Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a New York Times bestselling author and Professor of History and Gender Studies at Calvin University. She holds a PhD from the University of Notre Dame and her research focuses on the intersection of gender, religion, and politics. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, Religion News Service, and Christianity Today, and has been interviewed on NPR, CBS, and the BBC, among other outlets. Her most recent book is Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.
“I think you could really see Jesus and John Wayne as a book about spiritual formation or spiritual malformation. One of the fights that I’m taking on in Jesus and John Wayne is kind of an academic fight. Right up front I’m contesting what it is to be an evangelical and how we define evangelicalism.”
Todd: Hey, Kristin. Great to have you today.
Kristin: Hi. It’s great to be here.
Vanessa: Kristin, we’re going to go ahead and jump right in. I would love for you to share a little bit with our listeners about your primary focus of research. When we talk about The Center for Formation, Justice and Peace, it might not come intuitively the links between the work that you do and justice and peace. We would love for you to talk about the implications that you’ve come across in issues of power and gender and patriarchy. And then maybe a little bit of your own story, how it led you to this kind of work.
Kristin: Sure, Sure. So I’ll start with my own story actually. And I grew up in a Christian home in the reformed tradition. I went to Christian schools, went to Christian college and I had always been deeply interested in history, and then I went off to graduate school to study the history that I thought mattered most. And in my tradition, it was quite clear that was religious and intellectual history. So I went off to the University of Notre Dame to study Religious and Intellectual History and my first semester there, I was introduced to the study of gender and history. A professor shared a book on the history of women, and gender, and race and power (laughs) and my mind was blown.