That Was The Week That Was

I’ll be at Bethel’s commencement exercises in an hour, so a relatively short set of links this Saturday morning:


• What does it mean to be Midwestern?

• Speaking of, Bethel’s annual West by Midwest workshop was a great success!

• I love the surprising conversations we’re having as The Pietist Schoolman Podcast goes farther and farther afield of our book on Christian higher ed… This week: a volleyball coach talking about character formation and public policy, and an exercise physiologist on Lectio divina and other spiritual disciplines.

• Summer doesn’t really start until grades are turned in, but it’s never too early to dream of the books I hope to read.

• One you should think about adding to your list: Becoming Grace, co-edited by guest-blogger Jared Burkholder.

…There and Everywhere

Kidd & Hankins, Baptists in America• Newly discovered: Martin Luther’s own annotated copy of The Freedom of a Christian!

• It wasn’t on my reading list, but I’m sure I’ll take a look at Thomas Kidd and Barry Hankins’ history of Baptists in America. Kidd shared an interesting excerpt this week at The Anxious Bench: about Baptist responses to the American Revolution.

• John Merriman’s history of the Paris Commune did make my reading list — and apparently I have a lot to look forward to.

• As we near the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, one British historian concludes that it “did not need to be fought—and the world would have been better off if it hadn’t been.”

• Anthony Beevor’s unflinching coverage of the atrocities committed by the Allies in World War II got Rod Dreher reflecting on evil in history: “For me, the most intellectually and morally difficult task is facing the horror of what Our Side (e.g., our ancestors, our country, our church) did in a given situation, without surrendering to the despair of nihilism….It is a recurrent theme in human history that we tell ourselves lies to hide our own complicity in evil from ourselves, and to absolve ourselves of guilt.”

Phyllis Tickle• If my summary of the Pew Religious Landscape report caught your eye, check out John Hawthorne’s much more sophisticated analysis.

• One Presbyterian pastor forced himself to read Crefio Dollar and found some actual moral wisdom buried in the Prosperity Gospel nonsense: “…if you actually did all of this stuff, and took this gifted huckster’s advice, there’s a very real chance you might … be a pretty good person. A faithful person. You’d pray a whole bunch. You’d give generously of yourself to charities and to neighbors and to strangers. You’d view it as your responsibility. You’d strive to improve yourself, both viewing success as a gift and having the hope-fueled resilience to hold up under adversity. You’d be helpful, gracious, and giving.”

• I’ve just started using Phyllis Tickle’s series of fixed-hour prayer books again… While I was sorry to hear that she has lung cancer, her reply is unsurprising to anyone who has read her: “Am I grateful for this? Not exactly. But I’m not unhappy about it.”

• Now that she’s done blogging, Claire Potter wrote a fascinating reflection on her experience: “Blogging as the Tenured Radical not only allowed me to think seriously and productively about what brought me to this profession in the first place—it also gave me practice in inhabiting and developing another character entirely.”

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