That Was The Week That Was


Stacey Hunter Hecht• Rest in peace, Stacey Hunter Hecht (1968-2015).

• It’s because of colleagues like Stacey that I know that Christian higher ed can do much, much better than Jerry Falwell, Jr.

• And Loren Swartzdruber’s response to Falwell made me wish that his university had not parted ways with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

• Speaking of: another Mennonite school left the CCCU over human sexuality.

…There (Falwell Responses)…

• Far from retreating from his comments, Falwell has only expanded gun rights on the Liberty campus.

• But not everyone in that community is supportive of their president. Sophomore Moriah Wierschem: “Applauding while someone speaks about killing anyone—even Islamic terrorists—is unacceptable when we believe that every life is valuable from the point of conception into eternity.” Seminarian Wesley Walker: “It is amazing what people are willing to follow along with in the name of security.”

• As far as I know, their own president has been silent, but two Wheaton College student leaders got national attention for their open letter response to Falwell: “As Christian leaders representing the name of Jesus Christ in our world, we have an opportunity and responsibility to guard our words and to protect the pillars of unity and love of neighbor which the gospels command us to pursue. Therefore, we desire to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, supporting the shared principles of justice, well-being and compassion.”

…and Everywhere (Other Posts, Only Many of Which Are about Donald Trump)

Donald Trump in September 2015
Trump back in September, holding a pledge to support the Republican nominee — Creative Commons (Michael Vadon)

• Russell Moore rightly called on religious leaders to oppose Donald Trump’s proposal to halt all Muslim immigration to the United States.

• Nevertheless, it picked up the support of one prominent evangelical. (Guess which one. You can do this.)

• Emily Johnson examined Trump’s “ability to tap into the overriding sensibilities of conservative evangelical rhetoric—to express distaste for the political realm even as he delves deeply into it.”

• Before you agree with Trump, consider the many ways that Muslims have shaped America.

• So when we (rightly) call Trump a “demagogue,” what do we mean? “It’s not simply Biffery or buffoonery or baboonery; it’s something more contextualized. More systemic. More dangerous. To call Trump a ‘demagogue’ is to do two things at once: to dismiss him as a political candidate and amplify him as a political threat. That is appropriate, because the key thing about demagogues, historically, is that they have been people who, by way of their very popularity, threaten the populace.”

• A public radio report on “hipster evangelicalism” in Colorado Springs gave Paul Harvey “some small measure of comfort after this week of violence produced by a toxic brew of gun worship and violent religious fantasies.”

• In the wake of the Planned Parenthood shooting in that same city, I took some comfort in the fact that the senior editor of Slate could write this about the abortion debate: “The question we face now is whether there is any way to bring out the best in people—on both sides—during the worst of times. We have been shouting past each other for too long. Both sides have reduced their opponents to stereotypes and clichés, painting each other as selfish, uncaring, and disrespectful.”

• Also encouraging, a conversation about the relationship between marriage and poverty that is co-sponsored by think tanks on different ends of the political spectrum.

• And political junkies can take some comfort in the possibility that Trump’s candidacy might pave the way for a kind of political convention that hasn’t happened in decades.

• But Carl Trueman doesn’t find much to reassure him about the state of conservative Protestantism. Among other things, he complained about parachurch organizations being run like businesses: “Roman Catholics might look on Protestantism from the outside and see it as theology ruled by a mob. Speaking as an insider, it often seems to me to be ruled more by the Mob.” (Surely this can’t be true of any evangelical colleges…)

Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know• Let’s move on… What was going on the year Jesus was born?

• Hoon Lee had some reasonable criticisms of it, but I think I’d like Terry Glaspey’s attempt to list 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know more than I did the Christian History list of 25 Christian writings.

• C. S. Lewis, Iceland, and the British secret service. Yes, there’s a connection.

• 60% of Millennials supporting sending U.S. troops to fight ISIS; 62% wouldn’t join the fight themselves, even if they were needed.

• I’m afraid The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education didn’t win a Readers’ Choice Award, but congratulations to John Peckham and the other authors who did!

• One of the schools I mentioned in the introduction to The Pietist Vision is North Park University. One of its professors reflected in The Chronicle of Higher Education on what it means for her teaching that “Students today see me as their grandmother.”

• Why are dozens of religious colleges (not North Park or, so far, Bethel) applying for Title IX waivers?

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