That Was The Week That Was

This week I interviewed a political scientist colleague about the Jan. 6 insurrection, endorsed a statement on that event by a group of Christian historians, considered the historical context for political appeals to Ecclesiastes 3, and mentioned a few of the other Minnesotans who play roles in my Charles Lindbergh biography.


• I’m not sure any transfer of presidential power has been quite like the one from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, but Wednesday’s won’t be the first tense inauguration.

Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt shared a car, and not much conversation, on Inauguration Day, 1933 – Library of Congress

• Bill McKibben turned to the history of India to explain why a nation can’t simply bandage over the deep wounds dividing it.

• A historian who gives tours of the U.S. Capitol reflected on that building’s history.

• Matthew Sutton argued that the events of January 6th reveal how “Trump channels the apocalyptic fervor that has long animated many white evangelical Christians in this country.” While David French wondered if it reflects evangelicalism absorbing Southern shame/honor culture.

• Whatever the reason for ongoing Christian support for Trumpism, I’m encouraged to see responses like this one from the Center for Pastor Theologians.

Worship at Bethel Church in Redding, CA – Creative Commons (Sean Feucht)

• And Julia Duin pointed out that divisions are widening within a branch of Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity that’s been central to Trump’s base but is largely unknown to mainstream media (and even many non-charismatic evangelicals like me).

• While I wish he would resist the temptation to take shots at the left when he’s ostensibly trying to clean his own house, I appreciate how forceful Republican senator Ben Sasse was in condemning the influence of conspiracy theories on his party.

• Given how a majority of Republicans responded to a new poll’s questions about the 2020 election and Trump’s role in the Capitol assault, people like Sasse have their work cut out for them.

(Or, as one conservative writer put it, what we used to call the “alt-right” is now simply “the right.”)

• Alright, let’s cleanse our palate… by reading about total strangers coming together to play a game of catch.

Unfortunately, playing catch isn’t an option in Minnesota right now, but come March or April… – Creative Commons (Brian Auer)

• Baseball attendance surged in 1919, with fans desperate to get back to normal after the influenza of 1918. Will something similar happen post-COVID?

• Finally, what Bob Smietana reported about the work culture of Dave Ramsey’s company is troubling enough (particularly its response to COVID). But the company’s response is something else, not just sarcastic and crass but dismissive of one of the most widely respected religion reporters around.