That Was The Week That Was

This week I wrote about a doomed Arctic explorer and celebrated the launch of a new initiative from John Fea. Elsewhere:

• In the week of Yom HaShoah, there was a lot to find fascinating in historian James Loeffler’s article on the little-known poetry of Raphael Lemkin, the Jewish lawyer who gave us the word “genocide.” But since I’m about to start a unit on historical commemoration in our Intro to History class, I was especially struck by Loeffler’s observation that “memory is an ongoing process of active reckoning with the past from the vantage point of the present.”

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• Commemoration debates have come to Wheaton College, which is reconsidering a plaque honoring two of its most famous alumni. As David Swartz explained, its wording “reflects a troubling discourse embedded in the midcentury white evangelical missionary enterprise.”

• Baylor overwhelmed Gonzaga in the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship pitting Protestant and Catholic schools against each other. Before we get fully into baseball season, read Paul Putz on the religious history of Baylor hoops.

• The death of Prince Philip sent a few dozen new readers here in search of my 2019 post on the Crown episode about Philip’s supposed midlife crisis of faith. Here’s a less fictionalized version of his spiritual journey.

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• As an educator who has had to spend the academic year engaging face-to-face with hundreds of people without qualifying for the first rounds of COVID vaccination, I didn’t feel any guilt about driving a long distance in search of my first shot. In the process, I guess I stumbled into a new kind of tourism.

(To be honest, I’m not sure that the forty bucks I spent getting lunch at Arby’s, filling my gas tank, and visiting the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame did much for the economy of northern Minnesota.)

• Meanwhile, lots of my fellow evangelicals refuse to drive any distance — or do anything else — else to get vaccinated.

• But it’s not for lack of trying to convince them otherwise: by evangelical leaders and pastors, and by a librarian at a local Lutheran university here in the Twin Cities.

• Between Trump and COVID-19, has the era of American preeminence finally reached its end?

• These statements about the much-debated new voting law in Georgia can all be true: it’s a cynical partisan ploy inspired by a bald-faced lie; it expands voting access in some ways, while restricting it in others that are potentially discriminatory; it’s not “Jim Crow on steroids,” but corporations are entirely within their rights to protest it.

• What do we do with “whiteness”? No easy answers from Phil Christman.

• The Beth Moore saga continued, with her most pointed criticism yet of Christian complementarians.

• Finally, I’m not a big enough Tolkien fan to watch a recently unearthed Soviet TV version of Lord of the Rings, but maybe some of you are.