That Was The Week That Was

This week I shared the acknowledgments from my biography of Charles Lindbergh, answered five questions from my publisher, and reflected on the cooperative nature of Olympic competition. Elsewhere:

• “We are being punished for our sins against the environment, against one another, and against God,” wrote Mark Schwehn, thinking of COVID in light of older ways of interpreting natural disasters. “But the punishment is self-inflicted, not divinely sanctioned and imposed.”

• At least humpback whales have been enjoying themselves during the pandemic…

Humpbacks near Juneau, Alaska – Creative Commons (nophun201)

• No, immigrants didn’t cause the latest surge in COVID cases.

• And it might have less to do with religion than age

• It’s not just the United States: in most of Europe, support for right-wing parties predicts opposition to COVID-related restrictions.

• I didn’t imagine that one day American conservatives would celebrate someone as illiberal as Viktor Orbán, who has eroded political and civil liberties in Hungary.

• As some leading generals of World War I illustrated, intelligence can go hand in hand with stupidity.

The statue of Douglas Haig in Whitehall, London – CC BY-SA 3.0 Chris Gehrz

• More thoughtful commentary on the Olympics from Commonweal (on what Catholic gymnast Simone Biles can teach her church) and Christianity Today (on the importance of failure in athletic competition).

• My favorite Olympic winner: Gregg Popovich, head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team.

• I watch Ted Lasso in part because I’ve become a big fan of Premier League soccer, but I can totally understand why some fans love the Jason Sudeikis series for reasons having nothing to do with sports.

• Controversy is brewing at John Piper’s former church here in the Twin Cities, where pastors who have been forced out and former congregants accuse the current leadership of spiritual abuse and “neo-fundamentalism.”

• Is there a possibility of salvation after death? Even a Reformed theologian found compelling my Bethel colleague Jim Beilby’s case for postmortem conversions.

• We’re in a golden age for church mergers.

• Have the humanities always been in crisis? And does their best hope lie outside of the modern university?

Bison Square in Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN – Creative Commons (EVula)

• Lipscomb University named its first woman president, while Hunter Hampton shared some advice for the woman who runs the Protestant university with the most notable football program.

• Finally, we learned that Lindbergh’s second child, Jon, passed away. (He doesn’t play a major role in my book, but there are a couple of glimpses into his childhood.)