Editorials - Word&Way



Brian KaylorAbout the Editor

Brian Kaylor started as the ninth editor of Word&Way in December of 2016. An award-winning journalist and author, he has written four books and worked for several Baptist ministries.

The classic children’s song about Zacchaeus — a wee little man was he — strikes me as odd. The song ends just as the story really gets good. And it has parallels to the report released by Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., documenting the school’s ties to slavery and racism.

As often occurs when preachers give their pulpits over to a politician, they point to a Bible passage that does not actually justify their decision: 1 Timothy 2:1-2. But the passage does not actually say what proponents claim.

During the state legislative session in Missouri that ended in May, I found myself at the Capitol more than usual -- and I’ve learned a couple things about the impact of a Baptist minister showing up to speak out for those of minority faiths or no faith at all.

On Mar. 13, more than 16 years in Missouri Baptist litigation came to an end. But if we rejoice in our “victories,” we miss the point that we all lost as we hurt the cause of Christ.

As with most theological topics, a wide diversity of opinions exists among Baptists on the nature of hell. In fact, Baptist theologians and preachers — much like church leaders in the first centuries after Jesus — have long been found in the various hell camps.

Last year, my wife and I saw the famous Leonard da Vinci mural “The Last Supper.” To be honest, I went because it seemed like something we should do while in Milan. But I was truly impressed by the mural.

There’s a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and its dictator “won” an unfair election last year to hold power. But if the recent past in Latin America — and elsewhere — teaches us anything, it’s that military invasions and coups destabilize nations, spark civil wars, devastate local economies and result in the deaths of many innocent civilians.

As of press time, the U.S. government was reopening after the longest shutdown ever. Although I don’t work for the government, I was surprised how many times the shutdown impacted me.

As we ponder the story of Jesus' baptism, experts in Israel work to remove thousands of landmines from the area near the River Jordan and the traditional baptism site of Jesus. That’s right: One of the holiest sites remains surrounded by deadly landmines designed to keep people away.

Built around the same time as the birth of Jesus, the magnificent Tropaeum Alpium celebrated the victory of Caesar Augustus over the tribes in the Alpine region a decade earlier. Near the same time Augustus built the monument celebrating his military, political and religious might, the Roman leader did something else. As the gospel writer Luke explained, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.”