Runaway Slave Ads and the Violence of Slavery

In research for my colonial America book, I recently came across a runaway slave ad cited in Ira Berlin’s masterful Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America. The ad appeared in the Maryland Gazette in 1766, one of countless such ads seeking the return of runaways from southern farms and plantations in the [Read More...]

Phillis Wheatley and the Evangelical Anti-Slavery Movement

When the evangelical poet Phillis Wheatley published an pamphlet-length elegy on George Whitefield upon the great itinerant’s death in 1770, she gained renown as the first published African American woman in history. She was still a slave in Boston at the time, and (perhaps predictably, if she was going to be published) there were only [Read More...]

Anti-Catholicism: The Defining Religious Principle of Early America?

I have been reading Owen Stanwood’s excellent book The Empire Reformed: English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution, which has taken me back to my own doctoral research and first book (now a cult classic!) The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism. Stanwood shows just how much weight “anti-popery” carried in early English America, and [Read More...]

What Can Stop Southern Baptist Decline?

In anticipation of the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources issued its annual report on church statistics, and for the seventh straight year, the SBC’s overall membership declined. (Here’s my coverage of the 2013 report and annual meeting for WORLD Magazine.) The University of North Carolina’s Molly Worthen, [Read More...]

Fasting from Technology

In my small group at church we have been discussing the spiritual disciplines, and one of the recent topics was “unplugging,” or fasting from technology. Fasting is, of course, an ancient practice, but in the past fifty years or so it has been applied more and more to electronic devices, from the radio to the [Read More...]

A Review of David Swartz’s Moral Minority

David Swartz is off this week – here is an excellent review of David’s Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism, from the Church History blog:  It did not have to be. The Falwells, the Dobsons, the Reeds, the LaHayes, all those who may well have given more contours to the term “evangelical” than [Read More...]

An Interview with Steven Smith on Religious Liberty

I recently interviewed Steven D. Smith about his new Harvard University Press book, The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom. Smith is Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and Co-Executive Director of the USD Institute for Law and Religion.  [Kidd] Thanks for taking the time for an interview, Professor Smith! [Read More...]

Should Christians Date Online?

Our friend (and one of the fabulous Baylor history Ph.D. students) Paul Putz has a fascinating piece over at the Religion and Politics blog on the deep history of Christian matchmaking in America. After discussing the intriguing “matrimonial bureau” of Omaha pastor Charles Savidge in the early 20th century, Putz reflects on the contemporary relevance and challenges [Read More...]

Five Year Anniversary for Patheos and the Best of My Posts

Congratulations to Patheos on its five-year anniversary! As I note in the brief video here, I have written for Patheos for several years, first as a columnist, then as a blogger and coordinator for the Anxious Bench group historians’ blog. Here’s some of my best posts during my time writing for Patheos: “Ask Jesus into [Read More...]

An Interview with Philip Jenkins on The Great and Holy War

My Baylor colleague and fellow Anxious Bench blogger Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director of the Program on Historical Studies of Religion at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of many books, including The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom. He has published articles and op-ed pieces [Read More...]


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