That Was The Week That Was

This week Bethel wrapped up its 150th anniversary celebration, so I shared both the talk I gave at the celebratory dinner (on the individual moments that make up our collective story) and an analysis of the religious and educational continuities that define Bethel in the midst of so much change. Also, we recorded a podcast on the cost and value of higher education, as the College for Christians series continued.


• If you want to savor a long read, try Jay Case’s reflection on how the “moral perception” of slavery changed over time.

• When did white evangelicals start to embrace the language of “racial reconciliation”? One historian pointed to 1992, and the aftermath of the Los Angeles police attack on Rodney King.

• Not surprisingly, a new study found that COVID-19 significantly disrupted Sunday School and other forms of Christian education. The question is: will they bounce back?

• Thirty-five years into its history, America’s largest Lutheran body remains one of the oldest and whitest denominations in the country.

• Remarkably, a book by a complementarian evangelical has exported the idea of female submission to Orthodox Judaism.

• Learn about the religious holiday that annually produces a massive surge in charitable giving.

Image of a black hole captured in 2019 – Creative Commons (Event Horizon Telescope)

• What can black holes tell us about God? An astrophysicist explained the theological implications of the unfinished work of science.

• I’m not a big fan of Twitter to start with, so I’m not sure I care all that much about its change in ownership. But lots of others are nervously awaiting the start of the Elon Musk era.

• Education may be a battlefield in the culture wars, but there’s actually strong consensus among parents (across the political spectrum) about the quality of their children’s schooling.

• One of the subjects we touched on in this week’s podcast was Pell Grants, the federal government program that is covering less and less of the cost of college.

• Next week we’ll talk about “early college,” an idea that’s been around since the 1990s but is starting to take off.

• I’m not convinced of the benefits of college loan forgiveness (much as I’d love to see that payment go away for my wife’s sake).