• The death of Levon Helm had me thinking about one of my favorite Martin Scorsese movies, the concert film The Last Waltz.
• I continued my series on Confessing History, a promising collection of essays rethinking how Christians do history, with a post on three chapters dealing with “Identity.”
• Former North Park seminary dean Jay Phelan on why being a Pietist means rejecting versions of the “imperial church.”
• In case you missed our colloquium on Pietism studies last Friday, I posted recaps of all the sessions: Scot McKnight‘s keynote address on what Anabaptists and Pietists can teach evangelicals; Jon Sensbach‘s talk on the 18th century Afro-Moravian preacher Rebecca Protten; and the roundtable discussion I moderated, on Pietism in the past and present of five denominations.
• Speaking of Scot McKnight and North Park… He announced that he would be leaving NP after this semester in order to become a New Testament professor at Northern Seminary. As a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church, I’m sad to see our university lose one of its best scholar-teachers, though I’m happy to see this new opportunity open up for Scot.
• And elsewhere in Christian college employment news: we officially welcomed our newest colleague in Bethel’s History department: Amy Poppinga, a specialist in Islamic studies.
• Elesha Coffman with two incisive observations on the largely negative reaction to Catholic writer Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion: first, that it’s hard to be a generalist like Douthat writing about themes of interest to multiple groups of specialists; second, that it’s surprising “how much is still perceived to be at stake in discussions of 20th century religious declension.”
• Francis Beckwith reflected on the fifth anniversary of his return to the Roman Catholic Church.
• Roger Olson compared the histories of the Jesus People and the Emerging churches movement.
• John Wilson’s report from the 2012 Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College.
• A review of Salt Lake City’s Church History Museum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “…a kind of identity museum belonging to that ever-expanding genre as a celebration of a particular hyphenated American group, an exploration of its trials and a demonstration of its achievements.”
• I’ve both been doing some family history of my own recently, and preparing to give a series of talks next weekend on church history “as family history,” so it was amusing to read Jana Riess’ advice to those of us who would like to make such research easier for our future descendants. (e.g., “Be born, live, and die in the same town”)
• One more attempt to make the case for the liberal arts: Stanley Fish on Andrew Delbanco.