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.

Tocqueville’s Prophetic Word

Alexis de Tocqueville was a Frenchman who visited America in 1831. He traveled extensively, made many notes of what he experienced, and wrote them down in a massive tome called Democracy in America. It is a classic, and is still being used today in university political science courses. It points out both the strengths and potential weaknesses he saw in this new nation. If you saw Dinesh D’Souza’s movie America, you saw also his depiction of Tocqueville in the film…. Read more »

Lewis & the Hams

I keep writing my C. S. Lewis book. The chapter I’m currently working on highlights some of the regular American correspondents Lewis had for the last decade and half of his life. Warfield M. Firor was one of those. He was fairly famous as a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins. A Chair in Surgery has been established there in his name. Firor, after WWII, was not only an admirer of Lewis’s books, but one of his most faithful contributors during the… Read more »

The Lewis Humility

Clyde Kilby was a central figure in ensuring that the works of C. S. Lewis were never forgotten. Kilby is largely responsible for assembling the largest collection of Lewis papers and books by and about him in the U.S. He was director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College for many years. Kilby corresponded with Lewis and was able to sit down and talk with him face-to-face in July 1953. When he returned to America, he wrote an… Read more »

A Meditation on Turning 64

On this day, as I commemorate my 64th revolution around the sun, I look back on how God has led and guided and am grateful. Many people make fun of small towns, but I’m glad I grew up in one. My neighbor children first invited me to go to Sunday School with them; that was how the Lord drew me to Himself, as I readily accepted the Word given to me. My undergraduate days were a time of solidifying what… Read more »

First Great Awakening: Results

In my ongoing American history series, I’ve completed three posts on the First Great Awakening. They have highlighted the people whom God used to bring an awakening to colonial America. William and Gilbert Tennant established the Log College to train ministers; Jonathan Edwards was the theologian of God’s love best known for his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; George Whitefield, an itinerant evangelist from Britain, pulled it all together with a series of trips to America,… Read more »

Selma & History

This weekend saw the commemoration of the Selma march in 1965. It was one of those pivotal moments in the struggle for civil rights for blacks in America. This is the kind of commemoration that should be free from modern-day politics, one in which all Americans can point to the positive changes that have been made in American society against racial animus. That is the ideal. The practice was something else. First, it is a shame that Barack Obama should… Read more »

Whitefield & the Awakening

David Garrick, the most popular actor in Britain in the eighteenth century, once remarked, “I would give a hundred guineas if I could say ‘Oh’ like Mr. Whitefield.” He was referring to evangelist George Whitefield, who, at the young age of 25, arrived in the American colonies and became the focal point of the First Great Awakening. Whitefield was educated at Oxford and became a close friend of John Wesley’s. Together they were part of a student organization called “The… Read more »