Christian Responses to Lindbergh: “The Recrudescence of Paganism”

Christians debated how to respond to Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. To some, the ensuing hero worship smacked of “paganism.” [Read more…]

Alternative Scriptures: Theosophy and the Esoteric Tradition

I have been posting about the widespread knowledge of alternative gospels and scriptures that existed in Western culture over a century ago, roughly between 1870 and 1930. Whether we are looking at Gnostic and esoteric views of early Christianity, feminist interpretations of the role of Mary Magdalene, or the influence of Essene doctrine, very few [Read More…]

Bernie Sanders, Anti-Evangelical Bigot?

Senator Bernie Sanders opposed the nomination of Russell Vought as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget because of the way Vought supported his alma mater in its firing of Larycia Hawkins. Vought wrote the following for The Resurgent: Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because [Read More…]

This Thai Is Not Like the Others

My research on the antitrafficking movement in Thailand primarily tracked American Christian networks. As I suspected, the many missionaries and humanitarians I interviewed represented remarkable diversity. Some, horrified by sex trafficking, emoted like the passionate evangelicals they were. Others articulated the structural causes of trafficking with considerable sophistication. Some prescribed spiritual conversion. Others recommended more [Read More…]

A Brief History of Vacation Bible School

Keep in mind that VBS is one of those traditions in American Christianity that is well-established, but not as old as you might think. [Read more…]

Alternative Scriptures: Melville’s “Lost Gnostic Poem”

In 1891, Herman Melville published his final book, a collection of poems entitled Timoleon. I want to focus on one of these poems, which initially seems quite mysterious. But it can be understood, if we appreciate the prevailing historical views of the time about heresy and sectarian religion. I also want to touch on a [Read More…]

Alternative Scriptures: Gustav Holst’s Hymn of Jesus

I have been posting about the quite widespread knowledge of alternative and apocryphal scriptural texts in the early twentieth century, long before most non-specialists would assume that this would have been possible. Today’s post concerns an extraordinary example of this phenomenon. The First World War years witnessed a wonderful flowering of music in Great Britain, [Read More…]

Time for Kierkegaard

Summer is here. For academics, that means there just might be time to pick up a random book and read it for pleasure. For those of us in American religious history, Heath Carter has just tweeted a handy list of 150 of his favorite books. But as pleasurable as these books are sure to be, [Read More…]

Handling Personal Crises in Academic Life

On September 19, 2016, I received news so shocking that the world stopped. I was walking across campus when the text came through. For a few seconds I am not sure what happened. I remember the sky flashing blue above me; I remember the sound of falling water from the nearby fountain. I had been [Read More…]

A Spiritual (But Not Religious) Biography of Charles Lindbergh

Chris introduces his next book project: a spiritual (but not religious) biography of Charles A. Lindbergh. [Read more…]