That Was The Week That Was

I was busy this week organizing a kind of sequel to our Faith and History devotional (look for an announcement on that front in a few days), but I did have time to look into the history of the expression “Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat.” Elsewhere:

• The investigation of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries into allegations against its late founder is complete, and it’s appalling.

Zacharias speaking in 2013 – Wikimedia

• Religion News Service hired a new columnist, English professor Karen Swallow Prior, who started her run at RNS by affirming that she’s still Baptist and evangelical.

• Meanwhile, Eric Metaxas is still Eric Metaxas.

A Baylor alum, Melissa Rogers headed that same office during the second term of the Obama presidency – Wikimedia

• The new head of the reestablished White House office for faith-based partnerships is no stranger to that role.

• I heard a lot of anecdotes last summer and fall about how COVID measures at public schools were leading families to check out parochial competitors. But Catholic school enrollment actually had its single biggest one-year drop in half a century.

• What will Ash Wednesday look like during a pandemic? (Our church is having congregants pick up do-it-yourself ash kits.)

• Does prayer work? It’s the wrong question, argued Jen Holmes Curran, one that “betrays that we are thinking about prayer as a technology… But prayer is less like mechanics and more like love.”

• It was great to see Jay Phelan’s book on Judaism get a strong review in Christianity Today.

• A couple years ago, we used Chimamanda Adichie’s notion of “the danger of a single story” for the final essay in Bethel’s Christianity and Western Culture course. I don’t remember a lot of our students applying that idea to Anabaptist history, so I’m glad David Swartz thought to do so.

• Liam Adams is increasingly a go-to reporter for stories on evangelical colleges like David’s employer and mine. For example, see his report on which COVID-related adjustments will and won’t endure in Christian higher ed.

• When I saw this headline, I assumed that Foreign Policy had finally discovered Wheaton College. But apparently “God’s Harvard” is a very different kind of institution.

• The most recent flashpoint for the ongoing conflict over athletes kneeling during the National Anthem was a Baptist college in Virginia.

• When I tell students that I went to college on the other side of that state, I usually mention that William and Mary calls itself the 2nd oldest university in America. But it may actually have Harvard beat…

• Finally, a conservative case for the liberal arts.