At the American Academy of Religion meeting in San Francisco in November, Chiara Press hosted a public conversation between Randall Balmer and me titled "Emerging from Fundamentalism," during which we discussed my recent book The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family. Randall was especially equipped to discuss my book because of our similar backgrounds -- growing up within strongly conservative and religiously fundamentalist families, and then looking for ways to retain or reconnect with the faith of our childhood. Randall's spiritual memoir, Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father‚Äôs Faith, published by Brazos Press in 2001, was named ‚Äúbook of the year‚Äù (spirituality) by Christianity Today.
Randall Balmer is a prominent writer, Columbia professor, and student of American evangelicalism, author of other influential books such as Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, Blessed Assurance: A History of Evangelicalism in America, and God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.
Randall and I recounted our personal stories of growing up fundamentalist, discussed the modern history of evangelical Christianity and the relationship between John R. Rice and Billy Graham, and reflected on how Christianity is evolving in the 21st century.