Hillary Clinton’s Spiritual Stamina

As the reality of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat sinks in, as pundits jockey to offer the definitive postmortem and journalists attempt to decipher what, precisely, an impending Trump presidency might entail, public focus has largely shifted away from Clinton herself. For nearly four decades Hillary Clinton has found herself at or near the center of [Read More…]

When Churches Fail

In Eastcheap, near Fenchurch St. in London, stands the medieval church of St. Margaret Pattens. Founded in 1067 and rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666, it slowly lost its congregation. It was closed as a parish church in 1952—more than 900 years after opening its doors. St. Margaret Pattens still offers [Read More…]

The Problems of Writing Biography (Part 1 – Empathy and Exoneration)

While some of my colleagues here have written excellent examples of the genre, I’ve never had much desire to write a biography. In fact, it had been a few years since I’d even read such a book. But then a road trip that included numerous plays of the Hamilton soundtrack convinced me to download the Kindle [Read More…]

The Ghosts of Religion Past

When religious systems die or collapse, how do their followers carry on? Historically, such a situation is not that uncommon. Imagine a society with an established religion of some kind, based on hierarchical structures and priests, and then, for whatever reason, those structures vanish. In some cases, a new civil and religious order forbids or [Read More…]

Richard Davies and the Word of God

I posted about the autobiography of Quaker pioneer Richard Davies, arguing that this should be read both as a highly informative spiritual text and a prime historical source. Often, the book – the Convincement – reveals the processes by which an educated and curious seventeenth century Christian moved to some radical positions that in some [Read More…]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Hacksaw Ridge and Adventism

The new Mel Gibson movie Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of a WWII medic named Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist who participation in that war exemplifies the Adventist idea of “conscientious cooperation” [Read more…]

I Thought Hillbilly Elegy Was Just about Kentucky

My university—located on a relatively conservative campus in the very red state of Kentucky—was subdued this morning. In the run-up to the election, there was little to no public support for Trump. And today numerous students, looking a bit traumatized, are walking into classes with puffy eyes jarred by the unexpected result. None of the [Read More…]

Election Day Reading Material from The Anxious Bench

Whether you want to read more about the 2016 election – or find something to distract you today… Here are some of our most popular posts from the summer and fall. [Read more…]

Decision Day: An Open Letter on Faith, Hope, Love, and the 2016 Election

While I normally enjoy my Tuesday spot in the Anxious Bench rotation, it did leave me with the unenviable responsibility of posting on a particularly fractious Election Day. I thought about doing something as apolitical as possible, but ultimately decided I should address the election in some fashion. So after I cast my absentee ballot a [Read More…]

Art and the Work of the People

This moment might seem an uncanny one for finding beauty and common purpose, but John E. Skillen summons us to just that in his new book, Putting Art (Back) in Its Place.  The author beckons us to medieval and Renaissance Italy, not as luxury tourists or casual traintrippers, but for the repair of something that matters to [Read More…]