That Was The Week That Was


• I liked Lauren Winner’s use of a pie social as a metaphor for the Church, though I Midwestern-ized it into a potluck supper.

• Trying hard not to pile on Penn State after the NCAA sanctions that were announced Monday, I tried to make the case for sports playing an integral role in higher education.

• Friend of The Pietist Schoolman Michial Farmer of The Christian Humanist Podcasttook me up on my challenge and proclaimed his love for Pop for all of Facebook to read, but I’ll stick with The Joshua Tree as my spectacularly unoriginal nominee for U2’s best album.

• You might not have known that Rome was going to host the World’s Fair in 1942, but once you learned that, you probably guessed that it was meant to be a showcase for Fascism.

• If I were to oversimplify my post on the evolution of Olympic records since the first time the Games came to London, I would say that humanity has got much, much better at throwing things, while not actually running all that much faster over short distances.

There and Everywhere

Blaise Pascal
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) – Wikimedia

• For more Olympics history… See the special edition of our department blog’s “Weekend Reading” series that I posted Friday afternoon. Then the standard Saturday morning installment of that series featured forerunners to Sally Ride, the history of business suits, and debunking debunkers David Barton and Howard Zinn.

• If you don’t like the Olympics (or are just feeling worn down by the seemingly endless hours of NBC coverage), here are seven ways to steer conversations away from Michael Phelps et al.

• Jason Peters of Front Porch Republic suggested applying Pascal’s Wager to the problem of climate change.

• For a terrifying but brilliant example of long-form journalism, read GQ correspondent Sean Flynn’s piece on the first anniversary of the massacre in Norway perpetrated by Anders Breivik.

• And Rollo Romig contrasts philosophers’ weariness with the problem of evil with the continuing use of “evil” by many to help explain what happened in Norway or, more recently, Aurora, CO.

• What the trial of a Russian punk band reveals about Vladimir Putin’s “increasing reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church as a resort of the most conservative societal forces.”

ProfHacker, the teaching and technology blog of the Chronicle of Higher Education, surprised me and other readers with a set of reflections (Christian, Jewish, secular) on observing sabbath.

• I understand the desire to show that most Christian are not like the homophobes of Westboro Baptist Church, but I’m not sure that counter-protests like this don’t just bring Fred Phelps & Co. more attention. As does blogging about it, I suppose…

Jonathan Merritt
Jonathan Merritt

• Last Friday I idly flagged for later reading a post by Jonathan Merritt arguing against a boycott of Chick Fil-A for the supposed homophobia of its president. I was mostly interested in his arguments because I’d liked what Merritt has written about evangelicals and environmental protection and because I’m interested in the efficacy of such economic actions (I look at earlier examples of the strategy in my Human Rights in International History course, such as the abolitionist boycotts of sugar in the 1790s). But then an upset blogger “outed” Merritt, prompting him to accept an interview on the subject with fellow Southern Baptist writer Ed Stetzer. I suppose I’m with Bethel colleague Kyle Roberts in his response, though I’m probably less optimistic that this affair will do much of anything to show us a way out of the culture wars, a conflict in which both sides have more than covered themselves in shame. I’m sure by the time I’ve posted this, a conservative group will have called for a counter-boycott aimed at Amazon after its CEO made eminently clear his position in the marriage debate…

• Peter David Gross explained why discussion requires faith, hope, and love.

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