The *Believe Me* Book Tour Comes to Dallas

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Last Thursday night the Believe Me book tour visited Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  The Center for Presidential History served as host.  Thanks to Brian Franklin, Assistant Director of the Center, and Jeff Engel, Director, for the invitation.  And thanks to Ronna Spitz for coordinating all the details.  They did a great job promoting the event in the greater Dallas area and as a result more than 200 people showed-up!  The crowd was largely sympathetic, but there were clearly some Trump supporters in the room who did not agree with everything I said in the lecture.  And no, Robert Jeffress did not come to the lecture (I have now been asked that a couple of times), but the first question from the audience was from a man who occasionally attends Jeffress’s church (First Baptist–Dallas) and was trying to figure out how the Dallas megachurch pastor reconciled his biblical sermons with his Fox News pundit.

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The SMU student newspaper covered the event here.

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On Wednesday, October 17 I  will be at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.   Stay tuned.

On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #85

Southern Methodist University

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I am writing from my hotel room in Dallas across the street from the beautiful campus of Southern Methodist University.  As noted in a previous post, last night I gave a lecture to about 75 students and faculty entitled “The American Bible Society and the Creation of the Christian Nationalism.”   The lecture was drawn from Chapter One and Chapter Two of the project. Some of you who have been following along will remember that these were the two chapters that served as my “sample chapters” for potential publishers.  Last night was the first time I shared my ABS research in a public forum of this nature and I got some good questions from the audience that will force me to do a better job of refining my arguments.

As I spent time editing the lecture on the plane from Philadelphia to Dallas I realized that the prose in these chapters still need a lot of work.  What I thought was in pretty good shape in August now seemed overly wordy and full of extraneous information that was unrelated to my argument.  

On a related matter, the demands of my academic life at Messiah College combined with my visit to Dallas made for a very unproductive writing week.  While I continue to do background reading for my chapter on the ABS benevolent empire, I have still not started writing the chapter.  Here’s hoping for a return next week to a more regimented writing schedule.  


Most of the research is now in place for the story of the ABS through World War I.  It is now a matter of putting that research into accessible prose.  Stay tuned.

On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #84

Caruth Hall on the campus of Southern Methodist University

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This morning I returned to Chapter One and Chapter Two. Actually, I condensed the chapters into a 40-minute public lecture that I will giving tomorrow night at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  In the process, I realized that there is a lot of information in Chapter One that is repeated in Chapter Two. This made it easier to condense the two chapters into one lecture, but such repetition does not bode well for a book manuscript.  Preparing this lecture has allowed me to streamline some of my prose and avoid unnecessary repetition.  

This morning reminded me how important it is to take on speaking engagements or conference presentations when working on a book manuscript.  Even if the audience does not offer helpful suggestions for improving the project, the opportunity to think about the best way to communicate your material to audiences of all kinds is an invaluable exercise.  I find that it often helps my writing more than it does my public speaking.

See you in Dallas.