That Was The Week That Was

‘Twas a quiet week here at the home office, primarily because I ended up writing obituaries at our department blog for two retired colleagues who died within a few days of each other: political scientist Bill Johnson and historian Kevin Cragg. I added a longer, more personal tribute to Kevin at The Anxious Bench, where I also interviewed former Bethel Seminary professor Joel Lawrence about an upcoming conference on the theme of “Reconstructing Evangelicalism.”


Georges de La Tour, “Jesus in the Workshop of St. Joseph the Carpenter” (1642) – Wikimedia

• Jesus probably didn’t train to be a carpenter, but that doesn’t mean his actual trade was irrelevant to his life and ministry.

• Nancy French shared a powerful story about the nature of civility — and the hard, relational work it can require.

• “Rather than participating anxiously” in politics, wrote David Demaree, “Christians are better served putting forth ideas for a healthier liberal democracy in the free spirit of play.” 

• Like Michael Gerson, I suspect a post-Roe America would do well to look to European law on abortion, which “engages in legal and ethical balancing because there are contending liberal values that require balancing — a public responsibility to value human dignity and a public duty to respect the autonomy of those who become pregnant.”

• David Brooks both recalled the appeal of conservatism and asked how that worldview (which, like any other, “has the vices of its virtues”) turned into Trumpism.

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) – U.S. Congress

• Jobs I’m glad I don’t have: GOP lawmaker who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6th insurrection but has struggled to know how to proceed since then.

• Speaking of right-wing coups against American democracy

Did you know that a Marine Corps general likely helped to foil a plot against FDR early in the New Deal?

• It seems like any adherent of any of the world’s major religions should be more hesitant to share the misinformation proliferating on social media.

• As we wrapped up my European history course this week, I mentioned the role of African immigrants in reshaping religion on that increasingly post-Christian continent. Likewise, African immigrants to this country tend to be highly religious.

• The latest pastor to face a sexual misconduct inquiry is a neo-Anabaptist who leads the Meeting House, one of the largest churches in Canada.

• Is the country’s leading Baptist university doing enough to form a Christian faculty? One Baylor professor doesn’t think so.