Leg 2 of the *Believe Me* Book Tour Starts on Monday

Believe Me 3dI hope to see some of you on the road!

September 24, 2018
University of Chicago Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, Chicago, IL, 6pm
Book Talk: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

September 25, 2018
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 6:30pm
Lecture: “The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump”

October 2, 2018
Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI  11:30-1:00pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 2, 2018
Taylor University, Upland, IN 7:30pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 3, 2018
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, IN, 12:00pm
Discussion of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 3, 2018
Hope College, Holland, MI7:00pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 11, 2018
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Public lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 10, 2018
National Association of Evangelicals Washington Briefing, Washington D.C.
Discussion of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Private event)

October 17-18, 2018
John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Public lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 28, 2018
Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Laurel, MD
Question and Answer Session on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

November 6, 2018
Woodrow Wilson School and Center for Study of Religion, Princeton, NJ
“Crossroads of Religion” Discussion Series on “The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump”

November 13-15, 2018
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Denver, CO
Session on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

And I am happy to announce that there will be a third leg of the tour, beginning in January 2019 and extending through the Spring.  We are currently booking dates.  Stay tuned for more information about visits to Eastern Mennonite University, the University of Southern California, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and Greensboro College.

On the Road in September

Believe Me 3dThe second leg of the Believe Me book tour is gearing-up.

On September 18, I will be in Greenville, South Carolina.  (This is not part of the Believe Me book tour).  My lecture is titled “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?”  7:00pm in the Hamlin Recital Hall at North Greenville, University.

On September 24,  I will be at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago.  I will be participating in a live podcast recording of “Things Not Seen” with host David Dault.  The event starts at 6:00pm.  The bookstore is located in the University of Chicago area at 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.

On September 25, I will be at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.  Details are forthcoming.

 

The Chicago Stop on the *Believe Me* Book Tour Will Double as a Live Episode of “Things Not Seen” Podcast

Believe Me 3d

The Believe Me book tour is coming to Chicago.

September 24, 2018, 6:00pm at The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore at the University of Chicago.

Here are the details:

Join Things Not Seen’s host David Dault and author John Fea for a live podcast recording and discussion of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: A historian’s discerning, critical take on current American politics.

“Believe me” may be the most commonly used phrase in Donald Trump’s lexicon. Whether about building a wall or protecting a Christian heritage, the refrain has been constant.

And to the surprise of many, a good 80 percent of white evangelicals have believed Trump—at least enough to help propel him into the White House. Historian John Fea is not surprised, however—and in Believe Me he explains how we have arrived at this unprecedented moment in American politics.

An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past.

As insightful as it is timely, Fea’s Believe Me challenges Christians to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

About the author: John Fea is professor of American history and chair of the History Department at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. He is a self-described evangelical, a recognized expert on the historical influence of evangelicalism in American culture, and an award-winning author.

About the interlocutor: David Dault is the host and executive producer of the award-winning radio program Things Not Seen: Conversations about Culture and Faith. The show is heard weekly in Chicago in WYLL 1160 AM and is distributed nationwide through PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. Along with Fr. Dan Horan, he co-hosts The Francis Effect, a podcast that explores contemporary political issues through a lens of Catholic faith. He is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and received his Ph.D. in theological studies from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Dault currently holds teaching appointments at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Loyola University Chicago, and serves as a visiting scholar for thelogy and media at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. His book, The Accessorized Bible: Scripture as Commodity and Ubiquity, is forthcoming from Yale University Press, and Dr. Dault is the authorized biographer of Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. He lives with his family in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.

About Things Not Seen: Things Not Seen: Conversation About Culture and Faith is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. Learn more at thingsnotseenradio.com

Event Location:
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
ChicagoIL 60637
See map: Google Maps

Leg 2 of the *Believe Me* Book Tour May Be Coming to a Town Near You!

Believe Me 3d

Eerdmans Publishing released Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump on June 28, 2018.  It has been a wild ride so far.  In addition to appearances on CNN, CSPAN, and a bunch of podcasts and radio shows, we made visits to independent bookstores in Harrisburg, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Columbus, Louisville, Charleston (WV), Lynchburg (VA), Raleigh, Winchester (VA), and Dallastown (PA).  These bookstores events might be described best as some combination of traditional book talk, historical reflection on evangelicals and politics, church, therapy, debate, deep conversation, and civil dialogue.

Most of the Fall will be spent on college and university campuses.  Here is where we are heading:

September 24, 2018
University of Chicago Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, Chicago, IL, 6pm
Book Talk: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

September 25, 2018
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 6:30pm
Lecture: “The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump”

October 2, 2018
Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI  11:30-1:00pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 2, 2018
Taylor University, Upland, IN 7:30pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 3, 2018
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, IN, 12:00pm
Discussion of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 3, 2018
Hope College, Holland, MI7:00pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 11, 2018
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Public lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 17-18, 2018
John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Public lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 28, 2018
Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Laurel, MD
Question and Answer Session on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

November 6, 2018
Woodrow Wilson School and Center for Study of Religion, Princeton, NJ
“Crossroads of Religion” Discussion Series on “The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump”

November 13-15, 2018
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Denver, CO
Session on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

And I am happy to announce that there will be a third leg of the tour, beginning in January 2019 and extending through the Spring.  We are currently booking dates.  Stay tuned for more information about visits to Eastern Mennonite University, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and Greensboro College.

What About the Left? Aren’t They Afraid?

Believe Me 3d

I get this question all the time.  Too many times to count.  This is the kind of question I should expect after writing a book about evangelicals and Donald Trump in which I suggest that “fear” motivated evangelicals to pull the lever for Trump in November 2016.

Some folks have tried to turn the tables on me.  They have accused me of being afraid of Donald Trump’s presidency.  One Trump-voting blogger recently suggested that I would never have written such an “impassioned book if not motivated by fear for what Christian support for Trump was doing to the church’s witness.”

I have never thought of myself as a person of the Left, but I can understand why my critics put me in this box.  I prefer to think about the world from the perspective of my Christian faith.  Such an approach means that I don’t feel comfortable in either of the two major political parties in the United States.  As a Christian, I believe that fear is inevitable.  It is a natural human response to change.  I think American history confirms this.  Nativism, xenophobia, racism, Christian nationalism, etc. are all products of fear.  Fear is the product of a broken–I would say sinful–world.

In other words, I expect human beings to be fearful.  But I also see Christianity as a counter-cultural faith.  If the world is defined by fear, then Christians must always counter fear with hope–not a rosy liberal optimism, but a deeply theological approach to hope rooted in eschatological faith.   Having hope in the midst of fear is not easy to do. But if I am, or have been, fearful about what Donald Trump’s presidency will do to the republic or the church,  I am not living up to the demands of my faith.

I think there are a lot of folks on the Left who are afraid of the damage Trump will do, and is doing, to American democracy.  I expect them to be fearful.  I did not write Believe Me to tell them not to be afraid.  But for me, as a Christian, I agree with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson when she says “Fear is not a Christian habit of mind.”  I wrote the book to my tribe.  And in this case, my tribe helped carry Donald Trump to the White House.

Does “Evangelical” = Trump Supporter?: Three Anecdotes from the *Believe Me* Book Tour

Believe Me 3dThe media and much of the intellectual community seems to equate “evangelical” with “Trump supporter.”  And why not?  81% of white evangelical voters pulled the lever for Trump, a fact I try to explain in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

Here are three pieces of anecdotal evidence:

1. Back in June I was asked to appear on CNN to talk about Trump and evangelicals.  When I asked the producer if I would be appearing on CNN alone or with other “talking heads,” she said that I would be on the air with Dr. William Barber, the African-American progressive minister and outspoken critic of Trump.  I responded to this news by saying something like, “So it sounds like this will be an anti-Trump segment.” The producer did not say anything in response. About an hour later, the same producer called me up and asked me what my book, Believe Me, was about.  I told her it was largely critical of Trump.  She responded by saying something like, “Oh, I thought you were an evangelical.”  When I said that I was an evangelical, but did not support Trump, she seemed confused.  She called me back twenty minutes later to tell me that they did not realize that my position on Trump was so similar to Barber.  They wanted someone to argue with Barber.  The segment was canceled.  (I eventually did find my way back to CNN a couple of weeks later).

2. On July 10, I got up early and drove to Washington D.C. to film a segment for Rising, a new morning news show on The Hill‘s online television network.  Rising is hosted by Krystal Ball, a former MSNBC host and 2010 candidate for Congress, and Buck Sexton, a conservative pundit and radio host.  When I arrived on stage, before the cameras starting rolling, Sexton starting asking me about my background and my work on Believe Me.  When he found out I was an evangelical who was critical of Trump, he obviously did not know what to make of me.  As the cameras started rolling, it was clear that Sexton was incapable of understanding how an evangelical could oppose Donald Trump.  His grasp of evangelicalism was incredibly shallow.  He obviously only understood evangelicals through the lens of politics and he spent the entire segment trying to put me into a political box.  After about 10 minutes, Sexton, obviously frustrated that I was not giving him Christian Right talking points, told the producers that “this segment is going too long.”  I was ushered off the set.  I turned around to thank Ball and Sexton. Neither of them looked up or said anything.  They were already prepping for the next segment.  While I was in the green room one of the producers of the show told me that the segment would air in a day or two.  As far as I know, it has yet to air.  I doubt it ever will.  Too much nuance, I guess.

3. Just the other day I got an e-mail, completely out of the blue, from one of the post-War West’s great public intellectuals.  He asked me to come to Washington D.C. to participate in a civil dialogue about Donald Trump.  This public intellectual was nearly 90-years old, but he still presided over a center devoted to his thought at a D.C. university.  He told me that the event would be televised nationally on C-SPAN.  Needless to say, I was flattered.  But after the two cases mentioned above, I decided to make sure this public intellectual knew who I was and what he was getting by inviting me to participate.  I e-mailed to tell him that I accepted his invitation, but he should also know that I was an American historian and an evangelical who wrote a book critical of Trump.  Thirty minutes later he e-mailed back to tell me that he thought I was a Trump supporter.   He dis-invited me from the event.  He was very apologetic and polite about it.

Apart from the fact that CNN, the producers and hosts of Rising, and this famous public intellectual did not read my book (or apparently even the dust jacket or Amazon description of my book), what should we make of these three cases?

In all three of them, I was invited to contribute to a discussion because I was an evangelical.  But because I was an evangelical, it was assumed I was a Trump supporter.

Thoughts?

The *Believe Me* Book Tour Comes to Dallastown, Pennsylvania

Fea at Hearts and Minds

And what a night it was!

I walked into Hearts & Minds Bookstore in Dallastown around 6:50pm last night and there were already nearly 100 people milling around the store awaiting the book talk and signing.  The place was packed!  Folks were shopping for books, drinking red and blue-colored punch, and angling for seats on chairs set up in every corner of the store.  Byron and Beth Borger, the owners of Hearts & Minds, certainly know how to throw a party!  Even this guy was there!

I spoke for about 30 minutes or so, answered questions for another 30-45 minutes, and then signed some books.  Following the signing, about thirty folks stayed for more conversation about evangelicals, politics, and Donald Trump.  We had Trump supporters, Trump voters, anti-Trumpers, Hillary voters, and everyone in between.  The conversation continued to about 11:00pm and I left energized (which is rare for an introvert like me) and encouraged by the civil nature of the dialogue.  American democracy and the Christian church need more conversations like the one that took place last night.  I did a lot of talking, but I also did a lot of listening.

Thanks so much to Byron and Beth and the staff of Hearts & Minds for hosting me and publicizing the event.  And thanks to everyone who came out.

The Believe Me book tour will be on break until the end of September.  We will enter the next leg of the tour on September 24, 2018 at the University of Chicago Seminary Co-Op Bookstore.  I hope to see you there!

Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books On Why Evangelicals Support Donald Trump

Believe Me 3dI will be doing a talk on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump at Hearts & Minds books on August 10, 2018.  I hope to see you there.  Byron Borger, the proprietor at Hearts & Minds, has a nice piece about Trump, evangelicals, and my visit in the York Daily News.  Here is a taste:

And now we have some very unusual fundamentalists supporting a vile, exceedingly secular president who consorts with Playboy bunnies and prostitutes and is legendary for his irreligious attitudes, his worldview of greed and power and might. If the religious right of the 1980s seemed unbiblical and un-Christ-like in supporting the affable but hawkish Ronald Reagan, how in the world can they possibly use the Scriptures and the Lordship of Jesus to support the tawdry and volatile President Trump? How the theologically and politically compromised religious right of the 1980s evolved in our generation to the incoherent movement it is today is one of the great questions of our time.

That question will be pondered for years as theologians, cultural critics, and historians reflect on this odd season of American life and this peculiar alignment of conservative religion and a prideful president who said he has never asked for forgiveness and who stands for some policies that are against the grain of Christian tradition.

Dr. John Fea of the history department at Messiah College is one such historian who is himself an evangelical and interested in this perplexing re-run of the religious right. He has written a well-researched book called “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump,” released to much acclaim a few weeks ago. Fea has been on national talk shows and his book is being reviewed all over the country. He writes about the history of religion in American public life. His specialty is the colonial period and his earlier book, “Was America Founded as a Christian Country?,” has earned significant awards. In this new book, he is trying to discern how it is that so many white conservative Protestants (sometimes called “evangelicals”) voted for the current president.

Fea shows that some of the concerns and fears which animate this new iteration of the religious right have, in fact, been baked into American religiosity since our earliest years. Nationalism and anti-immigration animus is not new. Only such an astute historian of religion could help us see some of the spirits of the age and help us realize their centuries-old roots.

Yet, there is something new happening with the “court prophets” as Fea calls the leaders of the 2.0 version of the religious right. “Believe Me” is a fair and fascinating study of what’s going on in these contentious times and helps those who are not part of the conservative Christian movement understand their fellow citizens. And, hopefully, it will help some who have been too supportive of the current leadership ask if their faith might call them to be less cozy with any political party. Dr. Fea is a good man, a jovial speaker, a fine scholar, and his book is an important contribution to one of the most important phenomena of our time.

If you go

Author John Fea will be speaking at Hearts & Minds, 234 East Main Street in Dallastown, on Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. All are invited.

Read the entire piece here.

The *Believe Me* Book Tour is Coming to Hearts & Minds Bookstore in Dallastown (York County), PA

Believe Me 3d

On August 10, 2018, I will be at Byron Borger’s shop.  Here is Byron’s press release:

Dr. John Fea, Chair of the History Department at Messiah College, will discuss his new book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trumpon Friday night, August 10, at Hearts & Minds, an independent bookstore at 234 East Main Street, Dallastown. The program begins at 7:00 pm.

Byron Borger, co-owner of Hearts & Minds explains the significance of the book, saying, “Believe Me offers a historians look at the rise of the religious right, particularly why it is that many white, conservative Protestants supported a candidate who was admittedly irreligious, vulgar, and known for power and greed, not to mention cavorting with Playboy Bunnies and porn stars. This wide-spread support from religious conservatives for such an incongruous candidate is one of the most fascinating – and for many of us, troubling – trends in American religion and American politics. Dr. Fea helps us explore this curious situation.”

Believe Me was released a few weeks ago to critical acclaim and Fea has appeared on many national venues, including NPR and C-Span.  The book has been reviewed in dozens of publications and is considered one of the most important public affairs book of the year.

“John is a jovial person and great teacher,” says Beth Borger, co-owner of Hearts & Minds, “and we are looking forward to hosting him here at the shop.  Any time he visits we have wonderful conversations and we learn new things. It’s a delight to sponsor a public program where others can hear this central Pennsylvania treasure.”

Dr. Fea is an accomplished author, having garnered significant awards for Was American Founded as a Christian Nation?, Why Study History?, and a co-authored academic volume, Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation, among others.

Fea will speak about his book, discuss the latest revelations about President Trump’s religious associates, and participate in civil discussion about the relationship of faith and political life.   All are welcome, light refreshments will be served, and books will be available for purchase and autographing.

The First Leg of the *Believe Me* Book Tour Ends in Winchester, Virginia

Winchester 1

Thanks to the Winchester Book Gallery for hosting our Winchester, Virginia stop on the Believe Me book tour.  We had a small, but very engaged group last night that included a college president, a local pastor, and one of my former students!

Winchester 2

Awaiting the crowd to arrive!

In case you missed us in Harrisburg, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Columbus, Louisville, Charleston, Lynchburg, Raleigh, and Winchester, we have more dates coming-up and are going to be announcing some new ones soon.  Read about the previous stops on the tour here.

July 28, 2018
Chop Suey Books. Richmond, VA.  7:00pm
Book Talk: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

July 28, 2018
Chop Suey Books. Richmond, VA.  7:00pm
Book Talk: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

August 10, 2018
Hearts & Minds Bookstore, Dallastown, PA. 7:00pm
Book Talk: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

September 24, 2018
University of Chicago Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. Chicago, IL, 6pm
Book Talk: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

September 25, 2018
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 6:30pm
Lecture: “The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump”

October 2, 2018
Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI, 11:30am
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 2, 2018
Taylor University, Upland, IN, 7:30pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 3, 2018
Hope College, Holland, MI, 7:00pm
Lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 11, 2018
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Public lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

October 17-18, 2018
John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Public lecture on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

November 13-15, 2018
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Denver, CO
Session on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

March 21, 2018
Ward Lecture, Greensboro College, Greensboro, NC
The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump”