This week I launched a Substack newsletter, devoting my first two issues to Frederick Douglass and Holocaust commemoration. Then I added a sequel here to the latter, reporting on several spots on Berlin. Elsewhere:
• Singing hymns is probably my favorite spiritual discipline, but I had never thought about that practice originating in early Christian expectations of the Apocalypse.
• Nor I had realized the important role of the Virgin Mary in Christian responses to warfare.
• If you resonated with my argument about “5th of July patriotism,” you’ll also want to read Kristin Du Mez on love of country.
• If American democracy is broken, perhaps there are some structural changes that would help fix it. (#1: make both the Supreme Court and House of Representatives bigger, given that the American population has tripled since the last time either number was changed.)
• For Christians, especially, this country’s political problems may start with “the impossibility of imagining that certain forms of losing might be preferable to certain forms of winning – that some things might not be worth doing even if not doing them would entail losing.”
• Why are the January 6th hearings so effective? One NeverTrump columnist argued that, in part, it’s because it’s mostly Republicans on that committee who are telling the story of the insurrection and Donald Trump’s responsibility for it.
• Michael Wear suggested a compromise that would allow his fellow Democrats “to end abortion politics as we’ve known it.”
(In the meantime, the history of Prohibition may give us some sense of what abortion will look like after Dobbs.)
• The president of a Christian college in Tennessee made the case for Congress to give millions of Dreamers a path to citizenship.
• Why should evangelicals write for elite publications? Because “when we cease to have Christian voices in the public square articulating a Christian perspective on issues of importance,” argued Alan Noble, “then our perspective seems less and less plausible until it no longer even seems imaginable to people.”
• My successor as editor of The Anxious Bench started his tenure with a post on topics near and dear to my heart: what it means for historians to have an “irenic spirit” and to work as “pilgrims.” Best wishes, Joey!
• As always, my timing is fantastic: I joined Substack a few days after it laid off some of its employees.
• I probably seem very active on social media. But apart from the fact that I like to use Facebook and Twitter to share what I’ve written, I, too, am mostly a lurker.
Cross-posted at Substack