That Was The Week That Was


• Devin Manzullo-Thomas returned with a second CCCU-inspired post on the relationship between Anabaptists and Evangelicals, this one featuring former Eastern Mennonite and CCCU president Myron Augsburger. (Thanks to both Real Clear Religion and Mennonite World Review for reposting this one!)

• Thanks in part to some Anabaptist studies of my own, I felt led to wrestle aloud with my conflicted feelings about football at Christian universities(If you read the initial version of this post yesterday morning, please note that I made one correction during the day: it was a Wartburg, and not a Bethel, assistant coach whose mid-game rant last Saturday inspired the post.)

• If nothing else, I think that Stephen Colbert might convince more people that faith, comedy, and joy go together.

…There (#FeelTheBern version)…

• The Bernie Sanders speech at Liberty University inspired lots of commentary. Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Steve Kolowich observed that Sanders’ attempt to quote scripture in support of his vision of social justice “drew sparse applause but mainly poker-face stares from the Liberty students who minutes earlier had been belting along to praise music.” Or, as Daniel Schultz put it in Religion Dispatches: “For the most part Bernie played things safe, and reaped a lot of ‘meh’ in return.”

• But Liberty student Erin Kotlan was probably clapping along.

• At The Hedgehog Review, Jeff Guhin concluded that “Bernie Sanders at Liberty is more than a momentary truce in the culture war. He’s an indication that the battle lines in that war are not nearly as clear as they might appear.”

• Noah Millman wondered if a university as identified with the left as Liberty is with the right would invite a conservative Christian equivalent of Sanders to it campus.

(Well, as John Turner pointed out, Rand Paul went to Cal-Berkeley last year: “Paul’s libertarianism, though, was a much better fit for Berkeley than Sanders’s political platform is for Liberty. One can only imagine what would transpire on many campuses should Donald Trump or Rick Santorum hazard a visit.”)

• John Fea not only live-tweeted the speech, but offered what I found to be the most persuasive analysis of it:

Sanders was not in Lynchburg today to win votes.  He was there to show that he is a man of deep conviction.  Sanders showed no fear at Liberty.  He did not soften his message.  He came across as an economic populist with a powerful moral message who was not willing to back down. In the process, Sanders strengthened his base today and probably even took a few more votes from Hillary Clinton.

…and Everywhere (other stuff)

Justin Welby in 2013
Justin Welby during a 2013 visit to Seoul – Creative Commons (Ellif)

• It’s not quite Sanders at Liberty, but you’ve got to appreciate Russell Moore taking to the pages of the New York Times to make an evangelical case against Donald Trump. (Including a comparison to a hilarious episode of The Office in the process.)

• Before Pope Francis arrives, some Catholics recalled the first visit of a pope to these shores. (Remember which pontiff?)

• While Catholic parishes decline in the Northeast and Midwest, they’re growing in the South and West.

• Will Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, loosen the ties holding together the Anglican Communion — in order to save some version of unity in face of disagreement over sexuality, women in ministry, and other issues?

• Elsewhere in Albion, the Labour Party somehow elected Jeremy Corbyn its leader, prompting Anne Applebaum to dismiss him as embodying “the dream of a world without political realities.”

• If, like me, you still can’t quite believe that horror film director Wes Craven was an alum of Wheaton College, get the story from David Swartz.

• Wesley Hill wrote a lovely piece for First Thoughts on how Christians approach death.

• Roger Olson argued that certainty is not something God expects of his people.

• I hope that this new play — about faith and certainty, among other things — eventually makes its way to a stage in the Upper Midwest.

Melrose Cottage at Cheyney University
The oldest building at the oldest HBCU, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania – Wikimedia

• An Ole Miss football fan tried to explain why it is that “The love of college football and its importance in life’s scheme are natural for a Southerner but difficult for the uninitiated to grasp.”

• Problems continue to mount at historically black colleges and universities, including the oldest member of that group: a public school in rural Pennsylvania.

• After the Obama Administration dropped its plan to develop a rating system for colleges, NPR invited three commentators to take a shot. That is, NPR’s show Planet Money invited an economist, a business school prof, and a New America Foundation official to take a shot. Take a guess what kind of outcomes they focused on.

• Another kind of education… Meet Norway’s publicly funded course on how to live like a Viking — “Rape and pillage are not part of the curriculum.”

• The taglines of Atlantic articles aren’t always apt, but this one on Americana worked for me: “The genre is hard to define, but easy to appreciate.” I’m not sure I could explain what it is, but some of my favorite singer-songwriters and bands were mentioned: Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, Wilco, the Avett Brothers, and new favorite Jason Isbell.

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