That Was The Week That Was

As explained in this space, I’m temporarily focusing more of my online energies on podcasts, like this week’s 252 discussion of sports as religion. But at The Anxious Bench I did find the time to write a Christian case for journalism and to profile a now-forgotten religious figure who was reviled by everyone from Charles Lindbergh to Glenn Close.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere…

• Hero worship, anti-intellectualism, and other dangerous tendencies that Roger Olson found inherent to the evangelical ethos.

• Meanwhile, the reports about sexual abuse in the country’s largest evangelical denomination convinced Dale Coulter that “[w]e don’t need a database of sexual abusers for the Southern Baptist Convention, we need it for evangelicalism as a whole.”

• Count on John McWhorter not to run away from controversial topics, like the blackface scandals in Virginia: “I wonder if we are allowing social progress to detour into a kind of reflexive shaming. I wonder if all blacking up is alike, or if even blackface contains shades of grey.”

• Over the course of a year, ESPN journalists talked to legendary sportscaster Bob Costas dozens of times, trying to understand how “he reconciled the celebration of a sport that enriched him financially and helped make him a broadcasting icon, but also weighed so heavily on his conscience…”

• As a historian currently dabbling in both aviation and sports, I heartily approve of Atlanta Hawk forward John Collins Wright Brothers tribute in last night’s NBA dunk contest.

(Or should it be Wright Brother, singular?)

• The German government annually pays churches over half a billion dollars… even though the Weimar Constitution called for an end to that tradition a hundred years ago.

• Meet the Japanese-American WWII veteran who didn’t (couldn’t) begin to share his amazing story until he was 91.

• What happens when you commission 400 people to live and work in a replica of the Soviet Union for two years, filming the whole thing? You get “the Soviet Truman Show.”

• I don’t know if the academic life is actually being undone by email. But I hope people don’t use that as an excuse to neglect those correspondents.

• How one research university has experimented with one-credit “pop up” courses.

• Want to improve everything from writing to discipline among school children? Teach them art, theatre, and dance.