That Was The Week That Was

This week I reported on my adult Sunday School class about evangelicalism and checked in on how Lutherans follow Jesus, while a couple of student journalists at Bethel wrote about me and my new book… which was reviewed in Front Porch Republic and the Portland (ME) Press Herald. Elsewhere:

• If you’re not already reading Tish Harrison Warren’s Sunday morning reflections for the New York Times, you should. This morning’s piece explained why Americans “need quiet, daily practices that rebuild social trust. And we need seemingly pointless conversation with those around us.”

• People living in red states can embrace vaccination… though they might well experience “a mounting struggle to keep loving the neighbors who endanger by abstaining from our best tool to save ourselves.”

• Meanwhile, the American Jesuit who directs the Vatican Observatory explained that one can both trust science (in the event, for example, of vaccination) and understand that science is not infallible.

(And it doesn’t help the reputation of science when scientific journals conduct peer review “at pandemic speed.”)

The Vatican Observatory is located at the pontifical palace of Castel Gandolfo – Creative Commons (H. Raab)

• It was 250 years ago this month that Francis Asbury brought Methodism to what’s now the United States. Here’s a sketch of how Methodism spread and changed, through the stories of three churches.

• There are about 1,700 Christian missionaries in Haiti. Very few of them are Anabaptist, but that’s the group whose members’ kidnapping became global news. (Meanwhile, other Anabaptists are praying for them around the clock.)

• Meanwhile, some conservative Christians are using the past to develop a new political theology: “We are living through a new American Revolution, and as in the old, devout and patriotic congregations must lead the way into spiritual and political battle.”

• Whither “post-evangelicalism”? Sarah Pulliam Bailey talked to some pastors asking what comes after evangelicalism.

• One theme that I didn’t touch on in my adult class on evangelicalism (though it came up in after-class conversations) was regional variation. Cue Daniel Williams, who wrote about the impact of “southernization” on northern evangelical institutions.

The 54th Massachusetts Memorial on the Boston Common – photo by Chris Gehrz (CC BY-SA 4.0)

• Northern cities don’t usually have to reckon with Confederate monuments. But they face their own commemorative challenges.

• Why were the religious conversions of celebrities so influential in 20th century America?

• It’s been a hundred years now since the first time the World Series was broadcast on radio.

• One more take on the “are we entering a new cold war?” question… this one from my graduate adviser, one of the leading historians of the Cold War.

• Libraries have survived a lot of change over time… why not digitization?

• Another week, another no-confidence vote in a Christian college president.

• If my experience is at all typical, educators rarely go too long without teaching students who are on the autism spectrum. Here’s some advice, from a professor on that same spectrum.

• Of course, if this professor is right, there won’t be nearly as many people with that job in the future.