Thanks to Rev. Johnny Agurkis for inviting me to preach yesterday at Cape Cod Covenant Church. Given some recent conversations in our denomination and the fact that it was the Sunday before Independence Day, the topic was an easy choice. I’m checking off a lot of firsts during my month-long visit to the East Coast. … More Freedom in Christ (Galatians 5)
Thanks to Brad Bergfalk, pastor of First Congregational Church in Litchfield, Connecticut, for inviting me to preach yesterday. It’s always a pleasure to preach in other churches, but especially in one as historic as FCC Litchfield. That congregation was organized in 1721, and the current building dates to 1829. My favorite radio station is called … More A New Song (Psalm 96)
I preached this sermon yesterday at Rice Creek Covenant Church in Lino Lakes, Minnesota. I was there partly to teach an adult class on The Pietist Option, but the text came from the congregation’s participation in our denomination’s Immerse Bible reading program. They’d just finished Exodus 1-24… I have to say, it’s risky to invite a non-preacher to … More God Will Speak… and We Will Die
“This is not my country.” That’s what I wanted to believe yesterday, as I stumbled back from a week-long vacation in the Rocky Mountains into the ugly events transpiring in Charlottesville, Virginia. Having intentionally tried to avoid the news in order to savor time with my family, it was bewildering to check social media in … More On Charlottesville: “This Is Not My Country”
Invited to Rochester, New York to speak in July 1852, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass asked if his listeners meant ” to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?” After all, he said, “This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” Being asked to celebrate a slaveholding country as a former slave brought to his … More “By the Rivers of Babylon”: Thoughts on Exile for the 4th of July
Last Friday I took issue with Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy, in part because he exhorted graduates to “Follow the chain of command without exception. Submit yourselves, as the saying goes, to the authorities that have been placed above you.” His allusion to Romans 13:1-2 (or 1 Peter 2:13-14) got … More Public Uses of Romans 13 in American History
Okay, let’s try this again: the college lecture is neither obsolete nor fool-proof. Like anything, it can be done badly, but rightly understood, it’s still a highly important mode of teaching. Two reasons I’m thinking about a topic I’ve addressed several times before: First, Wired just offered another of its biennial critiques of the lecture. Entitled “The Traditional … More The Lecture Lives. I Would Know — I’m a Professor.
‘Tis the season when we curate some of the histories and biographies showing up on Best Books of 2016 lists, just in case you’re struggling to come up with a gift for that history buff in your life. (Key: A – Amazon; G – Guardian; NYT – New York Times; PW – Publishers Weekly) Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time: … More The Top Histories of 2016?
Here… • I couldn’t completely buy that my employer is suddenly one of the top 100 universities in the country — but I couldn’t disregard that ranking either. • A new digital project helped me revisit an old question: just when did Micah 6:8 become so popular among American Christians? • I finished my Anxious Bench series on historical … More That Was The Week That Was
Last week my Anxious Bench colleague John Turner drew our attention to America’s Public Bible, a new project by Lincoln Mullen. A leading digital historian who works (like John) at George Mason University, Lincoln describes APB in this way: America’s Public Bible uncovers the presence of biblical quotations in the nearly 11 million newspaper pages in the Library of Congress’s … More Following Up: Micah 6:8 in American Rhetoric