That Was The Week That Was

It’s been a busy last week as we (finally) near the end of our year at Bethel. But I found time to critique a proposed overhaul of academics at a leading Christian college, celebrate the “spiritual mothers” of my faith, note that some churches weren’t rebuilt after the destruction of the world wars, and even write my first letter to an elected representative.


• There aren’t many Christians bloggers more vital right now than my Anxious Bench colleague Beth Allison Barr, who continued to use historical analysis to point out the problems inherent in complementarianism.

• Christianity Today continued its strong run of new historical profiles with pieces on Olaudah Equiano and Martin Niemöller.

• There was lots of other helpful coverage on the cuts at Gordon College, including Inside Higher Ed‘s reporting and Adam Laats’ historical analysis.

• The debate currently roiling the Christian Reformed Church is so very, very familiar

• I’ll have to save this one for my Modern Europe class this fall: “…for a few brief decades in the 20th century, the Soviet Union thought it could eradicate the plague. In that era of Five-Year Plans, tens of thousands of people were mobilized to poison rodents, spray DDT, and burn any grass that surviving animals might try to eat. It was a literal scorched-earth campaign. Officially, it ‘worked.'”

Then since I’ve neglected to do a links wrap that last couple weekend, let me go back and retrieve a few pieces from earlier this month:

• I recommended that my World War II students read Masha Gessen’s response to the the nostalgic ways that both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have been hearkening back to that conflict.

• Meanwhile, the success of democracy in post-WWII Germany is truly remarkable.

• If you enjoyed David Swartz’s and Brantley Gasaway’s work on the history of the evangelical left, you’ll want to read Tim Ballard’s post on the origins of the “Black Evangelical Renaissance” in the late 1960s.

• It’s almost hard to imagine that a country that elected Donald Trump as president not so long ago welcomed hundreds of thousands of Asian refugees.

American sailors helping Vietnamese refugees in 1975 – National Archives

• Before everyone writes off the presidential chances of my state’s senior senator… compare Amy Klobuchar’s “popularity above replacement senator” to that of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker.

• And the rich got richer — in Christian higher ed, among other places.

• Finally, check out a new series of videos from my Anxious Bench colleague Kristin Du Mez, who offers historical perspective on contemporary issues related to religion, gender, and politics. For example: