Christian Scholars on Racism in America Today

Dozens of Christian historians and other scholars have signed an open letter condemning racism, co-written by Anxious Bench founder Thomas Kidd Read more

Teaching Religion: A Year in the Life

For many years, I taught an introductory Religious Studies course on World Religions. On several occasions, I taught this in an Honors class format, which allowed me to get into some major themes in some detail. In the next few posts, I have some comments and questions about the whole enterprise of teaching Religious Studies at college level. I begin with a simple request for information, which actually does raise some serious issues. Can anyone point me to good books… Read more

7 Women Who Shaped Christianity and Western Culture

Let me introduce you to seven women in the great cloud of witnesses. Read more

Evangelical Silence and Trump: A Reformation Irony

I worry that evangelicals have become too comfortable with hiding our inaction behind the guise of prayer. Read more

The Spiritual Spirit of St. Louis

The 1957 film version of Charles Lindbergh’s memoir, Spirit of St. Louis, dispenses with much of the book’s spirituality – and add other religious themes. Read more

Crucible of Faith

My new book will be out shortly. This is Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World (Basic Books, 2017). It will be available on September 19. That “Crucible” refers to an era of revolutionary transformation that occurred in the Jewish and Jewish-derived world in the couple of centuries before the time of Jesus  – roughly from 250 BC through the late first century BC. Or to adapt the publisher’s description: The New Testament proclaims a… Read more

A Book of Signs

I have been posting about the early chapters of John’s Gospel, and how an author/editor incorporated older materials that worked for his argument. (For convenience, let us call him John). One incident – the Marriage at Cana – shows clearly how John drew widely on earlier sources about Jesus and fitted them into his narrative, paying next to no attention to the chronology or sequence of those sources. The Marriage story originated as a miracle story in an older free… Read more

American Pilgrims and Pilgrimage Sites

As I alluded to in my first post in this series on the Mayflower separatists, it is a bit strange to term them “the pilgrims.” They considered themselves “strangers and pilgrims,” who as the saints of old looked forward to what came beyond their time on earth. I felt this disconnect most keenly when rooting around in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives for information on Robert Cushman, whom the folks there happily refer to as a “Pilgrim Father.” Very nice of… Read more

Losing Faith in God

Elie Wiesel died one year ago at the age of 87. A ghastly genocide, one that destroyed millions of Jews, gypsies, and gays, should have killed him seven decades earlier. But he survived and became a witness who wrestled with existential questions about life, death, humanity, and God. Wiesel’s Job-like wrestling with God is, in fact, one of the key motifs of his memoir Night. The narrative begins with a description of a youth’s easy faith in God. He is… Read more

The Christian Communists of Rural Iowa

Chris shares the story of the Amana Colonies, whose “communistic” economy was inspired by pietistic religious convictions. Read more

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