Friday, 5 February 2016

Three Seconds of Fame

Image result for channel 9 news chattanooga tn

Last week a reporter from Channel 9 News, Chattanooga's local ABC station, contacted me by phone in order to ask me some questions about recent trends in church decline and growth. I explained over the phone that I am a religious historian and not a sociologist, and so the best information that I could offer would be from a historical perspective. I then started to narrate the story of how the South became the so-called "Bible Belt," including how an influx of Baptist and Methodist groups in the 18th and 19th centuries populated the region, helping to create an environment where evangelicalism flourished.

After a few minutes of discussion on the phone, the reporter asked if she could stop by my office within the next hour to talk some more. She brought along with her a cameraman and equipment to interview me for an hour in my office. I talked about all kinds of information on the growth and decline of churches in the South, avoiding questions about specific churches in the Chattanooga area.

Click here for the the result of that interview and the portion of my conversation with her that aired on television last night.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Book Update

I recently received the production schedule for my forthcoming book, Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture. If all goes well, the book should appear in print sometime in August 2016.

During the time that I submitted the manuscript to OUP in December and now, and between packing for our move to a house that is currently under construction, my twelve-year-old son and I have been having a ball playing our electric guitars. Below is Nathan pretending to be Angus Young.



video

Monday, 18 January 2016

Guitar Riff of the Day

Guitar riff of the day...


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Another Review of Early Evangelicalism: A Reader

Image result for early evangelicalism: a readerI see that another review of my anthology Early Evangelicalism: A Reader has come out. This time it is a young scholar from Oxford University who has reviewed it for Wesley and Methodist Studies. To see the review click here to read it on my Academia.edu webpage.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Books that I Bought at the AHA Conference

Every time that I attend the AHA and ASCH conferences I always visit the main book exhibit. Even though the AHA book exhibit pales by comparison to that of the annual American Academy of Religion, I relish the idea of wandering the booths and reading blurbs of new historical works. As a religious historian, however, I try to limit my purchases to books in that specific discipline.

Image result for corrigan emptinessImage result for robert love's warningsOn this occasion, I limited my purchased to two books, which I can't wait to read. My first purchase was John Corrigan's new book on Emptiness: Feeling Christian in America, published recently by the University of Chicago Press. I had planned on attending the ASCH session devoted to a discussion on Corrigan's new book, but ended up missing it for various reasons. One of my former students at UTC is currently in the graduate program at FSU and has told me about a class that he took with Corrigan on "space" and religion. This intrigued me to buy the book and read his interpretation of how space (or the lack thereof) relates to Christianity.

Secondly, I bought a copy of Robert Love's Warnings: Searching for Strangers in Colonial Boston by Cornelia Dayton and Sharon Salinger. I have mentioned before in this blog how there are surprisingly very few modern books on colonial Boston. This book is about Boston's unwanted residents, namely poor immigrants who were pushed out of the city so that the established members of the community would not have to provide them with financial relief. This should be a great book, and helpful for my research on life in colonial Boston. Salinger wrote an excellent monograph on Taverns and Drinking in Early America that included lots of great material on Boston, and so I anticipate that this will be another solid piece of scholarship.

Now that I am back from the AHA and ASCH conferences it is time to get ready for the start of the spring 2016 semester, which begins for me on Tuesday.

Friday, 8 January 2016

On My Way to the ASCH Conference in Atlanta

Image result for fender stratocaster deluxe player I have been enjoying a wonderful winter break, and feel refreshed for the start of the spring semester at UTC, which begins next week. Over the break, I turned in the manuscript for my forthcoming book with Oxford University Press entitled, Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture. I also have been relearning guitar with my oldest son, who received a Fender Squier beginner package for Christmas. I had so much fun playing his guitar that I went out and bought a used Fender Mexican-made Stratocaster deluxe player (pictured to the right). I have owned a Fender acoustic-electric guitar for years, but put it away when I quit my job as a stockbroker to start graduate studies. That was over ten years ago! If I had known how much fun it is to play the electric guitar, I would not have taken such a long hiatus!

I leave for Atlanta this afternoon to attend the annual ASCH conference. I won't arrive in time to attend any of today's sessions, which is a bummer because I really wanted to hear the panels assembling this afternoon to honor Mark Noll. Besides visiting the book exhibit, I plan on attending the Conference on Faith and History breakfast reception, the discussion on Grant Wacker's biography of Billy Graham, and the panel on John Corrigan's book, Emptiness: Feeling Christian in America. I also look forward to the presidential address by Margaret Bendroth and the reception that follows.

On Sunday morning, from 8:30am-10:30am, I will be chairing a panel on "Reframing Religious Reform through Childhood: From Sixteenth-Century England to Nineteenth-Century America." Rick Kennedy of Point Loma Nazarene University will provide commentary on the following papers:
  • Bryan Maine (Baylor University): "Parents as Educators on the Eve of the Reformation: Richard Whitford and His 'A Werke for Householders' (1530)"
  • Lincoln Mullen (George Mason): "The Religion of Children and Families in the Nineteenth-Century United States"
  • Elise Leal (Baylor University): "Bringing Little Ones to Christ: The Evangelical Transformation of American Sunday Schools and Changing Attitudes toward Childhood Conversion, 1790-1824"
Please consider attending this session.