That Was The Week That Was


• In some ways it’s not strong enough, in other ways it’s too strong, but it’s what I think about the Nashville Statement.

(For another perspective… a British evangelical tried to explain why he signed the Nashville Statement, even though he regarded it as “far from perfect” and worried that its credibility was damaged.)

• As we continue to feel the aftershocks of Charlottesville, I suggested that historians think about how they can integrate memorials and monuments into their teaching.

• Meanwhile, back in my day job, I revived a talk from last spring to try to convince first-year Bethel students that they should take the three journeys of the Christian liberal arts.

…There and Everywhere

• Must-read of the week: David Swartz on the Mennonite background of the Christian peacekeeping you might not have noticed during the violence in Charlottesville.

• Lots of other good commentary by historians on memorials, including this nuanced piece from an African American historian (H/T John Fea) and this statement on Confederate monuments from the American Historical Association.

Liberty University
Licensed by Creative Commons (Billy Hathorn)

• What’s going on with Liberty University… is a question I ask fairly often. But the story of a Miami Beach hotel owned by the son of Liberty president Jerry Falwell, Jr. was especially peculiar. (Here’s Liberty’s response.)

• Joel Osteen incurred much criticism for his megachurch’s response (or lack thereof) to the flooding in Houston. I certainly understand where critics like John Pavlovitz are coming from, but I appreciated the more nuanced insights into Osteen from a terrific historian who has studied him and other Prosperity Gospel preachers: Kate Bowler.

• Appropriately, if regrettably, there’s been much made of the strength of evangelical support for Donald Trump. But his Jewish backers have also dug in their heels.

• See, the lecture is effective!

• Okay, I’m sold: it’s time to revive my course on Cold War history.

• Back when my predecessors at Bethel taught their World War I course, they required students to memorize a war poem by someone like Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon. Maybe that’d be a good discipline to revive, even now that we’ve taken that course across the Atlantic Ocean.

• When we visit England for that travel course, one of my favorite things to do is attend Evensong. Apparently, I’m not alone.

• Europe’s Catholic-Protestant divide has faded somewhat, 500 years after the 95 Theses.

Hamline Church Dining Hall
The venerable Hamline Church Dining Hall at the Minnesota State Fair – CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (Chris Gehrz)

• And before the nation’s largest state fair (based on average daily attendance) concludes Monday, read my Anxious Bench report on its religious history.

• I said a lot in that post about food… but didn’t quite get to the cookie place that rakes in $4 million during the twelve days of the fair.