Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity

I recently had the pleasure of reading Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-day Saints (Oxford, 2013). My review is up on the Books & Culture website — I characterize Mormon Christianity as “brilliant, provocative, and occasionally maddening.” The maddening, from my vantage point, is what I consider a rather [Read More...]

Evangelicals and the Death Penalty

Santoro

Anthony Santoro’s Exile and Embrace: Contemporary Religious Discourse on the Death Penalty features one of the more arresting book covers I’ve seen in recent years. A pierced and bloody Jesus sits in an electric chair, wearing a crown of thorns and a waistcloth. The photo is of a wax sculpture by Paul Fryer, who offers [Read More...]

The Power of Biography

From the Anxious Bench archives: Especially because my colleague Thomas Kidd and I both like the genre of biography, we’ve touched on that topic periodically on this blog. A while back, he blogged about five compelling religious biographies. I was thinking about that subject again while reading my erstwhile University of South Alabama colleague and [Read More...]

Tweeting the Bible

Twible

Is the Bible a funny book? Nearly a decade ago, I read David Maine’s winsome and witty novel The Preservationist, an imaginative  retelling of Noah and the flood that is simultaneously irreverent and faithful toward the biblical narrative. Maine’s The Fallen, a novel about Adam, Eve, and their expulsion from Eden, proved a splendid follow-up. [Read More...]

Year of Mercy-ing

I was struck by Jeremy Lott’s year-end piece at Real Clear Religion: “The Year of the Sinner.” Apparently, Pope Francis (it is so much easier for non-Catholics to have a pope without Roman numerals after his regnal name) caused a stir in some quarters by telling America that Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s basic identity is that [Read More...]

Reforming Hollywood

reforming hollywood

Reforming Hollywood is a complex and fascinating book. “The prevailing view in histories of American film,” writes William Romanowski, “is that Protestants were determined to impose the rule of censorship on Hollywood, and for that reason they refused to cooperate with the [Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America].” For a detailed and thorough review, [Read More...]

The Latter-day Saints and Anti-Polygamy Laws

Sister_Wives_TV_series_logo

One would think that with the half-decade “Mormon moment” now well past, Mormonism would now generate news only infrequently. That is not quite turning out to be the case. New missionary requirements, concerns about internet-driven apostasy, the recent statement on the priesthood ban, and now a Utah District Court decision that strikes down part (but [Read More...]

Mormons and Race

Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a new, detailed statement on “Race and the Priesthood” on its “Gospel Topics” website. For those unfamiliar with the topic, during Joseph Smith’s lifetime the church ordained a number of black men into the priesthood, an expected progression for any male member of the [Read More...]

Advent Music

I love Advent hymns. My mother was always adamant that Christians had no business singing Christmas hymns prior to at least Christmas eve. We only have four Sundays on which to sing Advent hymns, so there’s no musical reason — and no theologically sound reason — to rush past our season of hopeful expectation. Well, [Read More...]

Thanksgiving Edition

It’s Thanksgiving. My plan was to plug my review of Tracy McKenzie’s The First Thanksgiving before stuffing myself with eel and turnips. Alas, it’s hard to feel thankful when one’s co-bloggers interrupt one’s plans by both reviewing the same book. But if I also write a hearty endorsement of Tracy’s book, visitors to the Anxious [Read More...]


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