You thought you were paying attention, but you may have missed a few things in 2019. While CNN’s “Year in Review” will catch you up on the major news stories, it will not tell you how thoughtful Christians responded to those stories. If you consider yourself a thoughtful Christian, then this is the Year in Review for you.
Mississippi lawmakers ended their long, statewide nightmare by banning the marketing of “veggie burgers,” restricting the use of meat-related terms for plant-based foods. How amazing would it have been if Mississippi prisons had been overrun with law-breaking church members who put “veggie burgers” on the Wednesday night supper menu?
The Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem has long been a source of tension between the Christian churches sharing it. The leaders of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox churches signed an agreement to renovate the church’s sewage system. Some observers consider this a sign of growing cooperation, but custodians do not consider broken toilets a partisan issue.
“White ministers are considering The Bruce Springsteen Mass, The Taylor Swift Mass and The Garth Brooks Mass.”
During a phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, Trump seemed to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son for corruption. On July 28, some clever minister prayed, “God, investigate our hearts for corruption. May your Spirit be our whistleblower.”
President Trump thanked a conspiracy theorist for saying Jews in Israel love the president “like he’s the King of Israel” and accused Jewish voters of disloyalty if they vote for Democrats. The King of Israel did not respond.
A Mississippi venue cancelled a couple’s wedding plans after discovering the couple was a black man and a white woman. A spokesperson explained, “We don’t do gay or mixed race weddings because of our Christian race – I mean, our Christian belief.” Reporters failed to ask what they would have said to Moses and his Ethiopian bride.
The mayor of Odessa, Texas, blamed video games for the most recent mass shooting. The mayor did not explain why other countries with video games do not have mass shootings.
Someone drew a circle on a National Hurricane Center map to include Alabama so the president would not have to admit he was wrong. The makers of Sharpies thought this was a good idea.
Marianne Williamson said, “Millions of people today are praying that (hurricane) Dorian turn away from land, and treating those people with mockery or condescension because they believe it could help is part of how the overly secularized Left has lost lots of voters.” Lots of voters continued to treat Marianne Williamson with mockery or condescension.
The patriarch of the Maronite Church declared 34 couples “husbands and wives” in Bkerke, Lebanon. The mass ceremony minimized the cost of weddings. In massive numbers, fathers of prospective brides across the United States googled “Maronite Church” and “cost of mass weddings.”
Kanye West released “Jesus is King” to the befuddlement of many. West’s portrayal of himself as Jesus with a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stone would seem problematic for white evangelicals. His embrace of President Trump makes the African American community skeptical. His self-absorbed persona makes those who care for the marginalized confused. But West has struck up a friendship with Jerry Falwell Jr., so this could work.
Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress used the Bible to debunk the science of climate change saying, “Somebody needs to read poor Greta (Thunberg) Genesis Chapter 9 and tell her next time she worries about global warming just look at a rainbow. That’s God’s promise that the polar ice caps aren’t going to melt and flood the world again.” The polar ice caps continued to melt.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin encouraged students to participate in “Bring Your Bible to School Day.” In 2017, he signed legislation making Kentucky the first state to allow public schools to offer Bible literacy classes. Sarcastic Ohioans suggested Kentucky observe “Read a Book at School Day” and allow public schools to offer literacy classes.
“Ministers looked forward to the year that Giving Tuesday falls on a Sunday.”
Abuse survivor and victims’ advocate Rachael Denhollander pointed out that David raped Bathsheba. This surprised many Christians who were unfamiliar with the Bible.
The Democratic Primary Debate lasted three hours and exceeded 30,000 words, almost none of them about religion. Elizabeth Warren, a Methodist, has repeatedly reflected on her past as a teacher, but does not mention that she taught Sunday school. Pete Buttigieg seems to be the most willing to mention religion on the campaign trail. Southern evangelicals wish someone other than the gay Yankee would acknowledge the importance of faith.
The Beyoncé Mass, which features black women singers, dancers and ministers, is a complete church service with a sermon, scripture readings and the Lord’s Supper. White ministers are considering The Bruce Springsteen Mass, The Taylor Swift Mass and The Garth Brooks Mass.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler tweeted that he is willing to be nominated for president of the SBC next June. The only people surprised by his willingness to be nominated were those who thought Mohler was already president of the SBC.
Lawyers for cannabis churches argue that marijuana is a sacrament, but The Sacramental Life Church of Redondo Beach found itself in trouble with the deputy city attorney who said: “In the city’s opinion this isn’t a sacrament of the church. This is clearly a marijuana dispensary. The Catholic church doesn’t charge you to drink the wine.” Young Baptists were shocked to learn Catholics get real wine.
Ministers looked forward to the year that Giving Tuesday falls on a Sunday.
North Korea warned the U.S. of a possible “Christmas gift” if it doesn’t meet an end-of-year deadline for concessions. North Korea understands what a real “War on Christmas” would look like.
House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump. Trump had two words for all of this: “witch hunt.” Trump continues to poll poorly among witches.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the day’s elections a way to “get Brexit done.” The speed with which the UK is leaving the EU made older leaders of churches now affiliated with the CBF feel better about how long they hung around the SBC before and after CBF was formed.
As this year draws to a close, what can we expect in 2020? Liberal Christians will continue to vote for Democrats who do not like Christians. Conservative Christians will continue to vote for Republicans who do not think like Christians. The religious movement to address climate change will remain smaller than the religious movement to ignore climate change.
Thoughtful Christians will try to make sense of it all. They will keep trying to be the church, and that should be news.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here to read Part 1 (January-June).