A Time of Commencement: Religious Liberty

William Raspberry By Knight Foundation (William Raspberry  Uploaded by Gobonobo) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As the end of May approaches, most colleges and universities in the United States have already conferred degrees upon their graduates.  A long and arduous day punctuates the final exercises, which display the accomplishments of the graduates to their friends and families.  Part and parcel of that process is the commencement address, which few in [Read More...]

Gaudium et Spes for Mother’s Day

Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) was one of the remarkable documents of the Second Vatican Council, whose closing fifty years ago we currently commemorate. Perhaps an unexpected source for Mother’s Day tidings, this Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (1965) gives winsome, concise statement of Catholic teaching on the family.  For [Read More...]

The Limits of Free Speech?

Salman Rushdie (By Kyle Cassidy via Wikimedia Commons)

The moment you limit free speech it’s not free speech. ~Salman Rushdie In the wake of the recent near attacks on the satirical cartoon contest sponsored by the American Defense Freedom Initiative self-appointed pundits have begun to talk about the “limits of free speech,” asking questions such as: is some speech so provocative that it should [Read More...]

Not an execution, but an execution sermon

Last week Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on thirty counts.   Jurors—and everyone else in and around Boston—now contemplate sentencing. Discussions about the death penalty have a strange ring in Massachusetts, a state that renounced it in 1984 and had its last execution 1947.   Residents debate capital punishment for the Boston Marathon bomber, with the Boston [Read More...]

Does Christian Liberal Arts Education Have a Future?

A month ago, the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school, which has educated women in a single-sex environment for over 100 years, would close after the 2014-15 academic year.  The announcement by the school’s board sent waves through national news cycle.  The Diane Rehm Show, which is always a good measure of hot topic [Read More...]

The Minaret and the Bell Tower

I’ve recently returned from some travels to the Andalusia province in Southern Spain. Under Muslim Rule in part or in whole from the arrival of “the Moor” in 711 until the completion of the Reconquista in 1492, the region has a special claim on our attention today in light of present-day misunderstandings and conflicts between [Read More...]

Handling Rejection in Academic Writing

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Beth Allison Barr, Department of History, Baylor University. You can follow Dr. Barr on Twitter at @bethallisonbarr Recently I wrote an odd sort of thank-you note. It was to a journal editor who had rejected one of my articles. The careful critique he had provided helped me reconceptualize my argument [Read More...]

Is This the Kind of Lent I Desire? The Fast and the Cleanse

fish pic

  When Lent begins early, as it did this year, calls to prayer and fasting come right up against the New Year’s barrage of juice-cleanse ads promising atonement for holiday indulgence. From pulpits and religion blogs Lent brings annual reminders that “it’s not about” giving up chocolate or beer. Just skipping chocolate for six weeks [Read More...]

The First English-Speaking, Modern, Overseas Baptist Missionary?

Engraving of William Carey (Public Domain)

Timelines of evangelical history generally mark 1792 as the birth of the “modern missionary movement.”  That year, catalyzed by the exhortations of William Carey, one if its members, the Northampton Minister’s Association birthed the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen.  Thankfully, it most often went by its shorthand name, [Read More...]

Asexual Reproduction?

Carl Djerassi, the chemist and writer who died last week, was among the few men with claim to the title “father of the Pill.”  Djerassi imagined how contraception and IVF could work together to change the world even more.  His September 2014  essay in the New York Review of Books anticipated “The Divorce of Coitus [Read More...]


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