The Best Books in American Religious History That I Read This Year

In the wake of Thomas Kidd’s post on his five most compelling religious biographies, I thought I would offer an end-of-the year reading list of my own.  Here are some of the best books (in no particular order) I read this year in the field of American religious history: John Smolenski, Friends and Strangers: The [Read More...]

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week: The Humanities Indicators “Dancing in the Dark” in Oakland Cracking the Roger Williams code Sean Wilentz’s history of Columbia Records Historical thinking and historical films Florida historians vs. Florida’s governor Mapping American writers Read more here [Read more...]

The Forgotten Virtue of Gratitude

Nothing new from me this week, but here is an article on gratitude that  I wrote in 2008.  It originally appeared at Inside Higher Education.  Happy Thanksgiving! –JF It was a typical 1970s weekday evening. The sky was growing dark and I, an elementary school student, was sitting at the kitchen table of a modest [Read More...]

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week: Benjamin Franklin: Self-made man? So much for going down to the river The humanities are under fire in Florida Dick Cavett and Ali  New website at the C.V. Starr Center for the American Experience More  here. [Read more...]

Preaching Bonhoeffer and the Uses of the Past

Anxious Bench blogger John Turner asked me to republish this piece here.  It originally appeared on November 8, 2012 at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  -JF Last night at Messiah College I heard Christian writer Eric Metaxas give a very entertaining, humorous, and inspiring lecture on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  The lecture was [Read More...]

Why I am Glad the Election is Over

“As an American historian, what do you think about the 2012 presidential election?” I am asked this question often and I am never sure how to answer it.  Ask me in another ten or twenty years and maybe I might have an answer.  Or maybe ask another historian one-hundred years from now.  Sure, historians can [Read More...]

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week: Jackson Lears: Mormons and capitalism Alan Jacobs on the problems with political realism  Humility and the renaissance of geographic history Governors and the “hurricane conversion.” Henry Louis Gates Jr. on growing up colored The writing addiction Brave thinking H.W. Brands on Ulysses S. Grant.  Eric [Read More...]

Ron Sider on Christian Political Engagement

I recently read Ron Sider’s excellent The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World.  If you have not read it yet, you should.  If you have the time, I would strongly encourage you to read it before voting next week.   Sider’s book is not meant to be [Read More...]

What Does Democracy Require of Us?

On March 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln stood before the crowd at the United States capitol building to deliver his second inaugural address.  Lincoln was addressing a nation nearing the conclusion of a long and bloody Civil War that took 600,000 lives.  The speech was far from triumphant.  It was a meditation on one of the [Read More...]

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

Starting today, I will be offering the readers of The Anxious Bench a taste of “Sunday Night Odds and Ends,” a weekly feature from my blog, The Way of Improvement Leads Home.   –JF   Ron Sider is retiring Alison Collis Greene vs. H.L. Mencken.  The topic is Mississippi Roundtable on Blum and Harvey’s The Color [Read More...]


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