Dear President Trump, I write to wish you and your family happy holidays, in the truest, fullest sense of that phrase. While you’ve tried often to convince our fellow Christians that “happy holidays” is part of a secular war on our faith, I hope your aversion to fake news will not keep you from reading historian … More Happy Holidays, Mr. President
A couple years ago our family went to southern Iowa for a reunion. Noticing that the nearest town was called Moravia, I decided to take a morning to drive around… and discovered several examples of Moravian, Brethren, and other Pietist groups that had settled in that part of America. That tour of “Pietist Iowa” ended … More Pietist “Communism”: The Amana Colonies
If you follow me over at The Anxious Bench, you might know that I wrote a multi-part series on the challenges of writing a biography. There’s a good reason for that: I was considering a biography as my next book project. Today I’m happy to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Eerdmans to contribute to their Library … More Announcing My Next Book Project!
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.
I’ll be down in New Ulm, Minnesota this Thursday evening giving a free lecture as part of the city’s centennial series on World War I. A German-American enclave in the southern part of the state, New Ulm had a difficult experience of the war, with its municipal leadership suspected of sedition by the state. You can learn … More Previewing My Talk on World War I Memorials
Last night marked the conclusion of The Great War, the three-part episode of PBS’ venerable American Experience documentary series focused on World War I. I live-tweeted each night of the miniseries, highlighting interesting facts and quotations from the episodes, but also trying to enrich it by sharing photos from our WWI travel course, suggesting further readings, and linking to newspapers, memoirs, … More How I Live-Tweeted The Great War on PBS
It’s not quite the “forgotten war” that the Korean War is, but World War I is certainly overshadowed in American memory by WWII, the Civil War, Vietnam, and the Revolutionary War. Nevertheless, the United States’ relatively short involvement in “the Great War” intersected with some of the most significant social, cultural, political, and economic shifts in American history. And now … More Go See the WW1 America Exhibit!
I’m eager to crack open Turning Points in the History of American Evangelicalism, edited by Heath Carter and Laura Rominger Porter and featuring a who’s who of American religious historians. Dedicated to Mark Noll, the book “seeks to both honor and build upon his contributions” via Noll’s own concept of “turning points.” I summarized it last year in a … More Was 2016 a Turning Point in the History of Evangelicalism?
How should we rank America’s presidents? C-SPAN asked ninety-one “professional observers of the presidency,” including historians Douglas Brinkley, Edward Crapol, Robert Dallek, Annette Gordon-Reed, Allen Guelzo, David Kennedy, and Walter McDougall. Each participant ranked our previous chief executives in ten equally weighted categories. You can find the full results here, but a few highlights: • The top four remained … More Ranking America’s Presidents
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