Archive for October, 2010

A Case for Christian Republicanism?

October 31, 2010

The election is on the very near horizon and I’ve been thinking about politics and Christianity.

John Mark Reynolds recently produced an essay for Crosswalk  defending and arguing for a Christian allegiance (for the most part) to the Republican party. He makes a reasonable case. But I’m a smidgen troubled – I’d like to see a parallel essay making the case for the Democratic party (plenty of people I know out there would do a good job, I think – say Jim Wallis). Perhaps a few other options, or an essay eschewing political parties might also be useful (I can think of some Anabaptist candidates for that one, and can think of at least a couple of Christian libertarians). My guess is that a good series of parallel articles, perhaps with some interaction between the authors, would help Christians think a lot more Christianly about the upcoming elections. [I wouldn’t be surprised if Reynolds agreed with me]

It’s not so much that I’m opposed to Reynolds’ view. It’s more that I think it is dangerous both tactically and strategically to align ourselves too much with intrinsically secular movements. Maybe I’m just too cautious.

What’s Wrong with Higher Education

October 31, 2010

A report here on a talk John J. Miller gave at the Pope Center highlighting the lack of accountability, made visible in three main problems with higher education: 1) unbalanced faculty and administration, 2) deterioration of standards, and 3) costs which are way too high.

Why So Many Bibles?

October 30, 2010

Daniel Burke asks. He cites David Lyle Jeffrey,

“When we have so much diversity we lose our common voice,” he said.

“It is in effect moving away from a common membership in the body of Christ into disparate, confusing misrepresentations of the rich wisdom of Scripture, which ought to unify us.”

It’s a serious concern. But it does conflict with the need to create and sell product. So we may be stuck for now.

Do Evangelicals Ignore Black Evangelical Scholars?

October 30, 2010

Anthony Bradley asks this important question. It’s a complicated issue. I know how hard it is to staff faculty positions with minorities. There is a relatively limited pool of candidates, partially due to how evangelicals excluded African-Americans from the academy until relatively recently. One only needs to look around any meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (where I’ll be in a couple of weeks) or look at the student population at a place like Wheaton to see this reality. And for African-American scholars,  there  are often better paying positions, with more community prestige available. [I’ve been asked by a few students when I was going to leave teaching to really do something important, like pastor a church.]

Despite these and other contributing factors, I think there is something amiss. A few ideas on where to start. There needs to be intentionality and focus for the traditional networked connections to be overcome. In part, the evangelical scholarly world is a bit clubby and it is who you know and who connects you to whom we need to overcome. But even more, evangelicalism is often so individualist in how it views issues that asking if there are representations from various perspectives is probably the exception rather than the rule. [For more on the individualism issue and race, see Divided by Faith] Training ourselves to ask these questions regularly would be another step to take.

Anthony’s Article is a good reminder for all of us.

Why Should the Devil Get Halloween?

October 30, 2010

A question from Caryn Rivadenaira at CT. Part of her answer:

Whatever it is that draws me to the creepy is what initially drew me to God, and still does.


Alternet on the Bubble

October 30, 2010

Here’s an article on a left-leaning site that takes seriously some of the questions about higher education that have been raised over the last few years. Lauren Kelly admits that perhaps (no final conclusion) we wouldn’t be better off with more people in college.


October 29, 2010

A video summary of Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. Interesting.

A Slideshow on Educational Trends

October 29, 2010

Worth looking at. From the Gates Foundation.

Had trouble getting it to embed, so here’s the link.

Higher Education Lessons from Netflix

October 29, 2010

Here are some interesting lessons from Netflix. Some interesting questions about how higher education might want to think about the future.

Election Civility – Historical Context

October 29, 2010

For those who complain about incivility and nasty political ads, you might want to consider this historical context.

Via Jonah Goldberg at the Corner.