• I didn’t write as much here as I would have liked because I was grading a set of midterm exams. (More of that to come next week.) But I did pause/procrastinate long enough to complain about grading, so that’s something…
• Plus… Why our mission in the Bethel History Department seems in keeping with Perry Glanzer’s observations about Christian colleges keeping alive the old tradition of educating for wisdom.
• More on Christian higher education: the uniquely valuable mission of Alaska Christian College.
• The first in a two-part series taking me down memory lane: remembering the Covenant churches where, as a child and adolescent, I started to come of age as a Christian.
• And my students and I considered the claim that evangelicals (by dint of their theological emphases on personal conversion, evangelism, atonement, depravity, and the end times) are inherently ambivalent about the cause of human rights.
• A couple of my favorite iconoclasts were doing what they do best: clasting icons… Stanley Fish argued that Rick Santorum holds views on church and state that are “well within the boundaries of a legal and political debate that has been going on for more than a century.”
• …and historian Niall Ferguson made the case that “the West” is the greatest civilization ever built. (He did this a while ago, but Wheaton professor Timothy Larsen just reviewed Ferguson’s claim online for Books & Culture.)
• David Maus, one of my favorite Bethel alumni, joined the chorus of skeptics asking tough but fair questions of the new Invisible Children campaign that went viral on YouTube (65 million views at last check) and Twitter (where #StopKony was trending by midweek). (See also the coverage by Christianity Today, the Washington Post, or the New York Times if you don’t know who Joseph Kony is or haven’t seen the new video.) David added a follow-up this morning. I expect this will be the central topic of conversation when my Human Rights in International History class reconvenes Monday afternoon; perhaps more to come…
• John Fea offered a typically balanced reflection on the relationship between citizenship in a democracy and debates over the liberal arts vs. vocational education.
• Billie Hara of ProfHacker, the teaching and techology blog of the Chronicle of Higher Education, admitted that even she likes to go “old school” and use technologies like a chalkboard, spiral grade book, and #2 pencil.
• As a general trend across hundreds of years of history, it’s no surprise that Jews have migrated more than any other religious group. But according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, even contemporary Jews are vastly more likely to have migrated (25%) than the general human population (3%). Of course, the total number of Jews in the world is relatively small; the largest group of migrants is Christian, accounting for 49% of the global total.
• When we were visiting the Imperial War Museum this past January, my wife picked up a postcard reproduction of the 1939 British propaganda poster entitled “Keep Calm and Carry On,” to help get her through tough days at work, she said. The History Blog reported on the recent appearance of a cache of original “Keep Calm” posters and added some background on the history of British WWII propaganda.