• My usual weekend links wrap-up got pushed back a day because I spent Friday and Saturday in Boston, at the biennial meeting of the Conference of Faith and History. I posted some thoughts on Friday morning/afternoon panels, plus Tracy McKenzie’s monumentally important (I think) presidential address. Then one more on the Saturday sessions, including our panel on Pietism and Christian colleges and Mark Noll’s closing address on sola Scriptura. Expect a couple more next week as I continue to noodle with some of what I heard at CFH.
• In other “faith and history” blogging… I hope my closing reflections on why I find no hope in history apart from Christ didn’t obscure my deep-seated admiration for the late Eric Hobsbawm, still my favorite Marxist historian. (And here’s one more eulogy for Hobsbawm, from fellow historian Stephen Kotkin.)
• Then getting further away from anything remotely connected to CFH… I compiled an overview of my posts this year on commemorations of World War I, combining series on memorials and monuments in Europe with those in Minnesota.
• And I followed up my recommendations of conservative writers that progressives should read with some left-leaning writers for those on the right to pay attention to.
There and Everywhere
• After some occasionally depressing notes-comparing with colleagues at other institutions, it was good to read a post arguing, “No, American higher education is not about to collapse.” A prediction that is as old as the Union, it turns out.
• And some more evidence that yes, a college education is still worth it.
• And MOOCs? Nicholas Carr isn’t sure they’re all they’re cracked up to be (H/T Alan Jacobs) and Jonathan Rees is less than impressed after his experience with a Coursera world history course (H/T Mark Cheathem).
• During World War II, the British not only recorded their interrogations of German POWs, but also placed microphones in prisoner bedrooms, holding cells, etc. A book now out in English uses that evidence to give insight into the thinking of German soldiers — and seems to further erode the myth of Wehrmacht innocence in the Holocaust.
• Jacques Berlinerblau’s “five biggest misconceptions about secularism.” (#1? It ≠ atheism.)
• No matter the topic, Ben Witherington is always challenging and worth a read. Here he defines his understanding of “pro-life”: “In my book, to be truly pro-life across the board, one needs to be opposed to abortion, capital punishment, and war. Period. That is to be totally pro-life.”
• An excerpt from Eric Miller’s new book on political hope: “If Americans are born with the birthright of hope, the challenge for American Christians is to shape, hone, and direct it in such a way as to yield a smart, wise, and fruitful politics, a politics that seeks to make evident in any given sphere the unspeakable reality of God. Understood in this way, politics—whether on the scale of the nation, the township, the church, or the home—is simply the working out in our daily life of our deepest beliefs. It is the register of our fundamental moral impulses and intelligence. It is the evidence of what we think, of how we think, of whether we think.”
• My favorite movie turns 70 this year!
• Bethel junior (and running back) Jesse Phenow is having a good fall: first he debuts as a guest blogger at The Pietist Schoolman, then gets featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Sports section after Bethel’s shocking Homecoming win over Concordia-Moorhead on Saturday afternoon.
• The “Weekend Reading” post at our department blog included stories about the Great Chicago Fire (and its connection to Bethel history) and the remarkable Polish resister who snuck into Auschwitz, plus a counterfactual on the space race and the problem of how integration is being commemorated at the University of Mississippi.