That Was The Week That Was


• As we neared the end of our J-term sprint through the history of World War II and my students heard from a Holocaust survivor, I returned to my Epiphany theme of “thick darkness.”

• Lots of MLK Day posts claiming to reclaim some lost or neglected dimension of MLK: e.g., that he was a Christian, and that he was fought against war and poverty, not just segregation.

• I wished a happy 30th birthday to my favorite technological brand!

• Check out Mission:Work, my friend Chris Armstrong’s new channel at Patheos.

…There and Everywhere

Pointe du Hoc today
Another WWII-related photo, posted this morning at Historical Pics: Pointe du Hoc today

• In the MLK post I included a photo from King’s 1967 visit to the University of Minnesota, where he spoke at an anti-war rally. Read the full story of that speech, as well as the very different one he gave four years earlier at the same university.

• Not long ago I joined nearly 900,000 others in following a Twitter feed called History in Pictures (or, in the version I follow, Historical Pics). I’ve even used some of the images for my WWII class. Imagine my surprise that it was founded last year by two teenagers, one from Australia and the other from Hawaii…

• Key line from this study of the salaries of college graduates in various fields: “…at their peak earning ages, 56 to 60, humanities and social-science majors earned $66,185, putting them some $2,000 ahead of professional and pre-professional majors in the same age bracket.”

• Almost every day this January, one of my soon-to-graduate students has found a way to explain why she’ll soon be hastening back to Colorado and leaving Minnesota in her rearview mirror. So, for Sarah, I present the definitive rankings of the best states: Colorado comes in at a respectable #7 (just ahead of my wife’s home state); but look at who’s #2… (H/T Kevin McGrew)

• Alas, Minneapolis-St. Paul (#75) do much worse by another measure: being “Bible-minded.” (Sarah: Denver is #81; and while Colorado Springs makes the top 60, that’s much lower than you’d expect of the “evangelical Mecca.”) Some other cities where I’ve lived: #3 – Roanoke, VA; #94 – New Haven, CT. (H/T Christianity Today)

McKnight, The Blue Parakeet• Scot McKnight took on the “tribalism” of those who support one Bible translation over another. I migrate between the NRSV and TNIV/NIV11 tribes, but Scot is totally right: “The authoritative text is not in English, regardless of how accurate the translation. No matter which translation you prefer, it is not the authoritative text for determining which translation is best.”

• Did I err in “Christianizing” Isaiah 53 within my meditation on “thick darkness” and crucifixion?

• Last fall I wrote about Rachel Held Evans’ frustration with fellow evangelicals who tended to overuse the phrase “The Bible makes it abundantly clear that….” While part of my concern in that post is that we have some clarity about when such a sentence is appropriate, I appreciated how Roger Olson deconstructed the fundamentalist assumption that “there can only be one right ‘biblical’ belief about every given important issue of Christian life and thought.”

• I often call Roger my favorite historical theologian… But just what does the historical theologian do, and is it any different from a historian of theology? (H/T Sara Misgen)

• For some reason, my December post on why I’m almost a Lutheran has drawn a huge resurgence of interest over the past two days… I’d say there’s just burgeoning interest generally in Lutheranism, except we have it on good authority that “Lutherans are boring.”

• What can other Christians learn from Mormonism?

• While I picked it up at a conference in November, I haven’t read Jamie Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom yet. But reading its review in Books & Culture and then Smith’s response to said review, I’m eager to pick it up. In particular, I’m interested in the relationship of the Christian university to the Church: in his words, Smith’s “vision of the ‘practiced’ Christian university looks more like the University of Paris at its origin than a contemporary evangelical college.”

• Alas, Paul Putz came up with thirty-five more books on religion that I should be reading in 2014. So much to read, so little time!

Sideshow Bob

• All the more so when I need to set aside a couple hours to watch the documentary The Act of Killing, an “odd and disturbing act of filmmaking” about the mass killings in 1965 Indonesia that prompted Ben Alpers to reflect on the nature of memory and history.

• The director’s cut of that documentary adds nearly forty more minutes to the running time… That fact pointed out in a fascinating New York Times piece on film editing, in which Act of Killing director Joshua Oppenheimer and longtime Martin Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker reflected on the art of editing lengthier films. (As I’ve spent much of the past six weeks editing chapters for our Whole and Holy Persons book, often with a nervous eye to our word count, I found this utterly fascinating.)

• Which Simpsons character are you? (see my result to the right… I can’t tell you how inappropriately gleeful this makes me…)

• From my favorite TV comedy of the Nineties to my favorite TV comedy of the Oughts… “That’s What She Said“: a history.

• And to shatter all That Was The Week That Was records for links to posts about TV comedy… The history of “breaking” on Saturday Night Live, The Carol Burnett Show, and others.

• Last word in a rather rambling That Was post to Joshua Becker, on the dangers of viewing life as competition.

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