About David Swartz

The Silence Exercise

I’ve been trying of late to incorporate more diverse assignments and methods of instruction in my teaching. Each semester now in my World Civilizations course, I ask students to write a short paper on what I call the “silence exercise.” As odd as it may seem, merely maintaining silence for a while can be a [Read More...]

Eating Eel: Your Guide to an Authentic Thanksgiving

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Turkey might be traditional fare at Thanksgiving, but it’s probably not historical. If the Pilgrims ate any birds at all, historian Tracy McKenzie writes in his fascinating book The First Thanksgiving, they were probably waterfowl. William Bradford remembered that there were “swarms and multitudes” of ducks, swans, herons, and cranes. There were, said a Dutch [Read More...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Rand Paul Edition

This post on politician Rand Paul, the latest in a series that has included Pentecostals, holiness groups, and Charles Spurgeon, will probably perturb everyone. Conservatives will object because they won’t want to be linked to the “liberal” position of pacifism. Libertarians will object because theirs is not a principled pacifism, but a fiscal one. Pacifists [Read More...]

Serendipity in the Stacks: A Case against Bookless Libraries

Several months ago Florida Polytechnic University opened a brand-new library. Its architecture, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is striking. Even more striking is what this library lacks: books. I’ll repeat that: you can’t check out any physical books at FPU’s library. You can, however, read from a screen. Staffers say that electronic workstations give students access [Read More...]

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice (Part II)

This is Part II of an interview with Brantley Gasaway, author of a just-released book entitled Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice. If you order it now, you should get a copy in the next couple of weeks. *** Swartz: You orient the mission of progressive evangelicals around the concept of a “public [Read More...]

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice

progressive-evangelicals

I’m delighted to bring you an interview with Brantley Gasaway, who teaches in the religious studies department at Bucknell University. He is the author of a new book Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice. We’ve known about each other for many years, ever since we learned we had written dissertations on the same [Read More...]

From “I, Pencil” to “I, Smartphone”: The Moral Limits of the Market

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I’m pleased to feature a guest post by my friend and colleague Kevin Brown, an assistant professor of business and economics at Asbury University. This column is based in part on an article, “Capitalism and the Common Good,” that appears in the September 2014 issue of Christianity Today. *** In the late 1950s, the economist [Read More...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Charles Spurgeon Edition

Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon, a Reformed Baptist known as the “prince of preachers” in the nineteenth century, remains revered. Known especially for his devotional writings, he currently ranks in the top 100 bestsellers of Christian literature on Amazon. Tom Nettles, a professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says that contemporary fascination with Spurgeon is [Read More...]

Notes to Freshmen on Mystery and the Liberal Arts

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At Asbury University, where I teach, the fall semester is already ramping up. After welcoming nearly 400 new students to campus last Tuesday for orientation, we didn’t waste any time starting up academic conversations. All incoming students are reading G.K. Chesterton’s mystery thriller The Man Who Was Thursday for their liberal arts seminar, which met [Read More...]

Scripture as Usable History II

GodsGloryBible

In my last post I described the pushback from some American evangelicals against God-and-country Bibles like the Patriot’s Bible or the Bicentennial Bible. Another woefully understudied, but potentially significant, source of dissent is global evangelicalism. To my knowledge Mark Noll is one of the few to analyze foreign perspectives on America’s treatment of Scripture. In [Read More...]


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