Our 10 most-read articles of 2022
(1) William H. Willimon: The United Methodist divorce is a mistake
Retired UMC bishop Will Willimon writes about the long and painful schism currently wracking the United Methodist denomination. Willimon is forthright in his critiques of dissident conservatives, but he also thinks his church needs them. “Caucusing is easy; church is hard,” he says.
(2) Brad East: In America, Jesus is Black because he was Jewish
Brad East reflects on Jesus’ racial identity in light of the history of race in the US. Drawing on the work of James Cone, East suggests that Jesus’ particular Jewish identity transposes to Black identity theologically, physically, and through solidarity.
(3) John P. Burgess: Is Russia’s war on Ukraine about religion?
John Burgess explores the complicated church history that helped to create the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This article is a helpful guide to making sense of why Vladimir Putin has used religious language in some of his public speeches about the war.
(4) Philip Jenkins: Marcus Rashford is keeping Christianity in the British limelight
Philip Jenkins writes about Marcus Rashford, star soccer player for Manchester United and the England national team. Rashford, a political activist who supports efforts to combat child poverty, is not the only Afro-Caribbean athlete who speaks publicly in England about Christian faith.
(5) G. Travis Norvell: It’s time to reimagine the church parking lot
Travis Norvell shares many creative ways churches are using their parking lots for the common good. After making the case for why we need to think about our parking lots, he tells inspiring stories of reimagining—from safe housing projects in San Francisco to protest sites in Minnesota.
(6) Samuel Wells: Three words that can unravel a marriage
Sam Wells shares the advice he gives most often to engaged or married couples: to unlearn three words. Each of the abandoned words can be replaced with another, so that couples can learn to move from ‘if’ to ‘always,’ from ‘for’ to ‘with,’ and from ‘ask’ to ‘wonder.’
(7) Ross M. Allen: The mystical significance of Jesus’ resurrection
Ross Allen surveys some of the common doubts and questions Christians have about Jesus’ resurrection, beginning with the church fathers. He encourages us to stop pretending to believe versions of this doctrine that don’t make sense to us. Instead, he argues, we can shift our focus from the reanimation of Jesus’ corpse to the hope of new life in him.
(8) Sara Williams: The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill is conspicuously silent on race
Sara Williams assesses the popular podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. Her conclusion: while the series takes a close look at the harms of complementarian theology, it completely omits the role of racism in shaping Mark Driscoll’s preaching and the New Calvinist movement.
(9) Jason Byassee: How playwright Tetsuro Shigematsu has transformed my homiletics classes
Jason Byassee describes the surprising lessons his homiletics students have learned from playwright Tetsuro Shigematsu. Tetsuro’s lessons for preachers include ideas like the eruption of the real, the use of secrets, and leaning into your weird.
(10) Grace Ji-Sun Kim: A new lectionary that centers women
Grace Ji-Sun Kim interviews Wil Gafney about her lectionary project that centers women. This transcript of excerpts from their rich conversation touches on language, translation choices, and God’s gender. Listen to the full-length version of the interview on the Madang podcast.