That Was The Week That Was


• After the week started with conflicting evidence about evangelical attitudes on human sexuality, I urged more conversation on the topic.

• Two questions for historians: Is historical empathy actually possible? Is there a power struggle between historians and their subjects?

• And the story of an American atrocity in the middle of WWII reminded me of war’s corrosive effects on the soul.

…There and Everywhere

Gushee et al., Changing Our Mind• A few more commentaries on Tony Campolo’s announcement that he would now fully affirm committed same-sex couples: Carl Trueman lamented “the complete absence of any thoughtful argumentation in his articulation of his position”; Kyle Roberts found Campolo’s statement compelling, but didn’t think it would be a “tipping point” moment in an evangelical shift… unlike Cathleen Falsani.

• Meanwhile, David Gushee reflected on what he had learned since making a similar announcement last year.

• As the nation awaits a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, John Hawthorne considered potential implications for Christian colleges and universities.

• Theoloqui kicked off a new series on “Women Who Changed Our World” with Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom thinking about the meaning of the Hebrew term often translated as “helpmeet.”

• Jonathan Merritt is one of my favorite interviewers in religious journalism. His latest subject was apologist Nancy Pearsey.

• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: basketball Hall of Famer and critic of the Prosperity Gospel.

• Is Mormonism a form of Christianity? Roger Olson offered a long but thoughtful answer to the question, emphasizing that there’s no single Mormon answer to it. (See also the comments, especially those by LDS members.)

• Likewise, there’s no single evangelical understanding of Hell

• What’s the future of denominations? Even as Ed Stetzer emphasized the growth of non-denominational evangelical churches, Trevin Wax celebrated denominational particularity, calling such church membership a “matter of stewardship, a willingness to work within a denominational structure and make it better, not do away with it and start from scratch.”

• If you enjoyed my mini-reflections on the practice of history, be sure to check out a much more mature, sweeping statement: Grant Wacker’s farewell address at Duke Divinity School.

Women working in a bomber factory in 1942
Women working on a bomber in Long Beach, California in 1942 – Library of Congress

• In the past four years I’ve shared several links to Disunion, the Civil War blog for the New York Times; I don’t know if it’s going to disappear now that we’re past the 150th anniversary of the war, but if so, this Q&A with Ken Burns, David Blight, and two others is a good way to go out.

• NPR told the story of one of the few female Civil War reenactors, J.R. Hardman.

• On the anniversary of D-Day, Adina Johnson reported on the conflicted response of conservative Christians during World War II to “Rosie the Riveter.”

• Must-click of the week: David Guttenfelder’s striking multi-media essay on life in North Korea, “offering counterpoints to the cascade of officially arranged scenes.”

• If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you’ve seen lots of links in the past year about German universities offering free tuition to international students. The BBC reported on what that experience was like for a few young Americans who pursued that option.

• One Wharton professor argues that it’s foolish to pick a college major geared towards training you for a specific job: “You’d be better off with a liberal arts degree, partly because you would have learned more. The other thing about these majors is that they’re not costless to pursue, these very vocational majors, because there’s a bunch of things that you could have been learning that you’re not.”

iPad 3
Creative Commons (Zach Vega)

• Hunter Rawlings was dismayed that so much commentary on higher ed reduced it to a kind of commodity: “A college education… if it is a commodity, is no car. The courses the student decides to take (and not take), the amount of work the student does, the intellectual curiosity the student exhibits, her participation in class, his focus and determination — all contribute far more to her educational ‘outcome’ than the college’s overall curriculum, much less its amenities and social life. Yet most public discussion of higher ed today pretends that students simply receive their education from colleges the way a person walks out of Best Buy with a television.”

• Not surprisingly, a survey of 9,000 college professors revealed little love for student evaluations.

• Is blogging in decline?

• I’m with Joshua Kim: while I use a MacBook and an iPad, I can’t see the latter fully replacing the former. (My own experience trying to blog while traveling in Europe confirms his observation that “An iPad was designed as a content consumption device, not a content creation device. All the add-ons and apps in the world don’t turn it into what is what not intended to be.”)

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