That Was The Week That Was


• I’m really not looking for a new occupation, but if I were… Apparently, here’s where I should invest my energies.

• How my denomination is continuing its long tradition of partnering with others in missions, this time with World Vision in the country rated 187 out of 187 by the UN Human Development Index.

• Ah, three days after October 31st and the candy bowl is emptying and the jack-o’-lanterns are decaying… But quotes from Martin Luther and a collection of reflections on Reformation Day remain fresh and plentiful.

What’s next? Austrians and Hungarians yearning for the good old days of the Habsburgs?

There and Everywhere

• Efrem Smith preached on how American Christianity is being “enslaved by the ideology of the two major political parties.”

• Miles Mullin observed one overlooked commonality shared by the two major party candidates for president, that theirs are “quintessentially American stories of personal achievement keyed by religious commitment.”

Image of an astrocyte, a star-shaped cell found in the brain and spinal cord – Wikimedia

• Walter Russell Mead and Francis Fukuyama shared a wide-ranging conversation about the state of the United States.

• Pushing back against those who would employ science to reverse abortion rights legislation and those who would use it to debunk belief in God, William Egginton insisted that neuroscience has “nothing to say about the fundamental question of what counts as a full-fledged person deserving of the rights afforded by a society. Science can no more decide that question than it can determine the existence or non-existence of God…. When science becomes the sole or even primary arbiter of such basic notions as personhood, it ceases to be mankind’s most useful servant and threatens, instead, to become its dictator.”

• What do the Coen Brothers, Sen. Al Franken, Thomas Friedman, and my brother have in common? They lived (or live) in the Minneapolis suburb where Friedman found “all the key trends impacting America.”

• WWI historian Fiona Robinson started a new series on a favorite theme of mine: how that war has been remembered and commemorated. She began by connecting commemoration with service, linking to one present-day charity that provides chances to help wounded veterans.

• Almost a month later and I’m still thinking about Tracy McKenzie’s presidential address at the Conference on Faith and History. So is graduate student Daniel Cooley, who wondered (with McKenzie) “if we historians who posses [sic] a wealth of knowledge are sometimes guilty of a similar practice of narrowing the definition of need?”

• Also following up on a CFH presentation… Brethren in Christ historian Devin Manzullo-Thomas (part of a panel on American Anabaptists) proposed “Three reasons why the Brethren in Christ should be optimistic about the persistence of Anabaptist themes in an age of evangelicalism.”

Trueman, The Creedal Imperative• No one does “random and curmudgeonly thoughts” better than Roger Olson, these (befitting October 31st) on Christians celebrating Halloween and on the need for a new Reformation that would bring about a “renewal of interest in doctrine.” See: Pietists do care about doctrine.

• Continuing in that vein… Scot McKnight echoed Carl Trueman’s argument for the usefulness of creeds. (He’s looking for non-creedalists to respond, if any of my Baptist or nondenominational readers want to take up the challenge.)

• Laura Kelly Fanucci embraced her tendency to people-watch at church. (H/T CC Blogs)

• Pastors of a Phoenix church shared their journey of “trying to understand how the gospel should shape our response to the contentious issue of immigration.”

• It’s not a new idea, but one that needs to be said over and over by people like Presbyterian pastor Richard Brand: “The great challenge for Christians in Europe and the United States is to accept the leadership and guidance of the very people they have taught [in the Global South]. The disciples are now more than the teachers. Now the teachers have to come to accept the guidance and decisions of the students.”

• I’ll join Mary Thompson and many others in celebrating my friend Eleanor Edman, founder of Bethel’s highly-regarded Nursing program, who recently marked a landmark birthday.

• More positive reviews came in for Rachel Held Evans (from Ben Witherington) and David Swartz (from Christianity Today).

• “Weekend Reading” from the Bethel History Department blog, AC 2nd, touched on piggy banks, dentistry, Constantine, contraception, and Spiritualism.

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