• I don’t know if Frederick Buechner actually runs his own Twitter account or not, but regardless, it was an honor to have him (or “him”) retweet my post on balancing multiple callings, the first in a series on “The Vocation of a Christian Historian.” (From an essay I wrote over Christmas that drew heavily on Buechner’s own approach to vocation.)
• I’ve recently joined the steering committee of the Pietism Studies Group — so let me steer you in the direction of PSG’s brand new Twitter feed.
• A sampling of early responses to Pope Benedict’s resignation.
• The second sermon I’ve ever delivered – given for Transfiguration Sunday at the conclusion of the seminar I led at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis, which also inspired me to suggest some readings for those who’d like to learn more about Pietism.
…There and Everywhere
• A few years ago I had the chance to interview former Bethel professor and bestselling writer Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills, a Twin Cities megachurch. It was just after his John Howard Yoder-influenced Myth of a Christian Nation came out and he talked primarily about his admiration for the Anabaptist tradition and its suspicion of a “Constantinian” church. So it wasn’t entirely surprising to hear that Woodland Hills is preparing to leave the denomination formerly known as the Baptist General Conference and join one of two Anabaptist groups.
• Nebraska-raised Jake Meador tried to find a middle path between the romanticizing of farming and another tendency: “As the evangelicals-in-the-city movement grows, the church in particular needs to be weary of the temptation to look down on small towns and farms.”
• Congratulations to my Bethel colleagues Adam Johnson and Kyle Roberts for receiving a grant from BioLogos to research the “cognitive and emotional challenges presented by different human origins accounts.”
• Still one more iteration in the ongoing debate over academic freedom at evangelical colleges and seminaries: this time at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, which is about to be absorbed by Milligan College.
• The surprising publishing success of a book on the early Church.
• Friedrich Christoph Oetinger is a significant figure in the history of Pietism about whom I know little, so I was glad to see Jared Burkholder not only write about him but focus on Oetinger’s views on a topic of direct concern to my own research: how Pietists understand the nature of truth and learning.
• The importance of the postal system in American history.
• After listening to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, John Fea lamented that for all the ways that the president uses history in his rhetoric, he “has done virtually nothing to promote a renewed sense of civic identity through the study of history” and instead joined Republicans in shifting attention away from the humanities.
• John’s Anxious Bench colleague John Turner had a couple of good posts this week: first, he reported on the experience of reading The Book of Mormon in fifteen days; and second, a trip to Harper’s Ferry led him to wrestle with the legacies of Nat Turner and John Brown (a subject I visited a while back).
• Paul Gottfried set out to “make a traditionalist case against human-rights language.”
• And a belated Happy Valentine’s Day to you all, World War I-style!