That Was The Week That Was

This week I shared some updates about my Lindbergh biography (including details about a talk I’m giving — live and by Zoom — this coming Tuesday), announced my first in-person adult Sunday school class since before the onset of the COVID pandemic, and started a new Anxious Bench series occasioned by Bethel turning 150 years old. Elsewhere:

• It’s hard to pick from all the pieces written about today’s 20th anniversary of 9/11… I’ll just mention three: why that tragedy ultimately brought neither national unity nor spiritual revival, why the author of an oral history of that day thinks the U.S. government’s response to it “was a colossal miscalculation,” and how a city far removed from those events remembers 9/11 — and what’s problematic about that commemoration.

The Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania – Creative Commons (Peter Miller)

• Also turning 20 this year: what’s likely the most popular new hymn of the 21st century.

• It took a couple years, but I’m grateful to Pentecostal scholar Joy Qualls for not giving up on my request that she write an Anxious Bench post about women in the Assemblies of God.

• The removal of a controversial statue of Robert E. Lee got Russell Moore thinking about how Christianity has changed the nature of community, and membership in it.

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• One of the articles I mentioned this week to students in our health care seminar: a new doctor’s argument that the U.S. health care system has already collapsed under the weight of the pandemic.

• A Texas execution stayed by the Supreme Court was another ruling “on the role that spiritual advisers may play in death row inmates’ final moments.”

• Speaking of Texas… I’m not so sure the controversial law in that state is really moving the U.S. closer to the abolition of abortion, but I did appreciate historian Matthew Avery Sutton’s explanation of how evangelicals largely came to oppose abortion.

• It’s not just Christianity that wrestles with the question of when life begins.

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• Millions of American teachers and students went back to school this week, including Jill Biden, the first First Lady to work a full-time job outside of the White House.

• One thing I learned this week: Kenya is a center of a global industry in supplying fake college papers to students.

• How do you write a really good trivia question?

• One Lindbergh update that just came in today: my first review since publication, from the leading newspaper in the city after which Lindbergh named his most famous plane.

• Finally, one piece that’s more than a week old, but of interest to us authors and their readers: what a shift to e-books has meant for libraries.