That Was The Week That Was

This week I wrestled with the question of whether Christian college professors like are also Christian “ministers,” I looked into the religious history of March Madness, and I recalled some of my favorite non-history classes in high school and college. Elsewhere:

• There’s an idea in mathematics called self-similarity across scale: for example, in America you can see the same blue-red sorting whether you’re looking at a map of the nation, or zooming in on the level of counties or cities.

Creative Commons (StarBoyX)

• What The Atlantic noticed on Instagram seems bound to turn up in my classroom (if it’s not already there): conspiracy theorists appropriating the language of “truth-seeking” and “critical thinking.”

• Has this country forgotten how to forgive? The case of the editor of a magazine for teenagers who lost her job for things she said as a teenager.

• I can’t believe it needs to be said, but I’m glad Scot McKnight devoted himself to explaining why Christians should indeed practice empathy.

• Prepare for Holy Week by reading the increasingly interesting Christian Century, which published essays on both the harrowing of Hell and substitutionary views of atonement.

• I never really thought of The New Republic as a home for historiography, but if you want to survey some new approaches to the history of evangelicalism, check out this TNR piece by Audrey Clare Farley.

• The newest supporters of the Fairness for All compromise (seeking to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination while still preserving religious liberty): a group of Black pastors and other religious leaders.

• If you haven’t already preordered Beth Allison Barr’s book on “biblical womanhood,” perhaps reading its introduction will persuade you.

• Book review of the week: Rich Mouw on Abram Van Engen’s City on a Hill.

• Though Ben Witherington’s post on our Faith and History devotional was pretty fun to read as well…

• If my little post on March Madness got you wondering about other intersections of religion and sports, read Paul Putz’s profile of the Methodist pastor who influenced Jackie Robinson.

• And hours after I posted my piece on Christian professors-as-ministers, news broke that outgoing Gordon College president Michael Lindsay (who featured in my post) was taking the same job at Taylor University.

Winter panorama of Taylor University – Wikimedia

• Difficult as the past 5-10 years have been for faculties like ours, my own experience of our administrators left me sympathetic to this professor’s take on that group.

• I’m trying not to get too excited about “getting back to normal,” but it’s hard not to celebrate this spring’s gradual return of choral singing after the long, quiet winter of COVID.

• I love the history of objects: like the harmonica and the baseball hat (in the same issue of Smithsonian Magazine).

• And this week’s deep dive into a theme that pops up in my Charles Lindbergh biography: what do we do when modern-day genetics draws on tools and insights inherited from eugenics?

• But let’s not end on that note. Instead, read David Brooks’ rather inspiring interview with Esau McCaulley, the Wheaton professor whose book Reading While Black I reviewed earlier this year.