FINDING A SUBJECT

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Beth Barr, Tommy Kidd and myself have all been posting on the subject of writing and publishing, particularly of academic books. All of us trod lightly on one of the most important aspects of all, namely how someone goes about choosing a topic in the first place. In some cases, it’s easy. You might for [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...]

Hating One’s Enemy in Early America

1755 was one of the bleakest years in the history of Britain’s American colonies. That year, Britain launched a massive campaign to stop French aggression in the Ohio river valley, in the early stages of the Seven Years’ War (also known as the French and Indian War). Benjamin Franklin tried to warn British General Edward [Read More...]

HISTORY IN MAPS

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I was recently looking at some older maps of Africa in the colonial period. Now, maps can be quite deceptive in telling stories, but one in particular struck me forcefully. This is a c.1913 map of the African religious scene. The Muslim regions are quite familiar, and the mapmaker has done his/her best to show [Read More...]

Bonhoeffer Biography a Masterpiece

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Charles Marsh’s Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer has received much attention since its release several months back, partlyfor two reasons. First, Marsh discusses Bonhoeffer’s apparently homoerotic relationship with Eberhard Bethge at considerable length. For a figure beloved by many American Christians themselves uneasy with same-sex attraction, this is controversial terrain. Second, Marsh’s biography [Read More...]

You Body and God

I recently had the privilege of pre-reading Rob Moll’s forthcoming book, What Your Body Knows About God (November 2014, IVP).  In it, Moll distills difficult scientific research, making sense of it in light of historic Christian practices–particularly those targeting personal transformation.  Moll’s own ministry experience and anecdotal accounts season the chapters, adding personal interest to this smoothly-written [Read More...]

A Family Guide to Visiting Philadelphia

There are few better cities in America for a history-themed visit than Philadelphia. We recently returned from a week and a half visit to Philly and Princeton, where I was a faculty leader for a wonderful Witherspoon Institute seminar. (I highly recommend their excellent seminars, which range across topics in law, history, and religion.) Whenever [Read More...]

ENDING THE DRAFT

For obvious reasons, historians concern themselves with writing about things that happened, rather than others that did not exist, or that ceased to happen. In one instance though, we can learn a lot about modern America from tracing the long-term cultural impact of something that finished over forty years ago, namely the military draft. Odd [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR: A WORLD ON THE CROSS

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In my book The Great and Holy War, I write at some length about the propaganda imagery of the war, and how thoroughly it drew on Christian imagery, especially Christ himself, and the Crucifixion. Posters and cartoons depicted whole nations as the victims of crucifixion. Usually they were depicted in the form of women, and [Read More...]

A Time to Mourn

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There are so many things that compete for our attention. Gaza, Ukraine, and Ebola, deservedly so. Celebrity cheating rumors, royal baby rumors, not as important as wars and rumors of wars. Perhaps as it need be, most of us are consumed with our own jobs, our own families, and our own churches. For a short [Read More...]


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