That Was The Week That Was

A few hopefully interesting things were seen here at The Pietist Schoolman in the past week. Here’s a list of them, plus a few of the many, many other noteworthy posts and essays published at other sites:


  • My Preaching Debut
    A document of my first sermon...

    Having survived my first visit to the pulpit, I shared the text of my All Saints’ sermon for those who missed it.

  • In a couple of years I’ll offer a new course on the international history of World War II. In preparation, I put out a call for great WWII films (with a preference for the obscure and the non-American).
  • For Remembrance/Veterans Day, I reprinted Wilfred Owen’s “apology” for his poetry — in which he challenges those of us who pretend to know what it’s like to be a soldier (or veteran).
  • 11/11/11 challenged me to come up with notable events happening on days when mm=dd=yy.
  • And the scandal at Penn State (including the student riot in the wake of Joe Paterno’s firing) had me thinking about the relationship between football and higher education, what level of maturity to expect from undergraduates, and how righteous anger can become a stumbling block for would-be people of grace. On the latter point, at least, it ended up mirroring an earlier post this week about why we should be cautious about rushing to moral-historical judgments, even on someone like Adolf Hitler and however many Germans shared in his Final Solution.


  • Lamin Sanneh
    Lamin Sanneh - Yale University

    I was far from the only person to reflect on the Penn State scandal. Two of the more interesting takes that I came across: Mark Silk considered an analogy between the pedophilia scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and what happened at Penn State (H/T John Fea, who also shares his own thoughts as someone working in higher education not too far from that part of Pennsylvania); and Alan Jacobs laid some blame at the feet of “the tradition — as old as football itself — of pretending that football is a branch of the military” (H/T Joe Carter).

  • Lamin Sanneh’s turn to sum up the Gospel in seven words.
  • One evangelical historian I respect (Thomas Kidd) took another I respect (Randall Stephens) to task for the tone of the latter’s op-ed piece (with Karl Giberson) in the New York Times on evangelical anti-intellectualism.
  • Chris Armstrong is looking for feedback on a draft section of the introduction to his new book, Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants, much of that wisdom having to do with the doctrines of Creation and Incarnation.
  • A Malaysian bishop’s call for the American church to recommit to global missions.
  • Jamie Smith on a challenge facing the Christian Reformed Church — one my own denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, knows all too well: how to disentangle its identity from immigrant ethnic heritage (Dutch for the CRC, Swedish for the ECC).
  • Devin Manzullo-Thomas shared a fascinating nugget about Anabaptist opposition (in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, at least) to Thomas Jefferson’s 1800 presidential candidacy. Earlier in the week he reported on the Global Mennonite History Project, a fascinating effort to document the global spread and development of the Anabaptist movement. (Since 1994, according to one of the series’ editors, the majority of Mennonites and Brethren in Christ have lived in the Global South.)
  • One of the topics on our podcast this past week was how (if at all) to celebrate or commemorate Reformation Day, a discussion prompted by this essayfrom a Missouri Synod pastor in Atlanta.

    The Hold Steady
    The Hold Steady in Bristol, England (2007) - Creative Commons (Mike Mantin)
  • I’ve never quite been able to get into The Hold Steady, despite frontman Craig Finn’s ubiquitous allusions to his home state of Minnesota and his professed love for its professional baseball team. But his forthcoming solo album has me intrigued: it was inspired by my beloved Friday Night Lights (and its title is a juxtaposition of the show’s catch phrase). And Finn is always interesting as a secular songwriter clearly shaped by Catholicism.

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