• I had to remind myself that there’s more to “Christian higher ed” than one organization wrestling with its membership criteria.
• Former Eastern Mennonite and CCCU president Myron Augsburger spoke up.
• Another distinguished Christian college figure reviewed our Pietism/higher ed book.
• And I shared the surprising story of three Japanese-Americans who came to a small Minnesota college in the middle of World War II.
…There (Pope Francis aftermath)…
• I was ready to cut back to just one or two Pope Francis links as he completed what had been a pretty triumphant visit. Maybe Native American pastor Mark Charles lamenting what the Pope didn’t say when he addressed Congress, or Steve Thorngate semi-defending the congressman who nabbed Francis’ water glass as a kind of relic.
• But how could I have known that the pope would have secretly met with Kim Davis, the much-reviled and equally much-defended town clerk who refused to marry same-sex couples?
• And that unleashed a fresh round of commentary. Did the visit demonstrate Francis’ ability to confound American political assumptions? (After all, he also met with a gay couple.) Did the pope even know who Davis is? Was the whole visit the result of a conspiracy involving Ratzinger loyalists? Or was it just another example of Francis living out the biblical value of mercy?
…and Everywhere (other stuff)
• There’s a lot more to be said about the execution of Kelly Gissendaner and why “pro-life” Christians ought to oppose capital punishment, but I’ll give the first word to Ed Cyzewski: “For those who advocate that America is a Christian nation, we have once again demonstrated that many of these same Americans finds the beatitudes that Jesus taught reprehensible.”
• Justin Bieber, spiritual but not religious: “I love talking about my faith. I think that with Christians, they’ve left such a bad taste in people’s mouths. Just like, overly pushy with the subject, overly churchy and religious…. I just wanna honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus—I could never—I don’t want that to come across weird. He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins.”
• Are you a fan of the Epic of Gilgamesh? Today is your lucky day.
• I’m not a U.S. historian, but Teaching U.S. History continues to be one of the most interesting blogs on history education, with posts on topics like a teacher’s visibility in online courses and the importance of how history is taught long before students arrive in college.
• Today is the fiftieth anniversary of a piece of legislation that has proven to be one of the most significant in American history — one that is reshaping the nation.
• What does academic freedom mean in an age of social media?
• While college loan default rates are falling, thousands of graduates are still struggling to pay off their debts.
• Rather than link to the “Just Half of Graduates Think College Was Worth It” headline that was going around, I’ll just let John Hawthorne raise questions about that study. (He also debunked a claim that lots more small colleges are bound to close in the next few years.)
• Westmont, an evangelical school in southern California, is the 4th best college in the country — according to one system.
• Did Liberty University hosting Bernie Sanders challenge assumptions of the relative “narrow-mindedness” of Christian vs. secular universities?
• While Calvin College recommended eliminating several programs in the arts (theater!) and humanities, I’m happy to announce that one of its peer institutions is hiring for a new position in ancient history and the digital humanities.