• Can blogging be both “public thinking” and “digital scholarship”?
• One of the contributors to our Pietist Impulse book was named a “woman to watch” by Christianity Today. (That feature was put together by CT’s excellent online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey, who is moving on to a new job.)
• Resources for those interested in the Cuban Missile Crisis fifty years after it began… and what that 50th anniversary has to do with another: that of the Second Vatican Council. (One more Cuba resource: check out the reminiscences of one of the analysts who first identified Soviet missiles on those fateful U-2 photographs…)
There and Everywhere
• I started to write a post summarizing Jeffrey Polet’s lengthy essay on the liberal arts college, but you’d do far better just to pour another cup of coffee and read the whole thing yourself.
• Christianity Today provided an interesting but too brief article on Christian colleges embracing the massive open online course (MOOC) phenomenon/fad. I was especially intrigued by the notion of “disinterested goodness” (cited in explaining Biola University’s decision to give away content for free), since that’s been an implicit assumption in some preliminary talks our department has had about developing podcasts for churches…
• John Fea (and his collection of historical Pez dispensers) took YouTube by storm:
• And much as I liked John’s post last week on sin, I liked his one on the Imago Dei even more. His conclusion (“A history grounded in a belief in Imago Dei will not neglect the elite and privileged members of society, but it will also demand a fundamental reordering of the stories we tell about the human actors we meet in the past”) leads well into the reflection on biography and social history recently posted by one of my Modern Europe students at our department blog.
• Mapping the “United Swing States of America” as it becomes increasingly clear that certain Americans’ votes matter more than others.
• Miroslav Volf is sharing twenty values that guide his decisionmaking as a voter. (Twenty-one, really: #0 is “Christ as the Measure of All Values.”) Read 1-5 (“Freedom of Religion (and Irreligion)” through “Debt”) and then 6-13 (“The Poor” through “World Hunger”). 14-20 are due later today…
• The finding that 20% of Americans are “religiously unaffiliated” (the much ballyhooed “nones“) has already been talked to death, but if you have to read one more reflection on it, try this one from Tripp Hudgins. And decide if you think “that when we talk about God doing a new thing in this world, when some of us have prayed again and again for the Holy Spirit to move, that this is what it looks like?” Or that “this” includes both the rise of the Nones and — slipped into the same post — the tremendous growth of Christianity in the Two-Thirds World? (I’m not sure that all that many of the Nigerian Anglicans, Ghanaian Presbyterians, Southeast Asian Baptists, or Chinese Christians he invoked would describe themselves as “Spiritual but not religious,” or what Hudgins thinks that the two demographic changes have to do with each other — except that they force those whom he’s addressing into “the wild.”)
• And if, like me, you’re actually more struck by the fact that four out of five denizens of a 21st century Western society would indicate any religious affiliation… Check out the latest in a series of fascinating maps generated by the 2010 U.S. Religion Census: one illustrating religious diversity.
• Rachel Held Evans’ new book and its reception by a leading chain of Christian bookstores attracted the attention of Slate.
• This morning at our department blog I featured “Weekend Reading” links on Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Napoleon’s “chief air minister of ballooning.”