The Tragic Sense of Historical Illiteracy

What we believe to be the motives of our conduct are usually but the pretexts for it. –Miguel De Unamuno The Tragic Sense of Life President Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast noting several historically accurate examples where Christianity was used to justify terroristic amounts of violence means that as a historian of American religion, I will never lack for material to once again note that conservatives in the U.S. are mired in a tragic cycle of distorting and ignoring… Read more

Latino/a Rehab Ministry embroiled in controversy

Did some digging about the controversial decision made by New Hope Ministries of Lakewood, Colorado to cancel the funeral of a lesbian right before the funeral was about to begin. You can read about it here: New Hope Ministries and others like it are churches that I am pretty familiar with, since I spent a good part of my graduate school years following ministries like this. The churches have rehabilitation homes attached to them where they are, as New Hope’s… Read more

What I Learned From Appearing on CSPAN–(hint) you’re scared, really scared

Over the holidays, CSPAN ran presentations from the Center for Presidential Studies at Southen Methodist University of which I was honored to be one of the speakers. The conference topic was “Religion in the Age of Obama.” My topic was Latino/a Religious Communities and the Immigration Issue. Here is the link if you’re interested: http://www.c-span.org/video/?322598-2/discussion-religion-social-issues That is about all you need to know about the kinds of comments I received, either on my Twitter feed, my campus email, and one… Read more

How to Keep Latinos/as in Church?

Aside from the cottage industry of Christian publishers who crank out lots and lots of books about maintaining church numbers, growing healthy churches, and diversifying aging congregations, it seems that the next big trend will be how to “reach out” to Latinos/as. Two issues here will be most interesting to watch. One will be, with the popularity of Pope Francis in Latin American and among U.S. Latinos/as, will that stem the long-standing tide of Latinos/as leaving the Church? The other… Read more

Trends to look for in the New Year–Latino/a Religion Edition

With presidential politics sure to drown out most political discussion by mid-year, here are a few things that religion watchers, journalists, and other interested parties want to look for in 2015 Latino/a millennials moving farther into the “none” category–reasons, numbers, and panic from various church leaders coming soon! Latino/a Muslim communities not rare demographic blip, but communities requiring serious study with local and national leaders coming into their own. Latino/a belief in and interest in climate change, requires much more… Read more

Merry Christmas! (Culture) War is Over If You Want It.

Every year around Christmas I make my plea for folks from all spiritual walks to give up on the culture wars. A great way to start is this week’s remarkable breakthrough with Cuba. It seems that Pope Francis is not content with upsetting the Cold Warriors in the Church. I can hardly wait to lead a Study Abroad to study the diversity of Cuba’s religious communities!  If the U.S. can turn the corner on 5o futile years of failed foreign… Read more

The Obsession with What Latinos Will Do This Election

This semester is brutal, but not so brutal, that I will be posting much more often over the next few weeks about the media’s near obsessive concern with how Latinos will vote, if they will sit out the mid-terms, etc. Basically what the media wants to know “how pissed off are we?” that  Obama promised for 2 election cycles, to do something about immigration reform–and so far has done next to nothing. This story is typical, not of voting per… Read more

Re-Thinking Sister Aimee Pt 2

A drive past Angelus Temple today is testament to the contemporary Foursquare denomination’s ties to its founder. Though the denomination is a worldwide presence, its beginnings in Los Angeles are still celebrated as part of the legacy of Aimee Semple McPherson, affectionately known as “Sister Aimee.” For the Foursquare denomination, McPherson’s innovations as a Pentecostal pioneer are the obvious: the first woman to lead a Pentecostal denomination, one of the first to own a radio station in the West Coast,… Read more

Re-Thinking Sister Aimee McPherson

   International Church of the Foursquare Gospel Founder, Aimee Semple McPherson  died on September 27, 1944 these next few posts commemorate the 70th anniversary of her death and the controversy surrounding that death. I normally knew better than to debate the controversies surrounding Aimee Semple McPherson with certain Pentecostal students of mine. Feeling out this particular student, I judged correctly that he would not be interested in all the fascinating historical tidbits and theories surrounding her life, for this Foursquare… Read more

A Latino Moment

Back from an extended summer break…there will be more on this endless summer coming soon, for now, looks like the U.S. Catholic Church has finally recognized the “Latino Moment.” Not sure what this means but here is the article for your perusal. Coming soon….a quick checklist on why the summer of 2014 may be one of the worst on record In two weeks, a couple of posts on the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the death of Pentecostal pioneer,… Read more

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