That Was the Week That Was

Kind of a slow blogging week, what with the long weekend and a heat-induced torpor slowing down us hard-summering intellectuals. But here’s what you might have missed at The Pietist Schoolman and elsewhere.


  • I revealed the Baroque painting that lends a sliver of visual flair to the top of this otherwise text-heavy blog—along the way talking about higher education, the Gospel of Luke, centered- and bounded-set categories, and at least three Ols(s)ons.
  • Days 6-9 of my proposed World War I travel course included the art of C.R.W. Nevinson, a sabbatarian excursion into music hall patriotism, a visit to the Oxford of Messrs Tolkien and Lewis, and a tour of London’s WWI memorials. Next week brings us across the Channel to the remnants of the Western Front.
  • I took a day off from the WWI series in order to discharge my mind on Creed vs. Pledge.
  • My other running series—on Anabaptist critiques of Pietism—featured Robert Friedmann and his famous thesis.
  • Links to some appreciations of the late Covenant pastor, editor, and author Jim Hawkinson, with a promise that my own essay is forthcoming.
  • And my anal-retentive need to constantly tweak everything continued unabated, as I redid most of the categories and tags for every published and scheduled post. If I do this for a decade, I might begin to figure out blogging…


  • I don’t think there’s a single word I would add to John Fea’s reflection on the value of historical study in preparing young Christians to change the world. Unless the word is “Amen.”
  • Hell continues to preoccupy evangelical intellectuals like John Mark Reynolds and Fred Sanders (on the newest episode of the Scriptorium Daily’s Middlebrow Podcast) and Mark Galli and Francis Chan (both authors of “response books” to Rob Bell, the former interviewing the latter last week on the CT website). As a historian, I have a hard enough time grappling with “hell on earth” — hey, did I mention that I’m doing a series on World War I?
  • And if my posts don’t whet your appetite, Randall Stephens passed on some recent comments on the enduring significance of WWI, at the Historical Society blog.
  • Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only blogger who thought that last weekend was a good time to share some thoughts on the relationship between Christianity and American nationalism. Or even the only one in my department.
  • Conscientious Objectors at Fort Lewis, 1918
    Conscientious Objectors at Fort Lewis, 1918 - Mennonite Church USA Archives

    Back to the prolific Randall Stephens: he looked at a different kind of criticism of America’s Independence Day, from a subject of the crown from whom Hancock, Jefferson, et al. declared their autonomy, while James Kushiner visited Russian history to underline his appreciation for the United States.

  • Scot McKnight went a subtly different direction for the 4th, returning to his series on Thomas Finger’s An Anabaptist Theology.
  • Speaking of Anabaptists… the AHA blog featured a new website on the history of conscientious objection in the United States, with particular emphasis on the role of the Historic Peace Churches (Mennonites, Brethren, Quakers) in advocating for alternatives to military service—such as the Civilian Public Service during WWII, many of whose participants are profiled on the website.

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