That Was The Week That Was

This week I spoke as part of a panel on the war in Ukraine, recorded a podcast about the blurring line between high school and college, and let churches, colleges, etc. know how they could book me for a talk or class in 2022-2023. Elsewhere:

• For Mother’s Day, Elizabeth Bruenig lamented that “when it comes to the crucial business of caring for children and families, our country is an international embarrassment” — with the very act of having and raising children itself starting to carry “culture war” connotations.

Licensed by Creative Commons (pepperberryfarm)

• It’s surely not the most important implication of the famously leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, but the way Justice Alito made his argument has renewed a debate over the history of abortion in the U.S. (In fact, that history goes back at least as far as the 18th century.)

• If Roe is overturned, will Obergefell be next?

• For evangelical scholar and pro-life activist Karen Swallow Prior, “overturning Roe doesn’t go far enough,” since it just returns the question to the states, “but it is a step in the right direction.”

• “The abortion debate in America is often framed as a legal binary,” noted the Pew Center, but “relatively few Americans on either side of the debate take an absolutist view on the legality of abortion – either supporting or opposing it at all times, regardless of circumstances.”

• Interestingly, the Jewish view on abortion (even with some Orthodox scholars) is quite different from that of many evangelical and Catholic Christians.

Stained glass in the alcoves of the Cathedral of St. Paul (MN, built 1906) – Creative Commons (Andrew Flenniken)

• The period from 1870 to 1920 was a golden age for stained glass in American churches, but as public historian Susan Fletcher reported, much of that “fragile religious art is in danger.”

• As the “spiritual but not religious” population grows, one retired pastor was almost relieved to find a pocket of “religious but not spiritual” Americans in New York.

• “The courage to admit wrong is at the heart of Christianity,” wrote Christian Century and Lutheran pastor Peter W. Marty, “a humility that, for many, brings forgiveness to life.”

• Former Wheaton provost and psychologist Margaret Diddams argued that a task that most academics loathe — grading — has much to do with our sense of vocation. (And yet here I sit, writing a blog post instead of marking up two-week old essays…)

• Why have I found myself reading so many detective novels since the start of the COVID pandemic? Fellow mystery buff and Christian college professor Robert Erle Barham thought that such literature reminds us that “we are all caught up in mystery… not naive optimism but an inclination toward wonder.”