From time to time I like to look back on what I’ve been reading in articles, commentaries, etc., along with podcasts.
In books, I am currently reading Killers of the Flower Moon by David Gram. It is the story of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma in the 1920s. Their land was sitting on rich oil deposits, land leases were skyrocketing, Native Americans were getting rich… and then started mysteriously dying (by poisoning and shooting). It’s a fascinating read to this point.
I also finished The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones. It’s very uneven at times in its analysis, but there are some definite observations to talk about, which we still refuse to do in the American (white) Church (to the “left” and to the “right”).
In the vein of studying Black History, especially in this 500th anniversary year of the arrival of the first slaves to the colonies, this story on black music and the influence on white musicians (who simply rip it off a lot of the time) is interesting.
Along that vein is Malcolm Gladwell’s very fun podcast called “Revisionist History.” In this podcast episode he calls out Elvis as a poser. He also takes up the cause of Taco Bell as NOT a poser. It’s a fun listen!
On the political side, I’ve observed that there is a thrust for nativism and isolationism that isn’t just particular to Trump followers. It’s Bernie followers as well. My point being that our fear of “the other” isn’t a “conservative” or “progressive” issue. It’s a cultural fear and we don’t often recognize it, especially when it’s in our own “camp.” We get a lot of people saying, “Well, Trump is NOT a racist because…” just as Bernie defenders will come at me yelling about how his progressive records stands up and he marches with… blah, blah, blah. The hard truth is FEAR is a real driver and we need to recognize it wherever it exists… and it exists all along the political spectrum. Case in point, this story about an environmental activist who turned out to also be anti-immigration. It’s a needed read.
Keeping in the vein of politics, I am predicting at this stage in the game that Trump has a 54% chance of winning re-election. I say this NOT out of being supportive, but being an observer. Articles like this one demonstrate the deepening of Trump’s influence and the outflow of ideology that has always been there but is pouring out in an empowered stream now.
In “religious news”, my former tribe, the Assemblies of God elected (outright) their first female executive to the post of General Treasurer a few weeks ago. CT Podcast “Quick to Listen” dedicated an episode to the Pentecostal movement and women in ministry. It’s a fairly well done episode and doesn’t shrink back from the difficulties these denominations have in advancing the leadership of women, even when women have been significant in their movements from their foundings.
A new podcast I’ve come across features David Fitch of Northern Seminary, who I find to be fascinating to listen to. I’ve started in on Season 4, but I will be heading back to Season One to catch up. This man speaks without fear of wading into theological and cultural topics we generally like to avoid. THIS ONE is a typical episode.
There is certainly more I could share. There are a few areas I’ve left off this week, but this might keep your week busy, as if you didn’t have enough to do!
WAIT! Another discovery! In my growing into Anglicanism, I have been exploring the 2019 Book of Common Prayer the Anglican Church in North America published. I discovered the Great Litany as part of the prayer cycle in the church or individual prayers. It is a powerful tool for intercession and petition. I am thankful for this disciplined approach to prayer.