That Was The Week That Was


• Can a Pietist institution redefine and renew Christian higher education? That’s the plan.

• Advice of the week to churches: don’t overlook college professors when filling leadership positions.

• Thanks again to Devin Manzullo-Thomas for joining us on this week’s Pietist Schoolman Podcast!

• The polls are still open this weekend if you’d like to vote for a new visual theme for this blog. Right now Gateway is lapping the field, but there’s still time for Baskerville to catch up…

…There and Everywhere

• Patheos’ forum on the future of evangelicalism deserves a good hour or two of your attention, but if you only have time for, oh, four of the 27 posts… Soong-Chan Rah saw a global and multi-ethnic future for evangelicalism… Chris Armstrong emphasized that evangelicalism, with its “fundamental immediatism,” has long been driven by youth culture… Jennifer Woodruff Tait thought the future might hold a more unified American Protestantism… Harold Heie believed that an evangelical center grounded in humility, diversity, and shared commitment to reconciliation could hold.

• One thing that’s not in the future of evangelicalism is leadership by Franklin Graham. His offensive remarks about Muslim immigrants continued to draw rebuke from evangelicals like Baptist writer Jonathan Merritt and this Texas pastor who joined Muslim leaders in standing up to Graham.

Goshen College
Goshen was joined by Eastern Mennonite in changing its faculty employment policy (Creative Commons – Liz DeCoster)

• My colleague Jeannine Brown explained why Matthew 25 really does refer to “the poor” and others who are “the least of these,” and not to Christian business owners coerced into providing wedding services to same-sex couples.

Two Mennonite schools became the first members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities to allow the hiring of faculty in same-sex marriages. Look for a guest post on this next week!

• Is this country making marriage (of any sort) into an idol? And are Christian churches leading the way in that idolatry?

• The Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage seemed to carry a sense of inevitability with it. But what do we do with a pair of major polls showing that at least a significant minority of Americans disagreed with the ruling? Mark Movsesian offered a reasonable set of conservative interpretations, reminding readers that “Constitutional law doesn’t turn on opinion polls” while nonetheless observing a deepening polarization in American political culture.

• First Thoughts also offered this thoughtful piece on postures of prayer, by Matthew Young.

• More appreciation for Ta-Nehesi Coates’ searing memoir on racism came from John Hawthorne: “I’ll be honest — this was a difficult read. It reminded me of how insulated and isolated my life is. But also of how I follow a Jesus who identified with those in need. Who worked for justice and righteousness bodily, including the sacrifice of his life at the whim of those in authority. Of how I should follow that path but so often fall short.”

• The conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod expelled a Valparaiso professor for questioning church teachings on women’s ordination and creation/evolution.

• Check out this study of megachurches around the world. (Teaser: only two of the ten cities with the highest total megachurch attendance are in this country.)

Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494)
Part of the story is the mystery of Pico’s early death in 1494 (Wikimedia)

• I’m not sure what historians would do if Roger Olson were proven wrong about God’s (in)ability to change the past

• Well, they could also sit on a park bench with Tracy McKenzie and enjoy a book.

• I’m less interested in the Italian Renaissance that just about any era in European history, but even I found the story of Pico della Mirandola fascinating…

• Timothy Snyder found that Europe today is facing two crises: how the Greek economic crisis demonstrates the inherent challenge of having a common currency without a common budget; but also how Russian behavior in eastern Ukraine is forcing a philosophical crisis over the shared values that make Europeans European.

• Thomas Kidd restated the importance of historians using social media to reach out to audiences they’ve too long neglected.

Map of the week: a painstaking effort to chart some of the most famous road trips in American literary history.

• I’m not sure that Wilco’s surprise album, Star Wars (given away for free from the band’s website), is one of my favorites in the band’s catalog, but Spencer Kornhaber’s certainly right that it shows Jeff Tweedy and Co. to be “some of the most generous experimentalists to ever pick up guitars.”

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