That Was The Week That Was


• As always, the 2016 meeting of the Conference on Faith and History planted the seeds for lots of posts. A first reflection took on CFH president Jay Green’s question: will historians who themselves feel rather ambivalent about evangelicalism contend for evangelical identity?

• Registration opened for the 2016 Bethel Colloquium on Pietism, coming December 13th.

• Speaking of, I asked how Pietists would understand the legacy of the Protestant Reformation, about to celebrate its 499th birthday.

…There and Everywhere

• Also commemorating the Reformation: the man who, in an earlier age, many Protestants would have regarded as anti-Christ.

• It would take a lot less to make me want to rewatch A Man for All Seasons, but the idea of using it to prepare for Martin Scorsese’s version of Shusaku Endo’s Silence certainly does the trick.

• I’m sure I’ll have a full post once the book actually comes out in December, but it was exciting to see this on Twitter on Friday, given that it comes from two Bethel friends who wrote a chapter on this topic in our Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education book:

As it happens, just a couple hours before I’d sent off my own manuscript to the same editor and press. More on that next week…

• David also helped write an excellent piece for Christianity Today, on the importance of evangelicals doing theology.

• Having contributed my own observations about rural decline, I appreciated reading a Mennonite pastor’s description of “rural joy.”

• I’m not sure what’s less likely about Devin Manzullo-Thomas’ first post for the Anabaptist History blog: that it concerns Mennonite participation in the charismatic movement, or that it mentions my blog in a footnote!

• Quoted in Devin’s piece is my Anxious Bench colleague David Swartz, who recently reviewed Randall Balmer’s biography of Jimmy Carter and found it imperfect but “terrific… a beautifully written spiritual biography that recovers the moral gravitas of an oft-maligned politician.”

Trunk or Treat
“Trunk or Treat” at a Lutheran church in Illinois – Creative Commons (Jan Hardy)

• Halloween’s origins are more Christian than pagan, according to another of the AB crew. And that’s probably a relief to the many pastors who want their parishioners to treat it as an evangelistic opportunity.

• American religious historians: file this away for the year in the future when everyone is trying to explain the generational shift that remade evangelicalism.

• And if Hillary Clinton really wanted to overturn conventional narratives of evangelicalism, John Fea has a couple of strategies for her to pursue.

• It’s rare that political observers across the spectrum agree on anything…. let alone that an SNL sketch was this smart.

• We’ll see if Cubs-Indians 2016 makes the list of six greatest World Series — chosen here not only for their sporting but their sociological significance. (And #6 is pretty great.)

• “People always ask me if baseball is truly a road to God,” reports an NYU professor who teaches a course on that subject. “The short answer is, ‘Of course not.’ But the longer answer is a defiant ‘Yes!'”

• Just when I thought that I had lost the ability to be outraged

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