Faith of the revolutionary generation (and ours)

woodcut of Washington at prayer

It may sound like a stretch, but you can learn a lot about contemporary faith and politics from colonial needlework.American colonists struggled to make sense of the events leading up to the war with Britain. Escalating encroachments were resisted by the colonists, whose sometimes-violent actions provoked further crackdowns. The cycle intensified throughout the late 1760s and into the new decade, spawning boycotts, riots, and worse, including the Boston Massacre in March 1770.If … [Read more...]

Paul Revere explains fight for Independence

Paul Revere

With the arrival of the Fourth of July, it’s worth pointing out the commitment to the cause of Independence possessed and expressed by people at all levels of society, not merely the upper rungs.Eloquent and toplofty patriots like Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams could plumb the philosophical depths of the quarrel between Britain and America and rationalize why the Americans were in the right. We all know this and have read their arguments and soliloquies.But what about the average Joe? … [Read more...]

America needs prophets

Rev. Jonathan Mayhew

The intense fight over Obamacare's HHS mandate highlights a real disdain for religion in public life. Obamacare has had religious detractors from the start because of abortion concerns, but they have had their own detractors among the political and chattering classes.While paying lip service to the right of Catholic bishops to participate in the conversation, for instance, one pundit actually said (before the bill had passed) that the hierarchs were holding America “hostage” by their refusal … [Read more...]

Bishop takes rook

Engraving of Jonathan Mayhew

One of the most fascinating figures I’ve discovered while researching about the life of Paul Revere is Jonathan Mayhew. He was the pastor at West Church in Boston. He is often cited as the first Unitarian, and in his letters you can read him complaining about, among other things, the average Bostonian’s “zeal for Athanasian and Calvinistic Orthodoxy." Paul Revere was more than a decade his junior, but they became friends in Revere’s later teens. Mayhew married the daughter of Revere’s landlord. … [Read more...]


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