That Was The Week That Was

Apart from announcing my first Lindbergh book talk (Zoom-ing your way on March 18th), things were quiet here as I worked on the index for that book. I’ll look to blog more in March. Meanwhile, here’s some of what I was reading:

• I’ll probably come back to it in some way in more depth later, but the read of the week was undoubtedly philosopher Jamie Smith’s autobiographical essay on love. (If that’s too vague a description, here’s my favorite passage: “As a young Christian philosopher, I wanted to be the confident, heresy-hunting Augustine, vanquishing the pagans with brilliance, fending off the Manichaeans and Pelagians with ironclad arguments. As a middle-aged man, I dream of being Mr. Rogers.”)

• I’ll probably come back to it in some way in more depth later, but the read of the week was undoubtedly philosopher Jamie Smith’s autobiographical essay on love. (If that’s too vague a description, here’s my favorite passage: “As a young Christian philosopher, I wanted to be the confident, heresy-hunting Augustine, vanquishing the pagans with brilliance, fending off the Manichaeans and Pelagians with ironclad arguments. As a middle-aged man, I dream of being Mr. Rogers.”)

• I’m so glad I gave up my Anxious Bench spot this week to Tim Gloege, who returned to the blog with a remarkably poignant guest post on talk radio, echo chambers, and kindness.

• As our Faith and History Lenten series continued, Regina Wenger re-read God’s covenant with Abraham in light of Anabaptist history in Africa.

Another excellent Lenten piece came from historian Lisa Deam, who reflected on medieval pilgrims who undertook the long trip to Jerusalem: “I think about these journeys as I begin my own slow pilgrimage through Lent. Endeavoring to stay with my practices of prayer and repentance is a bit like undertaking a long-distance journey.”

• If you want a contemporary companion to my “spiritual but not religious” biography of Lindbergh, check out Ryan Burge’s The Nones, previewed this week at Christianity Today.

• Last spring COVID kept the United Methodist Church from meeting in Minneapolis to vote on splitting over the sexuality debate. Now that meeting has been postponed again, until late August 2022.

• Meanwhile, the one Protestant group bigger than the UMC, the Southern Baptist Convention, expelled two congregations for “affirming homosexual behavior.”

• I’ve made clear my admiration for Kristin Du Mez’s Jesus and John Wayne, but I also appreciated this more critical response from John Inazu, who thinks the book should be “required reading for those who live and move outside of these evangelical circles and who spend their time critiquing those circles,” but also takes issue with Kristin’s treatment of religion at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

• I was a little old to grow up with Veggie Tales, but I still feel like I’m learning from Phil Vischer.

• Check out the California church that has made itself “into a kind of garrison in the coronavirus culture wars.”

• Meet the most principled Republican in Congress, deeply shaped both by his military service and his journey out of fundamentalism.

The Peace Monument on Capitol Hill – Creative Commons (Jamie Adams)

• I like to think I know a little about historical commemoration, but I didn’t realize there was a Peace Monument on the U.S. Capitol grounds — nor that it was originally an unfinished Civil War memorial.

• I know how little I know about the Black Panther Party, but I was still surprised to read about that group’s use of cartography.

• #EverythingHasAHistory, including Black History Month.

• It may seem impossible to amend the Constitution given America’s deep political polarization, but in practice, the Trump Presidency offered the latest examples of “informal” amendment.

• What does the Trump Era mean for journalism? One journalist suggested eight takeaways.