That Was The Week That Was


• I could think of worse things than spending two days in Malibu, California talking about how historians use social media or help institutions manage change.

• A Pietist model of Christian scholarship: scholarship that transforms scholars, and might not center on the production of knowledge. (Part three in that series will look to the relationship of scholarship to the church and the world.)

• Likewise, the reasons I’m glad I majored in history had little to do with historical knowledge.

…There and Everywhere

Student Life at Bethel University
From the Student Life page at Bethel…

• He’s buying into the very bifurcation that David Williams bemoans in the first chapter of our forthcoming book on Pietism and higher ed (that professors shape the head while student development staff attend to the heart), but I do suspect that Michael Hammond is on to something here: “The study of secularization and integration of faith and learning has typically focused on scholars and leaders of institutions that have shaped the narrative by massive policy shifts or scholarly works. Looking into student affairs gets closer to a social history that measures change by the student experience.”

• Check out the “modest assignment than [sic] gets immodest reactions” from students in David Swartz’s World Civilizations course at Asbury University. (This is why I’m a bit perturbed at Hammond setting up the “holistic development” of college students as separate from “the learning outcomes that are the focus of most faculty members.”) Anyway, I’ll be stealing this.

• Another false binary, from one of the leading lights at a preaching festival held last month here in the Twin Cities: “Evangelicals preach with salvation in mind, while mainliners seem more focused on discipleship.”

• Jay Case responded to Bill O’Reilly on “white privilege”: “Socially, the two of us have a certain privilege because of the color of our skin — through no fault, action, or decision of ours.  That has economic ramifications.  The United States is interesting in that historically, it has offered both opportunities and privileges to poorer whites but denied them to blacks and people of color.  We haven’t fully resolved that issue yet.”

G.K. Chesterton
1905 Photograph of G.K.C. – Library of Congress

• Andy Crouch (via Chris Armstrong) on the “missing chapters” in the Bibles of those Christians who struggle to connect work with flourishing.

• Tracy McKenzie looked back to a comment from G.K. Chesterton to explain why it’s so worrisome that some “well-meaning Christians have allowed their very identity as believers to become intertwined with particular interpretations of American history.”

• While I resonate strongly with McKenzie’s call for Christian historians to recover their calling to serve the Church (that’ll show up in next week’s conclusion to the Pietism and Christian scholarship series), I also nodded along with all of John Fea’s post on the challenges of being an intellectual in evangelical churches.

• Why is it that digital humanities talk rather turns to the subject of undergraduate teaching?

• It’s been great getting to work with one of my students on the digital history project I mentioned late in April. (I’ll have more about our progress next week, but you can check out the project blog that we started yesterday.) At the same time, I’ve already run into my chief limitation as a digital historian: I don’t know much coding. Fortunately, it sounds like some really bright — and wealthy — minds are committed to simplifying computer programming.

• Much of my work so far on that project has focused on how Bethel Academy and Seminary experienced World War I — a conflict that Dennis Showalter aptly described as “semi-modern.”

Fest, Not I• I’m sure there were at least two books by the late Joachim Fest on my grad school reading lists. According to one reviewer, Fest’s “absorbing memoir is an unprecedented attempt to take American audiences deep into Hitler’s Germany from the point of view of Germans who rejected Hitler.”

• Happy World Cup 2014, everyone: According to an economist at the University of Michigan, “soccer” — as an alternative term for “football” — is actually “a British import. And the Brits used it often—until, that is, it became too much of an Americanism for British English to bear.”

• Well, this is troubling: Russian president Vladimir “Putin’s high approval rating among young people tops even his numbers among an older generation that remembers the days of empire and views Crimea — and even Ukraine — as essentially Russian.” Can’t wait to teach my Cold War class next spring!

• Matthew Bowman was impressed by a new film whose makers “are working hard to detach their advocacy of immigration reform from any particular political agenda and instead to frame it in terms of evangelical understanding of the nature and future of Christianity.”

• Let’s hope it turns this trend around.

• Among lots of other comments on Bowdoin College’s impending de-recognition of Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, see those from John Turner and Gregory Pine.

• I’m curious to see how this interview with N.T. Wright will be received by the many progressive Christians who love his theology but disagree sharply with his views on sexuality and marriage. Can they agree to disagree, or do they actually share the view of their most conservative opponents that these issues are not adiaphora?

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