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James Bratt

Essay

On Wealth, Art, Democracy, and Religion

In one of the lesser-studied chapters of his renowned Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville reflects on the “spirit” in which democratic nations such as the United States cultivate the arts (Vol II, Part I, chapter 11). His conclusions are…
Essay

The Shadow of 2016

I haven’t gone to many academic conferences the last few years, having been out of the country, so it was good to return to the circuit last weekend. The occasion was the annual meeting of the American Society of Church…
Essay

Rendezvous with Destiny

It’s a bit daunting to follow up Heidi De Jonge here every two weeks. Heidi plumbs her personal and pastoral experience in a deep yet direct way that—to judge from responses—many of you find her posts to be just the…
Essay

Can We Handle Complexity?

Rebecca Koerselman’s post earlier this week about the “Competing Narratives” of American history struck a nerve with me. For decades I’ve been giving presentations for community groups and church adult-education programs on the question: “Was America Founded as a Christian…
Essay

Holidays

N. C. Wyeth, "Thanksgiving Banquet" Today being today, I’m posting a (slightly altered) piece previously published in the November 2005 issue of Perspectives magazine. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and I’ve given considerable thought as to why that…
Essay

The New Reformed Journal

Quo Vadis promo still, 1951 I’m on the road again and so have to write this the day before the midterm elections even though it will be posted two days after. Probably best, then, not to prognosticate, and to save…
Essay

Morning Prayer

'Easter Morning,' BBC Wales I planned to follow up to my last post, on Neo-Calvinism, with a bit of polemics, but then I thought why not a prayer instead? I offered the following during the prayers of the people at…
Essay

Neo-Calvinism: From “Whence” to “Whither”

Last Friday I had the honor of speaking at “Sharply into the Wind,” the program marking Cornelis van der Kooi’s emeritation at the Free University (VU) of Amsterdam.  I’ve written about Kees’s theological contributions before in this space, particularly about…
Essay

American Evangelicals Around the World

The Chairmen of the Word, and World: Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization, 1974 Please pardon my submitting a book review for today’s post. I happen to be abroad (oh the pain of retirement!) and so had to file this in…