That Was The Month That Was

Because I’ve been on a break most of July and will again be traveling this weekend, I’ll move up my Saturday links post and expand it to include articles, posts, and other content from throughout the month:


• If you haven’t seen the documentary about the impossibly gentle Mr. Rogers, you’ve now got weekend plans.

• In addition to preaching about freedom in Christ, I pondered what freedom means for Americans.

• What use is a blog if you can’t promote the work of friends: Sam Mulberry talking about filmmaking and teaching with Chris Moore; and Jared Burkholder reviving his own blog.

…There and Everywhere

Antietam's sunken road (or "Bloody Lane")
“Bloody Lane” at Antietam – CC BY-NC 4.0 (Chris Gehrz)

• On my drive south from Connecticut, I stopped by the Antietam battlefield — a visit that I reported on for our department blog.

• Over at The Anxious Bench, my Lindbergh research inspired posts about the spiritual biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the argument that America is a “Christian nation.”

• We welcomed a new contributor to AB: Melissa Borja, a historian of migration and religion.

• Religion journalist Bob Smietana summarized the debate about the continuing utility of “evangelical.” (I contributed a couple bits about evangelicalism and the history of our denomination.)

• If the Alabama congregation that Washington Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen visited is any indication, evangelicalism will not long survive the Trump era.

• Not that mainline Protestantism is thriving in historic bastions like the Upper Midwest

• In the aftermath of the #MeToo allegations against Bill Hybels, Warren Throckmorton reports that dozens of churches have dropped out of Willow Creek’s annual leadership summit.

• A new study finds that “the more you line up with Christian nationalism, the less likely you are to support gun control.”

• Mired in an ongoing dispute over sexuality, the United Methodist Church is hoping to unite around one of three proposed plans for moving forward.

• The return of new Cornhusker head coach Scott Frost reminded Paul Putz why “[i]n Nebraska, football is bigger than politics, bigger than religion.”

• Louisana College continues to have troubles, as it faces a lawsuit from an alum who claims he wasn’t hired as a coach because of his Jewish heritage.

• Speaking of Christian colleges in that part of the country… Comedian Aisha Tyler’s account of doing stand-up at such an institution isn’t pretty.

• Closer to home, Luther Seminary is piloting a two-year M.Div.

Luther Seminary
Bockman Hall at Luther Seminary – Creative Commons (McGhiever)

• To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Trump administration is pretty cozy with the same for-profit colleges that it is seeking to deregulate.

• More than 60% of Americans think higher ed is headed in the wrong directions, but Republicans and Democrats have different reasons for coming to that conclusion.

• Social psychologists are grappling with their field’s strong tilt to the (political) left.

• Should we really be encouraging students to “follow their passion”? A new study warns against such advice.

Machine gun crew during Korean War
African American machine gunners during the Korean War – Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

• Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of Harry Truman’s executive order integrating the U.S. military, a milestone that one retired naval officer contrasted with Donald Trump’s own attempt at “using the military to practice his version of racial politics.”

• Even some strongly anti-Trump white evangelicals seemed to like the president’s most recent Supreme Court nomination, Brett Kavanaugh. But the managing director of Wheaton’s Billy Graham Center warned that “[w]hile a more conservative court may be good for America, it hasn’t always been good for Blacks in America.”

• Fresh off writing a new book about the Bible, Rachel Held Evans argued that it doesn’t support unquestioning obedience to political authority, but instead “brims with protest songs and prison letters, subversive poetry and politically charged visions, satirical roasts of the powerful and storied celebrations of dissidents.”

• It seems like democratic socialism is experiencing a comeback in American politics… though Damon Linker doesn’t think it’s actually “socialism.”

• While I’m sure I’ll spend at least a day on the 50th anniversary of 1968 when I teach my Cold War class again this fall, I hadn’t realized all the religious history implications of that revolutionary year.

• That was also the year that the book MASH came out… source for a darkly funny Robert Altman movie and then a TV series that was one of the first grown-up shows I watched regularly as a kid.

• Everything has a history — even ketchup.

• Two great new maps: National Geographic visualizing the history of immigration to the United States as rings in a growing tree trunk; and Jeremy Posadas rendering the country as “The United Regions of America.”