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I am a native Californian and a graduate of Dartmouth College, Oxford University, where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and the Claremont School of Theology.  Ordained in the United Methodist Church, I earned my Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California, with emphases in religion and early American history.

AMERICAN HERESY: The Roots and Reach of White Christian Nationalism (Fortress Press, 2021) uncovers the deep roots of white racism, political violence, conspiracy thinking, and more, tracing them to the early English Protestant colonization of North America. It also challenges us -- especially those of us who identify white  and Christian and American -- to reject this bitter fruit in our public life today.

ONE LIFE TO GIVE (Fortress Press, 2021) was born from my doctoral studies and tells an unexpected story of the American Revolution.

My first book, MRS. HUNTER'S HAPPY DEATH (Doubleday, 2006) was born from my pastoral work with the dying and chronicles the unexpected grace with which some people finish their lives. 


My writing has appeared in the Christian Century, the San Diego Union-Tribune and other publications.  In my newsletter, I try to write "across the lines" of life and death, past and present, here and there.


My abiding interests are religion, American history and politics and the peoples and cultures  of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.  I presently split my time between writing and two organizations rooted on the California/Baja California border -- the Friends of Friendship Park and Via International


Rev. John Fanestil, Ph.D.


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