That Was The Week That Was

This week I shared a Pentecost reflection inspired (in part) by George Floyd and explained why academic freedom is deeply rooted in Bethel’s religious heritage. Elsewhere:

• My Bethel colleague Sara Shady filled in for me at The Anxious Bench with a powerful reflection on the Floyd protests and riots in light of some words from Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK being arrested in Alabama in 1958 – Wikimedia

(And if you’re on Twitter, you can now follow her @SaraLHShady.)

• Two other white evangelicals reflecting on the ongoing problem of racism: VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer and conservative writer David French.

• Could the past two weeks mark a turning point in how evangelicals respond to systemic racism? Daniel Silliman talked to some pastors here in the Twin Cities.

• George Floyd’s Minneapolis memorial service was held at North Central University, an Assemblies of God school, in a sanctuary named for its founder: the pastor of the city’s first large Pentecostal church.

• Up here, one of the most interesting phenomena in the media coverage of the Floyd protests has been the emergence of a reporter previously known solely for his work with local sports.

• At the same time, we need to consider what widespread participation in mass protests means for the spread of the coronavirus.

• Whether because of his handlings of the protests, COVID, the economic crisis, or all of the above, Donald Trump’s approval ratings have generally suffered in the last month or two — most notably, among some of the religious groups that have tended to be make up his base of support.

• Not to mention military leaders and Republican stalwarts.

• And one of the religious groups that has been most consistently opposed to Trump was particularly offended by his photo op in front of a church in Washington.

• As Ruth Graham put it, “photography does not do justice to the utter strangeness and cynicism captured by video of the same event.”

• The scope and duration of the Floyd protests suggested another historical analogy in a turbulent year already full of them.

• The website Breaking Ground launched with a piece by Mark Noll, on the impossibility of making predictions from history.

• The country’s largest Protestant denomination experienced more numerical decline in 2019.

• If you listened to our five-part series on Pandemics and the Liberal Arts this spring, you’ll already have heard me argue that current events are underscoring the importance of the arts and humanities. But if you don’t believe me, listen to Frank Bruni.

• And one Christian college note: there’s a backlash brewing at Liberty University among African American alumni and staff fed up with Jerry Falwell, Jr.