That Was The Week That Was

It was an eclectic week for me: from podcasting about IndyCar to reflecting on the Notre Dame fire. Of course, Holy Week also found me meditating a lot on Jesus: his entry into Jerusalem, how his death inspired poets and artists during the world wars, and how his followers and killers spent the first Holy Saturday. Elsewhere…

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• As I prepare to teach my Modern Europe survey again this fall, I think I might assign Rachel Donadio’s piece on Notre Dame, whose devastation “laid bare all the paradoxes” of “a secular republic, dedicated to the principle of laïcité, or the absence of religion in public life, that has as its national symbol a cathedral.”

• And if you have time for just one more Notre Dame take, make it Alissa Wilkinson’s.

• I’ve been toying with writing a post about the destruction of French cathedrals during World War I… I didn’t realize just how controversial their rebuilding could be.

• Back here in the New World… a staunch conservative explained what’s shocking about even a redacted version of the Mueller Report.

• Meet the women who helped build and sustain the Religious Right in the Seventies and Eighties.

• It’s not the point of charitable giving, but… if you want to feel good about your level of generosity, just compare your taxes to those of most presidential candidates.

• Is the United States still the exception to the rule about secularization, or is religious decline just arriving more slowly?

• Meanwhile, some recent converts to Christianity include Chinese immigrants to New York and Syrian survivors of ISIS rule.

• His Holy Week reflection on the reality of heaven reminded me that John Wilson is one of the few reasons left to read First Things.

• By the way, you should know that this blog post is written in one of the “weirdest” languages on Earth (as linguist define “weird,” that is).

• I’m one of the historians who has no choice but to take digital pictures of documents when I do archival research, but I do appreciate Robert Caro’s commitment to analog.

(Though I doubt I appreciate Caro as much as a certain Harvard history major-turned-late night comedian.)

• I know you don’t think you need to read a profile of a multi-millionaire who “might ultimately drop a seven-figure annual investment on food and wine,” but you do.