Jesus’s Anointings

Last time I posted about the New Testament passages describing the anointing of Jesus. Here, I will explore the implications for approaches to Scripture, literalist and otherwise. Each of the four gospels has a scene in which a woman uses costly oil to anoint Jesus, with the suggestion that this is in preparation for his [Read More…]

The Perfumed Gospel

Whatever its undoubted spiritual power, the Gospel of John is one of the most intriguing and sophisticated literary texts you are likely to encounter in any religious tradition. Although the text as we have it is the product of multiple layers of composition and editing, you can see so many literary devices and strategies that [Read More…]

The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism (Part 5 – Born Again)

How corporate evangelicals remade themselves in the Great Depression and after. [Read more…]

The Modern Roots of Pagan Halloween

I remember trick-or-treating when I was small. The night air was crisp and cool (we lived in the northwest at the time). My little sister was batman, my older sister a ballerina, and I a clown. My dad held our hands as we walked through the neighborhood, returning home only when our plastic pumpkins brimmed [Read More…]

6 Things I’ve Learned about Teaching History to 6-Year Olds

A rare Anxious Bench parenting post: six things that Prof. Gehrz has learned about teaching history to his six-year old twins [Read more…]

The Religious Revolution of the 1970s: The Case of Iran

I have been doing a series of posts about the global revival of religious politics during the mid-1970s. As part of this, I have offered a framework for what was happening at this time, suggesting why discontent being expressed in those traditional religious forms. Throughout, we must stress the effects of the 1973-75 economic crisis. [Read More…]

God and the 2016 Presidential Debates

Four years ago, I wrote a post on “God and the Presidential Debates” after the first round between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The substance of that post follows here, after a brief update. God, Christianity, and religion were almost entirely absent from this week’s first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I thought [Read More…]

Hey White Evangelicals, Welcome to Anabaptism

After centuries of relying on sky-high Amish birthrates for church growth, Anabaptism has exploded in just several months. The surprising converts include a lot of conservative white evangelicals who are not known for their pacifism, simple living, or belief in the separation of church and state. Nonetheless, many are suddenly preaching the limits of partisan [Read More…]

Beyond Books: The “Head of Christ”

The history of the most iconic image of Jesus in American culture — and why it points to an imbalance in the religious influence we attribute to books vs. material culture. [Read more…]

The Religious Revolution of the 1970s: The Case of Israel

I have been posting about the aggressive revival of religious politics during the mid-1970s, and suggested parallels between events in the United States and many other nations around the world in the very same years. Specifically, I offered a model for what was happening at this time, and which had led to discontent being expressed [Read More…]