Dancing with Jesus

Anna Vetter grew up amid the poverty of the Thirty Years War. After marrying, she gave birth to seven children. Around the age of thirty, she grew ill and nearly died. Her husband abused her. A daughter died shortly after birth. Then her visions began. Anna Vetter saw God, angels, and Jesus Christ. In one [Read More...]

German Pietism

Philippus_Theophrastus_Paracelsus

Most of us who think about the history of American evangelicalism are Anglo-centric. That is, if we think about the roots of American evangelicalism or about its subsequent development, we think about England (and perhaps Scotland and Wales) if we think outside of North America at all. Douglas Shantz, in An Introduction to German Pietism: [Read More...]

American Religion and Freemasonry

Hackett

Freemasonry is a tricky topic for historians of American religion, both in terms of classification and in terms of content. Masonry confuses, in part because of the many changes within its ranks over the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Still, good books exist on the topic, such as Stephen Bullock’s Revolutionary Brotherhood. [Read More...]

Anniversary Penance

This will not be Patheos’s best anniversary post. For starters, I just double-checked the guidelines and now see that anniversary posts were supposed to reach you between May 5 and May 7. I am late. Moreover, I have not prepared a video to upload for you to enjoy. This, however, is perhaps a blessing. A [Read More...]

The Good Lord Bird

good lord bird

My series on visions will resume in a few weeks. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that a film involving a young boy’s near-death vision of heaven and Jesus has become an unexpected hit. Right now, however, I’ve just finished reading The Good Lord Bird, last year’s National Book Award winning novel about John Brown’s [Read More...]

Moral Minority in Paperback

index

Perhaps because he practices the Christian humility encouraged by Miles Mullin this past week, our colleague David Swartz has failed to inform readers of the Anxious Bench that his history of the Evangelical Left is now available in paperback. See my praise of David’s book here and here. Needless to say, Moral Minority is readable, [Read More...]

Eucharistic Visionaries

Birgitta, ca. 1530

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been exploring the role of visions in the history of Christianity, specifically visions of Jesus. It was accepted by nearly all early Christians that men and women had been granted visions by the divine (and often of the divine), and it appears to have been widely accepted that at [Read More...]

The Passions of Perpetua and Frans van der Lugt

The martyrdom of Perpetua, Felicitas, and others, from a ca. 1000 illuminated manuscript

Jesus warned that those who wanted to be his disciples would have to take up their crosses and follow him, at the risk of losing their lives. During Holy Week, Christians rightfully focus their meditations and prayers on the passion of their Savior, but especially at this time it seems appropriate for us to remember [Read More...]

The New Prophecy

“Having assumed the form of a woman,” a late second-century prophetess announced, “Christ came to me in a bright robe and put wisdom in me, and revealed to me that this place is holy, and that it is here that Jerusalem will descend from heaven.” Epiphanius, a fourth-century bishop on Cyprus and categorizer of alleged [Read More...]

The Visions of John of Patmos

St. John the Evangelist on Patmos, ca. 1479

A man named John found himself “on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” While “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” he heard a loud voice instruct him to “write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.” Presumably, like [Read More...]


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