Until today, I haven’t posted a blog in at least two years, maybe longer. So if you’re receiving this by email, you may be wrestling with a vague memory of why you’re on this list. (You signed up for it at some point in the remote past, whether you remember or not. And though you are certainly free to opt out, I hope you don’t—at least until you’ve tried out the new approach for a few weeks.) 

thinking historyThe new blog is a little different. That’s because I’ve been working on a PhD in history the last two and a half years. I’ll still be writing about some of the same themes as before, but with more awareness of how past and present intersect—and of how we couldn’t escape that intersection if we tried. 

Why history? Because even though a lot of people think history is irrelevant, we talk about it all the time. 

We do it at a macro level—“What our country’s founding fathers really meant was …,” “Those people have a right to that land,” and all sorts of who-did-what-to-whom-way-back-when.

And we do it at a personal level—“Do you remember so-and-so?” “I wish I knew then what I know now.” “If only he/she had …”

In fact, we can’t help thinking historically. We may not realize it, but we can hardly have a conversation without invoking things that happened in the past. Sometimes the stakes are small. Sometimes they are really important.

Just yesterday I heard a well-known HBO talk show host giving a disgracefully shallow and one-sided description of religious history, and his audience, apparently easily manipulated, cheered in agreement. It was clear that he meant to wield his take on the past as a weapon in current culture wars, and it worked. Yes, folks, history matters.

But if wrong history matters so much to people with an agenda, maybe right history ought to be mentioned every once in a while to set the record straight. 

To take it a step further, though, history is actually the study of the human experience—how we have done politics, religion, economics, medicine, communications, war, relationships, social structures, self-perceptions, everything. It’s the record of everything that has worked and not worked, everything that has been explored or ignored, everything we need to know about where we’ve been—and why—even as we blaze new trails.

And to take it even a step further, for those who believe history has a direction and God is over it all, every point in history connects somehow with the story of redemption (which, by the way, will become a centerpiece of eternity, so yeah, it’s kind of important). It may be hard to see that connection sometimes, but it’s there.

And because of that, every point of history has some sort of devotional, instructive, or inspirational application. 

Hence, this blog. 

How we discuss human history, how we discuss Christian history, and how we discuss the Bible itself are some pretty important issues.

Just as a lot of fake news is going around, so is a lot of fake history. Some of it is very anti-Christian; sometimes it’s pro-Christian zeal and exaggeration. So I’ll examine many of the issues and claims circulating out there, like . . . 

• Does Christmas really come from a pagan holiday?

• Are camels in the Bible really anachronistic?

• Did our founding fathers really mean what we think they meant?

• What does that biblical passage really mean?

• Did Christians really behave as badly as claimed? (spoiler alert: sometimes yes, sometimes no)

• What were the Reformers really fighting for?

I’ll explore the fascinating behind-the-scenes context for biblical stories and church history. Whenever the crusades or the constitution or the beliefs of the early church come up in the public conversation, I’ll probably have something to say.

And, when necessary, I’ll shoot down the words of a politician, talk show host, or sitcom writer who abuses our storyline for a cultural agenda. 

So I hope you’ll stay tuned. It’s going to be fun.

Ephesus to Athens

 


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Dottie 06.03.2019 10:25  
Yes No   So very happy you are doing this. I know you were not in our living room this morning...but the Holy Spirit was and always is...my husband & I were talking about this very thing! Thanks Chris for always putting our world views vs. God's view in perspective!  
   
       
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Chris 07.03.2019 09:38  
Yes No   Thanks, Dottie! Glad it was relevant!  
   
       
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Cindy 01.03.2019 21:34  
Yes No   Hello Chris! Good to hear your back! Love history!!! Looking forward to the new blog! Doing the e-mail devotional and the Heaven on Earth devo. Now to add in the new blog on the past and present... excellent!  
   
       
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Chris 02.03.2019 08:39  
Yes No   Great! I hope you'll find it interesting. Glad you're enjoying the devotionals!  
   
       
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Mel 01.03.2019 14:27  
Yes No   Chris, welcome back. Your new blog looks promising. History has always fascinated me, and books about the history of different parts of the world cover my house. And my garage. The thing I love is how one thing trips off another--like the Franco Prussian War (a brief, piddly six-month war) sowed the seeds of French-German hatred that led to World Wars I and II. As soon as you said history intersects with the present, I was hooked. I'm looking forward to more!  
   
       
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Chris 01.03.2019 14:48  
Yes No   Thanks, Mel! Glad to hear from a fellow history lover. And you're right -- it's all connected, isn't it? Hope you'll enjoy the blog.  
   
       
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