That Was The Week That Was


• Are Christian colleges facing financial crises because doctrinal “drift” has cost them the support of churches? (And if it has, is that the cost of doing business?)

• I’m not sure I could stand listening to me say anything more about a crisis in Christian higher ed… But if you feel differently, head on over to the Research on Religion podcast.

• Two evangelical leaders named Carl and their two visions for an evangelical university: another preview of a chapter in our forthcoming book on Pietism and Christian higher ed.

• I quoted religion scholar Andrew Chesnut in my post on persecution and prayer. He was kind enough to tweet back:

• My colleague Christian Collins Winn reported from the World Council of Churches assembly in Korea.

• With its centenary fast approaching, World War I is the focus of several interesting new books, exhibitions, and archeological projects. (One I forgot to include: a preview of a book on the Battle of the Somme that consists of a single 24-foot panorama with thousands of figures.)

…There and Everywhere

Poster for 12 Years a Slave• Take a trip through 17th century London, on the eve of the Great Fire, brought back to life through historical research and digital animation.

• If you were interested in my post last week on the film 12 Years a Slave, check out Eric Herschthal on the question of authenticity (in historical dramas and in slave narratives like the one this movie is based on), Christopher Benfey’s review praising director Steve McQueen for (contra Spielberg) making a historical film whose best sequences “are not history lessons,” and Efrem Smith on how this version of the story of Solomon Northup might help us better understand Jesus and his Church.

• How a newly recorded version of the most popular song of the Civil War era helps us better understand that conflict, and 19th century America more generally.

• Philip Jenkins sketched some intriguing demographic parallels between Reformation era northern Europe and two 21st century centers of global Christian growth: Ethiopia and Nigeria.

• Also at The Anxious Bench, Miles Mullin revisited the second volume in IVP’s series on the history of evangelicalism, John Wolffe’s (covering the 1790s to 1840s). One of his main takeaways echoes the central point of the paper I’ll be delivering in a couple weeks at the Evangelical Theological Society panel Miles organized: “…as in the rest of the volumes in the series, Wolffe resists an American-centric approach and effectively portrays evangelicalism as the transnational movement that it was.”

• Meet the most famous evangelist this side of Billy Graham that most Americans have never heard of — partly because he hasn’t done a revival in this country, until now.

Bolz-Weber, Pastrix• Meet the most heavily tattooed, foul-mouthed, grace-affirming Lutheran that most evangelicals have never heard of.

• Dale Coulter borrowed an image from St. Bonaventure to explain evangelicalism: “…evangelicals have two wings, one devoted to that mystical ascent of faith and the other toward the rational exposition of the faith. These two wings are the revivalist and confessionalist ends of the movement and they rarely beat in rhythm.”

Jonathan Den Hartog’s review made me even more eager to read Tracy McKenzie’s new book on The First Thanksgiving. (Shameless plug: look for a review of the same book at our department blog in time for Thanksgiving itself.)

• And John Fea’s recent op-ed on the importance of history and other humanities to “sustaining the virtues we need to keep our democratic republic afloat” should make you want to read his new book, Why Study History?

• Also from John… Do today’s Christian college students know who Jerry Falwell is?

• The Christian college and humanities crises overlapping: Anderson University (Ind.) eliminated majors in philosophy, French, and theater.

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle, the location where Downton Abbey has been filmed – Creative Commons (JB+UK_Planet)

• Are we living in the “golden age of global news”? A NY Times editor says, “Yes, but…” A  conservative editor adds another “but”: “It’s a world of endless information, but also one of endless blinders,” thanks in large part to the way that social media let us filter news according to our own ideological preferences.

• Speaking of ideological preferences… Why do Republicans like Sons of Anarchy while Democrats prefer Downton Abbey? (H/T Nathan Gilmour)

• His recent reflection on the problems with wielding the adjective “biblical” makes me think that I haven’t been linking to Donald Miller as often as I should…

• Follow that with Shiao Chong on the “new Christian shibboleths,” which tend to be both extrabiblical (there’s that adjective again) and “shaped by a particular culture and time.”

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