Theology Nerd

June 11, 2015

Here’s a theology nerd cartoon. Not perfect, but not too bad.

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Videos on Flipping the Classroom

June 11, 2015

Here’s an interesting set of videos that give some ideas on how to flip a classroom.

Abbeys and Community Arts

June 11, 2015

An interesting take on churches as cultural centers.

Why Technology Will Never Fix Education

June 9, 2015

Some good points here. The author notes several important facts:

In fact, even in their own lives [when students were asked], it was easy to show that technology by itself didn’t necessarily cause more learning….

The real obstacle in education remains student motivation. Especially in an age of informational abundance, getting access to knowledge isn’t the bottleneck, mustering the will to master it is. And there, for good or ill, the main carrot of a college education is the certified degree and transcript, and the main stick is social pressure. Most students are seeking credentials that graduate schools and employers will take seriously and an environment in which they’re prodded to do the work. But neither of these things is cheaply available online. – See more at: http://m.chronicle.com/article/Why-Technology-Will-Never-Fix/230185/#sthash.7xVfuhtM.dpuf

Political Correctness or Trauma?

June 8, 2015

An interesting suggestion about some of the roots of the current strong sensitivity that exhibits itself in trigger warnings and the like. While it doesn’t entirely excuse what is happening, it makes some helpful points. The final paragraph notes:

It’s easy to caricature the vanguard of the so-called politically correct: to paint them as fanatics who are trying to destroy well-established norms of free speech. But they are not caricatures; they are products of history. Most current college students grew up in the shadow of September 11, with the specter of large-scale terrorism always looming and with a steady stream of soldiers returning home to grapple with their demons. It is no wonder that they feel that they, too, deserve security, even in the precarious and flimsy form of trigger warnings and safe spaces

I do think the appeal to 9/11 is an interesting (and somewhat weak one). There is very little direct impact on the lives of American due to 9/11, certainly compared to the traumas of earlier wars and other crises: WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, Vietnam…I just don’t think the trauma of 9/11 is robust enough to explain this. I think there is a more fertile intellectual ground as well. The therapeutic culture (the PTSD thing the article highlights) catalyzes a stronger response, I think.

Are Evangelicals Winning the World?

June 8, 2015

Peter Berger offers an interesting analysis of the current state of evangelicalism in the world.

Message of Freshmen students

June 4, 2015

Perhaps a bit over the top, but there is something bracing about such a strong statement about what higher education is about. I’m not sure if the reality he describes (especially the traditional, old-fashioned part of higher education) is really sustainable, but I might wish it so. The final paragraph is something I think that is important, however:

If you want to know the biggest difference between you and your professor, it is probably this: You see university as a place where you get a credential. For your professor, a university is not primarily about credentialing. Your professor still harbors the traditional view that universities are about education. If your aim is to get a credential, then for you courses will be obstacles in your path. For your professor, a course is an opportunity for you to make your world richer and yourself stronger.

Things too horrible

June 4, 2015

This interview with Antony Beevor reminds us of the dark side of war. Even for “good wars” (if there could be such a thing). Here’s a sample:

“One has to try to understand these things,” he says. “Let’s face it, the duty of a historian is to understand, and to try to convey that understanding to others.” In fact, given the brutal nature of war, he feels he has actually been relatively restrained. There are many details that have never made it into his books. In his history of the Soviet attack on Berlin, for example, he stopped short of including graphic accounts of German suicide attempts, including the suicides of young children. “I left them out because you couldn’t read them without bursting into tears. There are things that you can’t put in a book because they are too horrific. And yet at the same time you wonder afterwards if you are chickening out by not putting them in.”

Modesty

June 4, 2015

Rachel Held Evans writes on modesty. And I think most of what she shares is fair. I’m not sure that this is the whole of the story. I do think there is some obligation to think of others and the effect of our decisions on them (I’m not sure that’s fair, but we live in an unfair world). Not sure how to incorporate that into the broader discussion without falling into the problems she describes.

Calvin and Not Luther

June 4, 2015

Why does Calvinism appeal to many over Lutheran theology? Here’s an attempt to discuss some of the relevant factors. It’s an interesting question and make clear there are both intellectual (logical consistency) and other kinds of reasons (e.g., new beginnings, a stronger history of expository preaching). Not sure all of this is correct (read the comments and related posts for some further discussion), but I find this kind of discussion helpful.