That Was The Week That Was

This week I blogged about the religious history of the Internet and the similarities between preaching and teaching. Our podcast focused on the experience of women coaching college sports. Elsewhere…

Winter panorama of Taylor University – Wikimedia

• It’s the time of year that colleges and universities invite commencement speakers. One of the most controversial choices came from Taylor University, a non-denominational Christian school in rural Indiana.

• Inviting Mike Pence to a leading evangelical university got Christopher Smith wondering if evangelicals could imagine a different kind of politics, one based on hospitality and conversation.

(One other piece from Sojourners: the power of lament, especially in the season of Lent.

1965 photo of Norman Vincent Peale – Library of Congress

• Has Donald Trump’s former pastor overtaken Billy Graham as the most influential Christian clergyman in America?

• Have the Obama and Trump presidencies caused leading denominations to move further to the left or right of the political center? (I’m losing track of how often I’ve linked to Ryan Burge pieces in recent months. He’s definitely worth a follow on Twitter if you’re interested in social scientific analysis of religion and politics.)

• If they’re not already doing so, churches ought to be reckoning with the formative effects of watching hyperpartisan cable news.

• How should Christians respond to advances in artificial intelligence?

• Remarkably, on Friday several historians friends suddenly expressed interest in taking a job in one of the coldest spots in my generally cold home state.

• It’s been a hundred years now since British troops massacred hundreds of Indian protesters in Amritsar… without any apology from the British government.

• At least for the moment, the history major is again safe at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

• But it’s gone at Wheeling Jesuit University… which is losing its Jesuit affiliation.

• Fascinating: multiple examples of women who are following in their fathers’ footsteps as presidents of colleges (including the country’s flagship Mennonite institution).

• I really resonated with Theresa MacPhail’s description of how she sometimes replaces research papers with podcasts, films, and websites — creation of which still involves a great deal of writing. (I’m doing this right now in my World War II class, where student groups are writing documentary films or digital history sites.)

• In a speech on Thursday (which I’ll publish in two parts at Anxious Bench) I again emphasized how studying history and other humanities can foster empathy. But could empathy also “fuel polarization, spark violence and motivate dysfunctional behavior in relationships”?

• We didn’t get a chance to talk about it on our podcast, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll add Utah Jazz swingman Kyle Korver’s essay on white privilege to our History and Politics and Sports reading list next spring.