That Was The Week That Was


• What, you say you’d like some advice on how to use a State Department document in your prayer life? Sure, no problem.

• Diana Butler Bass calls it “Christianity after religion”; Jay Phelan says it’s actually “neo-Pietism.” Me? Well…

• I strove to follow the injunction of Psalm 34:14 (per this translation) with regard to my least favorite thing that one of my favorite musicians ever recorded.

• The Olympics inspired me to review five more national anthems and to devote far too much time to answering the question, “Which countries dominate which sports?” On balance, it’s probably a good thing the Games are wrapping up.

• Two of my favorite Christian college professors explained why they love reading (slowly). One of them will be guest blogging here very soon…

• And it turns out that my four year old self was right: Mister Rogers is pretty great.

There and Everywhere

John Baskerville's Bible (1763)
Why do people trust things written in this font? – Wikimedia

• Even though it involved him playing a trick on me and thousands of other New York Times readers, I’ll forgive Errol Morris, since it yielded one of the most fascinating things I’ve read so far this summer: an essay on fonts, and why some of them (especially this one) seem to “compel a belief that the sentences they are written in are true….” Why yes, I did rate as a “Pure Nerd” on this quiz. Why do you ask?

• Another nerdy obsession of mine… As a teenager, I collected every Doonesbury book I could find, which left me with a slightly skewed understanding of the 1970s, but anyway… I stopped reading Garry Trudeau’s strip a while back, but was glad to see that one of his current targets is for-profit higher education.

• And yes, online education is one of four important changes looming for us higher educators.

• I might have a bit more to say about David Barton’s fall, but for now: turns out that Barton’s not much better on John Locke than he is on Locke’s intellectual descendant, Thomas Jefferson.

• A priest in the Church of Sweden was revealed as a former spy for the Stasi, the loathsome secret police of East Germany.

• The Arctic origins of Sherlock Holmes?

• Philip Jenkins put Islamist iconoclasm in perspective… by going back to mid-16th century Calvinism.

• I asked a similar question this time last year about a mass killer in Norway: was the man who murdered Sikh worshipers in Wisconsin a “Christian terrorist“?

• In my tribute to military historian John Keegan, I alluded to the challenge of bridging the divide between civilians and soldiers (“they just don’t understand”). Or as another historian, Gerald Linderman, is quoted in this interesting story of how one Indiana family was divided along soldier/civilian lines during the Civil War, “Every war begins as one war and becomes two, that watched by civilians and that fought by soldiers.”

• A lovely tribute from one of my favorite theologians to one of his.

• Maybe John Piper is a Pietist… Check out his words of warning for fellow “new Reformed”: “My caution concerns making theology God instead of God God. Loving doing theology rather than loving God…. Thinking about God and engaging with him are inextricably woven together. But the reason you are reading the Bible, and the reason you are framing thoughts about God from the Bible, is to make your way through those thoughts to the real person.”

• Nathan Gilmour did a better job of articulating his dissatisfaction with Christian anti-institutionalism in his review of Ross Rohde‘s Viral Jesus than I did in my post on Diana Butler Bass.

Bruce Springsteen, 2008
The Boss in a 2008 concert – Creative Commons (Craig O’Neal)

• Reading Debra Dean Murphy’s reflection on sports, giftedness, and discipleship is a nice way to say farewell to the 2012 Olympics.

• Be sure to read Mars Hill Audio founder Ken Myers contemplate the relationship between Christians and culture. (H/T John Fea)

• I’ll come to Bruce Springsteen very soon in my Albums A to Z series. For now, enjoy Jeff Goldberg’s attempt to understand the “unrequited love” between Springsteen and Gov. Chris Christie (sample sentence: “Christie, in the presence of Springsteen—whom he would marry if he were gay and if gay people were allowed to marry in the state he governs—loses himself”), then stick around for Goldberg trying to help fellow Atlantic writer and self-described “black dude from Baltimore” Ta-Nehisi Coates understand The Boss.

• And in this morning’s “Weekend Reading” at the Bethel History Department blog, I shared links about ancient Persian wrestling, the only woman to rule China in her own right, the ten worst fires in London’s history, the first amputee to win Olympic gold, and the women of the Civil War.

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