• My first post at The Anxious Bench surveyed British Christian responses to next week’s “Brexit” referendum.
• I knew that would be the topic this time last week. But I certainly didn’t know that my second Bench post would be the same day, that it would respond to a mass shooting, or that it would focus on LGBT history.
(I also reposted what I had written about the “thoughts and prayers” expression on the occasion of the last mass shooting… Here’s one more reflection on that topic.)
• Then Thursday I revisited the theme of a 2012 post by recommended three more conservatives that progressives ought to be reading.
…There and Everywhere
• In other “Brexit” news… Rival “Remain” and “Leave” flotillas battled it out on the Thames (with water hoses).
• More importantly: a pro-EU member of parliament was murdered, and a right-wing Leave supporter has been charged.
• Tim Gloege also made his Anxious Bench debut this week, with the first post in a series on “corporate” evangelicalism.
• Our fellow Bench-er David Swartz reviewed Marty Troyer’s The Gospel Next Door, praising it as a “profound work of public theology” that “brings together things perceived as fundamentally different: evangelism and peace, social justice and salvation, Black Lives Matter and theology.”
• Save yourself twenty minutes to read the twisting, turning story of the provenance of the “Jesus’s wife” papyrus — which is now being acknowledged as a likely forgery even by the Harvard scholar who announced its discovery.
• It’s taken over half a century to plan a follow-up to a council that last met in the 8th century. And now that representatives of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians are finally ready to gather… well, there are still some things to iron out.
• Russell Moore offered a rousing defense of religious freedom at the Southern Baptist Convention, when asked by a pastor why Baptists should defend the right of Muslims to build mosques. (That’ll be the jumping off point for my next Anxious Bench post, on Tuesday morning.)
• Is the next leader of evangelicalism a rap star?
• Is the best model for Christian parody Weird Al?
• Yes, a new poll finds that 62% of self-identified evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump. But compare that to 79% for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, and it becomes even harder to see how Trump is going to overcome what’s already a six-point lead for Hillary Clinton.
• Pres. Obama’s former head speechwriter tried to argue that there was still time for the GOP to dump its presumptive nominee: “As a Democrat, I suppose I should be happy that the Republican Party is about to face the most diverse electorate in history with a modern-day hybrid of George Wallace and Joseph McCarthy…. But I’m not, because win or lose, Donald Trump’s candidacy is already doing real damage to our country. Every day, he gives voice and legitimacy to some of our darkest instincts and oldest prejudices — fear, and blame, and suspicion of the sinister ‘other.'”
• Sunday is “Juneteenth,” the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in one of the last bastions of the Confederacy. Has the time come to make it a national holiday, “no less than our second independence day”?
• We don’t have cable, so I’ve only seen the first part of the ESPN documentary on O.J. Simpson. But it was pretty captivating. Particularly interesting was Simpson’s belief that he had transcended race through his celebrity — or, as Greg Howard put it, “it’s the story of a halfback trying, and failing, to outrun his own blackness.”
• Eboo Patel told the story of Louis Armstrong’s formative years with a Jewish immigrant family.
• The Atlantic is hosting a fascinating series on Hmong Americans, an ethnic group from southeast Asia who began immigrating to the United States in the 1970s and have primarily settled in the Midwest and on the West Coast.