That Was The Week That Was

At The Pietist Schoolman

  • I don’t tend to cry in the classroom, but here’s why a lecture on the Holocaust (and the related program of euthanasia that killed hundreds of thousands of children, youth, and adults with physical and mental disabilities) gets me every time.
  • My planned travel course on World War I was approved, and I passed along a recommendation for an excellent new blog on the cultural history of the war.
  • I reflected on the occasions of two anniversaries: the 152nd of John Brown’s execution, which prompted some semi-informed (and semi-formed — this was one of the few posts that lived up to my original idea that I would not edit and edit and edit my writing, but simply share an opinion and invite feedback) pondering of prophets/messianic figures who believe in redemptive violence; and the 75th of Crystal Palace burning down in London, marking the end of a part of the modern age when universal exhibitions/expositions trumpeted the wonders of human accomplishments.
  • Remembering the War of 1812! Something few seem inclined to do as its bicentennial approaches — one of the few being the single viewer of this blog who checked out that post.

At other blogs/media/websites…

  • Jewish Annotated New TestamentI missed this during the week of Thanksgiving, but it’s well worth a belated mention: one highlight of this recent American Academy of Religion conference was the release of a New Testament edited by Jewish scholars. Said one Orthodox scholar who contributed to the project: “The more I study New Testament, the better Jew I become.” (As an aside: Mark Oppenheimer, the author of the linked NY Times article, is quickly becoming my favorite religion writer — genuinely curious, respectful, and perceptive no matter which faith he covers. His blog is now on my Recommended Links list.)
  • Another of my favorite bloggers, John Fea, had a typically balanced, helpful response to one history professor’s advice that his students rethink their dreams of graduate school, since (in his judgment — and I’ve blogged about this before) tenure-track jobs will be gone within a couple of decades. On the one hand, John finds that take alarmist; on the other, he does see the need to do a better job advising  history majors about vocations other than researching and teaching history as a college professor.
  • Scot McKnight wondered why it seemed that, in evangelical circles, “moving to the left” (theologically) is questioned so much more often than “moving to the right.”
  • At the same blog, see also RJS’ take on the “moving to the left” phenomenon in the context of teaching Christian college/university students.
  • As I opined on a recent podcast, seeking to be “relevant” is often a fool’s errand for churches. But if you’re going to pursue relevance, at least do it in the ways Efrem Smith suggests, rather than by stripping worship of liturgy or sermons of Scripture, or by seeking numbers rather than disciples.

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