The most-read Then & Now posts

December 25, 2014

Here are this year's most-read posts from Then & Now, a weekly blog edited by Edward J. Blum and Kate Bowler and presented in partnership with the Kripke Center of Creighton University.

1) Jahi McMath and the bodies of children, by Todd M. Brenneman. Jahi McMath is dead. Or, Jahi McMath is alive. Each statement is true—depending upon the person you ask.

2) The perseverance of black LDS church members, by Patrick Mason. The real heroes of this story are those black members of the LDS Church who refused to leave despite being afforded second-class status.

3) Kate Kelly’s appeal to open revelation, by Jenette Wood Crowley. Ordain Women asks church leaders to inquire of the Lord’s will with respect to women’s ordination. They are not asking quietly.

4) End times for end times, by Matthew Avery Sutton. Evangelicals no longer draw maps identifying Gog and Magog, or look for the rebirth of the Roman Empire, or wonder when animal sacrifice will return to Jerusalem. 

5) Jimmy Carter and the demise of progressive evangelicalism, by Randall Balmer. At the same time Carter was pressing his agenda, other evangelicals were organizing against him.

6) Play within a play, by Margaret Blair Young. One critic complained that my play implied that Brigham Young was a racist. He advised that I change a particular line. I ignored his suggestion.


7) Mormons and domestic change, by Benjamin E. Park. The contemporary images of both American and Mormon domestic life mask the malleable and robust traditions from whence they both came.

8) The Vatican synod was about the meaning of church, by Christopher M. Bellitto. Catholic theology cannot be reduced to progressive or conservative labels. But there are indeed progressive and conservative Catholics who disagree on ecclesiology.

9) How evangelicals use marijuana to sell religion, by Aaron Griffith. States are allowing legalization, the president is comparing the drug to alcohol, and Pat Robertson reversed his harsh views. What’s an evangelical to do in these high times?

10) Advent in post-Ferguson America, by Kate Bowler. Americans want to remember the peace of the manger, but they forget that the Christmas story does not end there.


11) Son of God and marketing Jesus movies to ministers, by Paul Putz. Film critics have spoken: Son of God is a dud. Just don’t tell that to the film’s producers.

12) Years of the evangelicals, by Steven P. Miller. For a generation of observers, evangelicalism was a sign of the postmodern times. The megachurch was the new civil society, while Habitat for Humanity was the tie that bound.

13) Distractions of the devil, by Scott Poole. Satan has had an awfully good 2014. The New York-based Satanic Temple has even proposed a goat-headed image of Baphomet that can be seen by all visitors to the state’s seat of government. 

14) Maya Angelou and the art of the outcast, by Yolanda Pierce. To fully celebrate Angelou’s legacy, we must contextualize her 86 years of living within the black religious traditions that birthed her deep spirituality.