Apart from recording the first episode of my favorite podcast since January 2019, I focused my time this week on teaching and (book) writing. Elsewhere:
• I’m grateful to Joey Cochran for giving me a week off from The Anxious Bench, with a guest post on the history of how Christians have used the word “heretic.”
(Hint: he’s a member of the international group of Dietrich Bonhoeffer scholars who joined the call for Christians to oppose Donald Trump’s presidency.)
• “Even if more people go to church in America,” wrote Stanley Hauerwas, “I think the US is a much more secular country than Britain.”
• Echoes of the “ministry of listening” that Mark Pattie and I recommended in The Pietist Option…
• Why are some evangelical nonprofits reclassifying as “churches” — at least, as far as the IRS is concerned?
• It used to be that conservative Christians were deeply suspicious of libertarian views on individual freedom and the free market…
• Your latest reminder that Donald Trump lies to everyone, including the Christians who make up his most loyal supporters.
• And he doesn’t treat the military any better…
• Young Americans are already free to pray, learn about religion, organize religious groups, and hold other religious activities in public schools (outside of the classroom). So why was the Trump administration making an issue of school prayer?
(It also proposed a rule with important implications for faith-based colleges — and religious groups on secular campuses.)
• “By leaving the pro-life lane empty in 2020,” warned John Murdock, “Democratic presidential hopefuls may be passing up an opportunity — and leaving voters on the right and the left holding their noses again come November.”
• How can Americans work through collective sins? They might learn some lessons from a country that has struggled to reckon with its past evils.
• The New York Public Library turns 125 this year. Which books has it lent most often?
• Comparing social studies textbooks for two states revealed some significant differences.
• It’s uncommon, but I’ve known of a few professors who assign their own work as required course reading. But I’ve never heard of someone offering students better grades for buying his books!
• More and more teachers go back to go school to get master’s degrees… but does it make them better teachers?
• The president of a leading research university explained why the school eliminated the “legacy” admissions preference for children of alumni.
• Enrollment in college history courses stayed stable over the past year. (Or, at least, it declined less the overall reduction in undergraduate enrollment.)
• And a new study confirmed that liberal arts college degrees have similar long-term economic value to those given by leading research universities.