That Was The Week That Was


• Is it a “farce” that Christian colleges are accredited by the federal government? Does faith make academic freedom impossible? Have at it, all sorts of terrific Christian scholars who don’t write for this blog!

• Ed Gilbreath’s Birmingham Revolution got me thinking about the time that Martin Luther King, Jr. came closest to speaking at what’s now Bethel University.

• Yes, I do work in the summer — if “work” includes producing multiple series of webisodes.

…There and Everywhere

Duriez, Tolkien and Lewis• My four-year old son loved watching the World Cup. Which means that I’d better keep him away from this or else I’ll never get to watch sports that Americans dominate again.

• No one could make a bad movie about the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, right? Oh, the director is best known for this and this, you say. Hmm…

• Anyway, I’m more interested in this Tolkien project, given that it centers on his experience of World War I.

• As for Lewis, Tracy McKenzie convinced me that I would do worse than to re-read The Screwtape Letters again, particularly the letter about “The Historical Point of View.”

• Philip Yancey reflected on changes in publishing over the course of his career.

• A set of problems that’s probably not unique to philosophy among the humanities: “In the majority of graduate programs, students are overworked and underpaid during their time in school, and they have few prospects for work once they graduate. And the beneficiaries of this system—again, setting aside the pleasure of studying philosophy for a period of one’s life—are the universities, which save costs on instruction, and the professors, who practice their specialties in graduate courses and use their reduced workload to produce philosophical research.”

• Just when I was starting to like Wikipedia, we meet the 53-year old Swede who is responsible for authoring nearly 10% of its entire collection of articles.

Warren G. Harding
Warren Harding campaigning in 1920 – Library of Congress

• Added to the list of ironclad certainties now undergoing revision: that Warren G. Harding was a generally terrible president.

• An early advocate of diplomatic historians’ taking religion seriously (I quoted him in my November 2013 post on this subject) was pleased to see some movement on that front — and cautious.

• This week at Bethel at War, my summer digital history project… I looked at the influenza epidemic of 1918-1920, and Fletcher Warren found a fascinating array of Baptist General Conference responses to the 1964-1967 phase of American participation in the Vietnam War. (As usual, the BGC defies easy categorization.)

• I’ll be interested to see if Fletcher’s research into the Bethel experience of the War on Terror lets him interview any veterans now in college. He’ll likely find that they don’t exactly fit in with their fellow millennials.

• Are all people — even atheists — “hard wired to believe in someone or something above nature”?

• Two fascinating posts at the Religion in American History blog: Elesha Coffman told of the scandal of football in a post-WWI Christian college, and Laura Arnold Leibman considered the impact of the Internet on how we respond to death.

• One new Lutheran denomination got a less than friendly response when it applied to join the Lutheran World Federation.

• Theoloqui continued its strong start with this post by Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, on why reading the Bible needs “converting hearts” and a “high ratio of centrality to authority.”

• Another great post by a fellow Covenanter: Efrem Smith on why suburban churches like mine need to demonstrate the “insight, humility, and a stronger Kingdom mindset” necessary to learn from urban churches; and why the urban church “will have to decide if she is willing to strive to become a better missional teacher to suburban churches” and “admit the ways in which she has been held captive to the things of this world such as the race matrix.”

• It’s hardly uncommon to see Christians appeal to the young Jesus’ experience seeking refuge in Egypt when seeking guidance about the hot topic of immigration. But Adam Ericksen offered a still more powerful way of seeing Christ in the immigrant: “Jesus immigrated from the Father to the world. And what did we humans do to him? We told him that he wasn’t welcome. We expelled him as a victim of our own violence. By being expelled to the cross, Jesus identifies himself with all victims of violence. Jesus became an immigrant who was expelled from this world so that we might stop expelling immigrants.”

• Another imaginative rethinking of something Christians take for granted: Christena Cleveland on Communion.

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