So, here is the email I sent out to the Brooks School community regarding Dr. Edward Blum’s visit to campus this week. Students here are fortunate to hear Blum speak and teach them in a classroom setting. Also, earlier today students heard from John Fea, author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? Fea, who chairs the history department at Messiah College was wonderful in his presentation. I have another post coming regard his talk.

Dear Brooks Community:

Have you ever pondered why many black Americans view Jesus as the black Messiah?
How can the Son of God be used to support the notion of white supremacy and the rise of the KKK, yet be used by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists to bring an end to American racial injustice?
Is Tupac Jesus Christ? Or is Jesus Christ Tupac?
Is Jesus a communist?
Does Jesus really exist? And if so, why do so many people claim him as theirs?


I am honored to announce the arrival of my friend and colleague Edward Blum to the Brooks campus. He will be delivering a presentation on Thursday night in the Dalsmer room at 6 PM on behalf of the American Jesus Winter Term course. Blum, who authored both The Color of Christ and W.E.B. Du Bois: The American Prophet will engage you in the above points while answering questions on his research, teaching, and writing.

Blum is a historian of race and religion in the United States. He is the author (with Paul Harvey) of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (2012), W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet (2007), and Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (2005). He is also the co-editor (with Paul Harvey) of The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History (2012), (with Jason R. Young) The Souls of W. E. B. Du Bois: New Essays and Reflections (2009), and (with W. Scott Poole) Vale of Tears: New Essays on Religion and Reconstruction (2005). Blum has been awarded the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities by the Council of Graduate Schools for the best first book by a historian published between 2002 and 2009 (2009), the Peter Seaborg Award for the best book in Civil War Studies (2006), and the C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation in southern history (2004). Twice he has been recognized by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights and in 2007 was named by the History News Network a “top young historian.” He has been a fellow with the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University and with the National Endowment for the Humanities. In the classroom, Blum engages the past in a variety of ways, whether through music and images or debates and historical simulations. His courses include Antebellum America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, American religious history, and history through biography. He is a co-editor of the teaching blog and with Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman and Jon Gjerde of Major Problems in American History.

4 thoughts on “

  1. I think the presentation of non-traditional and alternative views of Christ in America is a fascinating (and hopefully thought provoking) topic. It’s often tempting in religious groups to think you have God “figured out”, especially when you are in a group or church that (more or less) requires agreement on what you need to believe in order to be part of that group.

    Personally, as a Christian, the essentials of my faith are probably pretty conventional, at least in terms of the basics. Yet I have often found that I’m also the guy that asks the uncomfortable questions (of both myself and others). This is not a hit against church doctrine, per se; I think doctrine can serve a useful, unifying purpose. But when questioning minds are discouraged, I think that falls short of what God corporately calls us to in James 1:5.

    Regardless, I often find that the more I learn about God, the less I really know about God. 🙂

    I’m also looking forward to your post on John Fea’s talk. I have not read his book, but I have a similar themed one, “Founding Faith” by Steven Waldman.


    • justanyjon:

      I love people who come at this topic with such an open mind; you are clearly one of those people. I too love the thought provoking nature of this. There is something here for all of us to chew on and reflect upon. That said, I think you will find John Fea’s work to be very very good. My students loved him today. And, I cannot wait to draft my post on his thoughts.

  2. I started reading John Fea’s book last night. It appears to be much more culturally and historically comprehensive than “Founding Faith” (Waldman’s book focuses on the actual beliefs of the prominent figures of the Revolutionary War era).

    But just reading the introduction raised a question in my mind. If the people of a state have a particular religious heritage, worldview and values, do you think those people have the right to establish laws and a government that reflect those values (while theoretically falling short of “establishing religion”) or does just the mere fact that the laws might have even an obscure or minimally religious basis too them make them constitutionally suspect?

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