• I realized the nerdiest dream any Christian scholar could dream: being published in Books and Culture.
• Is Lamentations one of the Bible’s “most neglected” books? What other texts are in that category?
• As I inched closer to the beginning of the semester, I had much less to say about Christian higher ed per se… But the still-unresolved situation with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities did get me thinking what we mean when we say we’re “holding to our convictions” and that we want “Christian unity.”
…There (Other Christian Higher Ed Stuff)…
• In addition to picking up my “Christian unity” post, Mennonite World Review offered its own reporting on the CCCU situation, helpful both for its insights from Mennonite institutions and for a quotation from a CCCU vice-president claiming that all but one of the presidents contacted have supported the consortium’s deliberative process.
• Fellow Conference on Faith and History member Dave Bruno shared his thoughts on Christian unity and disunity, including an excellent idea involving “silent ambassadors.”
• That First Things would invite Scot McKnight to respond to Carl Trueman’s post on the CCCU just solidifies my high opinion of that conservative forum.
• More bad news for a CCCU institution (with a different kind of connection to the topic of marriage)… This time a Southern Baptist school in South Carolina whose most influential president’s recent retirement suddenly seems suspicious.
• Bad as things are some places in the Christian college world, I think I’d rather my daughter grow up to attend that kind of institution, and not some others.
…and Everywhere (Other Topics)
• Facing a $21 million deficit this year, the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board needs to cut at least 600 missionaries.
• What to make of the evangelical support for Donald Trump? I mean, this is a Republican who is so awkward handling questions about religion that his failure to name a favorite Bible verse inspired an amusing Twitter hashtag.
After pointing out that evangelicals aren’t any more likely than other Republicans to support Trump (i.e., 80% aren’t, but that’s split sixteen ways — see also an earlier post by Nate Silver on this), Elizabeth Bruenig suggested a few plausible reasons “why any evangelical would have even the vaguest inclination toward him whatsoever.”
• I probably disagree with Rod Dreher more often than I agree with him, but his writing can be heartrending and lovely — as in the case of several posts this week about his father’s death. For example: “If anyone thinks of the sick, the elderly, or the infirm as useless — or if they think of themselves as useless — send them to me. They are gifts to the rest of us to make us more compassionate, and more Christ-like, therefore more human. It was hard to look upon the wreckage of my once-handsome, once-strong father’s body as he lay dying this past week, but it was also a lesson in humanity, and a lesson in divinity.”
• Also at The American Conservative, Alan Jacobs mused about the value of thought experiments.
• Lesson of the day in how to talk like a historian: Use the word ‘periodization,’ then complain about how it obscures reality.
• Most of the ancient period of human history is made murky by a scarcity of evidence. With the notable exception of one thirty-year period in the 19th century B.C….
• Not quite 500 years after he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, Martin Luther will get a Roman piazza named after him.
• I hope a touring version of Hamilton will hit the Twin Cities next summer; I’m fascinated at a distance by the new Broadway musical about the Founding Father, written by a Latino playwright and acted largely by African American and Latino actors who “do not reject American history but claim it as their own, to be interpreted in light of their own experience.”
• Allen Guelzo reflected on the role of religion in the American Civil War, which took place at a time in the country’s history when Americans “were probably as thoroughly Christianized a people as they have ever been.”
• A question for college faculty and administrators: does this English professor-turned-provost overstate the degree to which the former distrust and disdain the latter?
• I appreciate that the 40th anniversary of Born to Run was a major event for some of my Springsteen-loving friends, but this week’s real landmark in the history of popular music was the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. (Maybe it’s a Minnesotan thing: not only is that album the greatest released by our favorite son, but it’s named after our most famous road and came out the same summer the Twins won their first American League pennant.)
• The NPR segment where they had millennials listen to the album is hilarious. My favorite reactions were entirely predictable: “Taylor Swift would probably date him [Dylan] for a little bit” and “He’d definitely be a South by Southwest hit.”