I interviewed a former Pro Bowler, considered what’s being lost with the decline of mainline Protestantism, and explained why this blog is going to be relatively (but not completely) quiet for most of 2020. Elsewhere:
• A local newspaper here in St. Paul reported that a local Methodist church was banning older people. Not surprisingly, the truth is more complicated.
• Another evangelical group appointed an Asian American leader. I’m sure we’d disagree on many things, but I found Julius Kim’s story of straddling cultures interesting.
• Randall Balmer is ready to give up on “evangelical.” His suggested replacement: “Sojourners Christians.” (As he explained in, um, Sojourners.)
• “Born again“: not just for evangelicals, at least according to growing numbers of mainline and Catholic Christians.
• Kristin Du Mez considered what a startling report on sex abuse among the Amish tells us about the “dark side to community, and to the religious requirement to forgive.”
(See also Kristin’s piece on the challenges of being an evangelical pastor in the age of Trump, when “the choice not to speak directly into the political moment, too, sends its own political message.”)
• Two pieces for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade: a pro-life feminist argued that abortion rights has a complicated relationship with women’s equality, while a conservative Christian explained why “the embrace of Trump as a pro-life champion [is] so damaging to the movement.”
• Not a week goes without someone in the Trump Administration rivaling their boss for outrageous behavior. This week’s winner: the avowedly Christian secretary of state who harangued a reporter for asking him about Ukraine and dared her to find that country on an unlabeled map. (She has a master’s in European studies from Cambridge.)
• This lunar New Year, consider how “Each calendar reveals something about how the people who created it relate to the world around them while also preserving rich cultural identities and memories.”
• In this week’s 252 episode, I mentioned that the first woman (and first openly gay person) to coach in a Super Bowl graduated from Goshen College, one of the country’s leading Mennonite institutions. On Wednesday Goshen’s president apologized to Katie Sowers, who was kept from coaching basketball in college because of her sexuality.
(Several years ago I wrote about Goshen being forced out of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities because it had changed its stance on human sexuality.)
• One solution to the crisis of the humanities (for some colleges and universities): encourage efforts to make public higher education much less expensive.
• What should we make of white supremacists emerging from humanities programs?