• I’m not sure Pope Leo XIII thought all that much of evangelical Protestants in his day, but some of them in the present won’t let that get in the way of their admiring his most famous encyclical. (Meanwhile, Alan Jacobs was a bit less sanguine about finding “the common good.”)
• Why Augustine remains relevant 1658 years after his birth.
• If 1984 didn’t mark the end of the Democratic Party, we should probably slow down on rush to cast the GOP into the ash heap.
• Just 20 steps to be German? Ausgezeichnet!
• I wouldn’t give up a trip to Europe, but I do wish I could be in New Orleans on Jan. 3, 2013 to hear this panel on what happened to pietistic movements after their leaders died.
There and Everywhere
• What Tim Keller took away from a thorough re-reading of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.
• Does the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) “have a unique responsibility to remember Jonestown and honor the people who died there”?
• And what does Eastern Orthodoxy have to teach “missional” and other adaptation-minded Christians?
• And maybe I’ll feel differently as Election Day 2012 becomes a more distant memory, but I liked how C. Christopher Smith approached politics: “In the next four years there’s very real opportunity for churches to begin to deflate much of the spectacle that surrounds electoral politics in our land—and particularly presidential and congressional elections—by embodying a sort of slow politics that is concerned more with local than state and federal politics, and that prefers dialogue and co-operation to rigid partisanship.”
• In a somewhat similar vein, Jonathan Merritt saw a generational change in evangelical political engagement: “As I survey the rising generation of Christians in America, I see many who recognize the ways in which the thirst for power has corrupted the faith. They’re eschewing partisan politics as a way to coerce and control the country, and they are finding ways to work with others they may disagree with. They are looking for new ways to live their faith in our rapidly changing world, and they give me hope that American Christians may be on the cusp of a healthier engagement with the public square.”
• Two trends in higher ed may be colliding…
• Tal Howard reported that a leading American university founded to advance the cause of science and secularism is now home to a thriving interfaith dialogue and a Christian studies center that helps students “to realize that the Christian faith itself possesses intellectual resources that can provide trenchant understandings and criticisms of ‘modern secularism.’”
• How to improve education in this country? Here was popular historian David McCullough’s proposal: “Well, we need to revamp, seriously revamp, the teaching of the teachers. I don’t feel that any professional teacher should major in education. They should major in a subject, know something. The best teachers are those who have a gift and the energy and enthusiasm to convey their love for science or history or Shakespeare or whatever it is. ‘Show them what you love’ is the old adage. And we’ve all had them, where they can change your life. They can electrify the morning when you come into the classroom.”
• How Oxford University Press picks its word of the year.
• What do Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Lou Reed, and the Rolling Stones have in common? They released albums that were initially reviled by critics but are now regarded as classics.
• “Weekend Reading” from the Bethel University History Department name-checked Oliver Stone, Dorothy Day, Kanye West, and Edmund Fitzgerald.