• A preview of some of the primary sources we’ll be reading next month on our history of World War I travel course in Europe, and the places where we’ll read them.
• Are evangelical colleges stepping back from explicit endorsement of political and economic conservatism?
• What’s happened historically on 12/12/12, 11/11/11, 10/10/10, etc.
…There and Everywhere
• The remarkable story of the woman who taught female students at Moody Bible Institute how to deliver “messages” (not sermons, since Moody didn’t permit women to preach).
• New figures from Britain’s 2011 religion census show that atheism and Islam are on the rise, while Christianity is declining. As is Britain’s largest alternative faith, which lost half its membership from 2001 to 2011.
• Roger Olson’s “modest proposal for an ideal social order” starts with his understanding of the Kingdom of God, but draws heavily on the work of philosopher John Rawls: “Now, I know some folks will get off board immediately when I mention Rawls—especially some Christians who abhor his secular liberalism. I say we can plunder the Egyptians.”
• Baptist historian Dick Pierard criticized anti-Obama evangelicals for reducing the evangel to “a mere political gospel,” and recommended four changes they make if they want to engage in some serious soul-searching and repentance. (H/T G.W. Carlson)
• Former senator Bob Kerrey and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wondered if Americans are taking the separation of church and state seriously enough.
• Evidence that conservatives are more open-minded than liberals?
• It was fun seeing Paul McCartney front a reunion of the surviving members of Nirvana, but all the same, I’d have to agree with Alesh Houdek’s critique of the Sandy 12/12/12 concert fundraiser: “I’m not giving any money to the effort. It’s not because I don’t want to minimize their suffering, or because I don’t think they deserve huge help. But I think that events like this are a huge monument to a loss of perspective.”
• Stanley Fish on a recent discussion of the future of higher education, ending with his dismay at four college presidents’ attempts to define the purpose of such education: “The instrumentalism of these familiar justifications was disheartening, but not surprising given everything these presidents were going to face the next morning when a pleasant collegial conversation would be succeeded by the problems that were just barely addressed and certainly not solved this evening.”
• Two numbers that indicate one problem facing higher education: 56% and 37 million. That is, respectively, the share of college students who manage to finish a bachelor’s degree within six years, and the number of Americans who have some college experience but no degree to show for it.
• The case that The Hobbit is better than The Lord of the Rings — as literature, that is. (I don’t hear anything all that good about the new movie — first of three, unbelievably.)
• At this morning’s edition of our department blog’s “Weekend Reading” post: Tracy McKenzie and Paul Harvey on Lincoln; the history of children’s literature; a newly-released document makes the Cold War even scarier than we thought; and a critique of Howard Zinn.