That Was The Week That Was

This week I interviewed the host of a new podcast on animal rights, and recorded a new episode of our podcast on sports history. Elsewhere:

Jean Vanier with a member of a L’Arche community in 2009, ten years before his death — Creative Commons (Warren Pot)

• Every revelation about church sexual abuse is disturbing. But this morning’s was especially hard to read, as it involved  the founder of L’Arche, Jean Vanier.

• The executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention voted to disfellowship a church whose pastor is a convicted sex offender. (But activists wondered why only one such church would be ousted from the country’s largest Protestant denomination.)

• Meanwhile, that same executive committee launched a task force to investigate Russell Moore, the head of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, ostensibly because Moore’s (long ago) critiques of Donald Trump were negatively affecting giving to Southern Baptist churches. But other Baptists, including members of the ERLC’s own board, defended Moore.

• One recurring theme already in our new sports history course: how “muscular Christians” fretted over the feminization of the church. That concern has never really gone away, so I appreciated Nate Pyle’s response to a recent, especially ridiculous articulation of the theme: “Manhood is rooted in the new man, Jesus. Not American Jesus who has been retro-fitted with certain social ideals. Recasting Jesus in such a way that he affirms our favorite cultural depiction of men neuters the radical nature of his humanity.”

• Kristin Du Mez pointed out that “Conservative Christians… have a more ambivalent relationship to the objectification of women” than you might guess from their reaction to the Super Bowl halftime show.

• Is human dignity the key to reviving American politics? One of my favorite Catholic political writers thinks so.

• “Have we made God so small,” wondered another of my Anxious Bench colleagues, “that we cannot conceive of prayer language different from our 21st century words?”

• What is America’s origin story? Abram Van Engen considered why we tend to center the stories of the Pilgrims and Puritans.

The Houston Astros at the White House, the spring after they won the 2017 World Series – White House

• What do the suddenly nefarious Houston Astros have to do with Moses? Ask the new editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.

• Meanwhile, his counterpart at The Christian Century explained why he appreciates Ash Wednesday.

• On Friday I had our Intro to History class start to think about what makes for an especially good historical movie. And no, one of Donald Trump’s favorites did not come up.

• One of the fastest growing countries in the world is starting to make its mark on the English language.

• I spend a lot of time thinking about the 20th century, but somehow it never occurred to me that two of its most important intellectuals — W.E.B. DuBois and Max Weber — not only read each other’s work, but met once in 1904.

• A new report from Georgetown confirms that “White workers are more likely than Black or Latino workers to have a good job at every level of educational attainment.”

• Finally, one of the country’s largest religious universities has quietly modified its honors code as it pertains to LGBTQ students.