That Was The Week That Was

I considered a Twitter controversy about plants, the notion of “comfort colleges,” and the impact of the First World War on Native American identity. Elsewhere:

• “America is at an awkward age,” began Elizabeth Stice’s thoughtful essay on history and heritage. “We are old enough to be embarrassed by our parents, but not mature enough to figure out what a healthy relationship with them looks like or how to understand their role in shaping our identity.”

2020 campaign poster for Marianne Williamson• About a third of Democratic voters identify as “spiritual, but not religious.” So why hasn’t Marianne Williamson clicked with them?

• Meanwhile, why has Andrew Yang connected with an unusual array of supporters? Peter Beinart heard echoes of a famous third-party candidate.

• For once, a headline writer gets it absolutely correct: “If This Isn’t Impeachable, Nothing Is.”

• What if impoverished children chose their Christian sponsors, and not vice versa?

• Scot McKnight didn’t think much of the job description for one of the most influential pastoral positions in the United States.

• How can Jerry Falwell, Jr. not count as an “evangelical leader”?

• As always, it depends on what you mean by “evangelical.”

• A Brad Pitt science fiction film may seem like an unlikely vehicle for theological metaphor, but I’ve learned not to doubt Alissa Wilkinson’s reviews.

• Speaking of science fiction… John Quincy Adams’ presidency is more interesting than you might have assumed.

• Precious little in East Germany avoided infiltration by the secret police… including the church.

• Still more cuts to the arts and humanities at a regional university in the Upper Midwest.

The Miller Center at St. Cloud (MN) State University – Creative Commons (Xylem22)

• I don’t normally share articles hidden behind the paywall at Chronicle of Higher Ed, but if you share my interests in the histories of sports and higher education, then you’ll definitely want to read Will Jarvis’ piece on the Big Ten founder that dropped football 80 years ago.

• One other sports link: the story of soccer in Greenland, which settles its national championship in a single week of play.

• I joined my Bethel History colleagues in sharing favorite music and movies, part of a new series of “get to know us” Q&A.

• “Why did the chicken cross the road?” I’m not sure anyone has ever laughed at that joke — but you’ll definitely laugh at this podcast about how one of my colleagues came to a unique (mis)understanding of the punchline.

• Like this reviewer, I’m enjoying Ken Burns’ documentary on country music… and will even have a country-inspired post next Tuesday at The Anxious Bench. (Hint: it’s related to this Twitter exchange.)