Rob Bell, Pharisees and Sacrifice

The recent scrum between Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson is educational. (Check it out on The confronting issue, as they say, is gay marriage. Bell, apparently, has come out for it, or, at least, as he says, is in favor of “monogamy and fidelity and commitment and the world needs more of that and I think that promiscuity is dangerous and destructive, some people are gay and they should be able to marry. ” Bell is in favor of fai … [Read more...]

Drones, Just War, Obama and Pacifism

On Memorial Day I took our youth group to help feed the hungry in downtown Seattle. Bread of Life, a Christian non-profit, sponsored the picnic—their goal was to feed homeless veterans. We served over 500, though the majority were not veterans. Nonetheless, Bread of Life put on a short worship service, a former beauty queen sang “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the U.S.A,” with the line, “… at least I know I’m free.” It’s Seattle so during … [Read more...]

Drones, Mr. Niebuhr, and President Obama

A friend of mine recently advised me that only 11 percent of Stanford University undergraduates are now majoring in the Humanities. We both suggested this is a great loss. Of course, we both teach in the humanities, I in American Religion, and she in Medieval Christianity. We are both constantly flummoxed by the emphasis at our schools—a public university in my case and a liberal arts college in hers—on the importance of STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.  Well, yes, indeed, these a … [Read more...]

Monsters and the End of Evangelicalism, Part 2

In my 2008 study of Evangelicals vs. Liberals: The Clash of Christian Cultures in the Pacific Northwest, I mapped what I thought was a strong and even permanent Evangelical Civic Gospel. This Civic Gospel had six interlocking strands that I developed from my research, reading and thinking about American evangelicalism: 1) Conversion to Christ will address and resolve all social problems; 2) the U.S. Government should be in the business of protecting the American religious (Christian) heritage; … [Read more...]

Mapping the End of Evangelicalism: Part 1


I have to say it’s been a surprise to hear so consistently about the end of American evangelicalism. My own experience with the tradition goes back a long ways to my marginal participation in Young Life (mostly because of friends and girls) and then on and off in various groups in college. But the break was solidified the night I attended a Josh McDowell revival at my university; midway through I walked out. I couldn’t take the idea that anyone could seriously try to “prove” faith by trying to pr … [Read more...]

I Am Looking Forward to Exploring Questions in American Religion with You

Thank you for visiting my new Patheos blog on American Religion. I will be posting my first entry here soon! … [Read more...]