• The importance of Christian welcome seems to have been a running theme for me this year, with a friend’s essay in The Cresset just the latest instance.
• Also in that publication, another new review of our book on Pietism and higher education.
• And the deepening scandal at Baylor, where the head coach was dismissed and the university president demoted, prompted me to repost my September 2015 reflection on football at Christian universities.
…There and Everywhere
• The findings in the Baylor case would be troubling at any institution of higher learning, but they also revived questions about how sexual assault is handled on religious campuses with lifestyle codes.
• Even as older, larger schools struggle, the total number of seminaries in North America is actually growing, with many newer, smaller programs founded by Christian immigrants.
• An interview with Stanley Hauerwas by the editor of Plough was predictably thought-provoking on a wide range of topics (community, marriage, pacifism, democracy, mission).
• I’ve wrestled with this myself: in light of Matthew 18, is it inappropriate to publicly criticize Christian leaders without first talking to them in private?
• On his historic visit to Hiroshima, Pres. Obama argued that “The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.” Jacob Lupfer suggested that religious Americans take him seriously (even if “a wide gulf separates his aspirations and actions”) and think anew about nuclear weapons.
• More surprising by its New Yorker publication: an essay on Chance the Rapper that compares him “to the apostles of Acts” (by contrast to Kanye West, whose “devotion has always resembled the near-mystic inwardness and complexity of John’s Gospel”); or an unsparing look at identity politics at Oberlin College?
• At one of Bethel’s commencement ceremonies last Saturday, a colleague read Bob Dylan’s lyrics to “Forever Young” as a benediction. With Dylan turning 75, Steve Thorngate revisited the religious themes in his catalog.
• “Which rock star will historians of the future remember?” I’m not sure I buy Chuck Klosterman’s conclusion, but the thought experiment itself is revealing.
• Perhaps evangelicals aren’t all that unique in being fearful of the kinds of questions asked by the humanities…
• An Iron Curtain testimony to the power of those disciplines: “If the study of literature or history were really that pointless, a government trying to control the minds of its subjects would not go to the trouble of putting humanities students and professors in jail. For educated prisoners, the love of language, art, and scholarship was no mere hobby. It was a lifeline, sometimes the only thread tying them to their identities, their dignity, their shredded sense of humanity. Nothing could be more practical.”