That Was The Week That Was


• Liberty University Online was the subject of a troubling profile, in which Pres. Jerry Falwell, Jr. celebrated how he had found “a way to tame” professors who objected to the program.

(For a bit more interesting historical context, see Adam Laats on the long history of evangelical institutions using technology to do education at a distance.)

• At Bethel University we remembered the life of our colleague Adam Johnson, in a service that made me think about the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”

…There and Everywhere

• Plenty deserves to be laid at the feet of Martin Luther in this ongoing 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, but evangelical support for Donald Trump?

Chick-fil-A logo• Of course, that article seems positively scintillating compared to the much-ridiculed New Yorker take on Chick-fil-A’s “infiltration” of America’s largest metropolis. If you’re going to read just one devastating critique, make it Stephen Carter’s: “…if you plan to mock, it’s useful to know whom you’re actually mocking.”

• It’s still not clear the full guest list for the much-ballyhooed “evangelical consultation” at Wheaton College (Ohio governor John Kasich?), but one key participant went ahead and shared his full remarks on “the crisis of evangelicalism“: Fuller Seminary president Mark Labberton.

• Like Abigail Rine Favale, I teach humanities in an evangelical university, and I have no idea if what she says says about her students would actually describe mine: “A number of them have been both thoroughly churched and educated through Christian schools or homeschooling curricula. Yet an overwhelming majority of these students do not believe in a bodily resurrection.”

• Lisa Whittle made clear right off the bat that she didn’t “want to talk about Bill Hybels” in her article on the causes and consequences of “pastor worship“…

• …but Bob Smietana continued to report on the details of Hybels’ misconduct, which Willow Creek Church now promises to investigate again.

• To cleanse the palate, read David Heddendorf’s tribute to the pianists who accompany church children’s choirs, whom he thinks model the humble service and attentive listening we need so badly in our society.

• Then move on to Jason Byassee’s report on A Rocha Canada, “a conservation organization built on Christian hope.”

• Continuing on the theme of evangelicalism on the other side of the 49th parallel… The always interesting Daniel Silliman explained the historical and theological context for Janette Oke’s novels (and the popular TV show spun off from them).

• The last person born in the 19th century passed away yesterday.

• Before the WWI centenary runs out, it’s still not to late to fill in gaps in your knowledge about the Great War: e.g., myths about the German Army.

• Don’t pay (too much) attention to that “41% of Americans can’t say what Auschwitz was” headline… but do bemoan our failure to fulfill the faith of the Jewish victims who went out their way to provide evidence of their living and dying.

• My fall class on the Cold War has been filling up nicely… but I hope students aren’t expecting the story of that conflict to mirror perfectly what’s happening between Russia and the United States today.

Caldwell Hall at Catholic University of America
Caldwell Hall at the Catholic University of America – Creative Commons (Farragutful)

• I don’t know if Catholic University “has overplayed its religiosity to the detriment of student recruitment”…

• …but I certainly appreciate that the provost of the country’s leading Catholic university believes so strongly that the age of STEM demands greater investment in humanities research.