That Was The Week That Was

This week I broke my blogging silence here to blog about silence. And over at The Anxious Bench, I explained what the history of “home missions” has to do with my current book project. Elsewhere…

• To understand the stark difference in character between the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and the one from 2016, read Michael Gerson’s most recent columns.

Sen. Mitt Romney and Pres. Donald Trump last fall in the Cabinet Room – White House

• For the most part, I think this conservative law professor is correct that a republic can only survive if republican virtue is cultivated in its citizens — of course, that includes our current president, who gets only glancing critiques in the whole piece.

• Given how little political, moral, or spiritual virtue that particular American seems to have cultivated over his long life, I’m glad to see that even one of his staunchest political opponents continues to pray for him.

Whitehead & Perry, Taking America Back for God• One of the more significant books coming out this year on politics and religion is a study of Christian nationalism. Get a preview from authors Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead.

• When I started college at William and Mary, I couldn’t believe that the commonwealth of Virginia fused Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with an older state holiday honoring two Confederate generals. That uncomfortable combination finally went away several years ago, and now Virginia is on the verge of ending what remains of Lee-Jackson Day.

• Of course that will probably strengthen the supposed desire of some conservative Virginians to secede and join West Virginia — a cause supported by the state’s largest Christian university.

(That link takes you to a post by John Fea, who is a teaching a course at Messiah College that I would love to see adapted for Bethel.)

• As the United Methodist Church gets closer to voting on a denominational split, read Andrea Turpin on the cost of Christian division — and Christian unity — in the past and present of Methodism.

• The next time someone insists that the mainstream, elite media are hostile or indifferent to Christianity, share The New Yorker’s thoughtful review of a book on the faith of Johnny Cash (a book that’s written by a psychology professor at a Christian university).

• And the next time someone tells you to get on board with STEM superseding the arts, humanities, and social sciences, share this op-ed by a computer scientist.

• I binged the first two seasons of The Good Place, lost track of it somewhere in the middle of season 3, and suspect I would feel as ambivalent about its series finale as this writer did.

• For Oscar night reading: biopics about nine women that should get the green light.