June 14, 2019

No worthwhile account of American history – or of its religious history – can fail to pay proper attention to the impact of slavery and its legacies. I recently came across some specific information about that topic that took me aback. Perhaps I am ill-informed here, and others will know this better, but let me present what I found. I’ll also include a suggestion about how we might revise our teaching of US history in light of all this. A… Read more

June 13, 2019

Today we welcome Josh Parks to the Anxious Bench. A recent graduate of Calvin College with majors in English literature and violin performance, Josh is an MA student in medieval studies at Western Michigan University.   “Because there is very little honor left in American life, there is a certain built-in tendency to destroy masculinity in American men.” – Norman Mailer “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.” – John Wayne… Read more

June 12, 2019

On Sunday, June 2, the world buried Rachel Held Evans. She was 37 years old and died, very unexpectedly. Like so many others, I remember the moment I found out she was gone. I was tying my shoes, about to go walking with a friend, when my husband told me. We are very domestic on Saturday mornings—he reads the news while I make the waffles. So he saw the post first, and for a few seconds, everything stopped. I didn’t know… Read more

June 11, 2019

I am so pleased to introduce you to my Baylor colleague, Dr. Andrea Turpin. Andrea has been my women’s history counterpart at Baylor since 2011. She teaches the American Women’s history courses while I have been teaching the European Women’s history courses. Andrea is also one of the most thoughtful and brilliant Christian scholars I know. Her research focuses on Religious and Intellectual History, History of the U.S. Higher Education, U.S. Women and Gender, and the Gilded-Progressive era. Her first… Read more

June 10, 2019

I’m wondering when it is possible to argue from silence when reading historical sources, and particularly in a Biblical context. I have for several years been writing and posting about the Virgin Mary in early Christianity, and have from time to time been taken aback to find how even I tended to attribute statements to the wrong gospel, and thus the wrong historical tradition. It underlined for me the problem all Bible readers have of overcoming the “Harmony Principle” –… Read more

June 7, 2019

This coming Sunday marks the feast of Pentecost. In connection with that, I am posting an expanded version of an offering of mine at this site back in 2014. When scholars look at the Bible, or any other ancient religious work, they are well used to the idea of traditions and legends building up over time, as stories are retold. The assumption is that, the further we stand from a historical event, the more embellished it becomes, and that is… Read more

June 6, 2019

Last week, David Garrow published his analysis of a cache of FBI notes about its surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s adultery. The piece has generated controversy among historians, but, I would argue, not nearly as much as it should. Many things are at stake. King’s reputation. FBI harassment of King and the Civil Rights Movement more generally. A serious crime. The ethical use of sources. Before I weigh in on this, I think it’s worth noting that white evangelicals… Read more

June 5, 2019

David Swartz interviews David King on his new book about World Vision Read more

June 4, 2019

Can evangelicalism be “kinder and gentler”? Chris profiles a prototypical figure of irenic evangelicalism: Carl H. Lundquist, former president of Bethel University and the National Association of Evangelicals. Read more

June 3, 2019

Almost exactly 30 years ago in June of 1989, I traveled to Europe for the first time—spending the summer in what was then routinely called “Eastern Europe,” those countries behind the “Iron Wall.” In particular, I traveled to Poland, Hungary, Romania, and what was then known as Czechoslovakia. I had gone with a Christian organization to deliver medical supplies and to meet up with several beleaguered Christian communities, all of which lived under governments officially committed to Marxist atheism. Anniversaries… Read more

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