That Was The Week That Was

Here at Pietist Schoolman I wrote about the military history of childhood and the religious history of my own adolescence. Over at The Anxious Bench, I considered the proposition that Instagram food photos are the 21st century version of table grace, and shared a small digital humanities project. Elsewhere…

• Also at Anxious Bench, Andrea Turpin considered everything from high fashion to (The Man in theHigh Castle as sources for understanding the history of the nuclear age, and guest blogger Maria Mercado shared the history of Catholic summer camps.

Among other sources, Andrea considered some late 1950s designs — not these — by Yves Saint Laurent as reflecting Cold War Themes — Creative Commons (Regan Vercruysse)

• Is it possible that writing online — even tweeting — actually improves discourse in some ways?

• For those of you on Twitter… did you know how the retweet button came into being? Or that its inventor is trying to fix the damage he thinks it has done?

• Nonetheless, I stand by my decision to retweet Will Young’s dismaying profile of life inside Liberty University, where students and faculty alike are pressured to conform to the wishes of the Falwell administration.

• “It is ironic,” observed Katelyn Beaty, “that Christians who denounce the prosperity gospel have in recent years touted its sexier, if subtler, form: the sexual prosperity gospel. This is my term for a core teaching of the purity culture that erupted in the 1990s, telling young evangelicals that True Love Waits. It holds that God will reward premarital chastity with a good Christian spouse, great sex and perpetual marital fulfillment.”

• Another way of writing this Christianity Today headline: The less people know about evangelicals, the more they like them.

• Evangelicals rightly emphasize the importance of religious freedom. (And not just for Christians.) But is the administration they steadfastly support actually doing much to help those being persecuted on account of religion?

• Not surprisingly, white and black clergy tend to respond differently to Donald Trump’s racism.

• Meanwhile, there’s some evidence that “average levels of prejudice among white Americans fell after Trump was elected president” — even as that election “may have emboldened those who were already prejudiced.”

• One of the best longform pieces so far in the Age of Trump investigated “one of the most fascinating symbiotic relationships in modern politics,” that between America’s 45th president and Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress.

2011 photo of Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX — Creative Commons (Gage Skidmore)

• One of the emerging questions in my Lindbergh biography is whether community is as important for the “spiritual, but not religious” as for those who are described by both adjectives. To wit: the challenges facing non-religious congregations.

• There’s a new historian to follow in the blogosphere: this week Barton “Rock History Professor” Price wrote about the intersection of popular music and the Space Race.

• One last space history link as we exit the month of the Apollo 11 anniversary: the complicated story behind the apparently egalitarian achievements of the Soviet space program.