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An Opportunity!

December 11, 2013

Professors Brad Hale and Bryan Lamkin, of Azusa Pacific University, are coordinating the Undergraduate CFH Biennial Conference to be held at Pepperdine University, September 24-25, 2014.  They have asked the graduate students members of the Conference on Faith and History to serve as chairs for the breakout sessions of the undergraduate conference, held on Friday, September 25.  This is a great opportunity for graduate students–we can add a line to our CVs, and get experience chairing a session.


If you’re interested in participating, please email Mary Sanders (

Have a great end of the semester, and a blessed Christmas, everyone!


Signing On: Mary Sanders Says “Hello!”

October 7, 2013

Hi everyone!  I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get on the blog to introduce myself–I’ve just finished my written PhD qualifying exams, and I have some semblance of my life back now!

I am truly honored to have taken over the reigns as CFH Graduate Student Representative from Greg Jones this fall.  I’ve been involved with CFH since my undergraduate alma mater (Oklahoma Baptist University) hosted the biennial conference back in 2006, and I have found it to be an hospitable and nurturing organization.  I’ve come to look forward to the conferences and the breakfasts and panels at the AHA as a time to be professionally challenged and refreshed.

A bit more about me, by way of introduction: I have a BA in history (minor in theatre) from Oklahoma Baptist University, and an MA in history from the University of Connecticut.  I just started my fourth year in the PhD program at Oklahoma State University, and just finished the written part of my PhD exams in three fields: U.S. General, Modern U.S. Religion, and Modern Europe.  My dissertation looks at how the National Association of Evangelicals and the National Council of Churches responded to late-twentieth century terrorism.  I’m a teaching assistant for our U.S. Survey classes at OSU, and I adjuct at OBU as well.

Several people have already contacted me via email ( with questions about CFH–please, keep them coming! I look forward to working with all of you.  Perhaps we can plan an informal CFH Grad Student get-together for any of us who will be at the AHA in January?


Faith and History Meets Our President(s)

January 26, 2013

We’re excited to learn that the CFH President R. Tracy McKenzie has a blog about the intersection of… you guessed it, faith and history.  His recent comments on the Presidential Inauguration seem of particular interest to readers of this blog.

Mary Sanders on the 2012 CFH at Gordon College

October 22, 2012

It’s been a little over a week since I returned from the CFH 2012 meeting at Gordon College.
Playing catch-up hasn’t been fun, but I’ve finally managed to have a few minutes to sit down and
write up my thoughts on this year’s conference.

First, bravo to the faculty, staff, and students of Gordon College. This was a thoughtfully
organized and supremely well run conference. I enjoyed my trip to your beautiful campus very
much (once I finally got there…thanks to airline delays, I ended up arriving on Friday morning
instead of Thursday afternoon).

Second, I want to explore for a moment just how it is that CFH influences me, both personally
and professionally. Several things are at work here. Professionally, CFH has, in the brief time
I’ve been involved, come to feel like home. My first-ever conference presentation was at the
undergraduate conference in 2006, and I first presented at the professional conference as an
MA student in 2008. In 2010, I traveled to the meeting at George Fox University, even though,
as a first-semester PhD student, I didn’t have anything ready to present. Still, even without
presenting, I left CFH feeling professionally refreshed. I think that’s what stands out to me about
this year as well: the sense of professional rejuvenation and revitalization I have after talking
with people who, quite simply, do what I want to be doing. As a grad student, I’m at that place
in my program where I’m not quite finished with course work, but I desperately want to be
through with my exams and onto the dissertation. It’s exhausting. Some days, I feel as though
I’ll scream if I have to write one more book review. Going to CFH this year gave me a chance to
chat with people outside of my usual orbit and have conversations that I simply don’t get to have
on a day-to-day basis…conversations about faith, learning, and history that I do not have time or
opportunity to have otherwise.

It might be enough to say that it is because of that professional rejuvenation that I enjoy going
to CFH every two years. But, if I’m being honest, that doesn’t go quite far enough. CFH is an
intensely personal experience for me, because of one reason: I am a second-generation “CFHer.”
My father, Dr. Glenn Sanders (Oklahoma Baptist University), has been involved with CFH
for as long as I can remember. My journey into the historical profession is deeply rooted
in my relationship with my father, who, among other things, read me history textbooks as
bedtime stories when I was a child. (Yes, I’m serious.) My father has been a constant source
of professional encouragement and inspiration, and my conversations with him have deeply
influenced how I think, study, write, and teach. This year, I was honored to sit on a panel with
him. About a year ago, both of us read Mark Noll’s Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, and
thought it might be nice to see if we could put together a panel looking at practical approaches
to apply Noll’s ideas. We were joined by Susan Fletcher, another OBU alum who is a public
historian and works for The Navigators. Rick Kennedy of Point Loma was kind enough to chair.
I know my career isn’t exactly long-standing, and I know I may be a bit biased, but: I’ve never
had more fun on a conference panel.

So, thank you, CFH. You gave this tired, overworked, stressed graduate student a much needed
breather. It’s back to the grindstone now, but I’m reminded that there’s more to this profession
than book reviews and blue books. And that is invaluable.

See you (hopefully) in Malibu!

Have you plugged the CFH lately?

August 29, 2012

Yesterday in a class full of history majors, some aspiring to graduate school, I was sure to mention our organization.  Have you done that lately?

The integration of faith and history, our central mission here, is important not just in the way we see history, but in the way we teach and write as well.  So please share that perspective with others around you.

As we embark on another school year, I’d like to make a few announcements:

1) The CFH biannual meeting is at Gordon College in October.  If you have even an inkling of attending, please let me know ( so we can set up a gathering.

2) We’re really hoping to increase our academic content on the blog.  Do you have an essay you’re considering?  Would you like to review a book and need an avenue for its publication?  We’ve encountered some resistance regarding publishing as a blogger, but we’d point to Dr. John Fea and fellow graduate student member Lincoln Mullen as examples of very successful blog publication.

3) Please send me resources (again  Send links to articles, call for paper announcements, or even the pot luck at your grandma’s church.  You know grad students love free food!  Seriously this is only a “networking opportunity” if we actually talk to each other.

4) Feel free to contact me about any concerns you may have.  Are you getting your Fides as a part of membership?  Is there something you believe the organization should/could be doing but is not?  I am the representative for graduate students at the board meetings and have a voice for our concerns.

5) In the past I’ve made a point to encourage participation, to little response.  If you have ideas for engaging one another, beyond reading this blog and checking the Facebook page, please let me know.  I know we’re busy… so let’s find a way to make this not be just part of the busy-ness, but an actual blessing to our work and our lives.

Summer Goes Fast!

July 31, 2012

Sorry I’ve been off the post here for a while.  Just by way of an update, I’m working on a few class preps for the fall, editing my professional work, and attempting to keep up with reading.

What are all of you up to?  Have you read anything you’d recommend?  

I was particularly fond of Tony Horwitz *Midnight Rising* which I will be using for a course on Slavery in the US at Geneva College in the fall.

**ALSO: If you’re not already committed to help out with the CFH Conference at Gordon College in the fall, be sure to check it out.  Here.**

Peter Norvig: The 100,000 Student Classroom

June 26, 2012

Before you fear for the end of the world, take a few minutes to enjoy this TED talk.  As we consider our futures as teachers, students, and other forms of academic professionals, to say nothing of our role as learners in the world, this seems an increasingly important discussion.  Please leave comments in response to the video.