That Was The Week That Was

This week: a Bethel colleague and I launched a new podcast meant to help Christians thinking about college, and I recorded an hour-long conversation about Ukraine with two other Bethel colleagues. Elsewhere:

• Here’s a historical analogy I didn’t muse about in our Ukraine podcast: is Volodymyr Zelensky the 21st century version of Lajos Kossuth?

Kossuth, a leader of Hungary’s failed war for independence in 1848-49, received a hero’s welcome when he came to New York in 1851 — New York Public Library

• I did, on the other hand, draw heavily on WWII historian Antony Beevor’s scathing appraisal of the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

• In many respects, the war in Ukraine is the first that many will watch primarily via social media. Is there a way to do that well?

• More and more students are coming to history via video games like Europa Universalis. What does that mean for historians?

• Required reading for any scholar who thinks that, well, anyone would want to read their blog (or listen to their podcast): “A key peril of public writing… is that it tends to place the writer at the center of the work. A desire to be seen, to be thought smart or witty or erudite, can — imperceptibly, at first — begin to overtake the writing itself. Writing for the public may, and often does, evolve into writing to develop a platform for the promotion of oneself as a commodity.”

• Russell Moore understandably found it “baffling to be told that speaking about dangers and errors is a failure of love for one’s fellow evangelicals.”

1941 photo of a small Florida church choir singing – public domain

• As much as anything else, being back in church means being back to singing with others.

• But not that many people have actually come back to church

• My favorite musical “might as well be a parable of post-Christendom” — and that’s not a bad thing.

• A Gordon-Conwell professor explained why “women have been a crucial part of Christianity’s seismic shift south,” though their significance is rarely captured by data.

• Women also play a crucial part in Christian higher education, so I appreciate that Anxious Bench colleague drew our attention to a new book that looks “at the trap set by unrealistic expectations of American motherhood, stresses in higher education, and favor given to stay-at-home moms within some evangelical and Protestant communities.”

• Here’s yet another case of an educational institution trying to game the U.S. News ranking system.

• Finally, for fellow Wordle fans… here’s what its creator had to say about that gaming phenomenon and why he sold it to the New York Times.