• Scot McKnight writes about “The Unmasking of Evangelicalism,” addressing how and why “the old advantage evangelicalism had in society through its heritage has evaporated under the scorching heat of undeniable evidence of its corruption.”
That corruption, McKnight says, is made manifest by the “powermongering white men” running the show who are intent on “despising discoveries of racism while defending male sexual predators.”
It’s the sort of essay that would’ve gotten McKnight booted off of Patheos’ evangelical channel back when he wrote (t)here. Tim Dalrymple — the guy who booted me off that channel for writing stuff like that — took McKnight’s blog with him when he left Patheos to become the president & CEO of Christianity Today. Can’t help but wonder if that’s why this essay is on McKnight’s substack and not on his Jesus Creed blog at CT.
In any case, read the whole thing.
• “Pandemic-weary workers quitting their retail jobs.” Good piece from The Washington Post (linked here to the non-paywalled Arkansas Democrat Gazette).
Some 649,000 retail workers put in their notice in April, the industry’s largest one-month exodus since the Labor Department began tracking such data more than 20 years ago. Overall, nearly 3% of the U.S. workforce — or roughly 4 million workers — quit in April.
In interviews with more than a dozen retail workers who recently left their jobs, nearly all said the pandemic introduced new strains to already challenging work: longer hours, understaffed stores, unruly customers and even pay cuts.
The article only gets at this elliptically, but the context here is what it calls “the easing of pandemic restrictions.” Unemployment is still high, but the labor market seems tight because everything is opening/re-opening at the same time. Open a new store or restaurant and you can hang a “Help Wanted” sign in the window and take your pick of applicants. But if every store and restaurant in the area is re-opening at the same time, then there’s a sign in every window and applicants can work their way up and down the block, comparison-shopping for the best offer.
Retailers are begrudgingly starting to realize they’re not making the best offer in terms of pay. Maybe, eventually, if this mass-exodus continues, they’ll also begin to realize they need to make better offers in terms of overall dignity, work environment, respect, etc.
• Speaking of retail, here’s a pet peeve of mine that’s far less consequential in the grand scheme of things, but still annoying: The text and images on the top of a box are supposed to be aligned in the same direction as the text and images on the front of the box. That way — as in the picture here to the right — a customer looking at the product on the shelf can read both the front and the top without having to read upside-down.
This seems like something very basic that anybody involved in the design of these boxes should know, but apparently it’s not. I’d have thought this basic rule was written down somewhere, but if not, now it’s written down here.
(What’s the point of even having a blog if you never use it to vent about nit-picky little annoyances like this?)
• This piece, by Terry Shoemaker for The Conversation, seems like the 2021 version of a take I’ve been reading for most of my adult life: “White Gen X and millennial evangelicals are losing faith in the conservative culture wars.”
I remember being interviewed for pieces like this one back in the early ’90s, when “Gen-X” still referred to young people. It’s strange to read the argument now and still see Gen-Xers and Millennials lumped in as “younger evangelicals.” On the one hand, given the overall demographics of evangelicalism, that’s not wrong. But on the other hand, it’s odd to still find yourself lumped into the “Kids These Days” category when you’re 53 years old.
The hope that “younger evangelicals” would transform white evangelicalism from within seemed overly optimistic, but slightly plausible, 25 years ago but it has become less and less plausible with every annual iteration of that claim. In 2021, it seems more likely that the main way Gen-X and Millennial evangelicals will change their parents’ religion will be by leaving it.
That won’t make white evangelicalism less partisan, less white, or less obsessed with the culture-war issues that have long served as its proxies for its backlash against feminism and the Civil Rights movement. It will make it a smaller, older, angrier and purer distillation of all of that.
Yes. Yes it is.
On a related note, here’s a reminder that anti-Jubilee activist Dave Ramsey declared bankruptcy 31 years ago.
• The band is called Airborne Toxic Event and the song is called “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” and both of those things seem apropos two months after my second shot o’ Moderna.