This week I remembered the educational — and political — legacy of GW Carlson, who died five years ago this month, and reviewed the first presidential memoir from Barack Obama. Elsewhere:
• As always, the Super Bowl prompts some interesting religion reporting: Bob Smietana’s profile of Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained how the relationship between Mormonism and football “helped redefine both the sport and the religion.”
• Many more people may have been infected by the coronavirus than we think.
• What will COVID mean for American cities?
• “Vocation,” reflected Duke professor Ellen Davis, “is a tapestry. It gathers up the disparate threads of a life, and when the weaving is true, a pattern emerges, one that is capable of incorporating new threads that may appear.”
• Last month I praised Southern Baptist theologian Russell Moore for speaking out so steadfastly against the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol. This week, a task force commissioned by his own denomination attacked him.
• Its association with right-wing politics isn’t just a problem for American evangelicalism, but for evangelicals in other parts of the world.
• So I hope we see more pieces like this apology, from evangelical Methodist pastor and pro-life activist Rob Schenck.
• Why the rising stock price of a video game store became “the first big post-Trump story.”
• How old is “Christian nationalism” in this country? I hope John Fea writes more about this.
• Speaking of… a former student of mine was John’s latest Author’s Corner guest.
• I haven’t yet watched The Dig on Netflix, but I’m glad for the excuse to refresh my memory about the Sutton Hoo excavation.
• In both my Intro to History and World War II classes this week, I urged students to see history as an act of interpretation, nothing so simple as “just the facts.” Thanks to the San Francisco school board, that fallacy was part the national conversation as well.
(And maybe that controversy — over the renaming of schools — says less about history than “with another realm of public life: celebrity.”)
• Later this semester, we’ll spend a day in Intro to History on the nature of nostalgia, perhaps reading Jewish historian Rachel Gross’ piece on Georgia senator Jon Ossoff.
• Just in time for me to start our major’s gateway course, historian and educational innovator Steven Mintz emphasized our “duty to make it far clearer that a high-quality higher education isn’t vocational or technical training, Above all, we need to reaffirm the value of what a liberal arts college education traditionally offered: preparation for a lifetime of learning and living.”