That Was The Week That Was

Back after a break and feeling refreshed, it’s our week(end)ly sampler of interesting posts from around the blogosphere:


• I offered a sneak peek at the conclusion to our forthcoming book from InterVarsity Press: The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education: Forming Whole and Holy Persons. Look for a preview of the rest of the book on Monday!

• I was thrilled to see Tracy McKenzie offer such a Christocentric critique of David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies.

• I did my best Alan Rickman impression, in a Bethel-themed spoof of Harry Potter.

• And Jared straddled the border between academic and public history.

…There and Everywhere

Kanye West at Lollapalooza 2011
Kanye West performing at Lollapalooza 2011 – Creative Commons (Rodrigo Ferrari)

• What do Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, and Mariah Carey have in common that had me talking about them yesterday afternoon with my class? See the answer at the bottom of this post.

• Will the Vatican release records related to the conduct of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust? The rabbi who serves as senior interreligious adviser to the American Jewish Committee hopes so.

• “What do I do if I’m not sure what I believe?” An excellent question from Christian Piatt, whose answer concludes, “Faith is more than a feeling, a quick high we get from feeling filled with God’s presence. Of course these moments are nice, if and when they come, but faith is more about a promise to keep searching, a practice of feeling around half-blind in the darkness, open to the possibilities of what we might find.”

• I’m not sure if I’m surprised or not that only a couple of American professional sports teams include a prayer as part of pregame. I remember experiencing that once in Charlotte, North Carolina, back when the Hornets still played there. While Charlotte’s NFL team still does it, the only NBA team that does is found a little over a thousand miles to the west.

• Early in the life of this blog, I wrote in response to news coverage of the right-wing Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, often described as a “Christian fundamentalist.” I questioned the use of the word “fundamentalist.” Now he claims that “Christian” was misleading as well…

• Much as I love the liberal arts and music, I have to confess, I rarely think about the latter as a part of the former. But for Martin Luther, “music stood at the pinnacle of the liberal arts.”

• “The college selection process today takes place in a data void,” complained Kevin Maney, “driven by intangibles like how a campus looks, or whether a relative went there, or how the school ranks on some list. The only big life decision that rivals this one in magnitude and cluelessness is whom you marry, and look how that turns out for half the population.” But Maney reported that LinkedIn and other social media sites are gathering data that might fundamentally change how students pick which colleges to attend.

• My research on Pietist models of higher education sometimes takes me into the history of North Park University in Chicago. Here’s a fascinating silent film showing footage of North Park’s first forty years of existence, from 1891 to 1931.

• Another Chicago-area school founded by pietistic Swedish immigrants, Trinity International University, hired “evangelical statesperson” David Dockery (late of Union University) to be its new president. John Fea (who got his master’s at Trinity) put the hire in context, as solidifying a “Southern Baptist-Northern Evangelical alliance.”

• John also passed along a fascinating nugget about William Bell Riley, the fundamentalist pastor who was busy opposing the Spanish-American War in the years just before he founded Northwestern, Bethel’s neighbor/rival.

Answer: West, Lopez, and Carey were among the celebrities nominated by the Human Rights Foundation for shameful behavior in the field of human rights. All received lucrative paychecks performing private concerts for some of the world’s dictators. Meanwhile, singers on the HRF nice list included Bono, Lady Gaga, and Madonna.

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