That Was The Week That Was


• My wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. The traditional gift is tin or aluminum, but I went with public praise and ecclesiological rumination instead.

• We’ll be spending my sabbatical as a family in Virginia, where I can’t wait to attend the biennial meeting of the Conference on Faith and History.

• Some reflections on the Stanford rape case, from a former student of mine who works with victims of sexual assaults as a National Guard judge advocate.

• My Anxious Bench post of the week suggested two more criteria for evaluating historical movies: that the makers be interested in the past on its own terms, and that their work inspire further study or historical thinking itself.

• And I tried to explain my conflicted reasons for signing an open letter from Historians Against Trump.

…There (the 2016 Campaign)…

I promised that that explanation would be my last such post for the summer. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t live-tweet Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday night.

Or that I couldn’t write a bonus post at Anxious Bench trying to summarize other historians’ objections to the Historians Against Trump letter and to frame some important questions it raises about our discipline and our role in society.

Or that I’m going to stop reading what others have to say about the presidential campaign. In fact, from now until November, I plan to devote a section of this links wrap to curating a few such posts. This week:

Thomas Road Baptist Church in 2011
Jonathan Falwell succeeded his father as senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia – Creative Commons (Billy Hathorn)

• Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. spoke at the Republican convention, but his brother has stayed quiet about this election.

• Why are nearly 80% of evangelicals willing to support Trump? My Anxious Bench colleague David Swartz thinks it goes back to the Democratic conventions of 1968 and 1972.

• An interesting side of Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence: the somewhat unclear story of his transition from a Catholic upbringing (with aspirations of joining the clergy) to evangelicalism.

• Meanwhile, Tim Kaine, the winner of the Democratic veepstakes, is a Jesuit-educated former missionary who attends a primarily African American parish in Richmond, Virginia.

• Are the votes of evangelical Hispanics still up for grabs?

…and Everywhere

• It’s actually just over a week old, but since I didn’t do a wrap last Saturday… Let me recommend Rod Dreher’s response, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, to the “Evangelical style” as he encountered it among some Christian academics. He started out leery of the “self-disclosure” of public prayer and sharing testimonies. But “…by the time we had our last session today, and were asked to pray for each other, I … prayed out loud for people. I had come to care for these people and their struggles. This wasn’t just business anymore. I had seen how much of themselves these scholars poured into their work, the kinds of professional defeats and professional challenges they carried with them, and how hard they struggle to do the right thing when it is by no means clear what that is in their particular situation.” I’m familiar with those qualities from the evangelical university where I work, but it’s a gift to be reminded of them from someone somewhat outside that culture.

• Another important post that’s been on the shelf for a bit: Tim Gloege gave Anxious Bench readers as helpful (and historical) a definition of “evangelical” as I’ve read this year.

• Back to this past week… Paul Putz looked back at Frank DeFord’s famous three-part series on “Sportianity,” published forty years now ago in Sports Illustrated.

• I’m sure we’d disagree on all sorts of things, but I’ve always enjoyed Eric Metaxas’ sense of humor and appreciated his intellectual curiosity. But he’s now sunk to the point of commiserating with David Barton about their treatment at the hands of professional historians. At least he’s still self-deprecating…

• On Tuesday I was talking with some graduate students about how institutions of higher learning relate to the past. One member of the cohort brought of the centrality of tradition and legacy to historically black colleges and universities. The next day, it came to light that one HBCU was deactivating its history program for at least three years.

• As the week ends, I feel like I just need to clear my head. So I’m excited about the new Star Trek movie, which Alissa Wilkinson found “a breath of fresh air—not a clever or innovative movie, but one with at least an idea in its head and the dose of optimism we all need right about now.”

One thought on “That Was The Week That Was

  1. Drop a line if, during your sabbatical in Virginia, to make it a few hours’ south to coastal North Carolina – I’d love to meet you & show you around (what I can).

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