That Was The Week That Was


• Would you be interested in reading Pia Desideria for our time?

• If you live in the Twin Cities (or are willing to drive a great distance), you can listen to me preview some potential themes of such a book tomorrow morning.

• Making a comeback: hagiography.

• Another year, another (Christian) college ranking.

• One important challenge facing such schools: racial reconciliation. Learn more on this week’s Pietist Schoolman Podcast.

…There and Everywhere

Pope Francis in 2014
Licensed by Creative Commons (Jeffrey Bruno)

• Did you know that Pope Francis has an encyclical on the environment coming out this month? A veteran Vatican reporter made some educated guesses about what it will say — and how it will be misunderstood.

• See also Garry Wills’ reflection on the pope’s choice of name and what he has in common with his namesake.

• Baptists are more popular than Pentecostals, and Millennial “nones” are more open to attending church than you’d think: two overgeneralized takeaways from a recent survey of 1,000 American adults.

• What do Baptists have in common with Muslims (according to the co-author of a new history of the former)?

• Looking for a quick historical survey of the relationship between science and Christianity? Mark Noll just made your day.

• While reporting the uglier rhetoric of some conservative Christians responding to the Caitlyn Jenner story, Emma Green also pointed out that they reveal “an important difference in understandings about what gender identity and sexuality actually mean—and indicate how difficult it will be to reconcile transgender identity with the beliefs of certain Christians, both culturally and politically.”

• I also appreciated Steve Thorngate’s post on this topic, which ended by lamenting that more conservatives didn’t simply choose to listen: “What’s frustrating about these social conservative reactions to Jenner isn’t that people care so much about traditional morality. It’s that they think it’s useful to dismissively rant against an experience that’s so often been marginalized and attacked—and that isn’t their own.”

• Are some Christians too generous with their money, their time, and their forgiveness?

• Twenty-five historians picked 20th century moments that “changed America.” Two of the most pleasant surprises on the list: Jon Butler on Thomas Dorsey; Akira Iriye on the American Disabilities Act.

• “The reality or truth about the past,” observed historian Walter Moss, “can come to us in different ways. The works of professional historians are generally better at conveying facts and interpretations that appeal to the intellect as opposed to the emotions and imagination, which historical fiction and films sometimes better reveal.”

• Imagine you’ve got a spare $400 million and would like to engage in some philanthropy. Did “give it to a university that already has $43 billion in total wealth” jump to mind as the best use of your hypothetical money? If so, then you should definitely click this link.

• Elsewhere in higher ed, the 2014-2015 academic year was the last in the history of another small college.

• Even as faculty, regents, and legislators wrestle over the future of tenure in the University of Wisconsin System, some scholars wonder if we tenured professors care more about preserving our status than we do about the working conditions of colleagues not on the tenure track.

• It’s only been five months, but I already miss travel in Europe.

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