David R. Bains is professor in the Department Biblical and Religious Studies at Samford University. His research examines Christian worship, church architecture, religious space, civil religion, and religious pluralism in the United States. His current project is entitled Religious Capital: Representing Religion in Washington, D.C. It explores the presence of religion in Washington’s cityscape. He is particularly interested in the role of “national” houses of worship ranging from Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church (opened 1869), to the Washington National Cathedral (begun 1907), to the National Gurdwara (opened 2006). He created and edits the website www.MagicCityReligion.org a website featuring research by Samford University students on the religious life of Birmingham, Alabama.
Bains is co-editor of The Development of the Church: “The Principle of Protestantism” and Other Historical Writings of Philip Schaff, and has contributed chapters to The Future of Mainline Protestantism in America, The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Christianity, Understanding the Religions of the World, and Faith in America (2006). His essay “Conduits of Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr’s Liturgical Thought ” was published in the journal Church History. Other essays have appeared in the Encyclopedia of Religion in America and Theology Today and Church History.
He leads tours of religious sites at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the American Society of Church History. The video portion of his curriculum on church architecture developed for Samford’s Center for the Worship and the Arts is available online.
A native of Hampton, Virginia, David graduated from the University of Virginia and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He resides in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife Martha.
Faculty Profile at Samford University
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