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...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Pentecostal Edition

John_Ashcroft

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft, a prominent advocate of the war in Iraq, wrote a song called “Let the Eagle Soar” (you can listen to it here).  It is a deeply patriotic song, one he liked to mix with morning prayer meetings at [Read More...]

The Art of the Book Review

Writers who publish books will soon find their books subjected to reviews. Although good book reviews are enormously helpful for keeping up with what’s happening in one’s field, for individual authors they can be frustrating, perplexing, and even paralyzing. Negative reviews can send writers into chasms of bitterness and personal resentment against the reviewer, or [Read More...]

Embryos Unbound

April’s First Things boasts not one but two worthy articles on embryos.  I agree with much in each.  One, “The Ancients on Abortion” by Sarah Klitenic Wear, gives a history lesson on ancient embryology to observe that Greeks then—not unlike Americans now—debated whether souls were present before or after birth.  The other, Jennifer Lahl and [Read More...]

The Urban Pulpit

Bowman cover

Two years ago, I posted an interview with Matthew Bowman, a preview of a book that has now appeared as The Urban Pulpit:New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism. A few quick thoughts: – Paul Putz posted an excellent summary/review at Religion in American History: Bowman argues that the fracturing of evangelicalism in [Read More...]

THE CHASM OF HISTORY

When scholars look at the Bible, or any other ancient religious work, they are well used to the idea of traditions and legends building up over time, as stories are retold. The assumption is that, the further we stand from a historical event, the more embellished it becomes, and that is generally a reasonable statement.  [Read More...]

The Brightness of the Sun

The Conversion of St. Paul, Jean Fouquet, in the Hours of  Étienne Chevalier, ca. 1450s

Sometime around the year 1820, the young Joseph Smith was troubled. According to the earliest account, written in 1832, Smith was anxious over the state of his sinful soul. He “felt to mourn,” for his own sinfulness and that of the world. He was convinced of God’s existence, simply by looking at the wonders of [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...]

Yes, Religious Liberty is Threatened in America

Oral arguments begin today at the Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, a case precipitated by the HHS Mandate, under which corporations must provide abortifacient and contraceptive coverage to employees. This requirement, the most controversial in a host of controversial provisions under Obamacare, has elicited a host of lawsuits from a variety of religious organizations, [Read More...]

COUNTING THE WAYS

sigliki-roman-road-071

Early Christians referred to their movement as The Way, Hodos. No later than the early second century, the converts’ manual that we call the Didache, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, began by declaring that “There are two Ways [Hodoi], one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the [Read More...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X