That Was The Month That Was

It’s been far too long since I’ve shared any links, so let me go back through a busy first month of summer and recommend several pieces to readers:

• I’m not the world’s biggest Stanley Hauerwas fan, but his recent comments on the church in the age of Trump are well worth considering.

• The president of a leading Christian college resigned, just three years after taking office… and a few months after inviting Mike Pence to give the school’s commencement address.

• At some point I’ll need to say something more about the ongoing public implosion of Jerry Falwell, Jr. For now, here’s what one of his former employees says about life at Liberty University, which recently laid off faculty in response to declining enrollment in its divinity school.

Stice works at Palm Beach Atlantic University – Creative Commons (Ccasey11)

• Historian Elizabeth Stice explained why “the distress beacon for Christian higher education is currently blinking.”

• Especially in a time of extreme polarization, perhaps Christians can learn from psychological studies of intellectual humility.

• Yesterday the Evangelical Covenant Church voted overwhelmingly to expel one of its oldest congregations for defying the denomination’s stance on human sexuality. I’ll bite my tongue for now, but here’s what I wrote earlier in the week at The Anxious Bench. (And hopefully you already saw what my fellow Covenant historians  Hauna Ondrey and Phil Anderson wrote here at Pietist Schoolman.)

• Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church in America voted to affirm the Nashville Statement, after some PCA churches and pastors were involved in the Revoice movement of Christians who affirm a traditional sexual ethic but identify as LGBT.

• It’s easy to forget such how significantly and how rapidly American attitudes on sexuality have changed

Bryant supported this campaign organized in 1977 to counter the burgeoning gay rights movement – Wikimedia

• Two more reminders than I’m not really a historian of religion… First, I knew almost nothing about the story of orange juice spokeswoman/conservative activist Anita Bryant, let alone how it’s been misunderstood.

• Second, I didn’t know enough about how faith had animated both sides of the debate over women’s suffrage.

• As always, Ryan Burge has interesting observations about religion in this country — e.g., why there’s clearly “a positive relationship between church attendance and Republican identification for white evangelicals,” and how women preach differently than men.

(By the way, he added in a separate article, even a majority of Southern Baptists say they would welcome a woman pastor.)

• And as always, Melissa Borja offers fascinating insights on the intersection of religion and culture in Asia — in this case, considering why both religious and non-religious protestors in Hong Kong have adopted a Christian song as an anthem.

• Earlier this year, I blogged about the legal challenge to Maryland WWI memorial that takes the form of a 40-foot cross. This month Supreme Court ruled that it can remain.

• Peter Jackson’s WWI documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, got Drew Magary thinking about how “war is framed as charity, and Americans are encouraged to thank the troops for their service to that charity without seeing, in full detail, what is often the endgame of that service.”

The American Conservative is never better than when sharing perspectives on the decline of rural America. (See also Thomas Kidd’s review of two books on “back row America.”)

• And NPR interviewed a Minnesota doctor on the challenges of being a Muslim in that part of the country.

Add archeology to the list of things affected by climate change.

• Our friend John Fea was recently in Italy visiting family sites. I’m so glad he shared his reflections on what it’s like as a historian to seek for such ancestral roots.

Whitman, Hitler's American Model• Alex Ross on the international historiography of Nazism, including its roots in American racism: “Only by stripping away its national regalia and comprehending its essential human form do we have any hope of vanquishing it.”

• Never again? Jeffrey Salkin on whether we should “create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary.”

• I have a review coming next month of this book on “the Bonhoeffer that history overlooked.”

• Reading an interview with Anna Winger, the co-creator of Deutschland ’83,reminded me that I need to catch up on my favorite German TV series… and that I should have my Intro to History students chew on her notion that “There is a way in which history is only interesting in as much as it serves as metaphor for what we are living through now.”

• “Grief can be a catalyst to a greater purpose“: count me among the many people who thinks that the beginning of Up offers five of the most moving minutes in film history.