That Was The Week That Was
March 5-11, 2023
This week I thought about the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian higher ed, the challenge of Christian peacemaking, and the God who loves. Elsewhere:
• More than just a review of Beth Moore’s new memoir, Kristin Du Mez’s latest post was a thought-provoking reflection on the messiness of the categories Christians tend to use.
• Part of Moore’s story is her decision to move from a Southern Baptist to an Anglican church… which makes her a member of a global communion whose Global South leaders are breaking with their “mother church.”
• If you clicked on the link last month about the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod looking to crack down on white nationalism within its ranks, this Rolling Stone article makes for a surprisingly helpful (and troubling) follow-up.
• Then let journalist Bob Smietana take you on a tour of a similar phenomenon in mid-20th century American Christianity.
• Rather than spending their money on politics, Alan Noble encouraged wealthy American evangelicals to invest “heavily in Christian higher education, particularly at schools with rich liberal arts education. And I mean heavily.”
(Of course, it would be convenient to believe that Christian higher ed in this country isn’t actually in trouble.)
• And while we’re entertaining unlikely ideas, consider also how seriously prisoners take the study of the humanities… how a show about murder also inspires “hope in the American dream”… how leading brick-and-mortar bookstore chains are turning around their fortunes… and how green energy is reshaping this country’s polarized politics.
• If the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia has you interested in the history of Christianity in that part of the world, check out the new issue of Christian History magazine.
• “Women’s history month is especially important for the church,” argued Lynneth Renberg, “because it helps us see the fullness of the body of Christ, in different places and periods.”
• If you’ve never read the Anglo-Saxon poem “The Dream of the Rood,” let medievalist Eleanor Parker introduce you to some ideal Lenten reading material.
• “We should desire to learn the stories of the people of the past,” wrote Nadya Williams, explaining how archeology both is and isn’t like Indiana Jones, “rather than just hunting for their treasures.”
• I don’t know that Ross Douthat is right that we should be “proudly reactionary” in pushing back “against the digital order.” But like our colleagues in English literature, historians shouldn’t shy away from their fondness for books, given neuroscience research on the “reading brain.”
• Finally, a bit of professional news: I’ve been named program chair for the next biennial meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, scheduled to take place in the fall of 2024 at Samford University. I’ll keep you posted as that event takes shape.
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