Thursday, May 15, 2008
1. What were your expectations about the class blog in August? Were those expectations met, exceeded, or unmet? Why?
2. What is the best thing about having a class blog? The worst? Why?
3. What was your favorite post and why?
4. What would you change about the blog? Why?
5. Additional thoughts?
Thursday, May 8, 2008
(t, p, c, c) individual remembrance + collective recollection = historical memory
[t=time, p=place, c=culture, c=context]
Counter memories of many events persist, and conspiracy theory has a history all its own. A stock industry rose up, for example, offering alternative readings of the JFK assassination. Books continue to pour off the presses about this subject. The most notable and well-known counter stories about 9/11 come in an on-line documentary titled "Loose Change." Critics contest the film, and the filmmakers are adamant about evidence and interpretation. The theologian David Ray Griffin is probably the most prolific writer on the subject, with a book about his own investigation, a book about the 9/11 Commission Report, a book that addresses his critics, and an "open letter" to politicians and the media.
Two days of class presentation and discussion about this event hardly does justice to the enormity of the topic, but it does provide a way to think about something "familiar" with new eyes and hopefully in an entirely new way.
Monday, May 5, 2008
For more on the Cold War, here's a little something on the fall of the Berlin Wall from ABC, and Ronald Reagan's famous quip to "tear down this wall."
[Photo credit here.]
Friday, May 2, 2008
To enrich our discussion and the 1980s and the rise of the Religious Right, this post provides additional resources for investigating the intersection of faith and politics.
(Read more about this picture of George W. Bush here.)
The subject of countless books and studies, and various documentaries, the rise of the Religious Right and its life in contemporary politics, most notably emerging during the 1976 and 1980 Presidential elections, and significant factor in the 2000 and 2004 election, is an integral part of understanding contemporary America. And, of course, discussions and questions about religious faith have been a part of the 2008 presidential campaign.
The well known evangelist Billy Graham was the subject of some important studies that appeared last summer--all on the topic of religion and politics. The ABC documentary "Pastor to Power: Billy Graham and the Presidents," is a nice companion to the book by Time writers Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy titled The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House. Since last summer, another important book to appear is Randall Balmer's God in the White House. Here's a radio interview with Balmer about his book.
Back to Billy Graham, Balmer's documentary on Graham is a good one, and Rice University sociologist William Martin wrote one of the most important biographies on Graham.
Here's a trailer for a documentary on George W. Bush's religious faith, and at the end there's a clip of him speaking at Second Baptist Church in Houston in 1999. There's also a picture of Bush on the campaign at this SBC in Stephen Mansfield's The Faith of George W. Bush.
In addition to class discussion we will view clips of evangelical historian and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer's award-winning documentary on American religion titled Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory as well as the documentary The Jesus Factor (you can view the entire documentary on-line; this is a very helpful resource with tons of material for discussion). You may also want to check out Balmer's 2006 essay "Jesus is Not a Republican." And here's a group supporting Jesus for President (and here too). Evangelical activist and author Jim Wallis here answers the question, "Was Jesus a Politician?" Finally, sociologist and author Tony Campolo weights in with "Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat?"
The radio show Speaking of Faith also recently aired shows on evangelicals and politics. One is on the progressive evangelical Jim Wallis, the other on the conservative activists Rick and Kay Warren. Most recently, Speaking of Faith had a show on a generational dynamic in evangelical political action.
Offering a variety of perspectives, here's another show about evangelicals and politics, and a radio program as well, and a blog, The Evangelical Outpost.
[Photo credits here and here and here.]