That Was The Week That Was


• The Winter Seminar at Bethlehem Covenant will continue later this morning after getting off to a great start last night. In preparation for it, I shared a couple of posts on Pietism: one on Covenant theologian Don Frisk’s attempt to apply Pietist principles to Christian education; the other on a Church of the Brethren pastor’s argument that (Radical) Pietist pneumatology offered a kind of “corrective” to the COB’s Anabaptist roots.

• Evangelicalism is more politically diverse than you might think: not so much because more evangelicals are voting for Democrats as that most evangelicals aren’t American. (Incidentally, the new CEO of the Lausanne Movement is a Korean-American who runs a seminary in Japan.)

• What’d my students think of being cooped up with me for three weeks in Europe studying World War I? Glad you asked!

…There and Everywhere

Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams – Creative Commons (Steve Punter)

• I guess this settles it: Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams have debated it, the Cambridge Union Society has voted, and religion does have a place in the 21st century!

• More problems for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: its (larger) Ethiopian partner, Mekane Yesus, has severed all ties with the ELCA.

• Roger Olson on why he’s not a theological liberal: “I find it thin, ephemeral, light, profoundly unsatisfying. It seems to me barely different from being secular humanist. Sure, theological liberals (in the sense I have defined that type above) can be profoundly ‘spiritual,’ but I don’t think they are profoundly Christian. Their commitment is greater to modern culture, the Zeitgeist of the Enlightenment, than to Christian sources.”

• Among other lessons that Thabiti Anyabwile thinks that evangelicals (as their numbers and political influence shrink) can learn from the black church: how to “suffer with dignity and grace,” how to hope in God, and how do theology other than from a place of privilege.

• Why are younger Christians leaving denominations like the Christian Reformed Church? I think Derek Atkins is on to something when he points to the decline of “genuine intergenerational relationships in our congregations—the type of relationships that connect our teens and young adults to the wider congregation and enable discipleship.”

• The “top three sins” tempting Americans are less salacious than you might expect, according to a new Barna survey.

• Philip Jenkins’ continuing exploration of Christianity in the so-called “Dark Ages” took him to the surprisingly cosmopolitan early Irish church.

Poster for Birth of a Nation

• Why one of the most infamous movies in American history is “also a decisively original work of art—in effect, the founding work of cinematic realism, albeit a work that was developed to pass lies off as reality.” (Or, it’s “largely an academic curio, typically viewed in settings where its racism looms over any aesthetic or other assessment.”)

• Acclaim for the newest book from one of my doctoral advisors.

• The education minister of Germany has been stripped of her doctorate because of plagiarism in her thesis.

• An excellent question from Matthew O’Brien at The Atlantic: “If liberal arts majors ‘didn’t learn much in school,’ as Jane Shaw put it in the Wall Street Journal, why haven’t they always had trouble finding work?” Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, he concludes that there’s “no correlation the past decade between the share of grads in the most maligned majors and the unemployment rate for college grads.” (Oh, and here’s the unemployment rate for those holding bachelor’s degrees.)

• A conservative critique of House majority leader Eric Cantor’s recent comments on higher education.

• While I was in Europe, a friend asked what I thought of Peter Enns’ post asking if evangelical colleges, universities, and seminaries can be truly “academic” institutions if they had predetermined doctrinal beliefs. I’ve haven’t had a chance to summon up any helpful thoughts, but I suspect that Nathan Gilmour just expressed them better than I could have…

• Both because I also had a “childhood desire to be a journalist” and because it helped me appreciate the differences between our approaches to blogging, I appreciated John Fea’s post on why he blogs the way he does: “I do a lot of reporting here, some commentating, post a few ‘classifieds’ (such as call for papers and fellowship opportunities), and when the spirit moves I might even offer up an original piece or two. Though I am glad that my original musings do not have to come as regularly as a full-time op-ed writer…”

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