November 20, 2018

Guest blogger Karen Johnson reflects on the role of empathy, disgust, and lament in the practice of history. Read more

November 19, 2018

I have written about the apocalyptic atmosphere that was so much in evidence in 1918, the era of (quite literal) famine, plague, death and war. As so often before in history, an era of global catastrophe resulted in an upsurge of radical sects, both inside the Christian tradition and in the esoteric world. Some had an impact beyond their numbers. In consequence, the years around 1918 marked what we can only call a classic cult panic. US authorities devoted serious… Read more

November 16, 2018

I have posted a lot on the First World War era, and in some literary and artistic works of that time.  With one book in particular, I am constantly amazed when people interested in history don’t know it. Apart from being one of the really great books on war, it is also riotously funny. And no, the two parts of that sentence are not in contradiction. It also provides a nice context for our recent centennial of the end of… Read more

November 15, 2018

Nearly forty years ago, a minister, a rabbi, and two priests went to the White House, and together with the President and other religious leaders, they planned a special series of Thanksgiving observances. Their Thanksgiving events, however, did not feature turkey feasts and English Pilgrims. Rather, the Thanksgiving they planned called for fasting and church fundraisers to collect money to aid Southeast Asian refugees. The year was 1979, and a humanitarian crisis was unfolding in Asia. “Boat people” were escaping… Read more

November 14, 2018

I want to tell you two stories. The first one is really disturbing, so prepare yourself. Once upon a time there was a middle-class American family. The dad lost his job and couldn’t get a new one. So the mom had to go to work to pay the family bills. This caused tension in their marriage, as the husband wasn’t performing his manly role as provider. The marriage relationship became strained, with the wife accusing the husband of not fulfilling… Read more

November 13, 2018

Now attending a Lutheran church, Chris has been wondering just how permeable the boundary is between evangelical and mainline Protestantism. Read more

November 12, 2018

We have heard so much recently about the end of the First World War in November 1918, but there is another anniversary around this time that was even more significant for its role in reshaping Christianity, and in laying the foundations for the religious world we know today. I am referring to the  influenza epidemic that swept the world at that time. The raw numbers alone are incredible. To a world already thoroughly smitten with war, death, and famine there… Read more

November 11, 2018

On this 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Chris reflects on the experience of army chaplains… and how Christian churches may have missed a chance for religious revival in 1914-1918. Read more

November 9, 2018

Did the First World War end too soon? At first sight, such a question might seem ridiculous, if not actively blasphemous. Did not the peace that November end a cycle of bloody and futile slaughter? Actually, a surprisingly good case can be made for the “too soon” theory, one that raises critical questions of ethics and political morality. The argument has recently been discussed by the first-rate historian David Reynolds, in an article in the British New Statesman. The argument… Read more

November 9, 2018

This is something nobody would expect from me, namely a totally objective and non-partisan comment on the recent midterm elections. No, really. It is also unusual in being a second post of mine for the day, but it is quite time sensitive, so I had to squeeze it in somewhere. As you will have noticed, the Republicans retained the US Senate, and all manner of explanations were advanced for this fact. But I am taken aback when people writing about… Read more

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