Plug-In: How hot will SBC meetings get in Nashville? Sexual-abuse fights are Round 1

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Look for a little thunder today, but I don’t see any rain in the Nashville, Tennessee, forecast for next week.

That’s probably a good thing because I’m not sure how many more leaks the Southern Baptist Convention can take.

The heat will be turned up, though, as 16,000 Baptist messengers converge on Music City for the denomination’s (yes, I’m going to use that word) biggest annual meeting in a quarter-century.

Last week’s Plug-in set the scene, but the headlines just keep coming.

The new developments start with Washington Post religion writer Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s scoop last Saturday on a leaked letter detailing allegations that Southern Baptist leaders mishandled sex abuse claims.

Next up: That would be the leaked audio Thursday of SBC officials showing reluctance to take action against churches accused of mishandling abuse, as The Associated Press’ Peter Smith and Travis Loller, Religion News Service’s Bob Smietana and Adelle M. Banks and The Tennessean’s Holly Meyer report.

More to read:

Pressure mounts for an independent investigation of SBC Executive Committee handling of abuse (by Bob Smietana, RNS)

Tensions erupt among Southern Baptists ahead of their big meeting in Nashville. Here’s why (by Holly Meyer, The Tennessean)

Sexual abuse pushed to top of agenda for Southern Baptist Convention (by Terry Mattingly, Universal syndicate columnist)

Southern Baptist pastors demand inquiry into handling of sex abuse cases (by Yonat Shimron, RNS)

The scandal rocking the evangelical world as Russell Moore departs SBC (by Peter Wehner, The Atlantic)

The fight for the heart of the Southern Baptist Convention (by Eliza Griswold, New Yorker)

Power Up: The Week’s Best Reads

1. The murder scandalizing Brazil’s evangelical church: This is a crazy story — and a crazy good piece of journalism.

The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson delves into the murder of Anderson do Carmo, husband of Flordelis dos Santos de Souza, a famous Brazilian gospel singer, pastor and politician.

2. This summer’s ‘Brood X’ cicadas are inspiring death-to-life meditations: Veteran religion writer Kimberly Winston has a knack for finding faith angles in the strangest places … say, insects.

“The cicada has been sacred to cultures, faiths and peoples,” Winston writes at ReligionUnplugged. “And this year, many see in them a reflection of a specific symbol of our own rebirth as the country emerges from COVID-19 restrictions.”

CONTINUE READING: “Nashville Expected To Be Hot, Hot, Hot As Southern Baptists Meet Amid Controversy” by Bobby Ross, Jr., at Religion Unplugged.

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