That Was The Week That Was


• Jared and biblical scholar D. Brent Sandy dug into what “The Lost World of Scripture” has to teach evangelicals about hermeneutics and inerrancy.

• A good week for people who treasure the history of Swedish-American Pietist denominations: the archives of the Baptist General Conference won an award, and those interested in the history of the Evangelical Covenant Church found new venues on social media. (More on both denominations’ histories next week!)

• Not just English and Spanish, Americans speak everything from French and Russian to Tagalog and Cherokee. (Click through mostly for the maps from Slate, if you haven’t already seen them on Facebook.)

…There and Everywhere

Rachel Held Evans• It was refreshing to hear someone be introduced to the notion of Christians reading the same texts as the same time: “This is exactly how the Bible is meant to be engaged—collaboratively, in community, with a diversity of people and perspectives represented.” And while I don’t have the time to commit to blogging the lectionary alongside her this summer, I think Rachel Held Evans is right that “the internet has given us the opportunity to do that like never before, bringing even more laypeople (like myself) into the conversation.”

• Another important post from RHE: “Is God a man?

• One interesting effect of the kidnapping of Christian girls in Nigeria: Christians for Biblical Equality standing with staunch complementarian John Piper.

• Religion reporter Mark Oppenheimer reflected on the terminology of “fundamentalist” and “evangelical.”

• Peter Enns suggested how evangelicals can honor their own tradition without asserting that it’s “the best iteration of Christianity.”

Rea, Why Church History Matters• I’m certainly happy to see more and more books encouraging ordinary Christians to study church history, but I’ll be honest: I mostly wanted to know if Rea rhymes with Fea

• Are you a military history buff planning on taking a long trip? Check out Adam Hochschild’s review of audio books on World War I.

• More good stuff on Christianity in WWI from Philip Jenkins: a long-forgotten but rather shockingly religious novel from H.G. Wells.

• Randall Balmer argued that Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the 1980 presidential election marked “the eclipse of progressive evangelicalism in favor of a political agenda virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party itself.”

• See, I’m not the only one who dislikes “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

• The most appalling statistics I’ve seen in a while, courtesy of a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League: “Only 54 percent of the world’s population has heard of the Holocaust…. But that figure speaks to only those who have heard of it: Only a third of the world’s population believe the genocide has been accurately described in historical accounts.”

• While overall college enrollment was down a bit for the third year in a row (and fell sharply among older students and at for-profit institutions), at four-year private colleges it actually went up nearly 1% this spring.

• Calvin College managed to raise $25 million (all anonymously) in eight months just to pay down its $115 million debt. (In the process ignoring the very good advice of an acquaintance of mine from church quoted in the story.)

Calvin College Chapel
Calvin College Chapel – Creative Commons (Ejd24)

• I hope any Christian college administrators who happen to read this blog read this post from sociologist John Hawthorne: “Leaders stand at a pivotal point in this generational succession. A Christian University leader who can engage the current generation and look down the road toward the next will serve her institution well, develop key commitments in the current generation, and show the relevance of Christian education to the rising generation. One who lacks courage is far more likely to hold a hard line and create antagonism with the current generation, increasing the odds that the rising generation will fine the university irrelevant.”

• Roger Olson’s series on Christian worldview culminated in a rich meditation on the meaning of faith-learning integration. I’ve been a bit jaded about the language of “worldview” and “integration,” but I’m certainly on board with Roger’s concluding definition: “Faith-learning integration is all about providing an intellectually rigorous environment where Christian students (and others who may come) are not indoctrinated into anti-Christian metaphysics but shown how all truth is God’s truth.” (Hey, have I mentioned that Roger wrote a chapter on teaching and scholarship in our forthcoming book on Pietism and Christian higher ed?)

• Us liberal arts types all like to trumpet how our model of education produces critical thinkers, but I appreciated this warning from the president of Wesleyan University: “In campus cultures where being smart means being a critical unmasker, students may become too good at showing how things can’t possibly make sense. They may close themselves off from their potential to find or create meaning and direction from the books, music and experiments they encounter in the classroom.”

Jill Lepore• Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m most sympathetic to the perspective of the historian on this humanities-in-crisis panel: Harvard’s Jill Lepore, who wants humanists both to “explore timeless questions and universal truths” and to engage in a “dedicated reimagining of what we do.” (Chronicle subscription required)

• Why university presses are too important to fail — or, as the director of one such publisher put it, “I like doing things that are impossible, and there’s nothing more impossible than university-press publishing.”

• Not an easy thing for people the age of my students to hear, but important: “Their path may not be clear. Life might be pretty confusing. But when they are older and looking back on their life, that’s when their vocation becomes clear.

• I came into college an International Relations major, and switched to History in part because I disliked the required economics coursework so much. So count me as cheering on this particular student rebellion.

• When I was about to graduate from college I can’t I was too thrilled by my alma mater’s choice of commencement speaker, but it never occurred to me to protest the decision. But the recent rash of such protests led Amanda Hess to conclude that they “reveal less about the speakers than the students’ own entitlement—students who believe they have paid for the right to a commencement experience that perfectly reflects both the stature and the political values of their elite higher educations. They want their commencements to be both high in profile and rich in personal meaning. That’s not just political correctness gone awry; that’s a bunch of 22-year-olds thinking they are owed exactly the experience they want. On the other hand: A uniquely tailored experience is just what elite schools are promising their students in exchange for their astronomical costs.”

• The firing of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson got lots of press here in the States, overshadowing the resignation of the woman who edits the equivalent newspaper in France.

• As a longtime Jeopardy fan/would-be contestant, I found this not-entirely-flattering profile of (outgoing?) host Alex Trebek hugely interesting.

• Wait, wait… So you’re telling me that the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to a country with no soccer culture and temperatures so hot that $200 billion would have to be spent to built entirely new air-conditioned stadiums using poorly treated migrant labor was a “mistake”(See more on the Qatar World Cup and other international sporting events hosted by countries with lousy human rights records in this story from Freedom House.)

3 thoughts on “That Was The Week That Was

  1. “When I was about to graduate from college I can’t I was too thrilled by my alma mater’s choice of commencement speaker, but it never occurred to me to protest the decision.”

    I am with you here, Chris–and, alas, I cannot remember what Scalia actually said to us that day. And did you see that W&M just brought him back this past weekend as the commencement speaker for the law school?

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