Best of The Pietist Schoolman: Birmingham Revolution

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day… Here’s a series of three posts I wrote in the summer of 2014, inspired by Ed Gilbreath’s Birmingham Revolution, on King’s famous letter from a jail in that Alabama city. Gilbreath (author of Reconciliation Blues and executive director of communications for my denomination) provides enough biographical and historical context that I began to realize just how little … More Best of The Pietist Schoolman: Birmingham Revolution

Truthful, Hopeful: A Christian Reflection on History

I’ve spent a lot of time this year trying to convince Christians to live “not as a people of fear, but as a people of hope.” Just last Thursday, in the midst of my grief at losing a dear friend, I concluded that “Contemplating the possibility of Stacey’s death had deepened my conviction that the Apostle Paul was right, that those … More Truthful, Hopeful: A Christian Reflection on History

Are These the Top 25 Christian Writings?

Okay, I really hadn’t meant to blog this week. But then my onetime colleague Chris Armstrong posted a link to the newest issue of Christian History Magazine (he’s the senior editor) and I knew that I had to put up at least one post. How could a self-respecting Christian historian-blogger fail to make some kind of response to a list claiming … More Are These the Top 25 Christian Writings?

Can Culture Call Christians Back to Christ?

Consider these quotations, coming from two Baptist preachers speaking at either end of the 1960s: 1. …although communism can never be accepted by a Christian, it emphasizes many essential truths that must forever challenge us as Christians. Indeed, it may be that communism is a necessary corrective for a Christianity that has been all too passive and … More Can Culture Call Christians Back to Christ?

Christianity and Western Civ

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of taking five Bethel University students to Mankato, Minnesota, where Bethany Lutheran College hosted the second annual Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium. (#1 was at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul; #3 will be at Bethel next spring.) Thanks to @RyanCMacPherson and @BethanyLutheran for hosting a great #muhs2015! pic.twitter.com/PWQfixivkp … More Christianity and Western Civ

Comment Drive: What’s the Most Historically Accurate Movie?

In the spirit of my fellow historian-blogger John Fea’s annual “spring membership drive,” I’d like to make an intentional effort this week to encourage readers to give back to this blog by sharing their opinions. While I appreciate everyone who reads The Pietist Schoolman, it’s rare for any post to get more than a single comment. Let’s see if … More Comment Drive: What’s the Most Historically Accurate Movie?

Birmingham Revolution: Not Everyone’s a Prophet

Among the many people to whom I recommended Ed Gilbreath’s new book this summer were colleagues and students in Bethel University’s Christianity and Western Culture (CWC) course. While that course effectively ends its narrative around 1800 (I go as far as the British parliament abolishing the slave trade in 1807) and we barely touch on U.S. history, the … More Birmingham Revolution: Not Everyone’s a Prophet

Birmingham Revolution: How to Silence a Prophetic Voice

For years after King’s death, many white Christians continued to eye him with suspicion, even as families like mine proudly displayed his portrait on our walls. Today, in an era when all fifty U.S. states now observe the King holiday and a resplendent monument to the man stands in our nation’s capital, it’s difficult to … More Birmingham Revolution: How to Silence a Prophetic Voice

Birmingham Revolution: MLK’s “Great Epistle to the Church”

It feels a bit eery to carry a book about Martin Luther King, Jr. around the city where he died, but during a trip to Memphis last weekend, I had the pleasure of reading Edward Gilbreath’s Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epic Challenge to the Church. It’s given me plenty to think about, enough that I want … More Birmingham Revolution: MLK’s “Great Epistle to the Church”