Intimacy with God and a Blindfolded Boy

Vineyard

After the evening’s lecture, I trundled off to the men’s room. When I returned, not five minutes later, nearly everyone had gathered at the front of the room. People were praying for each other, laying hands on each other, talking quietly with each other, while a pianist played riffs lightly in the background.This is the quintessence of the Vineyard movement, which began under the leadership of John Wimber in the 1970s. It’s a strange—and inviting—mixture of Pentecostal and Quaker elements. T … [Read more...]

Cars, Planes, and Gospel Grenades: the Technological Tactics of Women Evangelists

Florence Crawford

Last week, I asked Priscilla Pope-Levison, author of Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era (NYU Press, 2014) to contribute a post for Women's History Month. Here is her second post, a riveting account of the entrepreneurial spirit of Florence Crawford, whose evangelistic association is alive and well today. ________________ I thought I’d seen it all: Maria Woodworth-Etter, who fell into forty-five minute trances with her right arm raised above her head, swa … [Read more...]

Making America Christian: a forgotten history

Evangeline Booth

It's Women's History Month, so I've asked Priscilla Pope-Levison, author of the new book, Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era (NYU Press, 2014) to contribute a couple of important posts. (I just happen to have an in with her!) Here is her first post, with a photo of Evangeline Booth, who was for 30 years commander of the Salvation Army in the USA._________________Visit dusty archives around the country, even into Canada, and you’ll discover a slew of s … [Read more...]

My Dad’s Old Purple Dinosaur Tie and the Creation-evolution Debate

DSC_0567

My wardrobe (if you could call it that) is, well, outdated, so Priscilla and I took the plunge and went to Nordstrom, where a guy named Nick helped me figure out what to do. I brought old slacks, old sports jackets, and about a dozen old ties. Natty Nick went nuts. He loved the old ties—silk ones that belonged to my dad, a gray knit one, paisleys in purple and light blue.Natty Nordstrom Nick even liked my purple dinosaur tie. No, not Barney, but a purple tie with brontosauruses—or is it bro … [Read more...]

An Ambiguous Little Trickle of the Holy Spirit

Cover with words

A snippet of my latest book, Inspired: the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith, to whet your appetite for more. Priscilla and I bought our first house in a sketchy corner of Kansas City, about a mile or two from the seminary where I taught at the time. It was a big old house with a grandiose stone front porch, rich wooden beams, and small crystal chandeliers. We had failed to notice that the electricity was outmoded, the basement walls porous, the roof leaking, a ceiling sagging, and the ne … [Read more...]

Simeon’s Song and the Clarity of Christmas

Simeon Rembrandt

We are obsessed with power, but the story of Jesus begins in the corridors of powerlessness—in the Jewish temple, though not among the hustle of priests and the din of the Pharisees’ discussion of Torah, but at the seemingly insignificant fringes of Jewish life, in the world of widows and old men. The scene is prompted by the appearance of peasant parents from Galilee who are so poor they can't afford the offering of sheep for purification after the mother gives birth; this peasant couple brings … [Read more...]