History: Jerks Studying Jerks

One of the most venerable historians in the blogosphere is Ann Little, whose Historiann blog has been around since the George W. Bush administration. As you might have noticed from her quotations in my Anxious Bench series on biography, Little is not only a gifted historian but an insightful, provocative observer of our discipline. See, for example, her post this past … More History: Jerks Studying Jerks

“Tell It Like It Is”: How Pastors Can Respond to Election Day

Let me talk to pastors for a moment. (Though their congregants might want to listen in.) Sisters and brothers – Now that candidate Trump has become president-elect Trump, I know that many of you are struggling with how you’re going to preach tomorrow morning. Unsettled yourselves, you know that you’ll soon look out at the expectant faces of people feeling … More “Tell It Like It Is”: How Pastors Can Respond to Election Day

Amish Grace and the Anabaptist Way

Ten years ago yesterday, a man named Charles Carl Roberts IV shot ten students in a school near Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, then committed suicide. Five children died; five eventually recovered. Sadly, episodes like this have become almost familiar in American society, but this mass murder was unique. Not only did it take place at a one-room Amish schoolhouse in rural … More Amish Grace and the Anabaptist Way

Beyond Books: “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest And let these gifts to us be blessed Amen Today I’m happy to continue my new Anxious Bench series — on Christian writings that don’t take the form of books — by reflecting on the table grace that I’ve known all my life and am now teaching my children. Here’s an … More Beyond Books: “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”

Three of My Favorite Un-Cheery Christian Songs

If you missed it in my Saturday wrap-up, Leah Libresco’s analysis of the unrelenting cheeriness of contemporary Christian music (CCM) is well-deserving of your attention. Looking through the last five years’ worth songs to wind up Billboard’s year-end Christian Top 50 charts, she found striking lyrical imbalance: There were 2.5 times as many mentions of “grace” as “sin” in … More Three of My Favorite Un-Cheery Christian Songs

“Tell It Like It Is”: How the Church Should Respond to Trump

During our travels over the holiday weekend, we visited a church and witnessed an odd, telling moment. Looking for a negative sermon illustration at one point, the pastor spontaneously mentioned “the presidential candidate who says he doesn’t need God’s forgiveness.” As best I can recall, the pastor didn’t even say Donald Trump’s name, but he clearly thought he had crossed … More “Tell It Like It Is”: How the Church Should Respond to Trump

Thursday’s Podcast: Preaching (and Listening)

If you’ve been waiting for Mark — one of the best preachers I know — to talk about preaching and proclamation, this episode is for you. If you’ve been waiting for Sam to help us think through the importance of Christians taking up what Krista Tippett calls a “ministry of listening,” this episode is also for you. And if … More Thursday’s Podcast: Preaching (and Listening)

Patriotism, Love, and Grace: An Independence Day Meditation

This 4th of July weekend I’m feeling more patriotic than I have in years, thanks to two speeches by Pres. Obama. First, his speech this past March at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Obama remembered the civil right activists who fifty years earlier had been brutally attacked during their peaceful march to Montgomery: As … More Patriotism, Love, and Grace: An Independence Day Meditation

A Day of Listening: Andrew Sullivan on Marriage

Yesterday morning I had the chance to talk to a group of pastors pursuing their D.Min. degrees. Invited to share a parting comment, I encouraged them to cultivate what Krista Tippett has called a “ministry of listening.” I suggested that that was particularly true for us white, straight, middle-class men in America who are accustomed to having our … More A Day of Listening: Andrew Sullivan on Marriage