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To the world, Harper Lee was aloof to the point of being unknowable, an obsessively private person who spent most of her life avoiding the public gaze despite writing one of the best-selling books ever, To Kill a Mockingbird. To Wayne Flynt, the Alabama-born author was his friend, Nelle.

For two decades, Hinkle was editor of The Pathway, the official publication of the Missouri Baptist Convention, founded in 2002 amid a feud between conservatives and moderates in the state. Conservative leaders hired Hinkle, a former newspaper editor turned seminarian and Christian journalist, to lead the new publication — meant to rival Word&Wa.

Brian Kaylor reports from the 2022 general council of the European Baptist Federation in Riga, Latvia. A focus of the gathering is the war on Ukraine and how to support believers in the nation and refugees fleeing to other countries.

In episode 69, Jack Jenkins, a national reporter for Religion News Service about his work reporting on religion and politics on both the right and left. He also discusses his book American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country.

Church

For two decades, Hinkle was editor of The Pathway, the official publication of the Missouri Baptist Convention, founded in 2002 amid a feud between conservatives and moderates in the state. Conservative leaders hired Hinkle, a former newspaper editor turned seminarian and Christian journalist, to lead the new publication — meant to rival Word&Wa.

Contributing writer Sarah Blackwell offers her thoughts on how the church's model of the larger group tending to the few in need was swept away during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our pastors were like skippers left on ships trying to throw out as many lifelines as they could while keeping the whole ship from going down and rescuing their own families. But now it's time to turn back to the boat and give each other some grace.

The community-based air quality monitoring initiative, AirWatch St. Louis, has been keeping track of what’s in the city’s air since December 2021. Low-cost sensors are placed on the roofs of Metropolitan Congregations United churches spread throughout the city to measure particulate matter, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Through the new digital map, the data collected is publicly viewable.

Nation

To the world, Harper Lee was aloof to the point of being unknowable, an obsessively private person who spent most of her life avoiding the public gaze despite writing one of the best-selling books ever, To Kill a Mockingbird. To Wayne Flynt, the Alabama-born author was his friend, Nelle.

Rev. Dr. Michael Woolf argues that while much of the criticism of recent political stunts using immigrants has rightfully focused on the deception and cruelty, Christians ought to take it one step further: these American politicians have not only trafficked vulnerable Venezuelans, they have trafficked Christ. Jesus not only identifies with the poor, vulnerable, and imprisoned – Jesus is these people.

No one will deny that America’s immigration system is overburdened and in need of serious reform. But misleading migrants and sending them where resources to help them are both in shorter supply and less readily obtained is impossible to reconcile with the basic tenets of the Christian faith, which demand that all humans be treated with respect and compassion regardless of their nationality or citizenship.

World

Brian Kaylor reports from the 2022 general council of the European Baptist Federation in Riga, Latvia. A focus of the gathering is the war on Ukraine and how to support believers in the nation and refugees fleeing to other countries.

With the pope surrounded by empty seats in Kazakhstan, critics questioned the efficacy of his diplomacy of encounter and his strategy of silence when it comes to outright condemning human rights violations in China, Russia and Nicaragua. But Vatican diplomacy insiders urge patience, arguing that even as the pope remains silent, the institution’s diplomatic corps is hard at work behind the scenes, advancing the cause for dialogue.

After a sometimes tense week that included passionate exchanges, the 11th assembly of the World Council of Churches approved a statement regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that denounces the war but does not single out the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who has been widely criticized for outlining what is seen as the spiritual foundation for the invasion.

Editorials

This piece was originally published as the cover story of Word&Way magazine in October 2020, but which has never been published online. Read the piece online in our e-newsletter A Public Witness.

Word&Way Editor-in-Chief Brian Kaylor reflects on dangers of rhetoric by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the Republican politician misquotes Ephesians 6 to demonize his opponents.

On Sunday evening, a man opened fire in a shopping mall in Greenwood, Indiana, killing three people and wounding two others before also being shot dead. What city officials said in response sparked some odd headlines.

Word&Way Voices

Rev. Dr. Michael Woolf argues that while much of the criticism of recent political stunts using immigrants has rightfully focused on the deception and cruelty, Christians ought to take it one step further: these American politicians have not only trafficked vulnerable Venezuelans, they have trafficked Christ. Jesus not only identifies

Contributing writer Sarah Blackwell offers her thoughts on how the church's model of the larger group tending to the few in need was swept away during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our pastors were like skippers left on ships trying to throw out as many lifelines as they could while keeping the

Contributing writer Rodney Kennedy makes the case that if ever a Bible story reads like our national mythology, it’s Jesus’s story of the rich farmer in Luke 12. In America, we don’t recognize the farmer's actions as greed — we call it a vision, a game plan, a business strategy,

E-Newsletter

This piece was originally published as the cover story of Word&Way magazine in October 2020, but which has never been published online. Read the piece online in our e-newsletter A Public Witness.

Denker’s tales are of misguided, though sincere, followers of Jesus replacing the gospel’s message with poor substitutes. Like John the baptizer proclaimed long ago, she offers a prophetic message about our individual and collective need for repentance. In a new preface, she describes right-wing media attacks after the book’s release

Given the growing public conversation about Christian Nationalism and divergent understandings of the meaning of the term, in this edition of A Public Witness we learn from scholars studying Christian Nationalism in order to consider what we actually know about this dangerous ideology. Then we hear the witness of committed

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Podcasts

In episode 69, Jack Jenkins, a national reporter for Religion News Service about his work reporting on religion and politics on both the right and left. He also discusses his book American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and

In episode 68, Angela Denker, a Lutheran pastor and journalist, talks about her book Red State Christians: A Journey into White Christian Nationalism and the Wreckage It Leaves Behind. She also discusses Lutherans, racism, and the need for pastors to speak

Teddy Wilson, a reporter who runs the newsletter Radical Reports, talks about his research and reporting on political and religious extremism. He also discusses Christian Nationalism, the Jan. 6 insurrection, and his Substack newsletter.

In episode 66, Wendy Cadge, founder and director of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab, talks about the work of chaplains. She also discusses issues she has written about, including the evolution of the role of chaplains, unique positions like humanist chaplains, and the work of chaplains

Books

Robert D. Cornwall reviews "Pathways to Hindu-Christian Dialogue" by Anantanand Rambachan. This book provides an accessible foundation for Hindu-Christian relations that are often underdeveloped. Rambachan outlines barriers to relationships and understanding that both communities present to the other which can

Robert D. Cornwall reviews "Encountering Mystery: Religious Experience in a Secular Age" by Dale C. Allison Jr. This book seeks to help those who have had spiritual experiences that are not easily explained by sorting these occurances out instead of

Robert D. Cornwall reviews "Reading Theology Wisely: A Practical Introduction" by Kent Eilers with art by Chris Koelle. This book, written for the student or layperson, makes the case that theology is more than dry intellectualism because how we see

Robert D. Cornwall reviews "Bonhoeffer’s Religionless Christianity in Its Christological Context" by Peter Hooton. This book centers on the writings that appeared near the end of Bonhoeffer’s life that sought to envision what a non-institutionalized Christianity might look like. This