That Was The Week That Was


• What qualities should Christian voters seek in political candidates? (Thanks to Mennonite World Review for picking up this post.)

• We’ll be asking what’s wrong with Christianity when we record next week’s newest episode of The Pietist Schoolman Podcast, but I suggested that I shouldn’t really try to answer that question until I’m ready to answer a more personal question.

• I didn’t blog as much this week as I’d expected in part because our department ended up facing another health challenge: my friend and colleague G.W. Carlson had a stroke on Monday and remains in intensive care. (GW has written several guest posts here, most recently one on ethicist Glen Stassen. You can read my own tribute to GW on the occasion of his 2012 retirement from Bethel University.)

Follow GW’s progress at his Caring Bridge page.

…There and Everywhere

Enstrom, "Grace"
Eric Enstrom’s famous 1918 photo, “Grace” – Wikimedia

• No doubt we’ll soon be talking on our podcast about the centrality of prayer for Pietists. For one Episcopal priest, prayer is “revolutionary,” an act that “takes every ounce of my heart and mind and soul.”

• To hearken back to a recent topic here: an “intellectual history of the decline of mercy.”

• Is progressive evangelicalism just warmed-over theological liberalism? Not at all, says Daniel Kirk: “The kind of Christianity I’m talking about is one in which Jesus’ miracles show that God’s reign is breaking forth in a new way. The kind of Christianity I’m talking about has the cross as its transformative center–a simultaneous demonstration and accomplishment of what fidelity to God and the power to rule look like in God’s kingdom.”

• Pres. Obama’s newest faith advisers include blogger Rachel Held Evans and one of Roger Olson’s first theology students, now the pastor of the country’s largest United Methodist church.

• After a former Christian college student and professor wrote about her complicated relationship with that model of education, John Hawthorne responded with a moving letter of his own: “I wish I could have been your academic dean. I would have introduced you to people I’ve had the pleasure of working with who are proud of a Christian feminist identity or whose Christian faith has led them to advocate for structural engagement of inequality and exploitation.”

• My own corner of Christian higher ed was featured at The Anxious Bench, where Fletcher Warren shared the digital history of Bethel at War that he and I completed last fall.

• Meanwhile, your weekly roundup on the ongoing debate at Wheaton College: Larycia Hawkins gave an interview to the student newspaper; a faculty diversity committee called her treatment by the Wheaton administration “discriminatory on the basis of race and gender, and, to a lesser extent, marital status”; and 78 full-time faculty members petitioned the college to reinstate their colleague.

• Does the #DocHawk affair shed light on a diversity problem in evangelical higher ed?

• I’ve written before about the implications of the Francis papacy for Catholic higher education. One Catholic theologian thinks it’s high time to rethink Catholic studies programs: “To me it seems a self-degrading admission for any Catholic liberal arts institution to have to acknowledge the need for, let alone the advantage of, a Catholic studies degree program to complement that which is otherwise being accomplished. Catholicism is not subject to being compartmentalized or identified with any singular curriculum, at least not in relatively healthy Catholic places of learning.”

• Baylor University faced new scrutiny for its handling of sexual violence allegations involving football players.

• These days, it may take an astrophysicist to explain the value of the humanities: “In spite of being a scientist, I strongly believe an education that fails to place a heavy emphasis on the humanities is a missed opportunity. Without a base in humanities, both the students — and the democratic society these students must enter as informed citizens — are denied a full view of the heritage and critical habits of mind that make civilization worth the effort.”

Williams, Defenders of the Unborn• For one English professor, it’s the “uncompensated and incalculable parts of the job” that are “also the things that can result in lifelong memories for students.”

• Daniel Williams’ history of the pro-life movement before Roe v. Wade has been getting lots of positive press, featuring in The Atlantic and the second episode of John Fea’s new podcast.

• John had an interesting exchange with a fellow historian on academic vs. popular history.

• I’ve written enthusiastically about the popular histories of Max Hastings. Did his recent book on the first year of World War I plagiarize a scholarly article?

• Those who have heard me give a presentation might well suspect that I played a pivotal role in a study finding that Minnesotans talk faster than Americans from all but one other state.

• I guess you can write French without the circonflexe, but if they ditch the accent aigu, you’ll find me at the barricades with my trusty épée!

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