That Was The Week That Was

This week I reflected on history as a kind of spiritual discipline appropriate to the Christian season when we contemplate sin and mortality (“like any Lenten discipline, such study is also a way of encountering the Christ who redeemed those sins, and seeing the world more as he saw it”). Elsewhere:

• Speaking of contemplating mortality… Tim Keller shared how being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has shaped his thinking about death and God.

Williams, Politics of the Cross• Dan Williams, one of my co-bloggers at The Anxious Bench, released a timely book suggesting new ways for Christians to engage in politics.

• A biblical scholar suggested how the Bible’s “approach to history – treating narratives as one rather than cherry-picking the bits that fit a certain point of view – offers an example of how we can reframe the debate about how the U.S. tells its own history.”

• America’s largest Protestant adoption agency announced that it will now serve same-sex couples.

• As happy as I am that my wife (a preschool teacher) just got her second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, I’m as confused by all my fellow white evangelicals who are suspicious of that public health breakthrough.

• Did you know that, proportionally, the most Baptist place in the world is in northeastern India?

• Turns out there’s a long history of Christian men calling women they don’t like “Jezebel.”

A 19th century painting of the biblical Jezebel, with her husband Ahab, by Frederic Leighton – Wikimedia

• I mentioned the Byzantine Empire in two different classes this week… little realizing what it’s come to mean for white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.

• Another coincidence: Dr. Seuss made a guest appearance in my World War II class (as a critic of America First-ers like Charles Lindbergh) the same week that his estate pulled several of his older books.

• Of course, that prompted new warnings of “cancel culture,” a phrase that law school dean Rob Vischer says “is being deployed in ways that are both too broad and too narrow.” (Yes, Phil’s brother.)

• Stanford researchers found that mail-in voting last year neither substantially boosted turnout nor disproportionately benefited Democrats.

• Has the past year revealed that sports may not be as important to Americans as we thought?

• One more reminder of the value of a history major came from the CEO of Procter & Gamble. (H/T John Fea)