“Then I Shall Be a Wicked Child, and the Great God Will Be Very Angry with Me”

New England primer

One beautiful spring afternoon four years ago, I came across a horrifying scene in my living room. One of my two-year-old sons was standing on the back of the couch with his legs spread and his arms outstretched. My other two-year-old son stood facing him with an imaginary hammer in his hand and a determined [Read More...]

Fasting from Technology

In my small group at church we have been discussing the spiritual disciplines, and one of the recent topics was “unplugging,” or fasting from technology. Fasting is, of course, an ancient practice, but in the past fifty years or so it has been applied more and more to electronic devices, from the radio to the [Read More...]

MASONS AND CATHOLICS

Klantreerome

I have been posting on the pervasive influence of Freemasonry in Anglo-American culture. Usually, that tradition was very wide-open and generous in terms of its racial and religious attitudes, but there is one enormous exception to that rule, and that concerns Roman Catholics. Indeed, much of European and American politics over the past two centuries [Read More...]

German Pietism

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Most of us who think about the history of American evangelicalism are Anglo-centric. That is, if we think about the roots of American evangelicalism or about its subsequent development, we think about England (and perhaps Scotland and Wales) if we think outside of North America at all. Douglas Shantz, in An Introduction to German Pietism: [Read More...]

A Review of David Swartz’s Moral Minority

David Swartz is off this week – here is an excellent review of David’s Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism, from the Church History blog:  It did not have to be. The Falwells, the Dobsons, the Reeds, the LaHayes, all those who may well have given more contours to the term “evangelical” than [Read More...]

An Interview with Steven Smith on Religious Liberty

I recently interviewed Steven D. Smith about his new Harvard University Press book, The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom. Smith is Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and Co-Executive Director of the USD Institute for Law and Religion.  [Kidd] Thanks for taking the time for an interview, Professor Smith! [Read More...]

WHY MASONS MATTER

GW_FreemasonWB.4A1

Recently, John Turner did an important post on the theme of American Religion and Freemasonry. My own interests in the topic go back a long way. My first academic article ever, back in 1979 (!) was on Masons. (I was seven at the time). I specifically discussed the overlap between Jacobites and Freemasons in eighteenth [Read More...]

SEEING IT THROUGH

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Here’s a question. I am going to quote a passage published in 1916 by a famous British novelist. Who was it? Religion is the first thing and the last thing, and until a 
man has found God and been found by God, he begins at no beginning, he works to no end. He may have [Read More...]

American Religion and Freemasonry

Hackett

Freemasonry is a tricky topic for historians of American religion, both in terms of classification and in terms of content. Masonry confuses, in part because of the many changes within its ranks over the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Still, good books exist on the topic, such as Stephen Bullock’s Revolutionary Brotherhood. [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...]


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