That Was The Week That Was

I’ve taken some time off from blogging here at Pietist Schoolman in order to get my fall courses launched under unusual circumstances and to finish revisions to my Lindbergh manuscript. Before I share some of what else I’ve been reading, here’s good news on the latter count, courtesy of my editor at Eerdmans:

I’ll keep you posted as we get a publication date, cover, endorsements, speaking schedule, etc. Meanwhile, here’s some of what else was happening in the world:

• I think my first week teaching in the middle of a pandemic went better than it did for this Christian college professor, but I still nodded along with much of her report: the long list of things that need to be done, and the gracious, cooperative, patient response of our students.

• I don’t know that we’re doing quite as well as this peer institution in South Carolina, but Bethel’s not seeing the massive falloff in enrollment that some predicted earlier this year for smaller private universities.

• If you think we’ve already heard the worst of the Jerry Falwell, Jr. regime at Liberty University, stay tuned.

(Speaking of… it’s a bit more than week old, but former Liberty professor Karen Swallow Prior’s reflection on the lessons of Falwell’s presidency — and not just for colleges and universities, but churches and other institutions — are well worth reading.)

• One veteran reporter explained that we tend to make too much of the role of religion in presidential politics.

• Is my home state going to vote for a Republican presidential candidate this November, for the first time in twelve elections?

• I’d like to think that the Atlantic article reporting Donald Trump’s demeaning views of the military — much of was was confirmed by Fox News’ national security correspondent — would change the minds of some of his supporters. But I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.

Pres. Trump at the battleship North Carolina earlier this week – White House

• Still, a recent poll finds that most members of the military are planning to vote for Joe Biden.

(And Christianity Today reported that Trump is losing the support of another group in his coalition: pro-life activists.)

• “The notion that pacifists are simpletons,” wrote our friend Jared Burkholder, “is a well-worn critique and those who take this rhetorical path betray at least some ignorance of the peace tradition and its thinkers.”

• “The solution is not abandoning Christ,” Michael Emerson warned justice-seeking Christians disillusioned by white churches. “It is finding Christian communities that are not as captured by whiteness – such as healthy black, multiracial, and immigrant churches – and learning from them.”

• Next month Pope Francis will travel to a site associated with his namesake to release a timely new encyclical.

• If the “Benedict option” seems like ancient history, maybe it’s time to turn to one of that monastic father’s contemporaries and consider the intellectual possibilities of a “Cassiodorus necessity.”

8th c. manuscript of Cassiodorus’ Institutions – Wikimedia

• Meet the “spiritual consultants” who are “borrowing from religious tradition to bring spiritual richness to corporate America.”

• A new book argues that the “culture wars” were raging even in the 1950s, when the Cold War consensus ostensibly included a shared commitment to the United States as a “Judeo-Christian nation.”

• Speaking of the Cold War… Philip Jenkins is writing a new book on that topic and asked a fundamental question that I’ll be asking my students this coming week: when did that conflict actually start?

• Finally, what should commemoration look like in the wake of COVID? One British writer would like to see some changes for Remembrance Day 2020.