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.

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 »

Historical Nuance & America’s Founding

It’s always important to define one’s terms before delving into an explanation of anything. I would like to begin with a definition of the following word: Nuance: A subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone. Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone. Nuance needs to be applied to history, especially in the current atmosphere where many are angry over injustices that have occurred in American history. There are three attitudes one… Read more »

Lewis’s OHEL: Gleanings

Out of all of C. S. Lewis’s books, probably one of the least-read is his English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, part of the Oxford series on the history of English literature. As with The Allegory of Love, its academic focus can be daunting for anyone unfamiliar with the roster of authors and titles he covers. I’m nearly halfway through the book, and I’ll admit the sections on poetry are a tough grind for me. Yet even in those highly… Read more »

Healing Divisions By Being Real Christians

In the midst of protests and chants of black lives matter, what can I say that has any significance at all? After all, I’m a white guy (actually, kind of light beige) who grew up in a small town in northern Indiana that had no racial diversity. The closest we came to it was the Amish farming community east of town. Their lifestyle was different but they were of the same Germanic background as many of us town-dwellers. But when… Read more »

Stability in Times of Crisis

The year 2020 has many detractors lately. With a major pandemic, economic distress threatening to equal the depths of the Great Depression, and the mass protests over police brutality, some are comparing this year with the worst ones in the past: the 1918 Spanish Flu; the Great Depression mentioned above; the 1968 unrest and political chaos that included two assassinations of public figures—Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. For some, this might be the image that dominates: Our society is… Read more »

When Loss of Liberty Was Real

I love liberty, properly understood as something that also entails personal responsibility. I’m also alert to attempts to undermine genuine liberty and have been so most of my adult life. Yet I want to clearly differentiate what is a real threat to liberty and what is not. One conservative commentator recently posted this on Twitter: Dropped by a department store to buy a toaster oven. Mandatory hand sanitizer squirt and mask. One way aisles and if you deviate from the… Read more »