordandway.org
For 200th Anniversary, Church Honors 53 People Enslaved by Its Founders. Brian Kaylor reported on a Missouri church engaging in truth-telling about its past.
What It Means to Love Your Neighbor. Ned Walsh reflected on the teachings of Jesus in light of a new war in the Middle East.
Review: Every Step Is Home. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Every Step Is Home: A Spiritual Geography from Appalachia to Alaska by Lori Erickson.
Chaos Erupts Over SBC Legal Filing in Louisville Abuse Lawsuit. Bob Smietana reported on criticism against Southern Baptist leaders who are trying to block an effort to broaden the statute of limitations in sexual abuse lawsuits.
Mother Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Now-Closed Christian Boarding School in Missouri. Heather Hollingsworth reported on a new legal action against an abusive Christian institution that closed in 2020.
Another noteworthy show this week:
NPR’s Morning Edition visited a Black church in Florida that’s teaching Black history as the state restricts such lessons in public schools.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
On Thursday (Oct. 26), the infamous statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville, Virginia, was melted down in a 2,250-degree furnace. After the city dismantled the statue in 2021, they gave it to a local African American heritage center. That led to a project to melt the bronze and turn it into a new public work of art. After delays from litigation, the statue finally went into the fire yesterday — and the Washington Post was there capturing videos of the process.
The project is called “Swords Into Plowshares,” drawn from biblical passages about transforming instruments of violence. A Methodist minister was present for the melting and gave a short sermon about the danger of becoming like our idols and the need to create “a new vision for how we tell our stories.”
This is indeed prophetic work. I’ve watched the beautiful videos showing the purifying process of the refining fire. And I love that a symbol of hate and hurt will soon be unveiled with a new message.
But it’s also dangerous work. Thursday’s action was shrouded in secrecy to avoid violent attempts to save the statue. As one of the leaders of Swords Into Plowshares explained, “We are taking the moral risk associated with melting it down … in the hope of creating something new.” The prophetic work of transforming our violent world can be risky. But that just proves it’s needed.
Other News of Note
Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News reported on how pseudo-historian and conservative Christian activist David Barton is excited about Mike Johnson becoming House speaker.
“Faith is indeed under fire around the world. The best way we can make a difference is by not adding more fuel to the fire of religious extremism and nationalism. Instead, we should focus on being a role model to the world by ensuring the institutional separation of church and state, which protects all of us.” —Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, during a U.S. House hearing on Wednesday (Oct. 25).
After an Israeli airstrike killed civilians in a Gaza church, Palestinian Christians in the region gathered on Sunday to mourn.
Lisa Needham wrote at the Substack newsletter Public Notice about legal efforts to roll back rulings that block “cruel and unusual punishment”:
Photo of the Week
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