That Was The Week That Was

Here…

• The situation in the CCCU came to a somewhat surprising conclusion (for the moment). I noted a few lingering questions, but will wait till Monday to offer some belated reflections on the departure of Goshen and Eastern Mennonite.

• CCCU vice president of academic affairs Rick Ostrander shared his experience of that crisis, plus his vision for the CCCU moving forward.

• Lots more on Pope Francis’ historic visit below — I just noted that it came at an interesting moment in Catholic higher ed.

…There (Pope Francis)…

• There’s plenty of Pope Francis coverage over at John Fea’s blog (so this is what Messiah professors do on sabbatical!), including his remarks on the pope’s highly-regarded speech to Congress.

• In that speech, Francis paid particular attention to four Americans: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. That the latter two seemed so obscure to so many struck Ben Alpers as revealing: “Whatever the cultural importance of Day’s social activism or Merton’s mysticism, social activists (with a few notable exceptions) and mystics (with almost none) are distinctly at the margins of American history and public culture. Thus most Americans find themselves in the odd position of having to be told by an Argentine Pope about these important figures of the recent U.S. past.”

• Now, even I haven’t claimed Francis as a Pietist, but Chris Castaldo suggested (not entirely happily) that evangelicals like this pope because his “approach to theology… is more pietistic than doctrinal.”

• For evangelical Lisa Sharon Harper, there was another, even simpler reason: “More than any other person, since St. Francis of Assisi (his namesake), this pope has embodied the values and priorities of Jesus.”

• To prepare for Francis’ Sunday mass in Philadelphia, police have apparently forced over 5,000 homeless people off the streets.

• Amid all the enthusiasm and acclaim, there is still controversy over Francis’ canonization of the 18th century missionary Junípero Serra.

• Oh, and Al Mohler? Not a fan.

…and Everywhere (Other Stuff)

• Debates over sexuality continued to play out in global Christianity: two Presbyterian denominations in South America ended their association with the PCUSA over same-sex marriage.

• Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams’ song-by-song reinterpretation of Taylor Swift’s album 1989 got philosopher Jamie Smith thinking about worship.

• Ben Carson’s offensive comments about Muslims got Roger Olson wondering if a Christian should ever be president of the United States.

• How French and American models of church-state separation differ, and why France’s most famous visitor to America might offer an alternative to both.

• Jeffrey Goldberg’s conversation with David Gregory was fascinating, as much for their discussion of Judaism in America as that of faith in journalism.

• The best part of freshman orientation at the College of William and Mary is when they do a session in Wren Hall, the oldest American academic building still in use, and you realize you’re sitting where Thomas Jefferson sat. (H/T Ray Brown)


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