June 2, 2023

Over on my substack, Past and Piety, I have started a series called Fragments from My Evangelical Mind. The project is part memoire of my evangelical experiences and part history of the last 25 years of evangelicalism. In fragments, I work with areas of evangelical doctrine, as well as features of its culture, that trace the story of how evangelicalism, itself, has become fragmented. Currently, the fragments I am working with are related to evangelical summer church camp experiences. I... Read more

June 1, 2023

Recently, I was working on a couple of totally unrelated projects relating to British history and culture – one about imperial history, the other on an early twentieth century literary theme. In both cases, I would have missed indispensable information if I did not understand the way aristocratic names, titles, and families work within that British system through the centuries – and in this instance, “British” includes colonial and imperial history, definitely extending to colonial America, and India. Once you... Read more

May 31, 2023

Today we welcome Dr. Nathan Cartagena, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College. His teaching and scholarship focus on race, racism, critical race theory, military ethics, and Thomas Aquinas. A Cosmic Awakening I grew up with a truncated gospel. Pastors, youth leaders, and Sunday school teachers proclaimed the same message: “The gospel is the good news that Jesus died for sinners”—the end. Family members, whether Anglo or Boricua, repeated this creed. This was our common tongue. It wasn’t until... Read more

May 30, 2023

Today we welcome a guest post from Jared Stacy, who is a PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. His research focuses on evangelicalism in the United States, right-wing politics, and neo-orthodox theology. Previously, he pastored in the United States both in New Orleans and near Washington D.C.. Currently, he lives in Scotland with his wife, Stevie, and their three kids. When I tell people I’m researching conspiracy theory and white US evangelicalism, the reactions... Read more

May 26, 2023

The Franciscan friar, standing before a low, whitewashed ranch house, raised his hand in blessing and his voice in prayer, “En el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo. Amén.” A crowd of ranchers, servants, native people, and women wearing shoulder-length white or black lace mantillas bowed their heads and made the Sign of the Cross reverently, as did my 9-year-old daughter beside me, as she has done so many times in prayer. Seeing her, I began... Read more

May 25, 2023

This coming Sunday marks the feast of Pentecost. In connection with that, I am posting a substantially revised version of an offering of mine at this site some years ago. As I’ll suggest, the astonishing events that we read about on that first Pentecost were, at one time, regarded as even more critical than we now think of them. Specifically, I will argue that when early Christians first told that dramatic tale, it was as a Resurrection appearance, just as... Read more

May 24, 2023

I am delighted to welcome Nancy Koester to the Anxious Bench today to discuss her new biography of Sojourner Truth, We Will Be Free: The Life and Faith of Sojourner Truth (Eerdmans). Koester holds a PhD in church history and has taught at both the college and seminary levels. She is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Her work focuses on nineteenth-century American history, especially the antislavery movement, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. She is inspired by... Read more

May 23, 2023

When I was losing my faith fourteen years ago, Tim Keller’s writings and sermons gave me a new understanding of the gospel and a restored confidence in the truth of the Christian message. I know that I’m not alone in this. I have met a number of people who have said that Keller helped them return to faith, discover Christian faith for the first time, or gain an increased confidence in the faith they already possess. Although Keller was a... Read more

May 22, 2023

  May is my favorite month of the year, not only because it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, but also because it’s a month we celebrate fresh beginnings, from new leaves brightening the branches of trees to new graduates celebrating their accomplishments and starting a new chapter in their lives.   This particular May marks a milestone for me: one decade since I was one of those graduates, a newly minted PhD who delighted in being able to... Read more

May 18, 2023

My recent work has concerned the Byzantine world in its last days, and that exploration of Midnight in Byzantium, has introduced me to some wonderful stories and fascinating individuals: just how this will end up in published form remains to be determined. But here, I focus on one person who was amazing even by the standards of his age, and who has attracted a sizable scholarly literature – although I have occasionally been startled to meet scholars of Early Modern... Read more

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