That Was The Week That Was

This week I wrote devotionals about everything from celebration to suffering, plus a Graham Greene novel, and I invited four Anxious Bench colleagues to share their experience of teaching under COVID.


• While undergraduate enrollments have declined less than expected, the pandemic does seem to be depopulating another kind of educational institution: public schools.

• Conservative religious organizations — Christian and Jewish — continued to function as pandemic hot spots.

• Donald Trump may be recovering from the disease himself, but his appalling mismanagement of the crisis led another medical journal to editorialize against his reelection.

President Trump boards Marine One to fly to Walter Reed Hospital – White House

• Why are active duty military personnel turning away from Trump? A former NATO supreme commander explained.

• Oh, and there’s yet another well-reported exposé of the endless corruption of the Trump presidency.

• Dan Williams wrote a really smart piece on the theological reasons why white evangelicals haven’t supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 — and why things might move a bit next month.

• But it might simply be that evangelicals — like Mormons — have become skeptical of the same democratic culture that fed their movement in the 19th century.

• And if you don’t believe me that our democracy is at stake (and we are a democracy, whatever certain Republican lawmakers might say), believe one of the world’s leading historians of authoritarianism.

(Or if you don’t believe me that this country needs a Biden landslide, believe a leading conservative writer.)

• Meanwhile, Rich Mouw thought that the exhausted aftermath of the election “may actually be an opportune time for the rest of us — in churches, temples, mosques, as well as in other community gatherings — to reflect together on how to restore civic friendship” — one of the essential components of a “patriotism of compassion.”

• There’s been much ink spilled on the role of cable news and social media in fostering ideological echo chambers, but let’s not overlook the impact of an older medium.

• It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on the ongoing debate over LGBT equality and religious liberty, but a federal court upheld the right of a leading evangelical seminary to expel two students who entered same-sex marriages.

• Gordon joined Seattle Pacific and Houghton among evangelical flagship colleges resetting their tuition.

• Is it time for American colleges to revisit an old idea and stop emphasizing residential education (and all the expensive ancillary services that accompany it)?

• Why don’t we have cameras in all courtrooms? Blame my buddy Charles Lindbergh. (Well, “blame” is strong, but he’s kinda responsible.)