That Was The Week That Was

This week I summarized a new group’s statement of Pietist values, reported on a baseball simulation I’ve been running with my son, and announced the most popular posts of the half-year at The Anxious Bench. Elsewhere:

• Like millions of others, we spent the 4th of July weekend watching the filmed version of Hamilton, which reminded Alissa Wilkinson of the original production’s radical power.

• Not surprisingly, Frederick Douglass anticipated our current debate about how public monuments depict African Americans.

(His most recent biographer, David Blight, has been a particularly thoughtful commentator on such commemoration, as in this essay comparing the fall of Confederate statutes in 2020 to the collapse of Communism after 1989.)

• In teaching World War I, I’ve often pointed students to W.E.B. DuBois’ bitter 1919 editorial, “Returning Soldiers.” But thanks to Chad Williams, now I need to read the longer book he put out one year later: Darkwater. 

• After reading Kristin Du Mez’s Jesus and John Wayne last week, I appreciated getting some wider historical perspective from Emily McGowin, who explained why “those fundamentalist and evangelical ‘traditionalists’ who have altered their arguments to maintain women’s submission to men are, in fact, theological innovators.”

• Meanwhile, Ryan Burge found more evidence that most evangelicals actually want to see women taking on leading roles in churches—including preaching.

• In explaining why he sticks with a denomination that won’t ordain him, a gay pastor closed with a powerful statement of Christian unity and love.

• The Minneapolis street corner where George Floyd died has become a center for evangelists to call for religious revival.

Early June photo of the Floyd memorial in South Minneapolis – Creative Common (Chad Davis)

• As cities debate police reform (or even “defunding”), we might want to look back to a famous law enforcement figure whose later efforts to reimagine policing are largely forgotten.

• Are white evangelicals starting to think differently about racial injustice? Emma Green talked to some African American pastors who worry that “the aftermath of George Floyd’s death is not necessarily a turning point in how white evangelicals think about race.”

• Just when pundits start to wonder if Joe Biden might peel away some white evangelical voters, a poll comes out to reiterate the depth of that religious group’s support for Donald Trump.

• And just when I get to the point of simply ignoring First Things, it publishes an essay like Joshua Hochschild’s on the intellectual vocation of practicing “the judgment of discerning enduring insight.”

• And my provost-then-president for seventeen years at Bethel rode off into the sunset.