That Was The Week That Was


• I walked into church last Sunday and a friend of mine warned me not to read an op-ed piece in the St. Paul paper. Turns out it was David Levy’s half-baked critique of college teaching, which provided an opportunity to vent more than a little spleen to start the week.

• In that rant I sarcastically called myself a “small college rube” — I certainly felt that way visiting an actual land-grant university. (My host was nice enough to link back to that post on his own blog, where he explained more articulately than I could the public value of a school like the University of Minnesota. Thanks again, Tim!)

• While private colleges in the Midwest struggle to convince students that the liberal arts still lead to paying jobs, universities in east Asia are falling over themselves to develop liberal arts programs.

Having fun with Census data and what one commenter rightly called “Our romantic fantasies about western European ethnic heritages…”

• Pietism must be trendy again if even John Piper is claiming the label.


Brethren in Christ, 1911
A group of Brethren in Christ, 1911 - Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives

• One of the more interesting branches of the Pietist family tree is occupied by the Brethren in Christ Church. For more on the BIC experience in the 20th century, see Devin Manzullo-Thomas’ new online public history exhibit, Born-Again Brethren. (Devin is one of the panelists scheduled to take part in the third and final session of our April 20 colloquium.)

• David Van Biema (author of the forthcoming Speaking to God: A Cultural History of the Psalms) observes that Psalm 139 has taken on special meaning for two Christian groups not normally associated with each other: those that oppose abortion, and those that are gay and lesbian.

John Schmalzbauer weighed in on declining religiosity among the working poor (and the rise of Catholicism and evangelicalism at those institutions of higher learning that supposedly served as engines of secularization).

• Following up in a way on all three of my higher education-related posts from the week is this essay from the president of the American Association of Universities, arguing for a renewed commitment to undergraduate teaching in research universities. (H/T Christian Collins Winn)

WWII Veteran
Licensed by Creative Commons (DVIDSHUB)

• And if I dare post one more link arguing for the uniqueness of the humanities, and why what makes them special puts them in several lines of fire, here’s English professor Mark Bauerlein: “The humanities move slowly, 99.99 percent of its research labor being accretive or summary or contributory, not groundbreaking.”

• If I were Don Miller, I would have written a post entitled “Why Conflict in Life is Terrible, and How to Put It Off as Long as Possible.” Fortunately for conflict-averse Midwesterners like myself, Don Miller came up with a different title.

• Did you know that World War II veterans are now dying off at the rate of nearly 5,000 per week? Georgetown history professor John R. McNeill called for a concerted effort to preserve those stories before they disappear.

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