That Was The Week That Was


• I’m not sure that I’m right and David Gushee is wrong about the need for an evangelical “divorce.” But at least he hopes that that’s the case.

• It doesn’t sound like the situation at Mount St. Mary’s University is done developing. But I suggested what we should — and shouldn’t — learn from it.

• And if you didn’t happen to attend my talk on hope and history last week at my high school alma mater, don’t worry. YouTube has been invented.

…There and Everywhere

Bowler, Blessed• If you missed historian Kate Bowler’s incredibly moving essay on “Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me,” click this link and don’t worry too much if you forget to come back here.

• The two most fascinating posts I read all week had to do with Korean Christianity. First, Karen Johnson’s interview with Rebecca Kim about Korean missionaries to the United States in the late 1970s who focused on converting white students, hoping they “would help restore America to what [the missionaries] saw as its former commitment to Christ.”

• Second, David Swartz’s eye-opening account of Christian pacifism in South Korea, whose government is responsible for imprisoning over 90% of the conscientious objectors imprisoned worldwide. I’m not a pacifist, but I echo David’s argument: “A principled pacifism grounded in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount and Paul’s writings in Romans is a long-standing theological tradition within Christianity… It is a conclusion based in conscience, not cowardice. It should be honored if not agreed with.”

• I’ve been using excerpts from Martyrs Mirror in church history and Reformation history courses for a while now, so I’m eager to read David Weaver-Zercher’s social history of that famous Anabaptist martyrology.

• Then one more link from that branch of Christianity: the Mennonite Church USA continues to wrestle with the meaning of “forbearance” in the ongoing debate over human sexuality.

One more response to the notion that conservative and progressive evangelicals should go their separate ways: “Rock stars can say ‘See you later’ when they leave the stage, but Christians should never say anything of the kind. If we are going to spend eternity together, we must try as hard as possible to stay together.”

Don McLanen and Branch Rickey
McClanen (2nd from right) next to baseball pioneer Branch Rickey (far right) – Fellowship of Christian Athletes Archives

• Eulogizing Don McClanen, founder of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paul Putz reflected on a challenge that often confronts people in our guild: “A historian is supposed to keep a critical distance from his or her subjects of study, and I like to think that I follow that standard. Yet when I saw the news, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of loss for a man I never met, a man I know only through dusty letters written long ago.”

• Is humanity improving? Philosopher Leif Renar offered a kind of optimism: “The world now is a thoroughly awful place — compared with what it should be. But not compared with what it was.”

• One historian’s experience teaching a popular history of World War I left him wondering about the future of reading in history and other college courses: “Students who come to college unable to read very well can be taught to read better; can students who can already read be encouraged to really become readers? More particularly, can those who take required History courses as college freshmen become and remain literate and critical students of History?”

• Ten years ago this July, my wife and I spent a few days on Cape Breton Island as part of our honeymoon in Nova Scotia. Little did we know that we were visiting the future site of an American colony!

• Greg Carey’s arguments for keeping tenure in seminaries seem compelling for colleges and universities as well.

• If you wondered why I argued for the benefits of shared governance in my own Mount St. Mary’s post, read this essay by former college president Susan Resneck Pierce: “Today, when institutions are confronting economic pressures, changing demographics and growing public skepticism about whether higher education is worth its cost, collaboration among the faculty, administration and board is more essential than ever.”

• One other factor driving up college tuition: falling college rankings.

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