That Was The Week That Was


• The Confessing Faculty statement drew attention from Inside Higher Ed (and, a day later, The Chronicle of Higher Education), though my colleague and co-signer Ray VanArragon had some reservations about it.

• Was 2016 a turning point in the history of American evangelicalism? Martin Marty, Grant Wacker, and other historians weighed in.

• As we prepared to say farewell to Glen Wiberg on Friday, my thoughts turned to gardening and resurrection.

…There and Everywhere

• Glen’s death also inspired a Sunday evening reflection at The Anxious Bench, where I contemplated history as an act of gratitude, a response to grace.

• I also wrote Confessing Faculty post in my usual Tuesday spot at the Bench: on Christian higher education, justice, and the Church.

Leithart, The End of Protestantism• There are all sorts of critiques of Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option, but Jemar Tisby’s seems especially important: “The Benedict Option takes a running leap over the black church and lands on another continent in another millennium. Dreher goes back 1,500 years to find the Rule of St. Benedict when he could have gazed back over the past 400 years and looked across the street to the black church for guidance.”

• The author of a new book on Christian unity looked back at the fragmentation of Christianity during the Reformation.

• “The great irony about the claim of perspicuity,” wrote Fuller Seminary president Mark Labberton, “is that it is not perspicuous, or at least not as clear as it might sound. The greatest evidence that perspicuity is not self-evident is provided by [John] Calvin himself, who argued for the perspicuity of the Bible while writing thousands of pages of commentary to help make plain to the ordinary reader what the scriptures were saying and teaching. What was plain and clear plainly needed some explaining.”

• If Calvin were alive now, would he be “Catholic, wondering why we insist on remaining separate even though Vatican II took care of many of the things he wanted to reform”?

• Seeing Hamilton made one Christian writer think of the Psalms, Epiphany, Abraham and Sarah, and liberation theology.

• The Berlin Wall has now been down longer than it was up… Is Germany finally unified?

Protestors standing on the Wall in 1989
Licensed by Creative Commons (Lear21)

• One more conservative case for the humanities: “If we believe that poetry can give us something that boots cannot, we should be suspicious of the materialist impulse to judge culture by economic standards or reduce it to a mere luxury. This suspicion is essentially conservative: while a great deal of left-liberal public policy is based on the doctrine that health, safety, and pleasure are the highest goods, conservatives would deny that the best and most beautiful aspects of human existence are secured through money or force.”

• A long, rewarding read on “how memory can be a virtue, how memory reflects the image of God in us, and how I think my teaching is changing because of these things.”

Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union• If my favorite novelist can’t convince me that “Nostalgia is a valid, honorable, ancient human emotion,” I’m not sure anyone will.

• Philosophical question of the week: “What if reason is not the driving force of human history and, just as often, we act irrationally, out of resentment, anger, spite, frustration, envy, even out of self-destructive impulse?”

• And can Christians escape our culture’s obsession with anger?

• Guess what Atlantic contributor John Tierney thinks is “one of the great frauds currently perpetrated on American high-school students.”

• And no, it’s not being told that you have to attend an elite college to be successful… Though apparently there’s no evidence supporting that claim.