Time for Kierkegaard

Summer is here. For academics, that means there just might be time to pick up a random book and read it for pleasure. For those of us in American religious history, Heath Carter has just tweeted a handy list of 150 of his favorite books. But as pleasurable as these books are sure to be, [Read More…]

John Donne, Redone

“John Donne, Anne Donne, Undone.” According to one later account, so the Elizabethan and early Stuart poet chalked on the backside of his kitchen door the day of his secret marriage to Ann More. Indeed, by marrying a woman without her well-connected father’s permission, Donne scuttled his career and income. The scandal of his marriage [Read More…]

Evangelicals and Christian Unity

[Recently, I gave a talk at Gordon College (where I formerly taught) on commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The title of the talk was “500 Years of Protestantism. What Now?” I concluded with the material below on the challenge that this anniversary presents to evangelicals concerning the task of Christian unity–or ecumenism.] In [Read More…]

10 Things Christians Get Wrong About Feminism

“Christian feminism” is an oxymoron. …and “secular feminism” is a tautology. Yes, there are certainly “secular feminists,” and there are some who are downright hostile to Christianity. But to consider Christianity and feminism as mutually exclusive obscures a long and vibrant history of Christian feminism. There are countless examples of Christian teachings and practices that [Read More…]

Could Protestants Reclaim Purgatory?

George Saunders’s novel Lincoln in the Bardo springs from an actual historical event, but ends up with more to say about loss and the afterlife than historical record. Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie died of typhoid in 1862. President Lincoln made nighttime visits to the boy’s tomb, and around that report Saunders builds a strange world of souls [Read More…]

Fairness for All: A Call for Culture Peacemakers?

For nearly half a century, American Christians have, to greater and lesser degrees, embraced the role of culture warriors. As evangelicals began to stake a claim on American culture and politics, they invoked the language of rights while lamenting the purported decline of “Christian America.” They pushed back against encroaching secularization and federal government “overreach” [Read More…]

Jewish-Christian Disputations in the Middle Ages

Although they were infrequent affairs, formal debates between Christians and Jews sometimes took place in the Middle Ages—even if the deck was often stacked against the Jews. For a research project, I have been reading about two of these: the Paris Disputation of 1240 and the Barcelona Disputation of 1263. The former took place at [Read More…]

Please Stop Talking About “The Mother of All Bombs”

Last Thursday the United States military dropped a bomb on ISIS targets in eastern Afghanistan. Not just any bomb: the largest non-nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal, the 21,000-pound GBU-43/B, also known as the MOAB—a Massive Ordinance Air Blast. Apparently also known as “the Mother of All Bombs.” And just like that, the media is abuzz [Read More…]

Is Complementarian Theology Abusive to Women?

  As you may have heard, Princeton Seminary decided to award Tim Keller the prestigious Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness. But then it revoked that honor after an outcry from faculty, students, and alumni who objected to Keller’s defense of complementarian theology and to his opposition to the ordination of [Read More…]

Leadership for All?

Enough already with leadership.  What we need are some good followers. This is the bottom line of an excellent New York Times piece by Susan Cain, timed tactfully just before this year’s batch of college acceptance letters come due.  Cain’s article opens with a college questionnaire filled out by the father (!) of an applicant [Read More…]