That Was The Week That Was

Here…

• The most popular posts in the second year of The Pietist Schoolman more about the Olympics than you’d expect from a blog on Pietism, higher education, and other non-Olympian topics.

• Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s a Christ-type with his own Hollywood marketing campaign!!

• Last week’s workshop on the “Pietist Idea of a Christian College” inspired two posts: one on what defines good teaching; one on why the conventicle is so important to Pietism (whatever Pietism is). And if you’d like to know what Roger Olson’s Pietist idea of a Christian college, he posted the text of his second talk at the workshop.

• Get your copy of the new issue of Pietisten, hot off the presses! (Literally: this is one periodical that comes in actual paper-and-ink format.)

…There and Everywhere

Crowe, "In the Richmond Slave Market"
Eyre Crowe, “In the Richmond Slave Market” (1853)

• Ta-Nehisi Coates encouraged us to read Tony Horwitz’s overview of how historians are rethinking the Civil War, but nonetheless strongly reaffirmed the necessity of Lincoln’s response to secession: “It should always be remembered that America did not ‘go to war’ in 1860. America was attacked in 1860 by a formidable rebel faction seeking to protect the expansion of slavery. That faction did not simply want slavery to continue in America; they dreamed of a tropical empire of slavery encompassing Cuba, Nicaragua, and perhaps the whole of South America. This faction was not only explicitly pro-slavery but explicitly anti-democratic. The newly declared Confederacy attacked America not because it was being persecuted, but because it was unable to win a democratic election.”

• The newly published diary of a WWII-era German teenager “is being hailed as remarkable documentary evidence of how millions of Germans relied on collective indifference to endure the horrors of war and ignore the brutality of the Nazi rule.”

• Speaking of… Is it the duty of a historian to keep a diary, to “Create that thing that historians crave—real, firsthand accounts”? Um, no — replied public historian Larry Cebula, noting the proliferation of other kinds of firsthand accounts in an age of social media.

• Perhaps in that vein… Miles Mullin reflected on some of the ways that the technological innovations of the Digital Age are reshaping how historians teach and research.

Georgia typeface
What do you think, should this blog be in “Georgia”? – Creative Commons (Jim Hood)

• A while back I read with interest Errol Morris’ inquiry into the importance of fonts — here’s a follow-up that has me wondering if I ought to be using a serif instead of sans serif typeface for this blog. (You might take what I have to say more seriously, apparently.) (H/T Victoria Farmer)

• Are posts like David Brooks’ excellent “The Humanist Vocation” — with its evocation of a time when those of us who teach things like history, philosophy, and literature were unafraid to say that “The job of the humanities was to cultivate the human core, the part of a person we might call the spirit, the soul, or, in D.H. Lawrence’s phrase, ‘the dark vast forest'” — evidence of a resurgence of the liberal arts, or its death spasms?

• I remember coming to Bethel and wondering “what’s a Baptist Pietist”? Well, if that fusion can exist, why not Baptist Orthodox?

• Southern + Baptist is a bit more common, in this country at least… The SBC’s Calvinism Advisory Committee came out with its call for “Truth, Trust, and Testimony in a Time of Tension” — garnering positive reviews from Scot McKnight and Roger Olson, both of whom see it as a model for a Big Tent evangelicalism.

• Amen to Jim Wallis’ call for a “post-cynical” Christianity: “Skepticism is a good and healthy thing, I told every audience. Be skeptical and ask the hard, tough questions about our institutions — especially Washington and Wall Street. But cynicism is a spiritually dangerous thing because it is a buffer against personal commitment. Becoming so cynical that we don’t believe any change is possible allows us to step back, protect ourselves, grab for more security, and avoid taking any risks. If things can’t change, why should I be the one to show courage, take chances, and make strong personal commitments? I see people asking that question all the time.” (And please join me in praying for Wallis, as he continues his recovery from cancer.)

• I’ve expressed my ambivalence about Mumford & Sons, but let’s give equal time to a couple of their Christian fans, exuberant after seeing the band perform in California: Cathleen Falsani called the concert a “hootenanny for the soul“; Tripp Hudgins called his experience “an eschatological event.” Here’s a taste of the band covering Bruce Springsteen:

• Okay, that’s out of the way. Now enjoy something genuinely soulful — ladies and gents, The Lone Bellow:


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