Last Week, Today: Obama and the collapse of our common American language

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Obama and the collapse of our common American language

Historically, America's leaders have relied on a common language - one grounded in a Protestant-Enlightenment framework - to guide our nation. But that language is coming apart. We "quibble over words, codes, signals, whistles" in classifying and interpreting different national events. Vinson Cunningham delivers a poignant meditation on Obama's speech at the Dallas police officers' memorial service and the need for a new American language, large enough to hold all of our polarities. (Read the speech.)

Also worth reading is former President George W. Bush's speech at the same service and his call to "renew our unity" by "remember[ing] our values."

Talking about race while white

As Barnabas Piper explains, it's difficult for white people to talk about race for a variety of reasons, which is why we want to highlight Annie Downs' blogpostas an example of what it looks like, as a white person and as a Christian, to confront racism as "my problem," and not sideline it as "someone else's issue."

Are churches key to solving social problems?

A majority of U.S. adults (58%) still say religious institutions contribute to solving important social problems. But that figure has fallen significantly in recent years. When the same question was asked in 2012, 65% of Americans said so; in 2008, it was 75%.

How the haters made Trump

McKay Coppins delivers one of the most insightful pieces into Trump's psychology and his motivations in running President -- his impulsive addiction to attention, his resentful desire to "prove himself" to those who mock or doubt him, and his gaping insecurity about his place in the world.

With Obama, the personal is presidential

Timothy Egan writes, "No matter what you think of Obama the executive branch, it’s hard to argue that Obama the human being has been anything less than a model of class and dignity. If, as was often said about black pioneers in sports, you had to be twice as good to succeed, Obama’s personal behavior has set a standard few presidents have ever reached."

Thank you for reading!

If you haven't already, sign up for this weekly newsletter.

Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on Amazon,IndieBoundBooks-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.