Religion behind the Iron Curtain

Father Szaléz Kiss

Although one could find fuller treatments of the subject elsewhere, I was very intrigued by Anne Applebaum’s thoughtful treatment of religion in Eastern Europe in the first decade after the end of WWII. [See the first part of this review of Applebaum's The Iron Curtain here]. First of all, Applebaum allows for a healthy measure [Read More...]

Anne Applebaum’s The Iron Curtain

iron-curtain-20882-20130113-95

Oftentimes the most powerful accounts of “religious history” are found in books addressing much broader topics. Such is the case in Anne Applebaum’s convincing and eloquent The Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 (Doubleday, 2012). Focusing on events in East Germany, Poland, and Hungary, Applebaum uses both archival sources and oral interviews to [Read More...]

Phillis Wheatley’s Genius in Bondage

472px-Phillis_Wheatley_frontispiece

Others at the Anxious Bench know far more about the subject than I do, but I enjoyed reading Jonathan Yeager’s Books & Culture review of Vincent Caretta’s new biography of Phillis Wheatley (A Genius in Bondage reads the subtitle). I’ve always wanted to know more about Wheatley, especially after becoming somewhat familiar with Atlantic World [Read More...]

Brigham Young and Mitt Romney, Beer and History

How could a Washington Post article discussing President Obama’s campaign beer-drinking not mention the LDS Word of Wisdom? Obviously, Romney’s faith — as well as his wealth — dooms any attempt to convince voters he is an “everyman.” Obama as everyman? If drinking beer at state fairs and small-town diners is all that matters, I [Read More...]

Douthat on Liberal Christianity’s Death

Earlier this week, Philip touched on Ross Douthat’s provocative — if not particularly original — NYT op-ed on the demise of the Episcopal Church, USA. As a member of the also rapidly dwindling Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the issues involved are both familiar and personal to me as well. (The PCUSA has lost about 20 percent [Read More...]

What is Evangelicalism?

Since this blog is on Patheos‘s “Evangelical Channel,” I thought we should devote at least one post to discussing what “evangelical” means today. For their thumbnail definition of evangelicalism, many scholars rely on David Bebbington’s “quadrilateral” of conversionism, biblicism, crucicentrism, and activism. There are at least two problems with Bebbington’s very useful definition. First, the [Read More...]

Andy Stanley’s Sermon

One of the more surprising developments (at least to me) in recent weeks was the apparent equivocation of megachurch pastor Andy Stanley on the issue of homosexuality’s sinfulness. Stanley is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church (according to Wikipedia the second-largest congregation in the country) and related campuses and ministries. I heard him speak [Read More...]

Christ the King

Christ the King, Ghent Altarpiece

Hail happy land! hail happy state! Whose freeborn sons in safety meet… Come let us kneel before his face Devoutly supplicate his grace. I have sought to warn my daughter that royalty is not all it’s cracked up to be. Once Evelyn began dressing up one of her stuffed animals as a king (the “King [Read More...]

How to Teach about American Evangelicalism

This coming fall, I’m teaching a dedicated course on evangelicalism in the United States for the first time. I’ve spent a large portion of my career researching and writing about evangelical Christianity, so this should be an easy task. But I’m having a great deal of difficulty deciding how to structure the course and choose [Read More...]