Ranking America’s Presidents

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

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

That Was The Month That Was: History and Education

Part two of my attempt to curate some of what I read while traveling this month. Yesterday I focused on Christianity; today, articles and blog posts about history and education. • Now that we’re in the year 2017, the floodgates have opened on pieces about the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Among many others writing … More That Was The Month That Was: History and Education

My New Adult Sunday School Class: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century”

All next month I’ll be teaching an adult Sunday School class at Salem Covenant Church (New Brighton, MN) on a favorite topic of mine: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century.” It’ll be offered twice each Sunday, at 9:45am and 11:00am in Salem’s Fellowship Hall. Here’s the summary blurb: This spring will mark … More My New Adult Sunday School Class: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century”

When There’s Too Much Historical Evidence

Over the weekend I continued my Anxious Bench series on the challenges of writing biographies by reflecting on the problem of historical evidence. While the biographer whose book I’m currently reading seems to have enough evidence to narrate his subject’s entire life on a weekly (sometimes daily or even hourly) basis, I know that he actually is deploying … More When There’s Too Much Historical Evidence

My New Series on Writing Biography

Earlier this week I started a three-part series at The Anxious Bench on the challenges of writing biographies. I’m writing these posts without any real knowledge of what biographers go through, having never written a book of that sort. But like many historians who have reached mid-career, I’m contemplating such a project, reading more examples of it than usual, and starting … More My New Series on Writing Biography

Why Yes, I Did Live-Tweet the Hamilton Documentary

Well, most of it. I was at the banquet for the Conference on Faith and History biennial meeting in Virginia Beach, VA and missed the first five minutes of Hamilton’s America tonight on PBS. Then after I burst into our hotel room and saw that Katie was watching, I just sat in rapturous joy for a few … More Why Yes, I Did Live-Tweet the Hamilton Documentary