The Wildness of Faith

– Monologue by C. Travis Webb –


Years ago, Travis and I made a leap of faith on Twitter when the platform advertised his new account, “The American Age.” This debuting publication boasted what I still find to be one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve ever encountered. Beyond clicking follow, I sent a personal message introducing myself. We soon had our first call. In the years since, we’ve met on several storied occasions in New York, Ithaca, and Los Angeles, and we’ve collaborated on diverse projects. Our friendship embodies that rare social media success story where people actually take the daunting step to follow intrigue, render acquaintances real, and commit to a respectful exchange of ideas. Travis is a master lecturer. His unique ability to capture the essence of a subject and truly challenge one’s worldview has always inspired me. His awareness for the decadence and revisionist thought that is hindering cultural expression broadly and slowly undermining the optimism foundational to the American Experiment, is profound. While Travis is now in the process of winding The American Age down, I know the same “zeal for the American idea” that inspired his original venture will underlie all of his next endeavors. For myself, I take note that he has been an essential confidant and an integral part of Monologging. Many times during my tumultuous year-and-half in local politics—referenced elsewhere in this edition of the magazine—Travis took the time to hear me reason out difficult questions. He’d buoy my spirits with sound advice and sobering pragmatism. And yet Travis is also someone I rely on to fuel my own daring. He is accustomed to taking risks, both in business and in thought. A small business owner, Travis and his family have endured incredible hardship throughout the COVID 19 Pandemic, and yet they’ve persevered, successfully piloting a sophisticated start-up for delivering online music lessons. In light of all the leaps of faith I’ve seen Travis make, I asked him to consider the wildness of  faith itself for his monologue this year. Does Faith reveal, restrict, embolden or nurture our wildest instincts? I wondered. Travis offered these remarks:

– Jeffrey F. Barken


C. Travis Webb


C. Travis Webb, PhD, is a former Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Interim Editor of the American Academy of Religion’s online book review forum, Reading Religion. He was the 2012 recipient of the Claremont National Scholarship, and his essay “Trespassing Scriptural Boundaries: Secularism, Specialization, and the Humanities,” is included in Refractions of the Scriptural: Critical Orientation as Transgression. His most recent peer-reviewed article is in the March, 2018 issue of JAAR, and he is currently at work on the book, The Imagined World: From State’s Rites to Religious Rights. Dr. Webb’s non-academic writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Salon, and the OUP Blog, and his creative work has been displayed at the Tate Modern Museum in London as part of an experimental exhibit Image-Music-Text. A Founding Board Member of the Institute for Signifying Scripture, he has contributed to the institute’s online journal,The Gumbé, and its print journal The Abeng. He and his wife Molly Webb founded CultureHum Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, in 2014, hoping to bridge the gaps in American civic culture. They believed that although extremes of wealth and poverty are harmful to the social fabric, cultural inequities are far more dangerous to American civil society. Understanding that empathy is the indispensable ingredient in a plural, democratic society, they set out to strengthen it. Dr. Webb is also editor of The American Age, the foundation’s most direct attempt to influence American public discourse.