That Was The Week That Was

Come back in a couple days for an exciting announcement about a new blogging gig of mine… but first, here’s some of what was blogged about last week.


• How should the Church respond to Donald Trump? By “telling it like it is.”

• Are historians and other humanists leaning too heavily on “utilitarian” apologetics? Yes (not that I’m going to stop trying to convince students and parents that history majors find good careers.)

• And how are those disciplines doing at Lutheran and Jesuit colleges and universities? Not great, but still better than at evangelical schools.

…There and Everywhere

• Is Donald Trump making Anabaptist inroads, among Mennonites and even the Amish?

• One conservative commenter was upset that my “tell it like it is” post was directed solely against Trump, not Hillary Clinton. That’s probably because I agree with this Gospel Coalition postmaking an evangelical case for the former First Lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state.

• At the same time, I think Ed Stetzer is basically right to warn evangelical critics of Trump not to “scorn our fellow Christians who vote in ways we do not approve.”

• And there’s no excuse for violence directed against those voters — or any others.

• That’s enough about that for now… but if you’re looking for “analysis and commentary on how religious people and institutions are shaping the campaign,” check out Jacob Lupfer’s new Capitol & Cathedral blog.

• While the story of the gorilla shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo got way too much attention, Karen Swallow Prior turned it into a teachable moment.

• But the Baylor Moment — “A time when the Baptist university won big and tried to behave, well, Christian” — is over, wrote S.L. Price: “Last week Richard Willis, chair of Baylor’s board of regents, expressed the requisite shock and outrage over the crimes and the administration’s culpability, but said nothing about the warping ambition that led to both. So [Ken] Starr lost his good name and his presidency, if not his chancellorship. So [athletic director Ian] McCaw was suspended. So [head football coach Art] Briles was justifiably fired, but soon another coach will come and say the right things about grades and glorifying God and winning clean. There will be vigilance. Ruin awaits.”

• For reasons having nothing to do with football, former Wheaton philosophy professor worried about the future of Christian higher ed: “…I wonder if that fear, which at best went underground in evangelicalism but was really running the show all along, has now become so acute that, in place of the expansion into the world at large, evangelical colleges are slowly creeping back toward their fundamentalist strongholds. It seems that they are not just holding on to the fundamentals of the faith, as it were, but are seeking a new sort of double separation from anything that is other than their own interpretation of those fundamentals (and the entailments of that interpretation).”

• Perhaps not surprisingly, voting behavior among college students varies greatly by academic major. Of education, engineering, humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences: can you rank them in order, from most to least likely to vote? (results at the bottom of this post, or just click through)

Cranach the Younger, The Conversion of Saul
Lucas Cranach the Younger, “The Conversion of Saul” (1549) – Wikimedia

• Was the Damascus Road conversion of Saul the result of an epileptic seizure?

• FiveThirtyEight‘s distinctive brand of “data journalism” led to a penetrating analysis of the “‘Walt Disney-fication’ of contemporary Christian music.”

• While primarily focused on the enduring problem of racism, Emma Green’s profile of Jimmy Carter and the New Baptist Covenant was also interesting for its insights into divisions within larger Baptist tradition and the phenomenon of generational turnover in leadership.

Carl Trueman and John Inazu had an enlightening back-and-forth at First Things over Inazu’s book on “confident pluralism.”

• John Fea started a nice conversation about whether historians focus too much on change and too little on continuity.

Jünger, Storm of Steel (2016)• Philip Jenkins thought we might be too quick to dismiss the idea of medieval Europe experiencing “Dark Ages” between the mid-5th and mid-8th centuries.

• A new edition to Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel came out this week. To get some sense of why many (including me) regard it as the greatest, most disturbing memoir of World War I, read an excerpt of Karl Marlantes’ foreword.

• I still think Weimar analogies come too quickly to Western minds, but they’re worth considering: “Of course this isn’t 1933. Democratic institutions are much more stable today. But the power of nostalgia doesn’t depend on the times you live in. This is why, for all the differences, we are indeed witnessing another 1930s moment across the West.”

• Meet the Republicans making a conservative case against the death penalty.

This week’s quiz answer… Education majors were, by fair margin, the most likely to vote (55%), followed by majors in the Humanities (49%). Social Sciences was just above average (46%), while Physical Sciences (40%) lagged behind. Engineering was dead last (35%).

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