Category: Christians & Culture

Commentary, from a Biblical perspective, on current events that are primarily cultural. There may be some overlap with politics and government, but the emphasis is on broader societal developments apart from politics, which also includes analysis of specific individuals.

Screwtape: The Preface

This past week in my C. S. Lewis course, we have been discussing The Screwtape Letters. Every time I return to these letters, I see greater depth than before, and for some of my students, this is their first foray into the infernal world Lewis created to highlight Christian truth in an unusual way. The letters themselves obviously are the focus as we discuss, but I started by reading to them from his preface to the 1961 edition, which came… Read more »

Supreme Court Nominations & the Constitution

I sat in this chamber twice. The first occasion was listening to the Supreme Court hear arguments. I don’t remember the case. My presence there, in 1981, was while I was interning at the Court’s history office as I worked on my doctorate at The American University. The second time was in early 1999 at a conference on constitutional history. Attendees were then served dinner at the Court. Of all the institutions set up by the Constitution, the Court is… Read more »

History, Clocks, Progress, & C. S. Lewis

One of my pet peeves is the phrase about being “on the right side of history.” Its corollary is to avoid being “on the wrong side of history.” Both posit an untruth, one that I labor to show students in my classes: these phrases assume an inevitability. They push us to believe that history is something that has a mind of its own and is going down a preordained path—and you had better get on that path or be swept… Read more »

The Joy of Teaching Lewis

For the fifth time since my 2014-15 sabbatical and the writing of my C. S. Lewis book, I’ll be teaching the course this fall that I developed out of that sabbatical: “C. S. Lewis: History and Influence.” It was a joy to teach this course the first four times, and I don’t expect it to be otherwise this time. Since I’m a history professor, not English literature, the course has a strong historical component as we work through a number… Read more »

Socialism/Communism: Symptom of a Deeper Problem

Those who know American history also know that the push for a more socialist society is nothing new. Eugene Debs, the perennial presidential candidate for the Socialist Party during the early decades of the twentieth century received a rather impressive number of votes, especially in 1912. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal pushed us closer to the socialist vision with the rise of government oversight of the economy and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society offered the kind of federal government intrusion that few… Read more »

Living in Many Times & Places

Knowing history is important. For the last thirty-one years, I’ve taught history full-time at different Christian universities. As I noted in a recent post, I’m now an adjunct professor. Yet that change in my life has somehow increased my desire to make sure people know history better, maybe because I’m sensing that my opportunities for teaching may decline in the coming years. C. S. Lewis has a number of noteworthy comments about history in his many writings. For instance, an… Read more »

Phrases in Need of Context

I’ve never been one to jump on bandwagons of trendy phrases and slogans. I’m not going to start now. I don’t care if they emanate from political Left field or political Right field. I avoid them all. Instead, I think it’s important to explain matters cogently and with the proper context, tossing aside phrases that create certain images in people’s minds that may not be accurate. As much as possible, I always want to provide both theological and historical context… Read more »