Spring Cleaning: Some Great Links I Forgot to Share

I’ve got a folder on Chrome where I keep bookmarks for posts and articles that I either plan to blog about myself or at least pass along via my Saturday That Was The Week That Was posts. But every month at least one link seems to slip through the cracks and sits there, gathering virtual dust…

So in the spirit of the spring cleaning that I should be doing at home and in my office, I thought I’d go through that folder and share the most interesting links from my three years of blogging that I somehow forgot to pass along when they were first written:

Roger Olson• As timely now as when he wrote it in September 2011, Roger Olson explained why he wouldn’t abandon the label “evangelical.” (The definition of evangelicalism has been a popular topic at Roger’s blog. Here’s a January 2012 post critiquing the use of a “right-center-left” spectrum for evangelicalism.)

• Last October Geoff Holsclaw ended a five-part Missio Alliance series on “The Scandal of Evangelical Memory” with a set of recommendations that I wholeheartedly endorse: stop equating evangelicalism (for better and worse) with the Reformed tradition; “gather a broad evangelical consensus among many traditions and denominations”; and recover evangelicalism’s place in a “radical middle” (rather than as a defender of Christendom).

• I’m easily wearied by the way that some evangelicals seem to treat the city as somehow superior to other settings for Christian life and ministry. So I was grateful that the This Is Our City project at Christianity Today was willing to ask acclaimed artist Mako Fujimura in September 2012 why he left New York City and moved to the country.

• I’ve been holding onto Brantley Gasaway’s March 2014 post at the Religion in American History blog as I contemplate my own post about Christianity in post-Christian countries. I still want to write on that topic, but go ahead and check out Brantley’s reflections on religion in Britain, where he spent the spring teaching.

Sojourner Truth
One of those five women to know: Sojourner Truth (ca. 1797-1883) – Smithsonian Institution

• Reading this October 2013 list of “5 (Dead) Women Every Egalitarian Should Know” prompted me to start (but not yet finish) a post on women in the “Great cloud of witnesses” that went beyond the English-speaking world and back past the 17th century.

• As I worked on my World War II course, I heaped a fair amount of praise on Max Hastings’ one-volume WWII narrative, InfernoLev Grossman’s November 2011 review may help explain why I found the book so captivating: “It’s impossible to bridge the gap between our long-healed world and the world of WWII, which was just then being roughly torn open, but Inferno comes as close as any book I’ve ever read. It’s a massive panorama that takes in entire continents while at the same time keeping the details in sharp focus. You witness disastrous scenes that most histories gloss over because they happened in the margins of the overall conflict. But they were anything but marginal for the people who experienced them.”

• This spring, religious liberty played a somewhat more prominent role than usual in my Human Rights in International History course, perhaps due in part to having read Thomas Kidd’s Sept. 2013 response to Os Guinness‘ praise for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with its “full-throated endorsement of religious liberty.”

• From December 2011… Mark Bauerlein warned of a “research bust,” as professors continued to generate research that fewer and fewer people read: “The research identity is a powerful allure, flattering people that they have cutting-edge brilliance. Few of them readily trade the graduate seminar for the composition classroom. But we have reached the point at which the commitment to research at the current level actually damages the humanities, turning the human capital of the discipline toward ineffectual toil.” (I think I was saving this as a trump card when promotion time came, in case I needed to justify seeming inactivity on that front…)

• I’m pretty sure I quoted Peter Powers’ May 2012 post on the relationship between blogging and scholarship in other venues, but maybe not here. I’m sure I used his argument about institutional reputation in an e-mail or two with our deans…

• I’m not sure how I failed to echo American Historical Association executive director James Grossman, who argued last December in favor of a five-word firewall against the reckless, market-driven rhetoric of supposed “disruptive innovators”: “Education is a public good.

Jeff Selingo• Not sure what Grossman would think about the advice of education innovator Jeffrey Selingo (in a December 2013 piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education). Or if Bethel would weather the current crisis/restructuring in higher ed if it followed Selingo’s advice…

• And is survival at any cost appropriate? It may seem odd that I bookmarked this story from my denomination’s news service, about a church in New Jersey that closed after 117 years of ministry. But it was published last July, when I was wrestling with Bethel’s financial crisis and trying to come to grips with the conviction that a Christian college (like a Christian church) should not exist for the sake of existing — if its survival compromises its mission while its death can serve the larger Body of Christ, it should die.

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