That Was The Week That Was

This week I published a book (thanks to a lot of work by a lot of other people), battled the impostor syndrome, and explained what I think the “applied humanities” are. Elsewhere:

• I don’t know what to say about the stunning scenes in Afghanistan… The collapse of the Afghan army had deep roots, and, like Andrew Bacevich, I don’t think Joe Biden had anything more to do with “losing” Afghanistan than Gerald Ford did with Vietnam… But that doesn’t change his administration’s — our nation’s — obligations to Afghan refugees, and it doesn’t make American veterans feel any better.

Taliban fighters enter Kabul – Voice of America/Wikimedia

• Speaking of Joe Biden… there’s yet more evidence that American election officials pulled off a remarkably successful election last November.

• Tish Harrison Warren launched her New York Times newsletter by announcing the presence of God. (If you don’t already subscribe to the NYT, hopefully this will persuade some of you.)

• My favorite soccer league is now in its second week of action, and some of its best players are much more openly religious than the post-Christian society around them.

• Kate Shellnut is one of my go-to religion reporters, but while her long report on the brewing controversy at Bethlehem Baptist Church here in Minneapolis was both broad and deep in its coverage, it was striking how much more readers heard from those accused of abuse than from the abused.

• Meanwhile, my Anxious Bench colleague Andrea Turpin modeled how to do a book review that was both charitable and unflinchingly critical.

• I’m not surprised, but new research by social psychologists finds that many Christians “perceive a zero-sum relationship with LGBT people: believing that social advances for sexual and gender minorities are harmful and threatening to Christians.”

Climate refugee encamped in Mali – Creative Commons (Ferdinand Reus)

• What does racism have to do with climate change? Timothy Snyder explained.

• One of the best parts of publishing a book is that readers like sociologist John Hawthorne jump off from what you’ve written to add their own insights.

• I’ve never listened to his popular Revolutions podcast, but this review of Mike Duncan’s biography of the Marquis de Lafayette may change that.

• Evangelical colleges aren’t the only religious institutions of higher learning where support for the humanities has crumbled.

• “Why is college,” asked one University of Virginia professor, “which is supposed to be empowering and a gateway to an open future, experienced by so many as a source of shame and powerlessness?”

• The Delta variant of the coronavirus is making some college and universities rethink their fall plans, but unless we hear something different at our faculty retreat on Tuesday, I’m expecting Bethel to start the 2021-22 academic year on schedule and in person.

• I’m happy to do my bit for public health, but I have missed hugs.