That Was The Week That Was

This week I asked how Pietists follow Jesus and celebrated the life of theologian Clarence Bass. Elsewhere:

• The formal release date isn’t until mid-August, but copies of my Charles Lindbergh biography are starting to be delivered…

• “Religion still matters to many modern Olympic athletes,” wrote Kelsey Dallas, “but its influence on the Games is harder to spot.”

• Hundreds of years separated the ancient Olympics and their modern revival in 1896, but that doesn’t mean there was no international sporting competition during that hiatus.

• Yesterday’s opening ceremonies hinted at the COVID-shaped oddity of the Tokyo Olympics: while the parade of nations is always fun, it was strange to see everything transpire in front of no audience… a prospect that the originators of the Olympics would have found “absurd.”

Japan’s National Stadium, built for these games – Creative Commons (Arne Müseler)

• What can we learn from an Olympiad held during a pandemic? Amy Bass thought it underscored how “Market forces unquestionably have transformed sports from a communal pursuit of excellence into a commodity. As such, the Olympic Games are as much an industry, a commercial institution, as they are a source of global community, exhilarating stories, and elite athleticism.”

• Speaking of COVID… I think David Frum captured how a lot of us are feeling at this point about our fellow citizens who steadfastly refuse to get vaccinated.

• While Samuel Goldman argued that COVID has killed off “the common good” in America, Bonnie Kristian wasn’t willing to give up on another popular phrase: the need to argue “in good faith.”

• “How,” wondered Thomas Chatterton Williams, “would we even know when we’ve made sufficient progress on ills so nebulous, omnipresent, and seemingly intractable as racism, sexism, and all the other facets of injustice now laid bare?”

• Whether or not you agree with his position on same-sex marriage, I think Christians ought to consider Francis Spufford’s reflection on what it means for the church to change its mind.

• The two (or three) kinds of home that Christian scholars experience.

• Finally, read John Fea’s tribute to Bob Gorinski, a friend who died at age 44: “My prayer is that all of my students, whatever fields they pursue, have Bob’s passion for learning and ideas. I have rarely seen someone fuse Christian thinking and neighbor-love like quite like him.”