Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 2

Redeemer - The Life of Jimmy Carter

Beginning in the 1970s, evangelical voters significantly influenced electoral outcomes.  Throughout the 1980s, they emerged as an increasingly- reliable Republican voting block.  By the time the 1990s dawned, significant evangelical involvement in the political process meant that effectively, the Republican nomination could not be secured without their support.  And, in the closely-contested general election of 2004, [Read More...]

Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 1

"He's History's Greatest Monster."

When Marge Simpson forgets to pay for a bottle of rum at the Qwik-E-Mart, she ends up serving thirty days in jail for shoplifting.  Without Marge’s famous marshmallow squares to sell, Springfield’s Beautify Our Parks Bake Sale falls short of its goal, forcing the town to purchase a statue of Jimmy Carter instead of Abraham [Read More...]

Five American Religious History Books Every Evangelical Minister Should Read

Summer Reading

Traditionally, summer is the time for reading lists.  In honor of that tradition, I present the following post. Among Anxious Bench authors, I am a bit of an anomaly.  My colleagues on the blog–Agnes Howard, Tal Howard, Thomas Kidd, Philip Jenkins, David Swartz, and John Turner–all hold positions in history departments.  I teach in a [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 2

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  This is the second part.  The first part ran Wednesday, June 4th.  Relevant updates and emendations [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  The first part will run today, the second will run on Saturday, June 7th.  Relevant updates [Read More...]

Where the Wind Leads

For the May 1st-15th Patheos Book Club In early 1979, Hoa Chung had a dream.  Although plans were coming together to leave communist-ruled Vietnam for a better life elsewhere, this dream was not a daydream of hope, but a vivid sleeping-dream.  In it, her husband Hoa and their eight children fell dead in the middle [Read More...]

Five from One: Happy Anniversary Patheos

As Tommy Kidd noted yesterday, we are in the middle of Patheos’ five-year-anniversary celebration.  Congratulations to Patheos for successfully “hosting the conversation on faith” for the past half-decade.  In my estimation, they have done a great job! For my part, this month marks a full year that I have had the privilege of writing for [Read More...]

Christian Humility? In Academia?

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  ~Philippians 2:3-4 (NRSV) Considering others more important than yourself by looking out for their interests manifests Christian humility and demonstrates conformity to the [Read More...]

History Surprises

Those who profess to dislike history may as well profess to dislike people.          ~Everett Ferguson I like people.  I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them–whether they are dead or alive.  For me, meeting new people from the past and growing in my understanding of them make history fun. [Read More...]

Unintended Consequences in American Religious History

Evan Treborn has a gift.  The main character in the 2004 science-fiction film The Butterfly Effect, Evan possesses the ability to travel back to particular points in his life, changing the events of that moment.  Over the course of the movie, he does this several times, hoping to change outcomes for the better.  Of course, [Read More...]


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