Introducting Pietist Schoolman Travel

Pietist Schoolman Travel

Do you want to take a trip to Europe with historian Chris Gehrz, aka the Pietist Schoolman?  Check out his new venture: “Pietist Schoolman Travel.”

Here is a taste of Chris’s latest post describing the new venture:

As announced here two weeks ago, I’m going to lead an eleven-day tour of England, Belgium, France, and Germany next June: “The World Wars in Western Europe.” There are still openings, but I’d suggest that you apply sooner than later: Bethel University will be mentioning the trip next month in its alumni e-newsletter.

For the most part, leading this trip just feels like an extension of what I already do as a teacher and scholar. In January I’ll lead a couple dozen students on a three-week World War I travel course, the fourth instance of that trip; and I write and speak about World War I and World War II fairly often.

But preparing to lead this trip — and thinking ahead to other trips I might lead in summers to come — has forced me to do something I never imagined doing: I’ve started my own business. Pietist Schoolman Travel, LLC will never have all that much overhead or all that many employees, but it does have a bank account, an IRS number, and a need to get its name before potential customers in a market place with no shortage of competitors.

I’ll try my best to make it worth your while. I’m in the process of walking through the June trip, each day sharing some photos from some of the sites we’ll be visiting. And I’ll keep posting other photos, reading excerpts, video clips, and links related to the world wars. And even if you’re not interested in the World Wars trip, following the page will make it easier for me to reach people with news about future trips. (I’ve already floated the idea of doing a summer 2020 trip to Germany around the themes of the Reformation and Pietism.)

So if you’d like to learn more about the trip — or if you can just help boost our public presence — please start following our PS Travel page at Facebook. I started small over the weekend, inviting a few family, friends, coworkers, and former students to click Like. But I’d certainly be happy to add blog readers to that number.

How *Believe Me* Can Help You With Your Religion Tourism

Believe Me Banner

Bill Tammeus, the former “Faith” columnist at The Kansas City Startook a copy of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump on a recent visit to the annual conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in Cincinnati.

I will let him take it from here:

CINCINNATI — While I was here this past weekend for the annual conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, I had with me a book that I’m reading for review, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, by John Fea. (I’ll publish my review here on the blog a bit later.)

And in it I ran across the name of a divinity school in Cincinnati of which I’d never heard — Lane Theological Seminary. Fea, in describing the many fears that have plagued evangelicals across American history, notes that “Lyman Beecher, a well-known New England Congregationalist minister, became the first president of Lane. . .”

So I started hunting around (first online; later on the ground) and discovered — first on the Wikipedia entry on Lane to which I’ve linked you above and then on this Ohio History Connection site — that Lane was founded in 1830 and operated for 102 years before, finally, being merged into McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Read the rest here.  I am looking forward to Tammeus’s review!

The Revolutionary Road in New York City

The Messiah College History department hit the road yesterday for a field trip to New York City.  Students in our U.S. Urban History course went to the New York Public Library, Central Park, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.  Students in our History of the Middle East class went to the U.N.  And I took my students on a revolutionary-era walking tour through lower Manhattan.

Stops along my tour included:

“The Commons” (City Hall Park), St. Paul’s Church (with a brief stop at Ground Zero), St. Johns United Methodist Church, Golden Hill, Murray’s Wharf, Federal Hall, Trinity Church (and Alexander Hamilton’s grave), Bowling Green, Fraunces Tavern Museum (which was closed), and Hanover Square.  (Then, since we had some time to kill, we headed over to Battery Park).

Unlike revolutionary-era tours I have done in Philadelphia, I have concluded that the New York-area walking tour requires too much of a student’s imagination.  How can you get them to try to imagine the events surrounding the so-called “Battle of Golden Hill” when you are standing amid skyscrapers?

Perhaps the most moving and interesting part of the trip was the visit to St. Paul’s Church.  For those of you unfamiliar, St. Paul’s, a “chapel” of the larger Trinity Church, is the oldest church building in New York City (1766). 

Today it presents a very eclectic mix of historical and sacred space.  There are only two original pews left in the building.  One belonged to longtime New York governor George Clinton and the other belonged to George Washington, who worshiped at St. Paul’s while he was president of the United States. 

St. Paul’s has also become a shrine to the victims of 9-11.  Ground Zero is located just behind the church and, amazingly, during the collapse of the World Trade Center the church suffered no major damage–not even a broken window.  So as we wondered (somberly and quietly, I might add) through the sanctuary (which feels more like a museum than a church) you experience a fascinating blend of the sacred.  18th century markers are mixed with makeshift shrines to the victims of 9-11.  It is a lot to process.

After the Revolutionary-era stuff, we walked up to Little Italy and had dinner at Lombardi’s Pizza and cannoli at Ferrara’s. I wanted to go visit the place where my grandmother was born (202 Hester St.), but we did not have the time.

I say it was a pretty good day.  I hope my students agree. At least one of them had never been to NYC before and several of them had never eaten a cannoli! 

Now I am thinking about a possible field trip for next semester’s early American republic course (1789-1812).  Any suggestions?

Take a Polygamy Bus Tour!

For $70 you can take a four-hour bus tour through the middle of the “polygamist enclave on the Utah-Arizona border.”  Reuters reports:

Colorado City is the headquarters of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). It is where their prophet and leader Warren Jeffs once ruled.
Jeffs was serving time in Utah for arranging child bride marriages but that conviction was recently overturned. He is still in jail because of other cases lined up against him.

The FLDS is a breakaway from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon faith, which is centered in Salt Lake City and once practiced plural marriage but renounced it over a century ago.

Typically, FLDS men get around laws forbidding polygamy by taking one “legal” wife while the others are “spiritual wives” who are recognized as such only by their faith.

…the tours do not promote plural marriage but raise the curtain on the lifestyle.