That Was The Week That Was

Here…

Stacey Hunter Hecht• Before I get to more recent links… Today my colleague Stacey Hunter Hecht would have turned 48. In case you missed it, I wrote not long ago about how mourning her death (and that of our mutual colleague G.W. Carlson) has reshaped some of my thinking about what it means to be a historian.

• Then this week… Season 2 of The Pietist Schoolman Podcast neared its conclusion, with an episode on preaching, listening, and (oddly enough) Donald Trump.

• It’s not too late to share your thoughts before we conclude with a listener feedback episode.

• A big theme of our emerging book is the importance of Christian unity — for another Pietist’s take on the same issue, see Jay Phelan’s most recent piece.

• Meanwhile, the book that was the subject of season 1 received a new, generous review.

• Finally, the latest manifestation of the “humanities in crisis” takes us to my favorite sector of higher ed: Christian colleges.

…There and Everywhere

Wiens, Beginnings• New blog/podcast recommendation of the week: fellow Covenanter Steve Wiens, who recently imagined a conversation about trying to find “a bigger God in the mess of our lives, a God that is hopeful and helpful and better.”

• Kyle Roberts framed well a question that’s been much on my mind in recent years: When does one’s theology stop changing?

• It’s always interesting when intra-evangelical debates get attention from the mass media… Cases in point: a National Geographic article on the question of hell; a thoughtful NPR report on evangelical conflict over the culture wars; and the PBS series Independent Lens featuring an evangelical pastor preaching against gun violence.

• This week’s reminder that I’m not really a historian of evangelicalism: I had no idea that a conversation with Billy Graham was a central component of a Woody Allen TV special in 1969.

• Whatever happened to pro-life Democrats? Another good column from Tobin Grant explains why only two of that group now hold seats in the House of Representatives — as compared to the forty who were there just six years ago.

• I’m not sure there’s a lot left unsaid about the Trump campaign, but… Have you noticed just how little the presumptive Republican nominee has to say about family?

• Trump is often accused of/credited with tapping into “populism.” But what do we mean when we use that term?

• I’ve previously argued that Americans are too quick to resort to historical analogies — especially if they have to do with Adolf Hitler. If you don’t believe me, read David A. Bell’s long dissection of the use of Munich analogies, in which he even suggests that we use the words “war” and “peace” as if they’re not subject to change over time.

• Meanwhile, Trump does remind Germans of other politicians… just not necessarily Hitler so much as more recent right-wing figures.

Pioneer Press logo• Philip Jenkins writes so much on such a wide variety of topics that I’m not sure why I’m surprised that he would try his hand at a brief history of the future.

• One of the first things I read was my local newspaper: the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Now in the hands of a hedge fund, it’s on the verge of dissolution — as lamented by a business columnist for its competitor across the river.

• In general, however, the economy seems to be rebounding. One surprising sign of that: people are quitting their jobs.

• Two pieces approached the notion of “Great Books,” from different points of view: L.D. Burnett deconstructed “the myth of the canon” in higher education; Micah Mattix endorsed Arthur Krystal’s argument for literary hierarchy — i.e., that “Some literary works are inherently more valuable than others.”

• One of my former students adeptly rebutted that silly piece last week about the “neoliberalism” of the digital humanities, mostly by pointing to the work his own undergraduates are doing.

• Another academic freedom controversy at a Christian college — this time an Adventist school in California.


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