That Was The Week That Was

This week I reconsidered the foreign policy of America’s first born-again president and suggested how Christians can realize just how big the Christian world is. Elsewhere:

• Filed under the nothing-new-under-the-sun category… ongoing conservative attempts to ban critical race theory sounded to one historian of education a lot like the conservative agenda of the 1920s.

(Or is McCarthyism actually the more helpful historical analogue?)

• Having just published a biography of a supporter of white supremacy myself, I’m sympathetic to Allen Guelzo’s approach to writing about Robert E. Lee. But Guelzo loses me when interviewer Isaac Chotiner gets him to elaborate on his maladroit attempt to blame CRT on, um, Immanuel Kant.

• Christian nationalism — and conservative evangelical embrace of it — isn’t unique to the United States.

• I’m thankful the New York Times gives a platform to evangelical writers as wise and winsome as Tish Harrison Warren (who suggested advice for practicing thankfulness) and Esau McCaulley (who reflected on what it’s like to grow up in poverty and then parent middle-class children).

• Kristin Du Mez argued that evangelicalism’s moderates bear some responsibility for enabling “the movement’s authoritarian tendencies.”

• The murderers of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty, in a case that made one Christianity Today contributor think of the season of Advent.

• I’ve often used his paintings to illustrate lectures, but I didn’t realize the full story of Norman Rockwell’s mid-career shift from the Saturday Evening Post to Look magazine.

Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” painting was published in early 1943 – U.S. National Archives

• Saving this for my sports history class next spring… why has the Women’s Tennis Association criticized the Chinese government so openly, when the International Olympic Committee, National Basketball Association, and other organizations have bent over backwards to avoid antagonizing that state?

• For the last two weeks of the semester, my capstone seminar students have to work together on a group project. As this Chronicle piece points out, students often have good reasons for disliking that kind of work — but it’s still important to a college education. (Fortunately, I’ve had twenty years to stumble into most of the recommended strategies.)

• What can conservatives, moderates, and progressives in higher ed agree about?