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.

True Hope in a Dismal World

We live in a world of COVID exhaustion, political turmoil, and cultural upheaval. Many people over the past year have let hope slip. They view all of these problems and descend into despair. But for Christians, it’s not supposed to be that way. Of all people, we should be the people of hope. Yes, that can be cliched. It’s often easy to throw out verbal assurances that have little meaning. As we’re reminded in the book of James, What good… Read more »

Lewis & Patriotism

This weekend marks the celebration of American independence, declared in 1776. I’m an American. I’m a historian. I’ve taught American history at the university level for more than thirty years and am thoroughly acquainted with each period of that history. My constant research into that history has given me a deep appreciation for what was established in this nation. The American Experiment, as it has been called, set up a government through the Constitution that gave priority to the rule… Read more »

Praise from an Anglican Mystic

I have a little box published by The Upper Room consisting of, as it is titled, Living Selections from Devotional Classics. I’ve had this box of devotionals since the 1980s and don’t recall when I last dived into it. Over the past weeks, I’ve done some diving. The first ones to attract me, which I began using in my devotions each day, were selections from The Imitation of Christ, The Cloud of Unknowing, Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence… Read more »

Being Ready for the Transition from Temporary to Eternal

How do we respond when we think we are on the edge of death? It happened to me once in a car accident on a lonely, and icy, country road. As my car careened across the middle line straight into the headlights of a car coming from the other direction (we were the only cars anywhere in sight), I wondered if this was it. Was I ready spiritually to be face-to-face with my Lord? As I was teaching my course… Read more »

Is History Really Bunk?

Recently, I was reminded of one of C. S. Lewis’s essays that I hadn’t thought about in quite a while; in fact, I couldn’t recall if I had read it. Yet, as a professor of history, I must have perused his “Is History Bunk?” at some time or other. So I checked into it as if it were a new piece of Lewis’s corpus that I hadn’t seen before. The essay is found in the collection called Present Concerns, the… Read more »

Words from the Cross

Yesterday was Good Friday. We take time on that day to consider deeply what Jesus suffered for us. There are many paintings of Christ on the Cross, but few that try to show what He saw as He hung there. This one, by Jame Tissot, is, I think, thought-provoking. From the Cross, Jesus uttered some very dramatic words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”; “This day you shall be with me in Paradise.” Other words may… Read more »

On This Day Forty Years Ago

It was forty years ago today, and I remember it well. I was working at a radio station in Norfolk, Virginia, and part of my task was to read the news. The news that day was rather shocking. As President Reagan walked out of the Washington Hilton, gunman John Hinckley waited in the crowd. Shots were fired; a scramble was on to grab the assailant and protect the president. No one knew at the time that Reagan had been hit…. Read more »