Category: The Historical Muse

Thoughts on history and the historical profession. Clio is the muse of history–this category title is a play on that concept.

Post 9/11: A Divided America

Can anything new be said on the anniversary of 9/11? Maybe we don’t need to hear anything new; perhaps we just need to be reminded that there are those out there who hate us. However, what is meant by “us?” America, you say? Yes, in the abstract, but what comprises America anymore? On 9/11, eighteen years ago today, members of Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang together. At the moment, I can’t recall if they sang… Read more »

On Bad Times: A Historian’s Perspective

As I survey the current state of America—the spiritual/moral, political, and cultural aspects [what does that leave?]—I have grave concerns. But I’d like to offer a historian’s perspective on bad times. Since I teach American history, I have a more in-depth knowledge of what has transpired previously. I can imagine myself transported back into earlier eras and think about how I might have felt about current events at those times. Bad moral climates, disunity, and devastating government policies have cropped… Read more »

The Roots of Liberation Theology

What is Liberation Theology? How did it begin? What dangers has it brought to the Church? This brief history of its origins comes from the Christian History Institute. It’s very instructive. At the end, I’ll have a few more comments. THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, whose sessions ran 1962 through 1965, issued changes that the council hoped would allow the Roman Catholic Church to function more effectively and with greater popular appeal. Three years after it ended, Latin American bishops met… Read more »

The Great Confrontation

Seventy-one years ago yesterday, one of the most intense political confrontations in American history occurred in the US House of Representatives. August 25, 1948, was the day that the man on the right in this photo, Alger Hiss, was asked publicly whether he had ever known the man standing on the left side of the photo. His name was Whittaker Chambers. What was the controversy all about and why did it captivate the public for the next two years? Chambers,… Read more »

Lewis on Love of Country

In my recent re-reading of C. S. Lewis’s The Four Loves, I came across a section that I had forgotten, which deals with one’s love of country—both the positive and negative aspects. This had a particular appeal to me as I prepare to teach American history once again to university students, many of whom are rather blank slates when it comes to knowledge of the past. “We all know,” Lewis begins, “that this love [of country] becomes a demon when… Read more »

A Historic, Yet Controversial, Revival

One of the events I talk about in my classes is the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky back in 1801. That’s the subject of the e-mail I received yesterday from the Christian History Institute. I thought it was well worth sharing. On Thursday, 6 August 1801, the camp meeting at Cane Ridge, Kentucky finally broke up. Late in the eighteenth century, both pastors and Christian laity in Kentucky recognized the deep spiritual need in their region. Most people living on… Read more »

The Decision-Point

Those who come to the decision-point in their lives as to whether to commit themselves to the Lordship of Christ must first go through a soul-searching with respect to their sins. While all sin separates from God, some sins have greater impact not only on their own lives but the lives of countless others. Whittaker Chambers was a man who had to struggle through his former allegiance to communism before he could make his salvation decision. He had worked in… Read more »