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As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Catholic educators have an extra challenge — trying to forestall a relentless wave of closures of their schools that has no end in sight.

The world witnessed fleeting glimpses of the horror wrought on the Lebanese people on Aug. 4 through videos that circulated widely online, among them that dramatic footage as Rabih Thoumy celebrated Mass via livestream from Saint Maron-Baouchrieh church. He recounts the explosion and aftermath.

A parable in Judges 9 about picking poor political leaders, as seen in photos from political protests in Lebanon following a deadly explosion in Beirut that killed more than 150 people.

Baptist

After a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut Tuesday (Aug. 4), Baptists in that Middle Eastern nation immediately asked for prayers — and then started ministering to their neighbors before the dust from the blast even settled.

After a massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut Tuesday (August 4), Baptists in the country quickly requested prayers. The blast killed at least 73 people and injured more than 3,000 others.

A life-sized statue of Baptist evangelist Billy Graham will be installed in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall collection sometime next year, replacing a statue of a white supremacist that both the state of North Carolina and the U.S. House want removed.

Nation

As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Catholic educators have an extra challenge — trying to forestall a relentless wave of closures of their schools that has no end in sight.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking an “indefinite leave of absence” from his role as president of Liberty University. The move comes Friday (Aug. 7) following a request from the executive committee of Liberty University’s board of trustees, according to a statement from the Baptist university in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Addressing a virtual gathering of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Joe Biden invoked Scripture while speaking directly to religious voters who make up a core part of the Democratic Party’s base.

World

The world witnessed fleeting glimpses of the horror wrought on the Lebanese people on Aug. 4 through videos that circulated widely online, among them that dramatic footage as Rabih Thoumy celebrated Mass via livestream from Saint Maron-Baouchrieh church. He recounts the explosion and aftermath.

A court in Myanmar on Thursday sentenced the Canadian pastor of an evangelical church to three months imprisonment after finding him guilty of violating a law intended to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

South Korean prosecutors arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect Saturday as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s anti-virus response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March.

Faith & Culture

When it comes to coping with the stress and uncertainty of a pandemic, most Americans are turning not to God, but to TV. That’s just one of the findings of a Pew Research Center survey released Friday (Aug. 7).

The principle of religious freedom is important to most Americans. But as President Donald Trump touts his support for it during his reelection bid, there are notable fault lines among people of different faiths and political ideologies over what it truly means.

A historic New York City church has decided to devote $200,000 — about a tenth of its budget — to provide housing assistance and youth anti-racism training.

Scriptures in Pictures

A parable in Judges 9 about picking poor political leaders, as seen in photos from political protests in Lebanon following a deadly explosion in Beirut that killed more than 150 people.

References to the beauty and glory of Lebanon appear throughout the Old Testament. And in Jeremiah 22, the weeping prophet urges Jerusalem to cry for the destruction of Lebanon — a passage today seen through photos of the August 4, 2020 explosion in Beirut.

Three biblical passages about the bones of Joseph (Genesis 50:24-25, Exodus 13:18-19, Joshua 24:31-32), as seen in photos from a recent service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to bless the ashes of Mexicans who died from COVID-19 before the ashes were repatriated to Mexico.

Editorials

Editor Brian Kaylor reflects on the sudden ending of the Gospel of Mark and what it means to have faith during a time of uncertainty like the coronavirus pandemic.

Between a global pandemic, massive protests against racial injustices, and a divisive election, Editor Brian Kaylor argues that 2020 is a year that demands more cellos.

Editor Brian Kaylor reflects on the passing of Baptist civil rights giants C.T. Vivian and John Lewis, and what it would mean to really honor the legacy of those two and their fellow Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr.

W&W Voices

Columnist Greg Mamula reflects on the power of stories and how we need stories that come from outside our immediate context to remind us of different experiences.

Columnist Ken Satterfield unpacks how to use the HEIC photo format as church communicators may find themselves with new phones offering better ways of capturing and sharing ministry moments.

The word for 2020 is disorder. Thankfully, writes columnist Terrell Carter, Psalm 93 reminds us that God’s power and authority rises above the disorder of our lives.

Other Opinions

James K.A. Smith argues that White evangelicals’ view of racism is hampered by an aspect of evangelical spirituality he calls evangelicalism’s rationalism. He adds that this focus prevents White evangelicals from fully addressing the sin of racism.

Christian author and activist Shane Claiborne critiques the resumption of federal executions in July as three people were killed after 17 years without a single federal execution.

I normally like to see "Follower of Jesus" on someone's Twitter profile. Lately, however, I'm reluctant to scroll down for fear that this same follower has cussed out a politician on the social media platform or tweeted nasty things at

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