That Was The Week That Was

This week I lamented how my home denomination continues to fracture over the human sexuality debate, encouraged Christians to focus more on biblical prophets and less on biblical kings, and reminded everyone that time is starting to run out to place deposits for our summer 2020 Sports in American History tour. Elsewhere:

Advent candles
Licensed by Creative Commons (Chris Wolff)

• One of my favorite things about Advent is that it prompts writers as gifted as Tish Harrison Warren and Michael Gerson to reflect on my favorite Christian virtue: hope.

• But “as long as bad theology helps drive our drug policy,” warned one Christian writer recovering from addiction to opioids, “we will be held back from some of the most effective and life-saving ways of addressing addiction.”

• An official British report documented the scale of violence against Christians around the world.

• As video of a Christian college student coming out of the closet went viral, David Gushee hoped to see “a critical mass of leaders at progressive-leaning [evangelical] schools… make the break collectively and simultaneously” and “break with the exclusionary anti-LGBTQ tradition.”

• Meanwhile, Congress took up a plan to reconcile LGBT rights and the religious freedom of such Christian colleges and universities. (This Tuesday at The Anxious Bench I’ll have an interview about “Fairness for All” with the president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.)

• One of the country’s largest Methodist universities is being sued, as it tries to distance itself from the United Methodist Church.

Blanton Building at Southern Methodist University – Creative Commons (Yelpet)

• One of the world’s best known evangelists died — and I’d guess most American evangelicals have never heard of him. (I hadn’t, until a couple years ago.)

• Speaking of deceased evangelists… Tommy Kidd considered evangelicals’ “complicated relationship with the graves and relics of their heroes” — e.g., Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.

• Is America experiencing the opposite of a “great awakening”?

• I don’t often agree with the National Review, but yes, it’s preposterous to slam Pete Buttigieg for ringing bells for the Salvation Army.

• One of those red kettles received a particularly historic donation

• What has Republican tax reform done to charitable giving for religious organizations? Even in the evangelical world, it depends on the type of ministry.

• “It is a terrible thing to watch a nation and a people fall apart,” conceded Jill Lepore, as Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would start drafting articles of impeachment against the President of the United States. But Donald Trump “is that bad, and this is unprecedented, and these acts are impeachable, and, if it seems as though people have been clamoring for his impeachment since he took office, that’s only because he has behaved abominably since he took office.”

• There’s been an interesting wave of historians criticizing the New York Times‘ series on slavery, The 1619 Project. Get a summary from John Fea — who nonetheless thinks the project is quite valuable for teachers of American history.

• Angela Merkel paid her first official visit to Auschwitz — the first time in a quarter-century that a German chancellor has visited that symbol of the Holocaust.

• This is the story of one liberal arts college — but it will sound at least partly familiar to people who work at most any liberal arts college.