Created and Called for Community: “Making Meaning” on the First Day of Class

I am pretty old school when it comes to the first day of class.  As some of you remember from my post last week, this semester I am teaching Messiah College’s first-year course Created and Called for Community (CCC).  Yesterday I met with all three of my sections  and introduced them to the course.  CCC … Continue reading Created and Called for Community: “Making Meaning” on the First Day of Class

What happened when an evangelical university created a scholarship named after George Floyd

On August 3, 2020, Bethel University, a Christian school in St. Paul, Minnesota, announced the George Floyd Scholarship. The scholarship, named after the Black man killed by police during a May 2020 arrest in Minneapolis, is open to “incoming African American and Black students in all Bethel’s schools.” The scholarship was established “to invest in … Continue reading What happened when an evangelical university created a scholarship named after George Floyd

Pandemic Religion

John Turner, a religion professor at George Mason University, introduces us to a very interesting new digital archive called Pandemic Religion. Over at The Anxious Bench, Turner introduces us to this new database: Two months ago, Lincoln Mullen (my colleague at George Mason University) and I created pandemicreligion.org, a digital archive dedicated to collecting materials about American congregations … Continue reading Pandemic Religion

College Teaching and the Planting of “Intellectual and Moral Seeds”

David Brooks offers some advice to the college class of 2020: The biggest way most colleges fail is this: They don’t plant the intellectual and moral seeds students are going to need later, when they get hit by the vicissitudes of life. If you didn’t study Jane Austen while you were here, you probably lack … Continue reading College Teaching and the Planting of “Intellectual and Moral Seeds”

What Should History Museums Collect During This Pandemic?

We have already encouraged you to record your coronavirus experiences. Today, our librarian at Messiah College asked us to consider having our students write something about how they are experiencing this pandemic in the hopes that we can deposit some of their reflections in the college archives. I have decided that I will ask students … Continue reading What Should History Museums Collect During This Pandemic?

True Friendship and the Search for Meaning: Teaching Augustine’s *Confessions*

Most of my students have never heard of Augustine of Hippo. Very few of them have read a 5th-century text. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when we discussed parts of Augustine’s Confessions in my Created and Called for Community course at Messiah College. Confessions is the third reading in our “community” unit. The first two … Continue reading True Friendship and the Search for Meaning: Teaching Augustine’s *Confessions*

The Difference Between “Intelligence” and “Intellect”

I am revisiting Richard Hofstadter‘s Pulitzer-Prize winning book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963).  Early in the book, Hofstadter makes a distinction between “intelligence” and “intellect.” I found it useful.  Here is a taste: p. 25: Intelligence works within the framework of limited but clearly stated goals, and may be quick to shear away questions of … Continue reading The Difference Between “Intelligence” and “Intellect”

On Teaching Writing, Christian Thinking, and Meaning-Making

As many of you know, this semester I am teaching three sections of a Messiah College course called Created and Called for Community (CCC).  This is a required course for first-year Messiah students. They take it in the second semester at the college. CCC has three main goals: It serves as one of two first-year … Continue reading On Teaching Writing, Christian Thinking, and Meaning-Making

What is the Difference Between Liberty University and Messiah College?

Yesterday in my Created and Called for Community class at Messiah College we discussed different kinds of Christian colleges. We thought about the things a Christian college requires all faculty to affirm, the issues a Christian college “privileges” (but does not necessarily require faculty to agree with), and the issues on which a Christian college … Continue reading What is the Difference Between Liberty University and Messiah College?

The National Association of Evangelicals and Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Adopt a “Fairness for All” Motion

The National Association of Evangelicals and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities have endorsed “Fairness for All,” a legislative initiative to protect religious liberties alongside liberties for the LGBTQ community.  This means that these organizations are endorsing so-called Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) laws, or laws that add sexual orientation and gender identity … Continue reading The National Association of Evangelicals and Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Adopt a “Fairness for All” Motion

Obama on Trump’s Decision to End DACA: “Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question.”

From Obama’s Facebook page: Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules. But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is … Continue reading Obama on Trump’s Decision to End DACA: “Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question.”

The Mississippi River: The Flow of Religion, Tourism, and Music

Our reports from the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) continue to roll into The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  This report comes from Melissa Daggett, an instructor of United States history at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas and the author of Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times … Continue reading The Mississippi River: The Flow of Religion, Tourism, and Music

Newspapers and British Identity in 18th-Century Quebec City and Halifax

If you have not discovered Borealia, you should go check it out.  The editors of this blog are pushing us to expand our understanding of early America to include Canada. (Of course scholars have been doing this for a long time, but I appreciate the effort of the folks at Borealia to bring the conversation … Continue reading Newspapers and British Identity in 18th-Century Quebec City and Halifax

More on Slavery and the Constitution

Sean Wilentz’s op-ed on slavery and the Constitution has ignited a real firestorm in the historical community.   See our posts here and here and here and here and here.  And to think that it all started with comments made by Bernie Sanders at Liberty University. Over at a great (relatively) new website called We’re History, Joshua Rothman, … Continue reading More on Slavery and the Constitution

Digital Humanities, Information Fluency, and the Digital Harrisburg Project

Yesterday I wrote a post called “A New Kind of History Department” to explain some of the ways the digital history initiatives we have stared at Messiah College are connected to the larger vision of the Messiah College History Department.  In that post I shared some of things I talked about during a meeting with … Continue reading Digital Humanities, Information Fluency, and the Digital Harrisburg Project

The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age

If you missed tonight’s AHA plenary session you missed a real treat.  William Cronon presided over a session entitled “The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age.”  (This was not his presidential address as I mistakenly wrote in previous posts.  That address will take place tomorrow night and the title is “Storytelling.”  … Continue reading The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age

Chris Gehrz, Frederick Buechner, and the Vocational Pull of an Undergraduate History Major

Chris Gehrz always posts some great stuff at his blog, The Pietist Schoolman, but yesterday’s post was one of his best.  Like all of us who teach history majors, we want our students to be employable and successful.  But more importantly, we want them to find meaningful vocations.  We want them to find something to … Continue reading Chris Gehrz, Frederick Buechner, and the Vocational Pull of an Undergraduate History Major

A Review of the Revisions to the Texas Social Studies Standards: Grade 3

We continue with our review of the Texas Social Studies curriculum standards. You can review the revisions here. Also check out our previous reviews. The emphasis here is on “individuals” in history. (The outside reviewers suggested using “diverse individuals” and it was added). The first major change here was made via amendment by the State … Continue reading A Review of the Revisions to the Texas Social Studies Standards: Grade 3

"The Way of Improvement" Hits the Road and Other Assorted Activities

After an intense Fall speaking schedule we are looking forward to a much lighter load during the Spring. Later this week I head down to Louisville to present a talk to a gathering of scholars who have recently received funding from the Louisville Institute,, a center that supports the study of American religion. I will … Continue reading "The Way of Improvement" Hits the Road and Other Assorted Activities