November 26, 2019

It’s the time of year when Salvation Army red kettles are ubiquitous… and the Army is in the news for its stance on sexuality. Chris takes the chance to teach himself more about the complicated history of a unique denomination. Read more

November 25, 2019

Last time, I looked at the discovery of various kinds of buried treasure. I suggested that we needed to think very carefully not just about what the objects are, but why we have them. In the words of my two key questions, Who buried it? And at least as important, why did nobody return to dig it up? That last point often tells a story in its own right. As a famous example, I cite the Dead Sea Scrolls, which… Read more

November 22, 2019

So much of what we know about the past – including the early Christian past, and the era of the Bible – depends on archaeology. One recent story makes me think again about a crucial point in these matters, and one that is often surprisingly neglected. The point applies to the archaeology of many different eras and places. The specific story I am reading concerns the Staffordshire Hoard,a spectacular collection of seventh century Anglo-Saxon treasures found in an English field… Read more

November 21, 2019

This is a post about the history of evangelicalism. But as with many things these days, it starts with the election of Donald Trump. Or, more precisely, with the night before the election of Donald Trump. ‘Twas the evening of November 7, 2016, when then-candidate Trump descended upon my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I didn’t attend the rally. That afternoon I’d been a few miles away at Hillary Clinton’s last-minute campaign event. I’d brought my daughter, thinking it might… Read more

November 20, 2019

David Swartz reviews David King’s book on World Vision Read more

November 19, 2019

What the books collected in the Lindbergh House tell us about the intellectual world of Charles Lindbergh’s parents, who read widely at the intersections of philosophy, religion, and science. Read more

November 18, 2019

Pulitzer-prize winning writer Timothy Egan takes to the road as a pilgrim not because it is easy but because it is hard. His book,, A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of Faith, admits the cluster of concerns that set him out on the path: his family’s mixed and painful experience with Roman Catholicism; personal intentions, including prayers for a sister-in-law’s cancer; desire to hear from Pope Francis. But perhaps most compelling is his hopeful searching for evidence… Read more

November 15, 2019

I recently posted about the decade of the 2010s that is now so swiftly passing into historical memory, and what aspects of it we think demand commemoration. How did the religious world change in those years? I also want to open a discussion about films from this same decade, and other artistic productions on Christian themes. This seems so important to me because cinema actually reaches a far wider audience than literary or book-based discussions, and genuinely does influence mass… Read more

November 14, 2019

Among the many memorable and educational things Sesame Street provided me as a preschooler—skills for counting in Spanish and knowledge about processing sugar beets—perhaps the most important was the first opportunity to invite a Jewish person into my home: Mr. Hooper, Big Bird’s friend and beloved owner of the Sesame Street corner store. Read more

November 13, 2019

Every few years I switch up the readings for my U.S. history survey course. Recently, a colleague suggested I assign Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South, a memoir by American historian Melton McLaurin. I have not been disappointed. Reading the book for class discussion this week, I was struck with the simple but profound lesson of McLaurin’s teenage years in the 1950s: spending substantive time getting to know “the other” is one of the most effective ways… Read more

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