That Was The Week That Was

When I wasn’t writing about one of the most famous autodidacts in American history for The Anxious Bench, I spent the week thinking out loud about taking people to Europe to study the history of Christianity and to different parts of the U.S. to study sports history and the Civil War. Elsewhere:

• If my tours don’t seem Calvinist or Christian nationalist enough for you, check out these cruises!

Its publisher pulled The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven in 2015, after Alex Malarkey wrote an open letter taking back his story

• It’s great to see our friend Jared Burkholder blogging again!

• The must-read piece of the week came from Ruth Graham, who followed up on the now-disavowed story of a boy who claimed to have visited heaven… and not only found a broken family, but a fascinating theological conflict within conservative Christianity.

• Speaking of Christian books… Graham also reported on the decline of the brick and mortar Christian book store. Like her, John Fea wondered if something important was being lost as such stores closed.

• Meanwhile, Christian Book Distributors decided to change its name to avoid, um, brand confusion.

• Marie Griffith contributed one of the best pieces I’ve read recently on the problems with the absolutism dominating both sides of the abortion debate.

• What does an iconic 1970s sitcom have to do with the rise of the religious left? Learn more in this interview with historian Benjamin Rolsky.

• If your idea of Scandinavian Christian music — like mine — is shaped primarily by the likes of Lina Sandell, then check out Hilde Løvdal Stephens’ post on Norwegian and Swedish Pentecostals.

• If you’re interested in evangelicalism and conservative politics beyond this country, pay attention to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, a Pentecostal who recently addressed the Hillsong conference.

• A Nazarene school gave us all one more reason to worry about the future of academic freedom at Christian colleges and universities.

• But there’s no crisis in higher ed as urgent and devastating as what’s looming for Alaska’s public universities.