That Was The Week That Was

Another quiet week at The Pietist Schoolman, but I wrote about a mostly-forgotten American Bible and (tangentially) the 35th anniversary of the Challenger explosion for The Anxious Bench and offered some college-to-careers advice to Zippia users.


Freeman, The Field of Blood• It’s probably not a good sign that a leading historian on violence in American politics is feeling something like déjà vu.

• On the other hand, let’s hope that there are more politicians like Adam Kinzinger, a conservative Republican representative whose evangelical faith led him to condemn Donald Trump.

• Last week I alluded to Joe Biden’s inaugural address quoting Augustine of Hippo… here’s some further explanation of why “President Biden’s Augustinian invocation was a powerful appeal to unity in a moment of deep division.”

• But not only did one political philosopher warn that “exhortations to unity can divide us,” but to one Catholic political columnist, the inauguration of our second Catholic president also highlighted a division in that church.

• One divide in American society — that between urban and rural counties — is more complicated than I realized.

• If I’m not as deeply disappointed in Franklin Graham as Roger Olson, that’s only because I long ago gave up on hoping that Billy’s son could become a meaningful evangelical leader.

• What makes evangelicals distinctively susceptible to conspiracy theories? Joel Lawrence pointed to apocalypticism and Christian nationalism, but also to the very nature of evangelical faith itself.

• Even progressives are criticizing the San Francisco school board’s decision to rename over forty of the city’s school, including those honoring presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, national parks founder John Muir, and California senator Dianne Feinstein.

• Perhaps that school board should have consulted with historians first…

Feth Main Building at Concordia College-New York (Creative Commons)

• A fourth campus in Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Concordia system decided to close.

• The death of a long-serving Christian college president inspired this moving note of appreciation by one of his former students-turned-faculty.

• Meanwhile, the president of a historically black university declined to make a speech for Martin Luther King Jr. Day… out of respect for MLK.

• Our university has tried to adapt to COVID without making significant changes to its academic calendar. But other institutions have been experimenting with how they structure their year…

• Meanwhile, over a thousand students at one Ivy League school are refusing to pay tuition until they get a discount for having to take most classes online.

• Finally, Michial Farmer’s entire essay on celebrity is worth reading, but I was particularly convicted by this confession, which describes me at least as well as its author: “With every word I write, I imagine myself being praised for my wit and insight. It’s a cancer, malignant and menacing, attacking me at the very source of my work. I’m incapable of writing a word without imagining delivering it before an enormous auditorium; of keeping a journal without imagining future generations eagerly reading it; of reading a biography without imagining somebody writing my own.”