That Was The Week That Was


• Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the still-remarkable fall of the Berlin Wall.

• Further thoughts on Christian colleges and racial-ethnic diversity: do CCCU schools mirror the populations of the metro areas they inhabit?

• A funeral inspired me to rethink how history provides a kind of Christian testimony to those who study it.

• And I put together a few of the metaphors for the Christian liberal arts that I’ve played around with the last couple of years.

…There and Everywhere

• Dear extraverts: here are ten ways that introverts like me interact with the world differently than you. The two most true of me: “They physically can’t stand talking on the phone” and “They succeed on stage — just not in the chit-chat afterwards.”

• A hundred years after World War I started, war debt is still being paid off.

• Even as “our culture is borne along by the flow of enormous progressive inertia,” Wilfred McClay pondered how WWI permanently problematized progress.

• About five years after the same thing happened at Auschwitz, the “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work shall set you free”) sign on the gate to Dachau has been stolen.

The gate of Dachau

• Even The Economist is taking note of the explosion of Christianity in China. Equally remarkably, it recognized the Constantinian paradox looming in that country: “…religious freedom, if it ever takes hold, might harm the Christian church in two ways. The church might become institutionalised, wealthy and hence corrupt, as happened in Rome in the high Middle Ages, and is already happening a little in the businessmen’s churches of Wenzhou. Alternatively the church, long strengthened by repression, may become a feebler part of society in a climate of toleration. As one Beijing house-church elder declared, with a nod to the erosion of Christian faith in western Europe: ‘If we get full religious freedom, then the church is finished.'”

• Did Brittany Maynard actually commit suicide when she sought a physician’s assistance to end her life before the cancer in her brain did?

• A new study found that while large majorities of men and women in the evangelical nonprofit world think that women can and should be leaders, only about 20% of leadership positions in their organizations are actually held by women.

• That study was co-led by Janel Curry, the Gordon College provost who contributed a preface to our Pietism/higher ed book. Meanwhile, her boss, Michael Lindsay, talked with the Associated Press about the sexuality controversy that raged at Gordon earlier this year.

• Can education actually “transform” students? No, argued Megan Von Bergen, but Jesus can: “As a master gardener fertilizes the soil and tends his plants with care, but waits for the rain, so I wait for Christ to transform my students, while doing what I can to promote and encourage that transformation when it comes. All the readings, papers and difficult discussions I assign are part of this work. But I also pray for my students. If it is in Christ alone which they are made new, then I beseech Christ that He will indeed make my students new.”

• Kyle Roberts reflected on how the “bowling alone” phenomenon seems to have a “churching alone” analogue.

MLK Memorial
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington – National Parks Service

• It was good to see Chris Armstrong get back to his blog, now that he’s settled into his new position at Wheaton College. Over a series of posts this week, he shared a revised introduction to his forthcoming book Getting Medieval: An Exploration with C.S. Lewis.

• Roger Olson applauded Christians who have tried to “Christianize” capitalism, but ultimately, he found their efforts “like band aids on a cancer; capitalism is a system that naturally encourages the strong to oppress the weak. It’s [sic] only philosophical justification is Social Darwinism. As a system it requires participants, capitalists, to think, decide and act as if God does not exist.”

• Are there limits to the effectiveness of the nonviolent resistance popularized by Gandhi and MLK?

• “For most of us, the music and singing of our congregation is one of the major reasons we picked it,” observed Sean Palmer. “And that’s the problem.”

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