Articles & Essays

“Social Gospels Thrived Outside the Church,” Church History 84, no. 1 (March 2015): 199-202.

– Part of a roundtable forum on the state of the field in Social Gospel studies.

“Reprehensible or Representative?  The Gospel of Wealth in Modern American Life,” Journal of Cultural Economy (December 2014).

– A long-form review of Kate Bowler’s Blessed, which argues that the much-maligned prosperity gospel may be more representative than we often think.

“Labor and the Politics of the Church,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 11, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 13-16.

– Part of an “Up for Debate” forum on Herbert Gutman’s landmark essay, “Protestantism and the American Labor Movement.”

“How ‘Gilded’ and ‘Progressive’ Were They Anyway? Revisiting Class Relations in Industrializing America,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 13, no. 1 (January 2014): 114-120.

–  A triple review of R. Todd Laugen’s The Gospel of Progressivism, Vanessa H. May’s Unprotected Labor, and David A. Zonderman’s Uneasy Allies (© 2014 Cambridge University Press)

“Striking Out On Its Own: Labor and the Modern Church,” Chicago History 37, No. 2 (Summer 2011).

– Casts the Trades and Labor Assembly’s founding of a “labor church” as evidence that many within Chicago’s working classes sought not only just wages and hours but also more a just Christianity than that preached in the city’s leading churches.

“Scab Ministers, Striking Saints: Christianity and Class Conflict in 1894 Chicago,” American Nineteenth Century History 11, No. 3 (September 2010): 321-349. 

Winner of a national prize: the Working-Class Studies Association’s 2011 C.L.R. James Prize for best article.

– Abstract: “Throughout 1894, Chicago’s churches were as divided by class as the nation itself. During the Pullman strike and boycott, the city’s leading Protestant and Catholic authorities hewed to an ideology of contract freedom that precluded support for the American Railway Union. Meanwhile, a handful of young Protestant ministers championed the strikers, echoing the criticisms of those working-class Protestants who had long decried the established churches’ ties to capital. This latter bloc expressed its frustration not merely with words but also through uprisings within local churches and even by founding a church of its own. In light of these findings, the author argues that a grassroots social Christianity preceded an elite Social Gospel; and furthermore, that the participation of working-class persons in the contests over the shape of modern Christianity demands a rethinking of the boundaries of both religious and working-class history.”

“Making Peace With Jim Crow: Religious Leaders and the Chicago Race Riot of 1919”, Journal of Illinois History 11 (Winter 2008): 261-276.

– This article surveys religious reactions to the Chicago race riot of 1919, arguing, “Chicago’s white and black religious elite shared an underlying conservatism on race; advocates of racial uplift and yet opponents of social equality, the churches proved, in this way at least, bulwarks of Jim Crow.”