Why Churches Like Mine Need to Recover an Immigrant Memory

So how can Christians and churches protect themselves from the spiritual dangers that I wrote about earlier this week? You won’t be surprised to learn that I think it’s got to start with looking to the past. But if it’s too self-serving for me to say that, then take it from a non-historian: The inner lives of many have been … More Why Churches Like Mine Need to Recover an Immigrant Memory

“We read Scripture to do God’s Word”

For the first half of my fall sabbatical in Virginia, my primary goal is to finish the manuscript for the book I’m writing with Mark Pattie: Hope for Better Times: Pietism and the Future of Christianity, which should come out from InterVarsity Press next year. Mark is primarily responsible for writing the chapter on how Pietists read the … More “We read Scripture to do God’s Word”

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

The Swedish Pietists: A New Book from Mark Safstrom

I suspect that even before they found this blog or the books I’ve edited, most of my readers were already familiar with the German Pietists who started the movement known as Pietism: Philipp Spener, August Francke, Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, perhaps even Johanna Petersen, Gottfried Arnold, Alexander Mack, and other Radical Pietists. But if we consider why a Pietist ethos is … More The Swedish Pietists: A New Book from Mark Safstrom

What’s the Evangelical Covenant Church? “An Immigrant Church”

In my day job as a history professor, I’ve spent a lot of time in the past week investigating the experience of immigrants during World War I. And since most of the faculty and students at Bethel in 1917-18 were either born in Sweden themselves or the children or grandchildren of such immigrants, I’ve also been thinking about my own … More What’s the Evangelical Covenant Church? “An Immigrant Church”

February 30, 1712

As I’ve blogged about previously, making the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar necessitated some odd choices throughout Europe, but none odder than what my ancestral people — generally noted for their commitment to reason and common sense — tried to pull off early in the 18th century. I’ll let a physicist explain: … More February 30, 1712