That Was The Week That Was

This links wrap is a few hours later than usual because I spent the morning in Minneapolis celebrating the graduation of my brother Jon, who earned his doctorate in education. Congratulations, Dr. Gehrz!

And I have no Pietist Schoolman posts to remind you of, since I was busy getting ready for the start of classes next week at Bethel. But I did find time to dash off three posts at The Anxious Bench:

11th c. painting of the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas
Two of the seven: the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas (d. 203) — Wikimedia

• The stories of seven women we teach in Bethel’s Christianity and Western Culture class

• A comparison of the treatment of religion and spirituality in the book and film versions of Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis

• Thanks to Thomas Kidd and Mark David Hall for organizing this response of Christian historians, political scientists, and legal scholars to the events in Charlottesville

Then a few other links from around the blogosphere:

• I appreciate that that letter included a defense of free speech, even when it’s offensive. David Cole explained why that matters more than ever: “We protect the First Amendment not only because it is the lifeblood of democracy and an indispensable element of freedom, but because it is the guarantor of civil society itself. It protects the press, the academy, religion, political parties, and nonprofit associations like ours. In the era of Donald Trump, the importance of preserving these avenues for advancing justice and preserving democracy should be more evident than ever.”

• For religious scholar Rachel Wheeler, Charlottesville pointed out the complicated legacy of an Old Testament book for Americans.

• And for my Bethel colleague Mark Bruce, it showed how white nationalists are hijacking the historical era whose literature he studies: the Middle Ages.

• Charlottesville has also revived the debate over Confederate memorials. I’m not sympathetic to the idea that taking them down constitutes “erasing history,” but I do appreciate the argument for contextualizing them where they stand.

• See also this take from a Yale history professor who went to school in Charlottesville and studies Germans’ commemoration of their troubled history: “Monuments are not static things that have a single narrative behind them. Monuments are things that we create. Monuments are objects whose meaning and significance we create daily…. Memory is not just the things that we recall on a moment-to-moment basis. Memory is something that also means something in the world; what we decide is important to remember is something that is collectively determined, and the politics, the negotiation, the conversation by which we determine what matters and what doesn’t. ”

Pauli Murray
One of Yale’s new colleges is named for law school graduate Pauli Murray (1910-1985), a civil rights activist and Episcopal priest – Creative Commons (Carolina Digital Library)

• Speaking of Yale… my graduate alma mater opened two new residential colleges — and, as usual, spent a lot of money to make itself look older than it is. (subscription required)

• You’ve probably heard, and perhaps used, the phrase “Speak truth to power.” But do you know its Quaker origins?

• As ever, I wish more white evangelicals would use their access to power to speak truth to Donald Trump… Here, for example, is why yesterday’s presidential pardon of an Arizona sheriff is so troubling.

• But let’s end on a brighter note: congratulations to my friend and frequent collaborator Sam Mulberry, who won a richly-deserved faculty excellence award from Bethel University.