That Was The Week That Was

While I was starting a new podcast season and sharing some final thoughts on the affordability and sustainability of Christian liberal arts colleges, here’s what some other writers had to say:

• A Reformation Day question from Jay Phelan: what does it mean to be Protestant?

• If an annual listen to “The Reformation Polka” isn’t enough to whet your appetite for cheesy Luther-themed music, then I have a rock opera for you.

• I can’t say I ever imagined that Slate would write about the proto-Protestant movement known as the Waldensians… but it actually leads to an interesting examination of how some white Americans remember immigration.

Waldensian Presbyterian Church - Valdese, NC
The Waldensian Presbyterian Church of Valdese, North Carolina, founded by Italian immigrants at the end of the 19th century – Creative Commons (Upstateherd)

• While our president is using a caravan of refugees to score political points, a Southern Baptist writer argued that Christ-followers should recognize “the humanity of those who seek to enter our country and should reject language that assaults their dignity. And we should be the first to speak up for the stranger.”

Even political conservatives were aghast at Donald Trump’s desire to eradicate birthright citizenship via executive order. (Here’s the pertinent constitutional history, courtesy of a constitutional scholar.)

• If you want to understand 2018 America, you could probably do worse than to read Thucydides.

The Chronicle of Higher Education asked a distinguished panel of scholars which book of the last two decades is most influential. (I don’t know if it says more about me or those scholars that I’ve only read a couple of them.)

Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
I think most of you could have guessed which book would come in at #1 on the PBS list…

• On the other hand, I’m pretty well-versed in the favorite novels listed created by PBS’ survey of 4 million Americans… probably because of what Mark Athitakis observed about that list: “The votes are in and it’s official: We loved our childhoods. Or at least those moments in our childhoods when we could escape adult supervision and read a book.”

• In my recent posts on reimagining an affordable liberal arts college, the cost of athletics came up right away. So it’s interesting to see that there’s been “an explosion of student participation” in sports at such colleges.

• Not long ago, sexual assaults by football players caused a scandal at Baylor University… so it’s worth underscoring that a recent news report badly misinterpreted data about sexual harassment at Baylor.

• Christian theologian Miroslav Volf is using a Yale course “to supply something he and colleagues thought was glaringly missing in the modern secular university: a class that directly asks questions about the ultimate purposes of life and about what constitutes a good life.”

• Then one random pick for the week: the progressive streak within the history of country music.