That Was The Week That Was

Year five of The Pietist Schoolman certainly got off to a busy start! I’m not sure how to possibly do justice to everything that happened just in the last day, let alone week, but here goes…


• Whatever your view of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage, I hope you listened to the joy and hurt in Andrew Sullivan’s response.

• At least for the foreseeable future, I have little doubt that Christians will continue to debate sexuality and marriage… which might make Pope Francis’ notion of “reconciled diversity” all the more relevant.

• Curious about the response of peace churches to the American Revolution? C-SPAN and our friend Jared Burkholder can help you out.

Five things I wish everyone knew about Pietists started simply: We exist.

• In case you missed it a week ago: this year’s World Refugee Day saw some troubling history being made.

…There and Everywhere

Rainbow flag waving before Supreme Court in April 2015
Licensed by Creative Commons (Ted Eytan)

• Could yesterday’s marriage ruling be a blessing in disguise for evangelicals and Republicans, permitting them to refocus energies on other issues? Probably not in the minds of those who signed an “Evangelical Declaration on Marriage” or those who contributed to a First Things forum decrying the decision.

• In a different way, British evangelical Mark Woods thought the decision was a good thing, in that it “is an invitation to do some theology” about the separate roles of church and state, and to focus on the problems of divorce and family breakdown.”

• Roger Olson hoped that the ruling would cause conservatives to reconsider their view of the United States as a “Christian nation,” though he suspected they were “already so accommodated to Americanism” that they’ll come to accept same-sex marriage.

• Of all the responses, I probably resonated the most with two writers. First, Jacob Lupfer: “Today, as ever, the middle is an unpopular place to be. But I suspect I am not the only one who does not believe that my gay friends are vile sinners or that my traditional religious friends are retrograde bigots.”

• Second, Benjamin Moberg, who celebrated the ruling as a gay Christian but also showed a great deal of empathy for those who opposed it. I hope LBGT-affirming and non-affirming Christians alike heed his recommendations for how they can act together moving forward.

In other news…

Confederate cemetery in Virginia
Memorial Day 2012 at the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg, VA – Creative Commons (Shannon Hauser)

• As obviously significant as the Friday Supreme Court decision was, it was even more amazing to watch how quickly the myth of the Confederate “Lost Cause” evaporated in the wake of the Charleston shootings, as Stars and Bars came down literally and figuratively around the South. If you still think that symbol represents a noble cause and not white supremacy, read Ta-Nehesi Coates and then Tony Horwitz.

• A couple of remarkable visualizations of change over time: sixteen thousand slave ship voyages in a two-minute animation; photographs of Civil War battlefields, then and now.

• Another example of change over time: the American diet, which has dispensed with eel pie and roast beaver and replaced syllabub with smoothies.

• The surprising ambivalence about immigration among post-WWII Latino leaders (including Cesar Chavez) caused historian Eladio Bobadilla to reflect on empathy and distance.

• Looking at Russia’s recent foreign policy, David Frum wondered if the Cold War ever truly ended. While Masuda Hajimu argues that the Korean War was the crucible of a Cold War that looks very different as you go past the US-USSR relationship.

• Finally, higher ed made its own big news this past week: after two years of discussion, the Department of Education decided to ditch its plan to create a national system to rate colleges and universities; and Sweet Briar College received a last-minute reprieve and will be open in 2015-2016. The Chronicle of Higher Education talked to the school’s new president.

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