That Was The Week That Was

This week I made a cautious case for what’s called “early college” and a more enthusiastic argument for the relevance of Pietism to what I do as a scholar. And I reported on the last of our twelve conversations about Following Jesus. (Look for some closing reflections from me Tuesday in my Substack newsletter.)


• Beth Allison Barr explained how a pro-life Christian can be wary of a political movement that “has fought at the local, state, and national level to save unborn lives” but not “with the same vigor to help the lives of women, especially women of color doubly burdened by sexism and racism.”

• “Much has been made of the excesses of John Wayne masculinity,” wrote Hannah Anderson, “but I wonder if it’s time for a conversation about Johnny Cash masculinity.”

• Meet the first woman elected president of my home denomination.

• Is Christianity dying out? Consider the case of Australia.

• Who knew it could be so lucrative to fuse Christian contemporary music with Trumpist politics?

• Or that Socrates had “somehow morphed into the right-wing intellectual par excellence”?

• As his series on political polarization continued, John Hawthorne explained the impact of cable news and social media.

• One thing Americans could agree on this week: the James Webb Space Telescope takes some amazing pictures of space.

The JWST image of five colliding galaxies, known as Stephan’s Quintet – NASA

• During the enforced solitude of the COVID pandemic, there was much discussion of people reading more… but I was still surprised to learn how many independent bookstores have opened since 2020.

• RIP Judith Schiff, who died at age 84 after a distinguished career in the Yale University Library. Among other accomplishments, she helped Charles Lindbergh build his archive and later co-edited his posthumous memoir. (I had a chance to meet her briefly while researching my Lindbergh biography in 2018.)

• Are we losing a consensus in favor of the value of going to college?

• Does the phenomenon of “ghost malls” have anything to teach colleges and universities?

• My Gophers-loving son is pretty upset that Minnesota will soon face USC and UCLA in conference play. But it turns out that a Big 10-Pac 10 fusion is a decades-old idea.

• Add Joel Carpenter to the list of prominent scholars criticizing the Christian Reformed Church for elevating its position on human sexuality to “confessional status.”

• Last week I criticized Richard Brody’s critique of a Holocaust memorial. So this week let me praise his recent essay in appreciation of one of the most important films made about the Nazi occupation of Europe.

Cross-posted at Substack