That Was The Week That Was


• One would-be “Protestant Notre Dame” hired the disgraced former athletic director from another one.

• We received another kind review of our book on Pietism and Christian higher ed.

• And I shared a short Advent meditation on the lighting of candles.

…There and Everywhere

Fidel Castro• At The Anxious Bench, I rang in the new (liturgical) year and Beth Allison Barr made the Christian case for Santa Claus.

• Fidel Castro’s death did make me remind our faculty of our longest-serving president’s historic visit to Cuba in 1988 (see here), but like Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, I’m neither celebrating nor mourning the demise of “the last Pharaoh in the Western Hemisphere.”

• Hillary Clinton made history as the first woman to be a major party’s presidential nominee, but will her defeat “discourage other women from running for elected office in their own right”?

• “I think the differences are still greater than the similarities,” says a leading Hitler biographer of attempts to compare that dictator with Donald Trump.

• While many decry “normalizing” Trump, the lesson of similar populists in other countries may be that his opponents simply need to “practice ordinary humdrum politics.”

• Has “identity politics” always been with us? Adam Gopnik looked back a famous 1947 memo.

• Two white evangelical men had “no problem admitting that the future does not lie with us.”

• The troubling significance of a Buzzfeed piece on reality TV stars Joanna and Chip Gaines, who have said nothing about same-sex marriage but belong to a church whose pastor opposes it.

• Carol Howard Merritt argued that it’s time to recommit to institutions, including denominations.

• One university president suggested that her peers should be more outspoken, so that higher ed reclaims its role as “the counterweight to government excess, as the bastion of free thought and speech, as the public intellectual voice of the society.”

The Hamilton Mixtape• Yale decided to revisit the question of renaming a residential college named for John C. Calhoun, with a detailed set of guidelines advising a group of three advisers (including one of my dissertation directors).

• I’m finally ready to move on from the Hamilton soundtrack… to The Hamilton Mixtape, in which “Contemporary American idols like Kelly Clarkson, Nas, Jimmy Fallon, Usher, John Legend, and Common have each now recorded loving tributes to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s loving tribute to the original American idols.”

• Remarkably, a TV series on religion in sport that’s co-produced by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — “a sort of jock’s guide to civil society” — seems to be rather interesting.

• And my favorite link of the week is, as so often, an attempt to reconfigure the map of the United States – this time around “megaregions.” (H/T former student and fellow map enthusiast Tim Krueger)

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