That Was The Week That Was

I reported on a Supreme Court case involving a World War I memorial, talked baseball history on The 252, and reflected on the relationship between faith and science for The Anxious Bench. Elsewhere…

UMCGC logo• The big religion news of the week is that the United Methodist Church is having its final (?) reckoning over sexuality this weekend. RNS has done a nice job of covering and commenting on it, with Emily McFarlan Miller getting predictions from a variety of leading Methodists and Jacob Lupfer arguing that the UMC should accept that it’s never going to be all that U.

• As it responds to its own sexual abuse scandal, can the country’s largest Protestant denomination learn something from the mistakes of the Catholic Church?

• Why, a new study asks, are women more likely than men to believe in the literal truth of the Bible?

• It’s always stimulating when Dan Taylor gets around to writing a blog post, as in this one on how faith is passed down.

• Good to see John Wilson editing a magazine again, if only for one issue.

• The further we get from the Obama presidency, the more I admire him. But it’s foolish to create a presidential library that (a) has no actual library or archivists and (b) is administered by privately, rather than by the National Archives. And a terrible precedent for 44 to hand 45…

• Whether the Mueller report comes down next week or later, we might not want to expect too much to come of it, at least not directly.

• For my money Donald Trump, Jr. leads a strong field in the race for most annoying member of the current White House team.

• What does the Jussie Smollett hoax mean? No doubt Trevor Noah is right that it’s a reminder of our propensity for confirmation bias, but Adam Serwer thinks we shouldn’t let it “obscure the extent of the politically motivated racist violence that has convulsed the nation in the past six months.”

• Remember that night in 1939 when 20,000 Americans crowded into Madison Square Garden for a pro-Nazi rally? Nope, me neither.

• Historians in Britain are trying to get producers of historical TV shows to credit their research.

• Meanwhile, some American historians spend every Sunday night watching movies (virtually) together.

• But they might want to be careful about binge-watching those elaborate Russian miniseries that are starting to show up on Netflix…

• An elite liberal arts college with a two-billion dollar endowment has gone nearly a week without Internet.

• Meanwhile, a less prosperous private college in the Northeast will likely close at the end of the summer.

• As Adam Laats points out, it’s no coincidence that two “mega-universities” with enormous online enrollments have an evangelical religious background.

• Attention incoming college students (and those who influence them): you don’t need to declare a major right away… and might not want to.

• I missed this last week, but worth reading: the emerging societal gap framed by student debt.

• Another of my Bethel colleagues has started a podcast. If you’re a Twitter user and have five minutes to spare, it’s worth your time.