• Are American Christians entering a time of exile? (Are Christians ever not living in exile?) How can history guide us?
• Getting excited about stumbling across a term paper on Pietism by a college-aged John Howard Yoder is about the nerdiest thing I’ve done this year…
…There and Everywhere
• If you’ve been following the debates about sexuality at Christian colleges like Gordon and George Fox, please take time to read this post from Gordon provost Jan Curry, a Bethel alum and author of the preface to our forthcoming book on Pietism and Christian higher ed. A small sample:
Coming out of an evangelical, pietistic faith tradition, contrary to popular belief, does not lead to intolerance, but quite the opposite. Our students are able to engage deeply with other traditions because they understand and appreciate the depth at which beliefs are held. We take belief seriously. This has meant that we have always welcomed people of other faiths, or no faith, to dialogue with us at Gordon College. This has included LGBT community members. We are a place that desires and wishes for difficult conversations because it requires us to think more deeply about our faith.
• Then find some more time to read John Hawthorne (on the inadequacy of our “dialogues over religion and pluralism in a post-Christendom era”) and Julia Stronks (challenging those of us who work at faith-based institutions to think harder about the meaning of pluralism in a democratic society).
• Meanwhile, a number of Christian and church-related colleges and universities (e.g., Baylor, College of the Ozarks, Gettysburg, Lee, Notre Dame, Nyack, and University of the Incarnate Word) again did well in the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s annual survey of “Great Colleges To Work For.”
• How scholars at another Christian college are trying to help students think about vocation.
• Perhaps easy to overlook in William Deresiewicz’s polemic against Ivy League schools like the one he taught at and I attended is his claim that “Religious colleges—even obscure, regional schools that no one has ever heard of on the coasts—often… deliver a better education, in the highest sense of the word.”
• Over at Bethel at War… I explored the pacifist turn in interwar American churches — a movement that probably had little impact on the Bethel dean who thought wartime revealed that “We have among us very many Christian softies….” And Fletcher considered the moon landing (forty-five years later) as public theology.
• So it’s not untrue that taxis helped save Paris early in World War I — but there was much more to the First Battle of the Marne.
• The German government posted 700,000 WWI documents online. (H/T Tim Johnson)
• I’ve mentioned Philip Jenkins’ book about religion and WWI several times, but also worth noting here is the reissue in paperback of Jonathan Ebel’s Faith in the Fight.
• WWI led directly to the creation of the state of Iraq, where the destruction of Jonah’s tomb was just another indicator of the eradication of Christianity in one of its oldest homes.
• Is WWI the best historical analogue to what’s happening in the Middle East? Or is that region becoming the scene for a “new cold war”? Perhaps the Thirty Years War?
• I missed it last week, but because I write so often about the act of commemoration, I wanted to make sure to draw readers’ attention to Conor Friedersdorf’s thought experiment about “subversive monuments.”
• Meanwhile, Amazon.com marked its twentieth anniversary.
• Fifteen good reasons to use hymnals.
• Why Jack White’s newest album is both good (musically) and misbegotten (theologically).
• It happened last week, as it does at least once a year: I got the irresistible desire to listen to three or four Tom Petty albums, and I convinced myself that he’s one of the most important singer-songwriters in the rock era. Which made it a perfect time for Grantland‘s Stephen Hyden to review Petty’s nearly-forty year career. (That still doesn’t make The Last DJ a good album, but Hyden is right that the She’s the One soundtrack is “the most underrated album in Petty’s canon.”)