History, Empathy, and Race in America

In the white paper “Measuring College Learning in History” (a surprisingly good read as far as literature on assessment in higher education goes), Lendol Calder and Tracy Steffes discuss the virtues of historical inquiry. “History offers a critical perspective on the present and satisfies a natural longing most people have to situate themselves in a [Read More…]

Of Pastors and Power: Mark Driscoll and the Avignon Papacy

  I made the mistake recently of reading Mark Driscoll’s 2008 Crossway book On Church Leadership. For those of you who have forgotten, or just blocked it, Mark Driscoll was the former pastor of the Mars Hill megachurch. He resigned deep in scandal in 2014, but has recovered somewhat and started a new church in Scottsdale, [Read More…]

#fav7films on Faith

Our social media followers helped compile a list of seven favorite films about faith, religion, and belief. [Read more…]

“History is Hot”

Many historians have been given prominent public platforms of late. Is history “hot” right now? And if so, what does that mean for the declining number of history majors? [Read more…]

Up on the Downs

I have been posting about the creation of modern myths about paganism, human sacrifice and other dark rural deeds in twentieth century Britain. Throughout, I have emphasized how artificial these ideas are, in the sense of being literary or artistic creations, commonly reinforced by the growth of sensationalist tabloid media. Many of the works in [Read More…]

Britain’s Pagan Twilight

I have been writing about the long-standing British fascination with the idea of a continuing rural paganism, ideas that in the 1960s grew into the genre of Folk Horror. But why did the ideas of witch-cult theorist Margaret Murray attract such a wide and credulous following? Looking at the writings of such mainstream figures as [Read More…]

How a Dissertation Becomes a Book

The first book of most academic historians is a strange creature: a dissertation that has become a book. How and when should newly minted Ph.D.’s transform those dissertations into books? It is one of the most important and — often — most perplexing moments in an academic career. This is the first in a series [Read More…]

Notes to First-Year Students on Mystery and the Liberal Arts

Today’s post comes from a talk I gave several years ago at Asbury University, where I teach history. After welcoming nearly 400 new students to campus for orientation, we didn’t waste any time starting up academic conversations. All incoming students read G.K. Chesterton’s mystery thriller The Man Who Was Thursday for their liberal arts seminar, [Read More…]

Could the U.S. Finally Get a Significant Christian Democratic Party?

Is American politics finally ready for a Christian democratic party like those that have long played key roles in European and South American politics? [Read more…]

Trump and Modern Ethical Theory

We are still many weeks away from early November and I’m already wondering if there is anything left to say about this election, which the Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse memorably described as a “dumpster fire.” (I confess that I didn’t know that this was a phrase until I looked it up and learned that it [Read More…]