A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  The first part will run today, the second will run on Saturday, June 7th.  Relevant updates [Read More...]

The Bible, Slavery, and Sin

I have been reading Molly Oshatz’s thought-provoking new book Slavery and Sin: The Fight against Slavery and the Rise of Liberal Protestantism. Oshatz argues that the theological difficulties surrounding antebellum slavery gave rise to beliefs that became “hallmarks of liberal Protestant theology: God’s revelation unfolded progressively through human history, moral action had to be considered in [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

Next week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) will hold its annual meeting in Houston, TX.  Over the last several decades, the SBC’s public profile has increased significantly due to the actions of its leaders and as a result of the media scrutiny that has come from solidly positioning itself on the conservative wing of American [Read More...]

The Politics of Faith during the Civil War

Timothy L. Wesley has just published a book called The Politics of Faith during the Civil War (LSU Press, 2013). I have no vested interest in this, except that Dr. Wesley is attached to the History Department at Penn State, which was my former academic home. I cite it here because it might be of [Read More...]

Dying the Modern Death

Republic of Suffering

Welcome to this fourth installment of Death Wednesday here at the Anxious Bench. In my last post I described the nostalgic appeal of Trappist caskets and old-time burial practices at the bucolic Abbey of Gethsemani. For me and my students, Gethsemani seemed awfully appealing as we contemplated the likelihood of our own deaths in an [Read More...]

“An Army of the Living God”: Stonewall Jackson’s Death and Southern Memory

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the tragic death on May 10, 1863, of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson from wounds sustained at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Along with Robert E. Lee, Jackson occupies a special place of veneration in the memory of the Confederate cause. It is hard to say how many southern boys [Read More...]

What Does Democracy Require of Us?

On March 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln stood before the crowd at the United States capitol building to deliver his second inaugural address.  Lincoln was addressing a nation nearing the conclusion of a long and bloody Civil War that took 600,000 lives.  The speech was far from triumphant.  It was a meditation on one of the [Read More...]


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