That Was The Week That Was


• As more and more universities seek to develop online programs, will education become interchangeable with “infotainment”? And am I just making things worse with one of my summer projects?

• Entries F and G in my Albums A to Z series took me into the genres of country and gospel.

• Wrestling with how Christians should feel about the American Revolution and pledging allegiance to the country that resulted from it.

• Another post on nationalism — how it can be cultivated through rooting for soccer teams.

• With all the attention being paid to the history of Mormonism, the time seemed ripe for me to float a half-baked comparison with Pietism.

There and Everywhere

George, Reading Scripture with the Reformers• Two more Christian reflections on July 4th: John Fea also asked if the American Revolution was a just war, and Kurt Willems explained why he doesn’t celebrate Independence Day. Also, David Swartz posted an excerpt from his forthcoming book on the history of the evangelical left, on how progressive evangelicals have responded to American nationalism.

• Lest we get too caught up in celebrating the national holiday of just one former British colony in North America… This past July 1st marked the 145th anniversary of the British North America Act, which established Canada as a semi-autonomous confederation. In honor of Canada Day, some historic photographs from colonial Canada.

• I already linked to Christianity Today‘s interview with Os Guiness in my 4th of July “best of” post. Here’s another good CT interview from earlier in the week, with editor David Neff chatting up historical theologian Timothy George, general editor of the new Reformation Commentary on Scripture series from InterVarsity Press. Following on the heels of the excellent Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture project, the Reformation series started with an introduction from George and — what else? — a Galatians/Ephesians volume.

• A headline you don’t see everyday in an American newspaper: “Where’s Charlemagne When We Need Him?” In his NY Times op-ed, historian Istvan Deak suggested that there might only be one way to safeguard European unification: “A new imperial construct embracing all nations, religions and non-totalitarian ideologies might well be the only alternative to the revival of tribalism with all its tragic consequences. And it will be the sacred task of leaders to make the rest of society see this as an exalted, almost religious goal: a new European faith that belongs to no church.”

The Autobiography of Malcolm X• Also from the Times (which does a better job covering religion than I think it gets credit for), the complicated story of Marcia Mount Shoop, whose experience as a victim of rape led her eventually to the study of incarnational theology.

• It’s impossible to attempt a list of the eighty-eight (88?) “Books That Shaped America” without inviting immediate criticism, but the Library of Congress caught plenty of flak, some of it from religion scholar Stephen Prothero, who complained that “to read the Library of Congress list is to be presented with an America that produces lots of great novels and good science but is largely indifferent even to bad religion. And that just isn’t the America in which we live. To put it another way, this list is providing more fodder for those on the religious right who believe that elites in the academy are tone-deaf to questions of faith and belief.”

• And if you’re reading this, Roger Olson, check out this podcast, where the renewal of Christian humanism you called for is well underway.

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