The Half-Year in Review

The Half-Year in Review June 30, 2020

I was about to start this post with the phrase, “As usual,” since I habitually use my last Anxious Bench post in June or my first in July to share some highlights from the first half of the year.

But there’s not much “As usual” about 2020. Unlike recent years, our most popular posts weren’t necessarily analyses of evangelicalism, politics, and gender—though those topics aren’t absent from the list. Instead, this half-year of COVID-19 and George Floyd found our still-growing readership especially interested in posts about pandemics and racism.

I have no doubt that the second half of 2020 will bring its own share of changes. Some are expected, as our blogging schedule shifts next month. Agnes and Tal will share a single Monday slot; Melissa will move from Thursdays to the Monday they vacate; Kristin will again blog two Thursdays a month; and Dan Williams will take over one of David’s Wednesday slots.

With thanks to all my colleagues here for the depth and breadth of their work, and to our readers for sticking with us through a turbulent six months, here are our most popular posts thus far in 2020:

Volunteers from Boston assemble masks – Influenza Encyclopedia/U.S. National Archives

Overall Top 10

  1. What the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Meant for American Churches (Chris)
  2. About Martin Luther’s Letter on the Plague… (Chris)
  3. Because We Have Made God Too Small: A Baylor Professor’s Apology to Kaitlin Curtice (Beth)
  4. Why Do White Christians Find It Easier to Denounce Abortion Than Racial Injustice? Maybe It’s Christian Nationalism (Dan)
  5. Should the United Methodist Church Split over Same-Sex Marriage? (Andrea)
  6. The Most Important Moment of Mitt Romney’s Speech Was When He Said Nothing At All (Melissa)
  7. A Letter to Christian Parents about Christian Colleges (Chris)
  8. All The Single Ladies in the Church (Andrea)
  9. Simple Truth: Sex Abuse, the Amish, and the Evangelicals (Kristin)
  10. The Missing Woman of Emmaus (Philip)

Agnes & Tal Howard

  1. Non-Religious Turning Points in Religious History: Before 1900
  2. Why You Shouldn’t Bake Coronavirus Cookies
  3. Casualty of Coronavirus: Ecumenism

Andrea Turpin

  1. Should the United Methodist Church Split over Same-Sex Marriage?
  2. All The Single Ladies in the Church
  3. Learning in Coronavirus Time: Rereading C.S. Lewis’s Famous Sermon

Beth Allison Barr

  1. Because We Have Made God Too Small: A Baylor Professor’s Apology to Kaitlin Curtice
  2. Because it is Time for Christian Patriarchy to End: A Reading List, Part One
  3. The Divorce of a Pastor’s Wife in 1860 Texas

Chris Gehrz

  1. What the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Meant for American Churches
  2. About Martin Luther’s Letter on the Plague…
  3. A Letter to Christian Parents about Christian Colleges
1978 meeting of the Committee for Justice in Liberty

David Swartz

  1. The Reformed Evangelicals Who Smoked Pot in Toronto
  2. Burning Corsets at a Free Methodist Revival
  3. Do Demons Destroy Marriages?

John Turner

  1. The Quakers: New England’s First Sustained Non-Violent Movement
  2. Don’t Ruin the Story!
  3. Evangelicals Incorporated: An Interview with Daniel Vaca

Kristin Kobes Du Mez

  1. Simple Truth: Sex Abuse, the Amish, and the Evangelicals
  2. Is media coverage biased against evangelicals in the midst of the coronavirus?
  3. Why We Can’t Have Nice Feminists

Melissa Borja

  1. The Most Important Moment of Mitt Romney’s Speech Was When He Said Nothing At All
  2. The Wounds of Racism and the Pandemic of Anti-Asian Hatred
  3. The Clemson Tigers and the Narrative of Christian Athletic Excellence

Philip Jenkins

  1. The Missing Woman of Emmaus
  2. How American Anglicans Went Mainstream
  3. Contemplating the Religious Future After the Crisis
Martin Luther King, Jr. under arrest in Montgomery, Alabama in 1958 – Wikimedia

Guest Posts

  1. What Is a Heretic? (Joey Cochran)
  2. A Tale of Two Kings: Reflections on MLK in the Wake of the George Floyd Riots (Sara Shady)
  3. Kids and Quarantine: Lessons from the 1940s (Jackie Den Hartog)

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