That Was The Week That Was
February 26 - March 4, 2023
This week I reflected on the benefits of the neighborhood church, shared some of my favorite reading material, and wondered why Jesus tells his followers to ask God, “hallowed be thy name.” Elsewhere:
• It’s been a big week here at Substack, which reached two important milestones: 2 million paid subscribers and 20 million subscribers overall.
• I don’t know if Substack is yet “an alternative to social media,” let alone “a new economic engine for culture,” but I do enjoy writing for it… and appreciate all of you who read and subscribe (paid or free)!
• And I have noticed that, more and more, I’m linking to other Substack writers in these Saturday posts: for example, Jason Barnhart, who marked the anniversary of the war in Ukraine by reflecting on the difference between “liberal pacifism” and conscientious objection in his own Christian tradition.
• “The 2020 election was not stolen”: it’s troubling that this even needs to be said in 2023, but I’m glad that a conservative Christian publication like World would publish it.
• Epistemology can help explain why we Americans seem to be “losing our ability to agree about the basic facts of the world.”
• I’ll give the last word on the Asbury Revival to Aaron Griffith, who put that event in historical and spiritual context. (Example: skepticism about revivals is nothing new in American history.)
• The latest faith-based movie success story is Jesus Revolution, which grossed $15 million in ticket sales last weekend. But as historian Leah Payne explained, the movie both gets much right and yet is “refracted through [Greg] Laurie’s memory, which is selective.”
• As usual, Dan Williams was incisive and subtle in his analysis: this time, of the decline of Christianity in America.
• End of life issues are complicated, but there’s much to trouble readers of this Episcopalian priest’s report on euthanasia in Canada.
• While The New Yorker lamented the dying of the English major, there are subtler signs of improving health for the humanities.
(And yes, a humanities major provides more than good job preparation, but not less than that.)
• A small Lutheran college in Michigan announced it would close, and a small evangelical college in New York City seems to be on the verge of the same outcome.
• In this week’s seminar on higher ed, one of our topics was microcredentials. If you just said or thought, “Micro-what?”, don’t worry: it’s very confusing.
• “Universities are not pursuing DEI initiatives because they’re ‘woke,’” wrote John Hawthorne. “It’s because dealing with the complexities of contemporary society requires more attention to these matters.”
• Finally, the most Minnesotan thing I saw this week: waiting in line in a blizzard to buy ice cream the first day your Dairy Queen is open.
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To be fair, this is a very special Dairy Queen: because of its particular franchising contract, its menu sometimes departs from the corporate standard. But I’ve seen the same thing happen in late February or early March when our local DQ opens.
I found that Christianity Today piece a bit smug. While it seems true that in the South there is fervent churchgoing. Many churches are leaning into Christian nationalism, and their kids are not buying it, if social media discussions are to be believed. And that begs the question: is "Christisn nationalism" still "Christianity"?