I reported some weeks ago on the series of apologies made by prophets in the Pentecostal movement, like Jeremiah Johnson after they wrongly predicted a victory for presidential candidate Trump. Their followers turned on them—not for the misguided prophecy but for apologizing for the mistake. Thousands have responded by cancelling subscriptions and withdrawing financial support. Now Mr. Johnson of Concord, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, is shutting down his ministry completely: web site, Twitter, Facebook—the whole thing. “We are choosing to radically obey Jesus over any other voices in this season,” he said. More about this in The Meetinghouse this week.
Mary Alice Lawler spent 40 years building a reputation as a stellar fourth-grade teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Louisville, Kentucky. When she died recently, she left an estate of seven million dollars, much of it inherited from her parents. She left most of the estate to catholic charities in the archdiocese, including her school and her parish, St. Raphael (whose pastor is AoP preacher Shayne Duvall). Other beneficiaries include Assumption High School, St. Meinrad Archabbey, and Catholic Charities of Louisville.
Influential Bible Teacher Beth Moore announced she no longer considers herself a Southern Baptist. During a phone interview with Religion News Service, she explained, “I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists….with some of the things in our heritage that haven’t remained in the past.” Moore recently ended her lucrative partnership with Lifeway Publishing. Moore got her start at First Baptist Church in Houston and launched Living Proof Ministries. The turning point came when she heard the Hollywood Access tapes of Donald Trump. “This wasn’t just immorality,” she said. “This smacked of sexual assault.” In 2018 during the #MeToo movement, Moore went public with her own story of sexual abuse while growing up.
The Supreme Court took the side of a single student at a Georgia college who claimed he was prevented from speaking a religious message in a free-speech zone on the campus. The case is curious for several reasons. In the 8-1 decision, Chief Justice Roberts dissented because, and this is another reason, the plaintiff and the defendant had already settled out of court—the college reversed its policy. So, even though the case was, as lawyers say, moot, the Court allowed it to proceed because the plaintiff had filed for damages of $1; and this is what must be adjudicated by the lower court. So the case was more about procedure and precedent than religious freedom.
President Serene Jones announced that Dr. Cornel West is rejoining the faculty of Union Theological Seminary, where he started his teaching career more than 40 years ago. He is coming from Harvard University where he was working as a “professor of the practice” until he ran into resistance to grant him tenure. He has taught in the schools of divinity, law, and African American Studies. He left Harvard once before, in 2002, in a dispute with its then president. In the announcement, West is quoted as saying: “I am honored to return back home to Union, to a place with brilliant faculty and moral tenacity….”
And, if I may indulge the reader just a bit, last week 33 people from 17 states attended the Zoom Launch Party hosted right here in The Meetinghouse to celebrate the addition of television to our distribution network. A good time was had by all, especially the four who won the drawings for a bag of Perfecto Coffee. Twenty one of those attending pledged to join the CIRCLE OF SEVENTY, that discerning and generous network of people who are contributing financially to The Meetinghouse. You, also, can be a member of the CIRCLE OF SEVENTY. See the SUPPORT page on our web site for details. And thank you!