The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism (Part 3 – where did it come from?)

[You can also read previous posts in the series] Imagine a world where families operate like corporations. Parents are management, but efficiency and profitably determine all aspects of family life. Children are both assets and employees; resources are allocated according to potential. And if things don’t work out with a troublesome teen or toddler? Well, you can [Read More…]

History, Memory, and Relevance: Reflections on Christian Feminism Today

Last week I attended the biennial Christian Feminism Today conference, an organization better known among historians by its previous name, the EEWC (Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Conference), or perhaps even by its original name, the EWC (Evangelical Women’s Caucus). The EWC was formed in 1973 out of the movement of progressive evangelicals that came together [Read More…]

American Protestantism and Madness

Nearly twenty years ago, I visited a psychiatric unit near the city of Cebu in the Philippines. It consisted of two small sex-segregated wings, each holding perhaps two dozen patients. For my young adult eyes, it was a house of horrors. I had seen slums. I had seen young children scavenging at a filthy dump. [Read More…]

Churches “Pandering” to Millennials?

Over at the Juicy Ecumenism blog, my friend Mark Tooley gives some historical perspective on why changing theology to suit the perceived preferences of the younger generation is always a bad idea. While the church should never “pander” to anyone, the church does have a responsibility to “cater” to those who might be making decisions [Read More…]

The Urban Pulpit

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…]

What’s in a Name?

At first glance, books about religious magazines should not be especially interesting, yet I find  them rather irresistible. As a graduate student, I remember being very impressed by Mark Hulsether’s fine study of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christianity & Crisis. Now, I’ve just finished reading Elesha Coffman’s outstanding history of The Christian Century and the Rise of [Read More…]

Reforming Hollywood

Reforming Hollywood is a complex and fascinating book. “The prevailing view in histories of American film,” writes William Romanowski, “is that Protestants were determined to impose the rule of censorship on Hollywood, and for that reason they refused to cooperate with the [Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America].” For a detailed and thorough review, [Read More…]

Evangelical-Liberal Détente

Continuing in the vein of last week’s post on liberal Protestantism, I recently got my hands on the August 21 edition of the Christian Century. The biweekly editorial mentions the suddenly burgeoning historical scholarship on liberal religion (in particular, works by Elesha Coffman, David Hollinger, and Matthew Hedstrom), noting that it complicates the “question of [Read More…]

What’s Present is Prologue to the Past

Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times introduces cutting-edge historical scholarship to the masses. Last summer, she published a piece on Mormon history, and this past spring an article on scholarship about American capitalism followed (that piece discussed, among other books, Bethany Moreton’s To Serve God and Wal-Mart). Most recently, Schuessler introduced readers to recent [Read More…]

End Hymnal Wars

Never agree to serve on a hymnal committee. First of all, if your church (like mine) is still using hymnals, that’s probably a sign that its membership (like mine) is aging and shrinking. Second, one can be certain that a new hymnal — or any new decision about congregational singing and music — will produce [Read More…]


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