That Was The Week That Was


• No, the liberal arts are not synonymous with “top liberal arts colleges.”

• What is it that Christian historians do? I tried to boil it down to a few fundamental principles.

• If you’d be interested in hearing Efrem Smith, Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, Christian Collins Winn, and others talk about Pietism, save the date of December 13th and make plans to be at Bethel University.

• Meanwhile, this week’s Pietist Schoolman Podcast episode turned to the Pietist emphasis on action over belief.

• Lingering in the background of most of my posts this year: the music of Jason Isbell.

…There and Everywhere

Christena Cleveland• I’m about to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary, but having been single in the evangelical subculture until I turned 30, I’ve got substantial appreciation for Christena Cleveland’s important call for a liberation theology for single people.

• It’s not every day you see a Christian Century blog post titled “Why social justice is not Christian.”

• Or that Sojourners publishes one asking “Could Empire be a Good Thing?”

• The 6th most challenged book on American library shelves: the Bible. (Of course, I suspect that devoted readers of that book have done much to put several other books — many concerning sexuality and gender identity — on that same list.)

• I understand shifting to gender-inclusive pronouns, but you’ll be astonished just how many edits were made to the 50th anniversary edition of one of John Stott’s best-loved books.

• Earlier this spring I shared my appreciation for an article about ecumenism and Christian higher ed by the provost of Hope College. Now that administrator has resigned, some faculty and students are rallying behind the school’s president, and Inside Higher Ed reports that it may all reflect a deeper split over sexuality. (I’ve previously reported on that debate at Hope.)

• Do Wheaton and Oberlin have something in common?

• A nice complement to my “top liberal arts college” post: the founding director of UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute believes that too many faculty at selective colleges “have come to value merely being smart more than developing smartness.”

• Whitman College dropped its “Fighting Missionaries” team name. Here are six other college nicknames with perhaps surprising religious roots.

• You might have noticed that there’s a Caravaggio painting at the top of this blog. Experts are still evaluating it, but another work by that Baroque master may have been rediscovered.

• Does the musical Hamilton make “a ‘great men’ story more accessible and less objectionable than it otherwise would be”?

• I’ve only seen the first half of the first episode, but like Robert Greene, I hope that Ken Burns’ new documentary on Jackie Robinson will have much to say about the baseball legend’s post-playing career, when he served as a Republican public intellectual who both advocated civil rights and (occasionally) critiqued civil rights leaders.

• The prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency got Jill Lepore thinking about the deep roots of Anglo-American male suspicion of female leadership.

• Of course, she’ll still need to defeat Bernie Sanders, who, remarkably, took a break from campaigning to give a speech at the Vatican about an encyclical from Pope John Paul II.

Hillary Clinton in March 2016• And Secretary Clinton will need to reckon with the “potentially volatile role” played by (the previous) President Clinton, whose recent response to Black Lives Matters protestors struck Jeffrey Frank as a “fascinating glimpse of a group with a deeply felt point of view and of a major political figure repeatedly, even stubbornly, grabbing a political third rail and refusing to let go.”

(Not that Bill Clinton didn’t have some fair points to make about a piece of legislation passed in response to what was then a significant crime problem, and with the support of numerous African American leaders — and Bernie Sanders.)

• Never heard of Minecraft? Spend some time with the boys in the 4th grade Sunday School class that I taught with my wife… Or read this New York Times Magazine story on a game “doesn’t really feel like a game. It’s more like a destination, a technical tool, a cultural scene, or all three put together: a place where kids engineer complex machines, shoot videos of their escapades that they post on YouTube, make art and set up servers, online versions of the game where they can hang out with friends.”

• And finally… The United States produces about a billion pounds a month of cheese, including, sadly, about ten times as much mozzarella and cheddar as provolone and Swiss.

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