If Then & Now is not yet in your regular digital reading rotation, it should be. This Christian Century blog, founded by RiAH's very own Edward Blum, features weekly contributions from a variety of leading religious historians "who care about the cities of God and the cities of humans." In an inaugural post, Blum described the rationale for the site this way: "To use history poorly is to abuse it and the people who still suffer from its burdens. It is also to remain in a darkness of one's own choosing and making. But history can be helpful. Approached from an effort to honor life and to transform ourselves for the better, history can be a dear friend and informative ally. The point of these weekly entries will be to understand the historical roots of contemporary problems, the roads taken or the avenue neglected in the past, and how thinking responsibly about the past can provide us better information for our spiritual lives today."
Then & Now recently marked its first birthday and there was ample reason to celebrate. The blog generated lots of traffic and it's little wonder as to why. Even just a small sampling of the 13 most read posts of 2013 underscores the quality of the content:
1) Molly Worthen on Billy Graham and the fracture of American evangelicalism
2) Kate Bowler on the American megachurch and the Christmas prosperity gospel
3) Randall Balmer on Exodus international and times when evangelicals change with the culture
4) Scott Poole on Satan in the Bible
5) Martin Marty on the mainline and moving from declinism to discovery
2014 is already off to a great start and there are some exciting new developments just around the corner (more on that below the fold)
Then & Now now boasts its very own page on the larger Christian Century site, where you can peruse the latest columns (including some stellar content from Jennifer Graber, Amy Bass, Patrick Mason, Ray Haberski, Paul Putz, and Margaret Blair Young, amongst others).
In the weeks just ahead you can look forward to a brand new logo; op-eds from Isaac Weiner on sounds and the sacred, and from Steven Miller on "the evangelical age"; and a fascinating interview with NY Times bestselling author and internet sensation Jeff Bethke on questions about Jesus from then and now.
Most exciting of all is that, starting in June, Duke Divinity School's Kate Bowler - author of a terrific new book on the American prosperity gospel (discussed previously on RiAH here and here) - will join Blum as co-editor.
So, before you dive into the business of another week, take a moment to subscribe to one of the premier American religious history sites on the web.