front cover of American Denominational History
American Denominational History
Perspectives on the Past, Prospects for the Future
Edited by Keith Harper
University of Alabama Press, 2008
Brings various important topics and groups in American religious history the rigor of scholarly assessment of the current literature

Fruitful questions that are posed by the positions and experiences of the various groups are carefully examined. American Denominational History points the way for the next decade of scholarly effort.
[more]

logo for University of Illinois Press
Appalachian Mountain Religion
A HISTORY
Deborah Vansau McCauley
University of Illinois Press, 1995
"A monumental achievement. . . . Certainly the best thing written on Appalachian Religion and one of the best works on the region itself. Deborah McCauley has made a winning argument that Appalachian religion is a true and authentic counter-stream to modern mainstream Protestant religion." -- Loyal Jones, founding director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College

Appalachian Mountain Religion is much more than a narrowly focused look at the religion of a region. Within this largest regional and widely diverse religious tradition can be found the strings that tie it to all of American religious history. The fierce drama between American Protestantism and Appalachian mountain religion has been played out for nearly two hundred years; the struggle between piety and reason, between the heart and the head, has echoes reaching back even further--from Continental Pietism and the Scots-Irish of western Scotland and Ulster to Colonial Baptist revival culture and plain-folk camp-meeting religion. Deborah Vansau McCauley places Appalachian mountain religion squarely at the center of American religious history, depicting the interaction and dramatic conflicts between it and the denominations that comprise the Protestant "mainstream." She clarifies the tradition histories and symbol systems of the area's principally oral religious culture, its worship practices and beliefs, further illuminating the clash between mountain religion and the "dominant religious culture" of the United States. This clash has helped to shape the course of American religious history.

The explorations in Appalachian Mountain Religion range from Puritan theology to liberation theology, from Calvinism to the Holiness-Pentecostal movements. Within that wide realm and in the ongoing contention over religious values, the many strains of American religious history can be heard.
 
[more]

front cover of Emptiness
Emptiness
Feeling Christian in America
John Corrigan
University of Chicago Press, 2015
For many Christians in America, becoming filled with Christ first requires being empty of themselves—a quality often overlooked in religious histories. In Emptiness, John Corrigan highlights for the first time the various ways that American Christianity has systematically promoted the cultivation of this feeling.  

Corrigan examines different kinds of emptiness essential to American Christianity, such as the emptiness of deep longing, the emptying of the body through fasting or weeping, the emptiness of the wilderness, and the emptiness of historical time itself. He argues, furthermore, that emptiness is closely connected to the ways Christian groups differentiate themselves: many groups foster a sense of belonging not through affirmation, but rather avowal of what they and their doctrines are not. Through emptiness, American Christians are able to assert their identities as members of a religious community.

Drawing much-needed attention to a crucial aspect of American Christianity, Emptiness expands our understanding of historical and contemporary Christian practices. 
[more]

logo for University of Illinois Press
Faith and Meaning in the Southern Uplands
Loyal Jones
University of Illinois Press, 1999
Never have so many missionaries been sent to save so many Christians as is the case in the Southern Uplands. The area has long been perceived by American Christians in contradictory ways: on the one hand, as an unchurched area with people who have little religion or an inadequate faith; on the other, as part of the Bible Belt, packed with small breakaway fundamentalist churches and wild-eyed believers.
 
In Faith and Meaning, one of Appalachian religion's most eloquent spokesmen reveals a people devoted to and thoughtful about their religion, and profoundly influenced by it. Loyal Jones's three decades of conversations and interviews, supplemented by documents such as sermons, testimonies, and articles of faith, articulate Southern Upland views on basic issues of the human condition—faith, God, the world, the Word, and the devil—as well as on community issues such as racial integration and women in the church. In their own voices these people describe their beliefs, their churches, and their lives, exposing a deep conviction tempered with humanity and humor.
 
[more]

front cover of The Megachurch and the Mainline
The Megachurch and the Mainline
Remaking Religious Tradition in the Twenty-first Century
Stephen Ellingson
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Religious traditions provide the stories and rituals that define the core values of church members. Yet modern life in America can make those customs seem undesirable, even impractical. As a result, many congregations refashion church traditions so they may remain powerful and salient. How do these transformations occur? How do clergy and worshipers negotiate which aspects should be preserved or discarded?

Focusing on the innovations of several mainline Protestant churches in the San Francisco Bay Area, Stephen Ellingson’s The Megachurch and the Mainline provides new understandings of the transformation of spiritual traditions. For Ellingson, these particular congregations typify a new type of Lutheranism—one which combines the evangelical approaches that are embodied in the growing legion of megachurches with American society’s emphasis on pragmatism and consumerism. Here Ellingson provides vivid descriptions of congregations as they sacrifice hymns in favor of rock music and scrap traditional white robes and stoles for Hawaiian shirts, while also making readers aware of the long history of similar attempts to Americanize the Lutheran tradition.

This is an important examination of a religion in flux—one that speaks to the growing popularity of evangelicalism in America.

[more]


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter