May 13, 2021

How would you like to have a President Trump and a President Biden at the same time? Or perhaps a President DeSantis and a President Newsom? You probably don’t like the idea, which stems from an end-of-life, cockamamie suggestion from South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun, the vice president, longtime senator, cabinet secretary, and perpetual presidential wannabe. He is the subject of Robert Elder’s penetrating and captivating Calhoun: American Heretic. You might be asking: isn’t this a religious history blog? Other… Read more

May 12, 2021

Today we welcome Joey Cochran to the Anxious Bench. Joey recently earned his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is an independent scholar and Social Media Coordinator for The Conference on Faith and History. He has publications with Jonathan Edwards Studies, Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology, and Fides et Historia. A Memoir Historians report the memory of past events and lives. However, it is common for historians to existentially mature by articulating the weight of current events as they historicize the… Read more

May 11, 2021

“Rather than evolving its understanding of female sexuality,” argues guest-blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire, “the evangelical church has stubbornly clung to [the] 1970s resurgence of Victorianism, as if frozen in place.” Read more

May 10, 2021

Since 2007, the United States has “showed the largest shift of any country away from religion and now ranks among the world’s least religious publics. … The United States, which for many years stood as a highly religious outlier among the world’s high-income countries, now ranks as the 12th least religious country for which data are available.” That’s least, L-E-A-S-T. Those striking statements summarize the findings of a recent book that I have been devouring, namely Ronald L. Inglehart, Religion’s… Read more

May 7, 2021

I don’t know where I am. That might sound like a desperate confession by an ancient and doddering person, but it actually gets to a vital issue in contemporary religion, and in just how we reimagine religious practice after the pandemic. I will return to a sequence about which I have posted before, namely those critical five Ps: physicality, place, presence, participation, and proximity, and how they shape what we do in church, or indeed any religious institution. Here is… Read more

May 6, 2021

When Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that six books written by the late bestselling children’s author would be taken off the market because of their allegedly racist illustrations, the reactions predictably split along partisan lines.  Some conservatives rushed to buy the books, pushing previously obscure titles like And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street or If I Ran the Zoo into Amazon’s top 20 list.  On the other hand, some progressives questioned whether this move had really gone… Read more

May 5, 2021

Padilla earned his reputation as an enfant terrible who showed no fear in challenging white evangelical kingmakers at Fuller Theological Seminary, Christianity Today, and the Evangelical Theological Society. Read more

May 4, 2021

Chris introduces us to a Lutheran pastor less famous than Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemöller, yet almost as admired during World War II for his principled resistance to Nazi totalitarianism. Read more

May 3, 2021

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and in a year when racism and violence against Asian Americans have captured public attention, more people are talking about the need to include Asian American perspectives in their school curriculum, course syllabi, and diversity, equity, and inclusion programming. I wholeheartedly support these efforts, and I’m genuinely excited that educators and researchers are paying more attention to Asian Americans in the fields of American history and American religion. However, I must confess my… Read more

April 30, 2021

Today we have a guest post concerning a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Christopher Tounsel teaches at Penn State University, where he is Assistant Professor of History and African Studies. His new book is Chosen Peoples: Christianity and Political Imagination in South Sudan (Duke University Press, 2021). I will quote the jacket description, but (for me at least) the key point is how religion is an indispensable element of political ideologies in that area of contemporary… Read more

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