That Was The Week That Was


• The most interesting sailor, Civil War veteran, painter, linguist, pastor, theologian, and university founder you’ve never heard of had a birthday.

• Can Christians rehabilitate the word “piety“?

Our WWI trip: twenty-one days in Europe in just eleven photos.

• Video footage from that trip featured in the latest webisode from our department.

(For still more… I highly recommend this memoir of the trip written by one of our students.)

…There and Everywhere

• Derek Thompson’s article, “The Miracle of Minneapolis,” produced in inappropriate degree of boastfulness among us Minnesotans (judging by my Facebook feed, at least). But are the many benefits of life in the Twin Cities area available to the 20% of residents who aren’t white?

Panoramic photo of downtown Minneapolis
Licensed by Creative Commons (Bobak Ha’Eri)

• Ruth Graham asked why women are so much more susceptible to anti-vaccination claims than men — and why it’s so hard to talk about that disparity.

• Phyllis Tickle: “Whatever the female of the 22nd century is going to be spiritually, we just don’t know.”

• Guess which animated movie, when “viewed through the lens of Lutheran theology” may actually be “a stunning, if accidental, allegory for Christian faith and life.”

• Ash Wednesday produced a lot of interesting reflection in the blogosphere. Two highlights: Lily Burana on courage and repentance; and Jim Stump on hearing “to dust you shall return” in light of evolutionary biology.

• The execution of twenty-one Egyptian Christians by ISIS fighters in Libya led Collin Garbarino to reflect on the theology of martyrdom.

Volf, Allah: A Christian Response• His claim that “America was founded by folks who thought like” Islamist extremists will get the publicity, but read Miroslav Volf’s entire interview with Jonathan Merritt before dismissing the Yale professor’s views on Christianity and Islam.

• Which American states’ populations are more and less likely to attend church regularly? Not surprisingly, the South accounts for ten of the top twelve (Utah is #1), while New England claims half of the bottom ten.

• A pastor reflected on what it means for those with his calling to “put down roots.”

• Historians everywhere have been buzzing about Gordon Wood’s review of a new collection of essays by Bernard Bailyn. In short, Wood argues that too much American history produced by those influenced by the New Left is “fragmentary and essentially anachronistic—condemning the past for not being more like the present. It has no real interest in the pastness of the past.” While my own go-to source on U.S. history, John Fea, thought there was something to Wood’s argument, many of his blog readers and Facebook fans begged to differ. (For a more critical, but nuanced response to Wood, see this Junto post by William Black.)

• Meanwhile, Rod Dreher objected to both the right and left “politicizing” history.

• I’ve spent a lot of my life studying Nazi Germany, and I’ve read a fair amount about Mormonism. But until reading this interview, I had never once considered the response of German Mormons to the Third Reich.

• Just how effective are college history professors at teaching students to think historically?

McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving
I’m happy to be teaching Tracy’s book, The First Thanksgiving, this semester in our Intro to History course

• Some advice on how to do such teaching more effectively, from Tracy McKenzie.

• For fellow teachers: why it’s so hard and time-consuming to grade student writing, and how to rethink that process…

• …and some advice on integrating Wikipedia into courses.

• Is the “true promise of digitization” that it will be transform “the humanities into science”? (Good Lord, no, but read on.)

• I’ve occasionally tried my hand at describing higher education metaphorically. Here’s why we engage in such description.

• This isn’t “news” by any definition of the word, but I think it’s still worth saying: It’s still worth the cost (and debt accrued) to attend college.

• Amen to this op-ed by chemistry professor Loretta Jackson-Hayes: “…if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts.”

• Find of the week: a “new” Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle!

2 thoughts on “That Was The Week That Was

  1. Chris, I can’t seem to get your links to work. Tried, waited and tried again. No big deal. Just thought you might want to check into it.

    My head has been puzzling with the Pilgrim issue this week also. The Pilgrims were separatists, which is why they came to the New World. They nearly starved to death, which is cautionary for all of us who sometimes yearn for separation from the world. We are taught to hate the world and the values of the world but unless you are a good farmer, you better not go down that road all the way to the end.

    Moderate pietism does require some separation. If you are wallowing in worldly environments, your spiritual anchor can and will get pulled up. But we can separate without moving out of town and forming a commune.

    Anyway, the Pilgrim experience seems to offer a lot of lessons for us. Not least of which is the dilemma believers face when persecuted for their beliefs. The legal environment in the USA is now set up so persecution is possible. This information came from HouseChurchCentral. Freedom of religion, according to the courts, means that any person can believe what he wants, but does not guarantee he can practice his beliefs. Freedom of speech does not mean a pastor can preach against sin with impunity because an offended person could call it hate speech. (Just because nobody has prosecuted a pastor who preaches against coveting and materialism does not mean he could not be, if people report he calls such behavior evil and perhaps satanically inspired.) And zoning laws have been applied to shut down home worship activities, which in effect is a lot like what happened to conventicles in England.

    The net effect could become discouragement of teaching and preaching against lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life, which of course is basic to our faith. Some day it will be safer to exercise discretion in worship, perhaps even to withdraw to remote areas. When that day comes, maybe we can plan our move better than the Pilgrims did theirs.

    1. Hmm… I’m not quite sure why the links aren’t working for you, Jim. I’ve tried them on two devices and a couple different browsers, and they’re working alright. (And WordPress is recording clicks from other visitors.)

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