Anniversary Penance

This will not be Patheos’s best anniversary post. For starters, I just double-checked the guidelines and now see that anniversary posts were supposed to reach you between May 5 and May 7. I am late.

Moreover, I have not prepared a video to upload for you to enjoy. This, however, is perhaps a blessing. A few years ago, I made a series of podcasts for a “blended” U.S. History survey course. I did not think the format improved me. Moreover, I kept re-recording lectures after sneezing partway through them. A simple “excuse me” suffices in the classroom. It did occur to me, however, that students could ignore my words far more easily via podcast. It took very little effort to not watch them.

Five years is not a very long time in our subfields of history, in which we deal with religious movements typically at least centuries old. Heck, Mormonism will be two hundred years old very soon. The King James Bible recently turned four hundred years old. Martin Luther’s theses are very nearly five hundred years old.

Still, celebrate whenever possible. Five years in the digital age is virtually forever.

One of my favorite things about The Anxious Bench is that while we each have our particular niches, we are all free to explore whatever catches our interest. This gives me, and hopefully some of you, a chance to investigate briefly topics we might otherwise ignore because they do not fit into a larger or more pressing project.

A post of mine from last summer ably illustrates this aspect of our blog. Titled “Penance in a White Sheet,” it explores references to public penance in colonial Virginia.

Now, just because I still like it, doesn’t mean that anyone else did. Actually, one Facebook user claimed to like it.

And if you are out there reading any of our posts, without “liking” them or tweeting them or sharing them or printing them out and putting them into bottles for peoples in distant lands to find, we appreciate that you stop by. Please continue to do so!


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