July 31, 2012

The National Parks may well be “America’s best idea” (goodness knows the government has had many worse ideas), and one of their best programs is the Junior Rangers. As homeschooling parents of young children, we have gone to many national parks and found that doing the Junior Ranger activities is just the trick for maintaining our kids’ interest. On our recent family trip, we did the programs at Jamestown and Yorktown in Virginia, and will be submitting the Chattanooga &… Read more

July 30, 2012

Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending the International meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature at the University of Amsterdam. Given the city’s pivotal history in Biblical scholarship, there really could have been no better choice of venue. I have through the years attended many such events, but I was thinking what a first time visitor might make of something like this. Imagine a literate believer with a deep interest in the Bible, but no first-hand knowledge… Read more

July 27, 2012

I recently posted about The Damnation Of Theron Ware, a classic example of a book that was hugely popular and influential for some decades, but is now largely forgotten. Actually, literary history is littered with such cases, and their oblivion is often unfortunate, as some of these texts – like Theron Ware itself – are really excellent pieces in their own right, beyond their value for historians. Probably the greatest example of this type of book is an English work… Read more

July 26, 2012

Since he hasn’t drawn attention to it here, I wanted to point our readers to Philip Jenkins’s recent essay at Real Clear Religion about the long-term effects of the sexual abuse scandals within the American Catholic Church. (It is a pleasant indulgence to catch up on good writing at RCR every few days). Jenkins argues that the scandals eviscerated both the church’s finances and its moral and political authority. The first point is especially convincing: In Southern California alone, the… Read more

July 25, 2012

I am sure that the educated and informed readers of the Anxious Bench are making their  way through summer reading lists.   As for me, I have been mostly reading academic stuff.  Here is my list: Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession.  I have not read this book since graduate school and I am getting much more out of it now than I did back then.   I have long been interested in the relationship… Read more

July 24, 2012

Here’s a popular post I wrote last year at Patheos: Patrick Henry, the greatest orator of the American Revolution, was homeschooled. Born in 1736 as the second of eleven children, he attended a small common school until he was 10. After that, his father took primary responsibility for his education. He read classics of Greek and Roman antiquity (sometimes in the original languages), ancient and modern history, and of course, the Bible. He also worked on his family’s farm, hunted,… Read more

July 23, 2012

Some of the world’s grimmest headlines these days are coming out of North Africa, and particularly the vast country of Mali, which few Westerners would be able to locate on a map. As I described in a recent column on RealClearReligion, the country has become a happy hunting ground for brutal Islamist militias, many claiming a connection to the al-Qaeda franchise. Apart from its assaults on local communities, the extremists have launched a hideous campaign to destroy the region’s cultural… Read more

July 20, 2012

I recently did a column on RealClearReligion about a music-related topic that I think needs further exploration. This also segues nicely from John Fea’s post about 1980s Christian music, and John Turner’s piece on Explo ’72. Briefly, I noted that in the 1970s, America witnesses a religious revival with a strong youth focus, as ably described in a book like Darren Dochuk’s From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism. This is among… Read more

July 19, 2012

Earlier this week, Philip touched on Ross Douthat’s provocative — if not particularly original — NYT op-ed on the demise of the Episcopal Church, USA. As a member of the also rapidly dwindling Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the issues involved are both familiar and personal to me as well. (The PCUSA has lost about 20 percent of its members in the past decade). Douthat’s essay was not simplistic, contrary to the otherwise rather effective rebuttal of Diana Butler Bass. He recognizes… Read more

July 18, 2012

Last week while I was in Ocean City, New Jersey, my family and I attended a concert by the Christian group GLAD.  Evangelicals of a certain age will remember GLAD.  They began in the 1970s as a progressive Christian rock band based in the Philadelphia area and sometime during the late 1980s reinvented themselves as an A cappella group.  The members of the band are getting older (and so are their fans), but they can still harmonize with the best… Read more

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