That Was The Week That Was

This week I reflected on what I learned from Esau McCaulley’s book, Reading While Black and celebrated the publication of our own book, Faith and History: A Devotional.

Reading While Black and Esau McCaulley


• We have one more week of fall classes remaining, which makes this a good time to think about the importance of how we end a semester.

• Tuesday I’ll start wrapping up my Cold War course by having my students look at the conflicts that emerged from what seemed at the time like the “end of history.” Like Damon Linker, for example, I think we’ve been proven naive in assuming that “the more we talked to one another, and the more we built and used digital networks to facilitate interaction across our differences, the more we would come to note and appreciate our similarities.”

• He saw that as a global theme, but you can certainly see it in the United States, where one way of thinking about our recent political history is that half the American nation takes turns “mentally seceding” from the other half.

• His famous “quadrilateral” has received increasing criticism in recent years, but historian David Bebbington isn’t backing down from that definition of evangelicalism.

• My Anxious Bench colleague Dan Williams found his students’ family history essays changing his “perspective on race and politics in contemporary America.”

• Meanwhile, the presidents of Southern Baptist seminaries didn’t just reaffirm their theological doctrines but, in Jemar Tisby’s words, “gave themselves over to another historic Southern Baptist commitment: whiteness.”

• 2016: historical analogies to Germany in 1933. 2020: historical analogies to Germany in 1918.

• Even loyal Republicans can only put up with so much presidential nonsense about stolen elections.

• As someone who used to enjoy the Socrates in the City conversations, it’s been remarkable — and remarkably sad — to watch the disintegration of Eric Metaxas.

• Speaking of rapid descents… here’s the story of celebrity pastor/pastor to celebrities Carl Lentz.

• Every Friday night, my son and I watch a new episode of The Mandalorian, scarcely thinking that we’re watching a story about religious conflict and pluralism.

• Then my wife and I watch another episode of The Crown… and this historian struggles with how much he enjoys the “high naturalism” of a work of historical fiction that’s increasingly more about the noun than the adjective.

• I’m trying to cut back on the number of COVID stories I include in these posts, but one I found interesting: what the pandemic means for the problem of male friendship.

• To one writer, this Christmas feels like one from wartime, full of more melancholy than usual.

• So maybe spend some time this month pondering in your heart what Jesus learned from his mother.