Does Hamilton Have to Sing?

Step away from that soundtrack! Last month Library of America released The Essential Hamilton by Yale professor Joanne B. Freeman, who has been writing and teaching about Alexander Hamilton and colleagues for over two decades. John Williams’s recent New York Times mention of the book describes it as “Hamilton Minus Music,” or, “a more direct [Read More…]

Slow Cooking: The College Classroom and American Civic Life

 Today we welcome Will Katerberg to the Anxious Bench. Will is Professor of History at Calvin College, where he also serves as Associate Dean and Director of the Mellema Program in Western American Studies.  The classroom reminds me about what’s possible. And what seems impossible. This year I taught a section of Developing a Christian [Read More…]

Why Bother With “Diversity” in Christian Higher Education?

Guest blogger Andrea Turpin reflects on the value of diversity in Christian higher education, as seen in two of her courses this semester at Baylor University. [Read more…]

Teaching as an Act of Wonder

Teaching as an act of wonder: wondering at, wondering if, wondering while, wondering with, and wondering into existence. [Read more…]

Religion, Secularization, and the Academy

On my campus, there are plenty of signs that religion is not going quietly into the night. On a thoroughfare outside the main student center, very loud preachers have been hosting “sin awareness” days. Is that really needed? Pro-life groups have been stationed a hundred yards away, displaying fetal photographs and engaging passers-by in what [Read More…]

Teaching American Religious History

15 weeks for the history and present of religion in the United States. “American Religious History” or “Religion in America” is a bread-and-butter course for me (and for several of my co-bloggers, and probably for some readers). I’ve taught it perhaps five or six times, in both a history department and a religious studies department. [Read More…]

The Silence Exercise

I’ve been trying of late to incorporate more diverse assignments and methods of instruction in my teaching. Each semester now in my World Civilizations course, I ask students to write a short paper on what I call the “silence exercise.” As odd as it may seem, merely maintaining silence for a while can be a [Read More…]

In Memoriam: Dale A. Johnson (1936 – 2014)

Feeling a vocational calling to teach, I completed all of the graduate school application necessaries in the fall of 2000.  I secured recommendations letters, practiced and sat for the GRE, wrote essays, ordered transcripts, and made contact with potential supervisors at the schools to which I considering applying.  Fatigued from the process and the other [Read More…]

Notes to Freshmen on Mystery and the Liberal Arts

At Asbury University, where I teach, the fall semester is already ramping up. After welcoming nearly 400 new students to campus last Tuesday for orientation, we didn’t waste any time starting up academic conversations. All incoming students are reading G.K. Chesterton’s mystery thriller The Man Who Was Thursday for their liberal arts seminar, which met [Read More…]

Slow Church: A Report from the Trenches

As an admirer of the Englewood Review of Books, I have been anticipating the release of Slow Church. Now that it’s in my hands, I’m happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint. I am thoroughly convinced by the book’s critique and vision. I’ll leave the close outlining of the book’s contents—on ethics, ecology, and economy—to [Read More…]