A growing number of studies indicate that social ties that are formed by older people in the church have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health by Neal Krause constitutes the first attempt to provide a comprehensive assessment of the various types of relationships that stem from church involvement.
Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are closecompanion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not involved in religious communities. Going well beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will have to confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.
Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language throughout, along with literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Insights from these diverse fields are supplemented with ideas drawn from literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethics. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a truly interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to a wide variety of scholars, researchers, and students.
Winner of the 2006 Distinguished Book Award of the Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association
Homosexuality has become increasingly accepted in mainstream America over the past two decades. Yet despite indications of progress that can be found everywhere from academia to popular culture, gay men and women remain the target of much discrimination and stigma, particularly within conservative Christianity.
In Be Not Deceived, Michelle Wolkomir explores the difficult dilemma that gay Christians face in their attempts to reconcile their religious and sexual identities. She introduces the ideologies and practices of two alternative and competing ministries that offer solutions for Christians who experience homosexual desire.
One organization—the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches—believes that God made people gay to suit divine purposes. Changing one’s sexuality is therefore impossible and a defiance of God. In contrast, Exodus International preaches that homosexuality is a sin and a symptom of disordered psychological development—one that can be cured through redemptive prayer. By comparing participant experiences in these ministries, Wolkomir explores the paths and processes by which members learn to become gay or ex-gay Christians.
Through careful analysis of the groups’ ideologies, interactions, and symbolic resources, Be Not Deceived goes far beyond the obvious differences between the ministries to uncover their similarities, namely that both continue to define heterosexuality as the normative and dominant lifestyle.
Be Opened! The Catholic Church and Deaf Culture offers readers a people’s history of deafness and sign language in the Catholic Church. Paying ample attention to the vocation stories of deaf priests and pastoral workers, Portolano traces the transformation of the Deaf Catholic community from passive recipients of mercy to an active language minority making contributions in today’s globally diverse church.
Background chapters familiarize readers with early misunderstandings about deaf people in the church and in broader society, along with social and religious issues facing deaf people throughout history. A series of connected narratives demonstrate the strong Catholic foundations of deaf education in sign language, including sixteenth-century monastic schools for deaf children and nineteenth-century French education in sign language as a missionary endeavor. The author explains how nineteenth-century schools for deaf children, especially those founded by orders of religious sisters, established small communities of Deaf Catholics around the globe. A series of portraits illustrates the work of pioneering missionaries in several different countries—“apostles to the Deaf”—who helped to establish and develop deaf culture in these communities through adult religious education and the sacraments in sign language. In several chapters focused on the twentieth century, the author describes key events that sparked a modern transformation in Deaf Catholic culture. As linguists began to recognize sign languages as true human languages, deaf people borrowed the practices of Civil Rights activists to gain equality both as citizens and as members of the church. At the same time, deaf people drew inspiration and cultural validation from key documents of Vatican II, and leadership of the Deaf Catholic community began to come from the deaf community rather than to it through missionaries. Many challenges remain, but this book clearly presents Deaf Catholic culture as an important and highly visible embodiment of Catholic heritage.
In the formative years of the Methodist Church in the United States, women played significant roles as proselytizers, organizers, lay ministers, and majority members. Although women’s participation helped the church to become the nation’s largest denomination by the mid-nineteenth century, their official roles diminished during that time. In Beyond the Pulpit, Lisa Shaver examines Methodist periodicals as a rhetorical space to which women turned to find, and make, self-meaning.
In 1818, Methodist Magazine first published “memoirs” that eulogized women as powerful witnesses for their faith on their deathbeds. As Shaver observes, it was only in death that a woman could achieve the status of minister. Another Methodist publication, the Christian Advocate, was America’s largest circulated weekly by the mid-1830s. It featured the “Ladies’ Department,” a column that reinforced the canon of women as dutiful wives, mothers, and household managers. Here, the church also affirmed women in the important rhetorical and evangelical role of domestic preacher. Outside the “Ladies Department,” women increasingly appeared in “little narratives” in which they were portrayed as models of piety and charity, benefactors, organizers, Sunday school administrators and teachers, missionaries, and ministers’ assistants. These texts cast women into nondomestic roles that were institutionally sanctioned and widely disseminated.
By 1841, the Ladies’ Repository and Gatherings of the West was engaging women in discussions of religion, politics, education, science, and a variety of intellectual debates. As Shaver posits, by providing a forum for women writers and readers, the church gave them an official rhetorical space and the license to define their own roles and spheres of influence. As such, the periodicals of the Methodist church became an important public venue in which women’s voices were heard and their identities explored.
A spiritual revolution is transforming the religious landscape of Latin America. Evangelical Protestantism, particularly Pentecostalism, has replaced Catholicism as the leading religion in thousands of barrios on the urban periphery. But in few Latin American nations have Protestants multiplied as rapidly as in Brazil. What accounts for this rise? Combining historical, political, and ethnographic research, R. Andrew Chestnut shows that the relationship between faith healing and illness in the conversion process is integral to the popularity of Pentecostalism among Brazil's poor. He augments his analysis of the economic and political factors with extensive interview material to capture his informants' conversion experience. In doing so, he presents both a historical framework for a broad understanding of Pentecostalism in Latin America and insight into the personal motivations and beliefs of the crentes themselves.
Over the course of 130 years, Italian American Catholics in New York City have developed a varied repertoire of devotional art and architecture to create community-based sacred spaces in their homes and neighborhoods. These spaces exist outside of but in relationship to the consecrated halls of local parishes and are sites of worship in conventionally secular locations. Such ethnic building traditions and urban ethnic landscapes have long been neglected by all but a few scholars. Joseph Sciorra’s Built with Faith offers a place-centric, ethnographic study of the religious material culture of New York City’s Italian American Catholics.
Sciorra spent thirty-five years researching these community art forms and interviewing Italian immigrant and U.S.-born Catholics. By documenting the folklife of this group, Sciorra reveals how Italian Americans in the city use expressive culture and religious practices to transform everyday urban space into unique, communal sites of ethnically infused religiosity. The folk aesthetics practiced by individuals within their communities are integral to understanding how art is conceptualized, implemented, and esteemed outside of museum and gallery walls. Yard shrines, sidewalk altars, Nativity presepi, Christmas house displays, a stone-studded grotto, and neighborhood processions—often dismissed as kitsch or prized as folk art—all provide examples of the vibrant and varied ways contemporary Italian Americans use material culture, architecture, and public ceremonial display to shape the city’s religious and cultural landscapes.
Written in an accessible style that will appeal to general readers and scholars alike, Sciorra’s unique study contributes to our understanding of how value and meaning are reproduced at the confluences of everyday life.
Joseph Sciorra is the director of Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College. He is the editor of Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives and co-editor of Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women's Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora.
Army chaplains have long played an integral part in America’s armed forces. In addition
to conducting chapel activities on military installations and providing moral and spiritual
support on the battlefield, they conduct memorial services for fallen soldiers, minister
to survivors, offer counsel on everything from troubled marriages to military bureaucracy,
and serve as families’ points of contact for wounded or deceased soldiers—all while
risking the dangers of combat alongside their troops. In this thoughtful study, Anne C.
Loveland examines the role of the army chaplain since World War II, revealing how the
corps has evolved in the wake of cultural and religious upheaval in American society and
momentous changes in U.S. strategic relations, warfare, and weaponry.
From 1945 to the present, Loveland shows, army chaplains faced several crises that
reshaped their roles over time. She chronicles the chaplains’ initiation of the Character
Guidance program as a remedy for the soaring rate of venereal disease among soldiers in
occupied Europe and Japan after World War II, as well as chaplains’ response to the challenge
of increasing secularism and religious pluralism during the “culture wars” of the
Vietnam Era.“Religious accommodation,” evangelism and proselytizing, public prayer,
and “spiritual fitness”provoked heated controversy among chaplains as well as civilians in
the ensuing decades. Then, early in the twenty-first century, chaplains themselves experienced
two crisis situations: one the result of the Vietnam-era antichaplain critique, the
other a consequence of increasing religious pluralism, secularization, and sectarianism
within the Chaplain Corps, as well as in the army and the civilian religious community.
By focusing on army chaplains’ evolving, sometimes conflict-ridden relations with
military leaders and soldiers on the one hand and the civilian religious community on the
other, Loveland reveals how religious trends over the past six decades have impacted the
corps and, in turn, helped shape American military culture.
Anne C. Loveland is T. Harry Williams Professor Emerita at Louisiana State University.
She is the author of Southern Evangelicals and the Social Order, 1800–1860 and American
Evangelicals and the U. S. Military, 1942–1993.
Today, over one hundred Chicago-area Catholic churches offer Spanish language mass to congregants. How did the city's Mexican population, contained in just two parishes prior to 1960, come to reshape dozens of parishes and neighborhoods?
Deborah E. Kanter tells the story of neighborhood change and rebirth in Chicago's Mexican American communities. She unveils a vibrant history of Mexican American and Mexican immigrant relations as remembered by laity and clergy, schoolchildren and their female religious teachers, parish athletes and coaches, European American neighbors, and from the immigrant women who organized as guadalupanas and their husbands who took part in the Holy Name Society. Kanter shows how the newly arrived mixed memories of home into learning the ways of Chicago to create new identities. In an ever-evolving city, Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans’ fierce devotion to their churches transformed neighborhoods such as Pilsen.
The first-ever study of Mexican-descent Catholicism in the city, Chicago Católico illuminates a previously unexplored facet of the urban past and provides present-day lessons for American communities undergoing ethnic integration and succession.
Children in New Religions
Palmer, Susan J Rutgers University Press, 1999 Library of Congress BP603.C48 1999 | Dewey Decimal 200.83
The late 1960s and early 1970s constituted a remarkable period for spiritual experimentation and for the proliferation of new religious groups. Now the children born into these religions have come of age. While their parents made the decision as adults to embrace alternative religious practices, the children have been raised with a very different orientation toward the larger society. While they take their religious communities for granted, many of these children gaze with curiosity at the surrounding secular world which their parents, not they, chose to reject. The contributors to this volume examine children from many different alternative religious movements worldwide, including The Family, Hare Krishna, Wiccans, and Pagans, Messianic Communities, and the Rajneesh (Osho) Movement. The essays explore two general questions: 1) What impact does the presence of children have on a new religion's lifestyle and chance of surviving into the future? 2) Is child abuse more likely to occur in unconventional religions, or are children born into them, the 'new' religions have grown up and have become an important and rapidly changing social force that we cannot reasonably dismiss or wisely ignore
The Children's God
David Heller University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress BT102.H43 1986 | Dewey Decimal 231
How do children imagine God? Surprisingly, few researchers have asked this question. In crayon drawings, doll-play, letters, and carefully designed interviews, the forty children in David Heller's study reveal a rich array of spiritual imagery. Though Heller does find some differing views attributable to age, gender, and religious background (the children were Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Hindu), he discovers to a surprising degree a common vision of God that cuts across ethnic and religious differences. He also considers related issues of school prayer and the psychology of religion.
Nowhere has there been a discussion of the confusion necessarily generated by the rapidity of the change or of the agony created in the lives of many whose attitudes, expectations, and even success depended on the continuance of now abolished institutions. Historians have ignored the settled conditions of most samurai and instead concentrated on the study of the minority of activist samurai leaders who, with the backing of only a few Han (feudal domains) sought to overthrow the old order and whose success in doing so has made the study of the modernization of Japan the prime concern of historians. The history of the Meiji period may have been an overall political and industrial success story, but for a fuller understanding of the conditions of that success it is also necessary to understand "what it was really like" for the members of the old elite to be estranged from the proponents of revolution and what many members did to assure their own social and psychological position in a world they had not expected.
In this book the author attempts to show that the impact of the Meiji Restoration destroyed the meaningfulness of the Confucian doctrine for these declasse samurai. Through Christianity, the samurai attempted to revive their status in society by finding a doctrine that offered a meaningful path to power. But in doing so, they had to accept a new theory of social relations. Ultimately, as the convert's understanding of society became totally informed by the Christian doctrine, they accepted a transcendent authority that brought them into conflict with society about them. Therefore, to understand the development of a Christian opposition in Meiji society we must begin with the conversion experience itself. [intro]
Imbued with character and independence, strength and articulateness, humor and conviction, abundant biblical knowledge and intense compassion, Katharina Schütz Zell (1498–1562) was an outspoken religious reformer in sixteenth-century Germany who campaigned for the right of clergy to marry and the responsibility of lay people—women as well as men—to proclaim the Gospel. As one of the first and most daring models of the pastor’s wife in the Protestant Reformation, Schütz Zell demonstrated that she could be an equal partner in marriage; she was for many years a respected, if unofficial, mother of the established church of Strasbourg in an age when ecclesiastical leadership was dominated by men.
Though a commoner, Schütz Zell participated actively in public life and wrote prolifically, including letters of consolation, devotional writings, biblical meditations, catechetical instructions, a sermon, and lengthy polemical exchanges with male theologians. The complete translations of her extant publications, except for her longest, are collected here in Church Mother, offering modern readers a rare opportunity to understand the important work of women in the formation of the early Protestant church.
Circling Faith is a collection of essays by southern women that encompasses spirituality and the experience of winding through the religiously charged environment of the American South.
Mary Karr, in “Facing Altars,” describes how the consolation she found in poetry directed her to a similar solace in prayer. In “Chiaroscuro: Shimmer and Shadow,” Susan Cushman recounts how her dissatisfaction with a Presbyterian upbringing led her to hold her own worship services at home and eventually to join the Eastern Orthodox Church. “Magic” by Amy Blackmarr depicts a religious practice that occurs wholly outside of any formal setting—she recognizes places, such as a fishing shack in south Georgia, and things, such as crystal Cherokee earrings, as reminders that God exists everywhere and that a Great Comforter is always present. In “The Only Jews in Town,” Stella Suberman gives her account of growing up as a religious minority in Tennessee, connecting her story to a larger narrative of Eastern European Jews who moved away from the Northeast, often to found and run “Jew stores” in midwestern and southern towns. Alice Walker, in an interview with Valerie Reiss titled “Alice Walker Calls God ‘Mama,’” relates her dynamic relationship with her God, which includes meditation and yoga, and explains how she views the role of faith in her work, including her novel The Color Purple. These essays showcase the large spectrum of spirituality that abides in the South, as well as the equally large spectrum of individual women who hold these faiths.
For anyone in the helping profession, whether as mental health professionals or religious leaders, this question is bound to arise. Many mental health professionals feel uncomfortable discussing religion, while many religious leaders feel uncomfortable referring their congregants to professionals who have no knowledge of their faith, nor intent to engage with it.
And yet Michelle Pearce, PhD, assistant professor and clinical psychologist at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland, argues that if religion is important to a client, then religion will be a part of psychotherapy, whether it is discussed or not. Clients cannot check their values at the door any more than the professionals who treat them.
To Pearce, the question isn’t really “does religion belong?” but rather “how can mental health professionals help their religious clients engage with and use their faith as a healing resource in psychotherapy?”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Christian Clientswith Depression is the answer to that question, as the book’s purpose is to educate mental health professionals and pastoral counselors about religion’s role in therapy, as well as equip them to discuss religious issues and use evidence-based, religiously-integrated tools with Christian clients experiencing depression.
In this book, readers will find the following resources in an easy-to-use format:
An overview of the scientific benefits of integrating clients’ religious beliefs and practices in psychotherapy
An organizing therapeutic approach for doing Christian CBT
Seven tools, specific to Christian CBT, to treat depression
Suggested dialogue for therapists to introduce concepts and tools
Skill-building activity worksheets for clients
Clinical examples of Christian CBT and the seven tools in action
Practitioners will learn the helpful (and sometimes not so helpful) role a person’s Christian faith can play in psychotherapy, and will be equipped to discuss religious issues and use religiously-integrated tools in their work. At the same time, clergy will learn how Christianity can be integrated into an evidence-based secular mental health treatment for depression, which is sure to increase their comfort level for making referrals to mental health practitioners who provide this form of treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Christian Clients with Depression is a practical guide for mental health professionals and pastoral counselors who want to learn how to use Christian-specific CBT tools to treat depression in their Christian clients.
The Jewish practice of bar mitzvah dates back to the twelfth century, but this ancient cultural ritual has changed radically since then, evolving with the times and adapting to local conditions. For many Jewish-American families, a child’s bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is both a major social event and a symbolic means of asserting the family’s ongoing connection to the core values of Judaism. Coming of Age in Jewish America takes an inside look at bar and bat mitzvahs in the twenty-first century, examining how the practices have continued to morph and exploring how they serve as a sometimes shaky bridge between the values of contemporary American culture and Judaic tradition.
Interviewing over 200 individuals involved in bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, from family members to religious educators to rabbis, Patricia Keer Munro presents a candid portrait of the conflicts that often emerge and the negotiations that ensue. In the course of her study, she charts how this ritual is rife with contradictions; it is a private family event and a public community activity, and for the child, it is both an educational process and a high-stakes performance.
Through detailed observations of Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, and independent congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Munro draws intriguing, broad-reaching conclusions about both the current state and likely future of American Judaism. In the process, she shows not only how American Jews have forged a unique set of bar and bat mitzvah practices, but also how these rituals continue to shape a distinctive Jewish-American identity.
A Methodist church puts its minister on trial after he marches in a gay rights parade. A Quaker meeting struggles to decide whether to marry a lesbian couple. An entire congregation is thrown out of the Southern Baptist Convention for deciding that a gay divinity student had a sincere calling to the ministry, and an order of celibate monks comes out of the closet. An Episcopal priest blesses two same-sex relationships--then a closeted gay lawyer leads the charge to have him fired.
Homosexuality is the most divisive issue facing churches today. Like the issue of slavery 150 years ago, it is a matter that ignites passionate convictions on both sides, a matter that threatens to turn members of the same faith against each other, to divide congregations, and possibly even to fragment several denominations. Like slavery, it is an issue that calls up basic questions about what it means to be a Christian. How does one know right from wrong? Is the Bible fallible? Do good Christians always follow their church's teachings, or are they allowed to think for themselves on moral issues? And to what source does one finally look to determine what God really wants?
While many books have been written analyzing the scriptural and theological dimensions of the conflict, none has yet shown how it is being played out in the pews. Congregations in Conflict examines nine churches that were split by disagreements over gay and lesbian issues, and how the congregations resolved them.
Hartman explores in very readable prose how different denominations have handled their conflicts and what it says about the nature of their faith. He shows some churches coming through their struggles stronger and more unified, while others irrevocably split. Most importantly, he illuminates how people with a passionate clash of beliefs can still function together as a community of faith.
Only by understanding the enduring poverty of Brazil can one hope to understand the recent growth of Protestant evangelical churches there, Cecília Loreto Mariz contends. Her study investigates how religious groups support individualism and encourage the poor to organize. Groups with shared values are then able to develop strategies to cope with poverty and, ultimately, to transform the social structure.
Interviews with members and leaders of religious groups, accounts of meetings, and close readings of religious literature contribute to a realistic account of Christian base communities and Assembly of God churches, folk Catholic tradition, and Afro Brazilian Spiritism.
In The Cow in the Elevator Tulasi Srinivas explores a wonderful world where deities jump fences and priests ride in helicopters to present a joyful, imaginative, yet critical reading of modern religious life. Drawing on nearly two decades of fieldwork with priests, residents, and devotees, and her own experience of living in the high-tech city of Bangalore, Srinivas finds moments where ritual enmeshes with global modernity to create wonder—a feeling of amazement at being overcome by the unexpected and sublime. Offering a nuanced account of how the ruptures of modernity can be made normal, enrapturing, and even comical in a city swept up in globalization's tumult, Srinivas brings the visceral richness of wonder—apparent in creative ritual in and around Hindu temples—into the anthropological gaze. Broaching provocative philosophical themes like desire, complicity, loss, time, money, technology, and the imagination, Srinivas pursues an interrogation of wonder and the adventure of writing true to its experience. The Cow in the Elevator rethinks the study of ritual while reshaping our appreciation of wonder's transformative potential for scholarship and for life.
The Early Middle Ages
Franca Ela Consolino SBL Press, 2020 Library of Congress BS521.4.E275 2019 | Dewey Decimal 220.0820902
Examine the creative, profound dialogue between medieval women and biblical traditions
The latest volume in the Bible and Women series examines the relationship between women and the Bible’s reception during the early Middle Ages (500–1100 CE) in both the Greek East and the Latin West. Essays focus on interactions between women and the Bible through biblical precepts on women and for women, biblical women as the subjects of action or objects of discussion, and writings by women that refer to the Bible as a moral authority. The women discussed in the volume range from the well-known—including the nuns Kassia in Byzantium and Hrosvita in the West; the aristocrat Dhuoda, author of a moral guide for her son; Gisela, the sister of Charlemagne and abbess of Chelles; and her niece Rotrude—to those who remain anonymous. Contributions also explore how the Old and New Testaments exercised influence on emerging Islam.
Analysis of images of the Virgin Mary as a means of tracing the spread of her cult and feast days from East to West
Exploration of the significance of classical culture for medieval women who composed poems for a Christian audience
Evaluation of art as a means of establishing devotional relationships not necessarily mediated by the voices of preachers or the reading of texts
Elizabeth Barrett Browning believed that "Christ's religion is essentially poetry—poetry glorified." In Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Spiritual Progress, Linda M. Lewis studies Browning's religion as poetry, her poetry as religion. The book interprets Browning's literary life as an arduous spiritual quest—the successive stages being a rejection of Promethean pride for Christ-like humility, affirmation of the gospels of suffering and of work, internalization of the doctrine of Apocalypse, and ascent to divine love and truth.
Lewis follows this religious crusade from the poet's childhood to her posthumous Last Poems--including such topics as her Bible reading, her introduction to the Greek church fathers and the English Protestant reformers, the theological debates in which she participated, her quarrel with the theology of Paradise Lost, and her scandalous involvement in mesmerism and Swedenborgianism. Using insights from contemporary feminist thought, Lewis argues that Browning's religious assumptions and insights range from the conventional to the iconoclastic and that women's spirituality is, for Browning as well as for other Victorian women writers, separate from orthodox patriarchy. Lewis demonstrates that Browning's political and social ideology--often labeled inconsistent and illogical—really makes sense in light of this spiritual quest, which leads her to confront her God "face to face."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Spiritual Progress examines not only Browning's most admired works, such as Sonnets from the Portuguese and Aurora Leigh, but also her large body of political works and her important early poems—The Seraphim and A Drama of Exile. This intertextual book compares Browning's ideology to that of feminists such as Margaret Fuller, Harriet Martineau, and Florence Nightingale; influential conservatives such as Thomas Carlyle; and those most esteemed of Victorian poets, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning.
Concluding with an examination of religion as a central focus of Victorian women poets, Lewis clarifies the ways in which Browning differs from Christina Rossetti, Felicia Hemans, Dora Greenwell, Jean Ingelow, and Mary Howitt. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Spiritual Progress maintains that Browning's peculiar face-to-face struggle with the patristic and poetic tradition—as well as with God—sets her work apart.
Embracing Age: How Catholic Nuns Became Models of Aging Well examines a community of individuals whose aging trajectories contrast mainstream American experiences. In mainstream American society, aging is presented as a “problem,” a state to be avoided as long as possible, a state that threatens one’s ability to maintain independence, autonomy, control over one’s surroundings. Aging “well” (or avoiding aging) has become a 21st century American preoccupation. Embracing Age provides a window into the everyday lives of American Catholic nuns who experience longevity and remarkable health and well-being at the end of life. Catholic nuns aren’t only healthier in older age, they are healthier because they practice a culture of acceptance and grace around aging. Embracing Age demonstrates how aging in the convent becomes understood by the nuns to be a natural part of the life course, not one to be feared or avoided. Anna I. Corwin shows readers how Catholic nuns create a cultural community that provides a model for how to grow old, decline, and die that is both embedded in American culture and quite distinct from other American models.
Stephen M. Cherry draws upon a rich set of ethnographic and survey data, collected over a six-year period, to explore the roles that Catholicism and family play in shaping Filipino American community life. From the planning and construction of community centers, to volunteering at health fairs or protesting against abortion, this book illustrates the powerful ways these forces structure and animate not only how first-generation Filipino Americans think and feel about their community, but how they are compelled to engage it over issues deemed important to the sanctity of the family.
Revealing more than intimate accounts of Filipino American lives, Cherry offers a glimpse of the often hidden but vital relationship between religion and community in the lives of new immigrants, and allows speculation on the broader impact of Filipino immigration on the nation. The Filipino American community is the second-largest immigrant community in the United States, and the Philippines is the second-largest source of Catholic immigration to this country. This ground-breaking study outlines how first-generation Filipino Americans have the potential to reshape American Catholicism and are already having an impact on American civic life through the engagement of their faith.
How can ordinary Christians find moral guidance for the mundane dilemmas they confront in their daily lives? To answer this question, Julie Hanlon Rubio brings together a rich Catholic theology of marriage and a strong commitment to social justice to focus on the place where the ethics of ordinary life are played out: the family.
Sex, money, eating, spirituality, and service. According to Rubio, all are areas for practical application of an ethics of the family. In each area, intentional practices can function as acts of resistance to a cultural and middle-class conformity that promotes materialism over relationships. These practices forge deep connections within the family and help families live out their calling to be in solidarity with others and participate in social change from below. It is through these everyday moral choices that most Christians can live out their faith—and contribute to progress in the world.
Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism reconsiders the standard critical view that women’s religious experiences were either silent consent or hostile response to mainstream Puritan institutions. In this groundbreaking new approach to American Puritanism, Bryce Traister asks how gendered understandings of authentic religious experience contributed to the development of seventeenth-century religious culture and to the “post-religious” historiography of Puritanism in secular modernity. He argues that women were neither marginal nor hostile to the theological and cultural ambitions of seventeenth-century New England religious culture and, indeed, that radicalized female piety was in certain key respects the driving force of New England Puritan culture.
Uncovering the feminine interiority of New England Protestantism, Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism positions itself against prevalent historical arguments about the rise of secularism in the modern West. Traister demonstrates that female spirituality became a principal vehicle through which Puritan identity became both absorbed within and foundational for pre-national secular culture. Engaging broadly with debates about religion and secularization, national origins and transnational unsettlements, and gender and cultural authority, this is a foundational reconsideration both of American Puritanism itself and of “American Puritanism” as it has been understood in relation to secular modernity.
In 2001, a collection of open and affirming churches with predominantly African American membership and a Pentecostal style of worship formed a radically new coalition. The group, known now as the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries or TFAM, has at its core the idea of “radical inclusivity”: the powerful assertion that everyone, no matter how seemingly flawed or corrupted, has holiness within. Whether you are LGBT, have HIV/AIDS, have been in prison, abuse drugs or alcohol, are homeless, or are otherwise compromised and marginalized, TFAM tells its people, you are one of God’s creations.
In Filled with the Spirit, Ellen Lewin gives us a deeply empathetic ethnography of the worship and community central to TFAM, telling the story of how the doctrine of radical inclusivity has expanded beyond those it originally sought to serve to encompass people of all races, genders, sexualities, and religious backgrounds. Lewin examines the seemingly paradoxical relationship between TFAM and traditional black churches, focusing on how congregations and individual members reclaim the worship practices of these churches and simultaneously challenge their authority. The book looks closely at how TFAM worship is legitimated and enhanced by its use of gospel music and considers the images of food and African American culture that are central to liturgical imagery, as well as how understandings of personal authenticity tie into the desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Throughout, Lewin takes up what has been mostly missing from our discussions of race, gender, and sexuality—close attention to spirituality and faith.
Despite the masses still lining up to enter mega-churches with warehouse-like architecture, casually dressed clergy, and pop Christian music, the "Post-Boomer" generation-those ranging in age from twenty to forty-is having second thoughts. In this perceptive look at the evolving face of Christianity in contemporary culture, sociologists Richard Flory and Donald E. Miller argue that we are on the verge of another potential revolution in how Christians worship and associate with one another.
Just as the formative experiences of Baby Boomers were colored by such things as the war in Vietnam, the 1960s, and a dramatic increase in their opportunities for individual expression, so Post-Boomers have grown up in less structured households with working (often divorced) parents. These childhood experiences leave them craving authentic spiritual experience, rather than entertainment, and also cause them to question institutions. Flory and Miller develop a typology that captures four current approaches to the Christian faith and argue that this generation represents a new religious orientation of "expressive communalism," in which they seek spiritual experience and fulfillment in community and through various expressive forms of spirituality, both private and public.
Fleshing the Spirit brings together established and new writers exploring the relationships between the physical body, the spirit and spirituality, and social justice activism. Examining the complex and dynamic connections among these concepts, the writers emphasize the value of “flesh and blood experience” as a site of knowledge. They argue that spirituality—something quite different from institutional religious practice—can heal the mind/body split and set the stage for social change. Spirituality, they argue, is a necessary component of an alternative political agenda focused on equitable social and ecological change.
The anthology incorporates different genres of writing—such as poetry, testimonials, critical essays, and historical analysis—and stimulates the reader to engage spirituality in a critical, personal, and creative way. This interdisciplinary work is the first that attempts to theorize the radical interconnection between women of color, spirituality, and social activism. Before transformative political work can be done, the authors say in multiple ways, we must recognize that our spiritual need is a desire to more fully understand our relations with others. Conflict experienced on many levels sometimes severs those relations, separating us from others along racial, class, gender, sexual, national, or other socially constructed lines.
Fleshing the Spirit offers a spiritual journey of healing, health, and human revolution. The book’s open invitation to engage in critical dialogue and social activism—with the spirit and spirituality at the forefront—illuminates the way to social change and the ability to live in harmony with life’s universal energies.
Norma E. Cantú
C. Alejandra Elenes
Alicia Enciso Litschi
Oliva M. Espín
Inés Hernández- Avila
Rosa María Hernández Juárez
Sarahi Nuñez- Mejia
Laura E. Pérez
Gatherings in Diaspora brings together the latest chapters in the long-running chronicle of religion and immigration in the American experience. Today, as in the past, people migrating to the United States bring their religions with them, and their religious identities often mean more to them away from home, in their diaspora, than they did before.
This book explores and analyzes the diverse religious communities of post-1965 diasporas: Christians, Hews, Muslims, Hindus, Rastafarians, and practitioners of Vodou, from countries such as China, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iran, Jamaica, Korea, and Mexico. The contributors explore how, to a greater or lesser extent, immigrants and their offspring adapt their religious institutions to American conditions, often interacting with religious communities already established. The religious institutions they build, adapt, remodel, and adopt become worlds unto themselves, congregations, where new relations are forged within the community -- between men and women, parents and children, recent arrival and those longer settled.
What does it mean to be a religious conservative, particularly for women, in America today? While it appears that people are returning to conservative religion because they are fed up with the excesses of liberalism, including feminism, a closer look at the lives of religious conservatives reveals a more complex reality. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant communities, Christel Manning explores the diversity among women who have returned to tradition. Arguing that America has undergone profound cultural and economic changes in the last thirty years, which create tension between women's lives and traditional gender roles, she demonstrates that conservative Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and Evangelical Protestants negotiate those tensions in different ways. Manning also shows that women in conservative religious communities share many of the same concerns as secular women.
Manning looks at how the religious communities profiled have been influenced by feminist values and describes the ways in which these women negotiate gender roles at work, religious services, and at home. She explains how they deal with the inconsistencies created by their attempts to integrate feminist and traditionalist norms. In highly accessible prose, Manning examines their attitudes towards the feminist movement, its impact on American culture, and the extent to which the women seek to resist it. God Gave Us the Right explains how these different views of feminism reflect the diverse theologies and historical experiences of the three communities.
Why are young people dropping out of religious institutions? Can anything be done to reverse the trend? In Got Religion?, Naomi Schaefer Riley examines the reasons for the defection, why we should care, and how some communities are successfully addressing the problem.
The traditional markers of growing up are getting married and becoming financially independent. But young adults are delaying these milestones, sometimes for a full decade longer than their parents and grandparents. This new phase of “emerging adulthood” is diminishing the involvement of young people in religious institutions, sapping the strength and vitality of faith communities, and creating a more barren religious landscape for the young adults who do eventually decide to return to it. Yet, clearly there are some churches, synagogues, and mosques that are making strides in bringing young people back to religion.
Got Religion? offers in-depth, on-the-ground reporting about the most successful of these institutions and shows how many of the structural solutions for one religious group can be adapted to work for another.
The faith communities young people attach themselves to are not necessarily the biggest or the most flashy. They are not the wealthiest or the ones employing the latest technology. Rather, they are the ones that create stability for young people, that give them real responsibility in a community and that help them form the habits of believers that will last a lifetime.
Grace: A Play
Craig Wright Northwestern University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3573.R5322G73 2012 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
The difference between belief and knowledge and the consequences of mistaking one for the other are at the heart of Craig Wright’s play Grace. An evangelical Christian couple, Sara and Steve, leave a dreary life in Minnesota for sunny Florida and the hope of fast money from turning abandoned hotels into a chain of gospel-themed inns. Their new neighbor, Sam, is struggling to emerge from the trauma of a car accident that killed his fiancée and left him badly maimed. And the building’s pest exterminator, Karl, is still tormented by a dark childhood episode. As their stories converge, Wright’s characters find themselves face-to-face with the most eternally vexing questions—the nature of faith, the meaning of suffering, and the possibility of redemption. Acidly funny and relentlessly searching, Grace is a trenchant work from an immensely gifted playwright.
Home and family are key, yet relatively unexplored, dimensions of religion in the contemporary United States. American cultural lore is replete with images of saintly nineteenth-century American mothers and their children. During the twentieth century, however, the form and function of the American family have changed radically, and religious beliefs have evolved under the challenges of modernity. As these transformations took place, how did religion manage to “fit” into modern family life?
In this book, Margaret Lamberts Bendroth examines the lives and beliefs of white, middle-class mainline Protestants (principally northern Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and Congregationalists) who are theologically moderate or liberal. Mainliners have pursued family issues for most of the twentieth century, churning out hundreds of works on Christian childrearing. Bendroth’s book explores the role of family within a religious tradition that sees itself as America’s cultural center. In this balanced analysis, the author traces the evolution of mainliners’ roles in middle-class American culture and sharpens our awareness of the ways in which the mainline Protestant experience has actually shaped and reflected the American sense of self.
Theravada is one of the three main branches of Buddhism. In Asia it is practiced widely in Thailand, Laos, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. This fascinating ethnography opens a window onto two communities of Theravada Buddhists in contemporary America: one outside Philadelphia that is composed largely of Thai immigrants and one outside Boston that consists mainly of white converts.
Wendy Cadge first provides a historical overview of Theravada Buddhism and considers its specific origins here in the United States. She then brings her findings to bear on issues of personal identity, immigration, cultural assimilation, and the nature of religion in everyday life. Her work is the first systematic comparison of the ways in which immigrant and convert Buddhists understand, practice, and adapt the Buddhist tradition in America. The men and women whom Cadge meets and observes speak directly to us in this work, both in their personal testimonials and as they meditate, pray, and practice Buddhism.
Creative and insightful, Heartwood will be of enormous value to sociologists of religion and anyone wishing to understand the rise of Buddhism in the Western world.
How do people practice religion in their everyday lives? How do our daily encounters with people who hold different religious beliefs shape the way we understand our own moral and spiritual selves? In Heaven's Kitchen, Courtney Bender takes a highly original approach to answering these questions. For more than a year she worked in New York City as a volunteer for a nonprofit, nonreligious organization called God's Love We Deliver, helping to prepare home-cooked meals for people with AIDS. Paying close attention to what was said and not said, Bender traces how the volunteers gave voice to their moral positions and religious values. She also examines how they invested their conversations, and mundane activities such as cooking, with personal meaning that in turn affected how they saw their own spiritual lives. Filled with vibrant storytelling and rich theoretical insights, Heaven's Kitchen shows faith as a living practice, reshaping our understanding of the role of religion in contemporary American life.
The High Middle Ages
Kari Elisabeth Børresen SBL Press, 2015 Library of Congress BS521.4.H54 2015 | Dewey Decimal 220.0820902
An international collection of ecumenical, gender-sensitive interpretations
The latest volume in the Bible and Women series examines the relationship between women and the Bible's reception in the centuries of the High and Late Middle Ages in Europe. Contributors bring a variety of new insights to questions of how women of the Bible were treated in literary, mystical, and doctrinal texts as well as in art and music. Though the Bible was used to legitimize the subordination of women to men and to exclude them from power, during this period women produced works of theology and biblical interpretation. Contributors include Gemma Avenoza, Marina Benedetti, Dinora Corsi, Maria Laura Giordano, Elisabeth Gössmann, Maria Leticia Sánchez Hernández, Hildegund Keul, Linda Maria Koldau, Martina Kreidler-Kos, Rita Librandi, Gary Macy, Constant J. Mews, Magda Motté, Rosa María Parrinello, María Isabel Toro Pascua, Claudia Poggi, Carmel Posa, Marina Santini, Valeria Ferrari Schiefer, Andrea Taschl-Erber, Adriana Valerio, and Paola Vitolo.
Essays on the treatment of women in commentaries and didactic moral literature written by men
Close study of women as scholars and interpreters of the Bible from the twelfth through the fifteen centuries
Twenty-one essays from twenty-three scholars from around the world
This book provides the very first in-depth analysis of the founding decades of a major Hillel chapter in the United States. Hillel at the University of Michigan was founded in 1926 as the fourth such chapter in the United States following its establishment at three other public universities in the Midwest: Illinois (1923); Wisconsin (1924); Ohio State (1925).
The study analyzes Hillel's challenges as a big-tent, catch-all institution trying to represent all Jewish students on campus regardless of their religious orientation, cultural preferences, and ideological predilections. It looks at Hillel's interactions with the then powerful Jewish fraternities and sororities that provided the main locus of Jewish life on campus at the time, as well as its relations with the University's leadership and many of its cultural and political constituencies. Most of these activities occurred at a time when anti-Semitism was rife in the United States, particularly in the larger Detroit area, home to Henry Ford and Father Charles Edward Coughlin.
History and Presence:
Robert A. Orsi Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BV825.3.O76 2016 | Dewey Decimal 234.163
Honorable Mention, PROSE Award
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
A Junto Favorite Book of the Year
Beginning with metaphysical debates in the sixteenth century over the nature of Christ’s presence in the host, the distinguished historian and scholar of religion Robert Orsi imagines an alternative to the future of religion that early moderns proclaimed was inevitable.
“This book is classic Orsi: careful, layered, humane, and subtle… If reformed theology has led to the gods’ ostensible absence in modern religion, History and Presence is a sort of counter-reformation literature that revels in the excesses of divine materiality: the contradictions, the redundancies, the scrambling of borders between the sacred and profane, the dead and the living, the past and the present, the original and the imitator…History and Presence is a thought-provoking, expertly arranged tour of precisely those abundant, excessive phenomena which scholars have historically found so difficult to think.”
—Sonja Anderson, Reading Religion
“With reference to Marian apparitions, the cult of the saints and other divine–human encounters, Orsi constructs a theory of presence for the study of contemporary religion and history. Many interviews with individuals devoted to particular saints and relics are included in this fascinating study of how people process what they believe.”
As immigration from Asia and Latin America reshapes the demographic composition of the U.S., some analysts have anticipated the decline of conservative white evangelicals’ influence in politics. Yet, Donald Trump captured a larger share of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election than any candidate in the previous four presidential elections. Why has the political clout of white evangelicals persisted at a time of increased racial and ethnic diversity? In Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change, political scientist Janelle Wong examines a new generation of Asian American and Latino evangelicals and offers an account of why demographic change has not contributed to a political realignment.
Asian Americans and Latinos currently constitute 13 percent of evangelicals, and their churches are among the largest, fastest growing organizations in their communities. While evangelical identity is associated with conservative politics, Wong draws from national surveys and interviews to show that non-white evangelicals express political attitudes that are significantly less conservative than those of their white counterparts. Black, Asian American, and Latino evangelicals are much more likely to support policies such as expanded immigration rights, increased taxation of the wealthy, and government interventions to slow climate change. As Wong argues, non-white evangelicals’ experiences as members of racial or ethnic minority groups often lead them to adopt more progressive political views compared to their white counterparts.
However, despite their growth in numbers, non-white evangelicals—particularly Asian Americans and Latinos—are concentrated outside of swing states, have lower levels of political participation than white evangelicals, and are less likely to be targeted by political campaigns. As a result, white evangelicals dominate the evangelical policy agenda and are overrepresented at the polls. Also, many white evangelicals have adopted even more conservative political views in response to rapid demographic change, perceiving, for example, that discrimination against Christians now rivals discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities.
Wong demonstrates that immigrant evangelicals are neither “natural” Republicans nor “natural” Democrats. By examining the changing demographics of the evangelical movement, Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change sheds light on an understudied constituency that has yet to find its political home.
The contributors to this inspiring anthology meet the challenge that everyone faces: that of becoming a whole person in both their personal and professional lives. John C. Haughey, SJ, has gathered twelve professionals in higher education from a variety of disciplines—philosophy, theology, health care, business, and administration. What they have in common reflects the creative understanding of the meaning of “catholic” as Haughey has found it to operate in Catholic higher education.
Each essay in the first six chapters describes how its author has assembled a unique whole from within his or her particular area of academic competence. The last six chapters are more autobiographical, with each author describing what has become central to his or her identity. All twelve are “anticipating an entirety” with each contributing a coherence that is as surprising as it is delightful.
Intimate Reading: Textual Encounters in Medieval Women’s Visions and Vitae explores the ways that women mystics sought to make their books into vehicles for the reader’s spiritual transformation. Jessica Barr argues that the cognitive work of reading these texts was meant to stimulate intensely personal responses, and that the very materiality of the book can produce an intimate encounter with God. She thus explores the differences between mystics’ biographies and their self-presentation, analyzing as well the complex rhetorical moves that medieval women writers employ to render their accounts more effective.
This new volume is structured around five case studies. Chapters consider the biographies of 13th-century holy women from Liège, the writings of Margery Kempe, Gertrude of Helfta, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Julian of Norwich. At the heart of Intimate Reading is the question of how reading works—what it means to enter imaginatively and intellectually into the words of another. The volume showcases the complexity of medieval understandings of the work of reading, deepening our perception of the written word’s capacity to signify something that lies even beyond rational comprehension.
Throughout West African societies, at times of social crises, postmenopausal women—the Mothers—make a ritual appeal to their innate moral authority. The seat of this power is the female genitalia. Wielding branches or pestles, they strip naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to curse and expel the forces of evil. In An Intimate Rebuke Laura S. Grillo draws on fieldwork in Côte d’Ivoire that spans three decades to illustrate how these rituals of Female Genital Power (FGP) constitute religious and political responses to abuses of power. When deployed in secret, FGP operates as spiritual warfare against witchcraft; in public, it serves as a political activism. During Côte d’Ivoire’s civil wars FGP challenged the immoral forces of both rebels and the state. Grillo shows how the ritual potency of the Mothers’ nudity and the conjuration of their sex embodies a moral power that has been foundational to West African civilization. Highlighting the remarkable continuity of the practice across centuries while foregrounding the timeliness of FGP in contemporary political resistance, Grillo shifts perspectives on West African history, ethnography, comparative religious studies, and postcolonial studies.
In urban Honduras, gun violence and assault form the pulsing backdrop of everyday life. This book examines the ways that young men and women in working-class neighborhoods of El Progreso, Honduras, understand and respond to gang and gun violence in their communities. Because residents rely on gangs and Catholic and Evangelical Protestant churches to mediate violence in their neighborhoods, these institutions form the fabric of society.
While only a small fraction of youths in a neighborhood are active members of a gang, most young men must learn the styles, ways of communicating, and local geography of gangs in order to survive. Due to the absence of gang prevention programs sponsored by the government or outside non-governmental organizations, Catholic and Pentecostal churches have developed their own ways to confront gang violence in their communities. Youths who participate in church organizations do so not only to alter and improve their communities but also to gain emotional and institutional support.
Offering firsthand accounts of these youths and how they make use of religious discourse, narrative practices, or the inscription of tattooed images and words on the body to navigate dangerous social settings, Jesus and the Gang is an unflinching look at how these young men turn away from perpetuating the cycle of violence and how Christianity serves a society where belonging is surviving.
This book will appeal to readers with an interest in Latin American studies, urban anthropology, and youth studies. With its focus on the lives of young men and women, it’s also a compelling read for anyone interested in the plight of urban youth trying to escape the gang life.
Bettye Collier-Thomas’s groundbreaking book, Jesus, Jobs, and Justice—now available for the first time in paperback—provides a remarkable account of the religious faith, social and political activism, and extraordinary resilience of black women during the centuries of American growth and change. As co-creators of churches, women were a central factor in their development. However, women often had to cope with sexism in black churches, as well as racism in mostly white denominations.
Collier-Thomas skillfully shows how black church women created national organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women, the National League of Colored Republican Women, and the National Council of Negro Women to fight for civil rights and combat discrimination. She also examines how black women missionaries sacrificed their lives in service to their African sisters whose destiny they believed was tied to theirs.
While religion has been a guiding force in the lives of most African Americans, for black women it has been essential. Jesus, Jobs, and Justice restores black women to their rightful place in American and black history and demonstrates their faith in themselves, their race, and their God.
Boyarin, Jonathan Rutgers University Press, 2013 Library of Congress DS143.B785 2013 | Dewey Decimal 305.8924
From stories of biblical patriarchs and matriarchs and their children, through the Gospel’s Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and to modern Jewish families in fiction, film, and everyday life, the family has been considered key to transmitting Jewish identity. Current discussions about the Jewish family’s supposed traditional character and its alleged contemporary crisis tend to assume that the dynamics of Jewish family life have remained constant from the days of Abraham and Sarah to those of Tevye and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and on to Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.
Jonathan Boyarin explores a wide range of scholarship in Jewish studies to argue instead that Jewish family forms and ideologies have varied greatly throughout the times and places where Jewish families have found themselves. He considers a range of family configurations from biblical times to the twenty-first century, including strictly Orthodox communities and new forms of family, including same-sex parents. The book shows the vast canvas of history and culture as well as the social pressures and strategies that have helped shape Jewish families, and suggests productive ways to think about possible futures for Jewish family forms.
This volume contains inspiring memoirs from sixteen women active in the civil rights movement, anti-war campaigns, and the rise of feminism in the Cold War era. It places religious activism at the center of social movements previously thought of as largely secular.
For thousands of young women in the 1950s and 1960s, involvement with the student Christian movement (SCM) changed their worldviews. Religious organizations fostered women’s leadership at a time when secular groups like Students for a Democratic Society, and the Left in general, relegated most female participants to stereotypical roles.
The SCM introduced young women to activism in other parts of the country and around the world. As leaders, thinkers, and organizers, they encountered the social realities of poverty and racial prejudice and worked to combat them. The SCM took women to Selma and Montgomery, to Africa and Latin America, and to a lifelong commitment to work for social justice.
In The Labor of Faith Judith Casselberry examines the material and spiritual labor of the women of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., which is based in Harlem and one of the oldest and largest historically Black Pentecostal denominations in the United States. This male-headed church only functions through the work of the church's women, who, despite making up three-quarters of its adult membership, hold no formal positions of power. Casselberry shows how the women negotiate this contradiction by using their work to produce and claim a spiritual authority that provides them with a particular form of power. She also emphasizes how their work in the church is as significant, labor intensive, and critical to their personhood, family, and community as their careers, home and family work, and community service are. Focusing on the circumstances of producing a holy black female personhood, Casselberry reveals the ways twenty-first-century women's spiritual power operates and resonates with meaning in Pentecostal, female-majority, male-led churches.
Lincoln and Religion
Ferenc Morton Szasz with Margaret Connell Szasz Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E457.2.S97 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Abraham Lincoln’s faith has commanded more broad-based attention than that of any other American president. Although he never joined a denomination, Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Spiritualists, Jews, and even atheists claim the sixteenth president as one of their own. In this concise volume, Ferenc Morton Szasz and Margaret Connell Szasz offer both an accessible survey of the development of Lincoln’s religious views and an informative launch pad for further academic inquiry. A singular key to Lincoln’s personality, especially during the presidential years, rests with his evolving faith perspective.
After surveying Lincoln’s early childhood as a Hard-Shell Baptist in Kentucky and Indiana, the authors chronicle his move from skepticism to participation in Episcopal circles during his years in Springfield, and, finally, after the death of son Eddie, to Presbyterianism. They explore Lincoln’s relationship with the nation’s faiths as president, the impact of his son Willie’s death, his adaptation of Puritan covenant theory to a nation at war, the role of prayer during his presidency, and changes in his faith as reflected in the Emancipation Proclamation and his state papers and addresses. Finally, they evaluate Lincoln’s legacy as the central figure of America’s civil religion, an image sharpened by his prominent position in American currency.
A closing essay by Richard W. Etulain traces the historiographical currents in the literature on Lincoln and religion, and the volume concludes with a compilation of Lincoln’s own words about religion.
In assessing the enigma of Lincoln’s Christianity, the authors argue that despite his lack of church membership, Lincoln lived his life through a Christian ethical framework. His years as president, dominated by the Civil War and personal loss, led Lincoln to move into a world beholden to Providence.
Scholars have made urban mothers living in poverty a focus of their research for decades. These women’s lives can be difficult as they go about searching for housing and decent jobs and struggling to care for their children while surviving on welfare or working at low-wage service jobs and sometimes facing physical or mental health problems. But until now little attention has been paid to an important force in these women’s lives: religion.
Based on in-depth interviews with women and pastors, Susan Crawford Sullivan presents poor mothers’ often overlooked views. Recruited from a variety of social service programs, most of the women do not attend religious services, due to logistical challenges or because they feel stigmatized and unwanted at church. Yet, she discovers, religious faith often plays a strong role in their lives as they contend with and try to make sense of the challenges they face. Supportive religious congregations prove important for women who are involved, she finds, but understanding everyday religion entails exploring beyond formal religious organizations.
Offering a sophisticated analysis of how faith both motivates and at times constrains poor mothers’ actions, Living Faith reveals the ways it serves as a lens through which many view and interpret their worlds.
Is he the four-year-old kid whose father died on Christmas Eve and whose mother sent him to an orphanage and then a juvenile detention home?
Is he the entrepreneurial genius who built Domino's Pizza from a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in Michigan into an American brand as world-conquering as Ford or Coke?
Is he the religious visionary who sold Domino's for $1 billion to create an orthodox Catholic university, law school, and special interest law firm with the goal of transforming America to reflect his conservative values?
He's all that and more. With extensive interviews with friends and enemies plus unprecedented access to the man himself, but wholly without his authorization, Living the Faith illuminates Tom Monaghan, the man and the myth.
Living the Faithis the much-needed, definitive biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in the realms of American business and religion. Through eighteen hard-boiled chapters, journalist James Leonard follows Monaghan on his path from a heartbroken kid who climbed into his father's coffin to the business tycoon who purchased the world-champion Detroit Tigers and spent a fortune on his own air force, navy, and island to the religious visionary who founded a university to make saints and a public interest law firm to overturn evolution.
A sympathetic but critical perspective of the man and his works, this book is for believers, nonbelievers, and agnostics; for conservatives, liberals, and independents; for the rich, the poor, and the shrinking middle class. Mainly, however, this book is for those who want the facts about Tom Monaghan---and the truth about the effect religion had on one man and the effect that man had on the world.
The Lonely Letters
Ashon T. Crawley Duke University Press, 2020 Library of Congress BX8762.5.Z8C73 2020
In The Lonely Letters, A tells Moth: “Writing about and thinking with joy is what sustains me, daily. It nourishes me. I do not write about joy primarily because I always have it. I write about joy, Black joy, because I want to generate it, I want it to emerge, I want to participate in its constant unfolding.” But alongside joy, A admits to Moth, come loneliness, exclusion, and unfulfilled desire. The Lonely Letters is an epistolary blackqueer critique of the normative world in which Ashon T. Crawley—writing as A—meditates on the interrelation of blackqueer life, sounds of the Black church, theology, mysticism, and love. Throughout his letters, A explores blackness and queerness in the musical and embodied experience of Blackpentecostal spaces and the potential for platonic and erotic connection in a world that conspires against blackqueer life. Both a rigorous study and a performance, The Lonely Letters gestures toward understanding the capacity for what we study to work on us, to transform us, and to change how we inhabit the world.
Religion has played a protean role in the lives of America's workers. In this innovative volume, Matthew Pehl focuses on Detroit to examine the religious consciousness constructed by the city's working-class Catholics, African American Protestants, and southern-born white evangelicals and Pentecostals between 1910 and 1969. Pehl embarks on an integrative view of working-class faith that ranges across boundaries of class, race, denomination, and time. As he shows, workers in the 1910s and 1920s practiced beliefs characterized by emotional expressiveness, alliance with supernatural forces, and incorporation of mass culture's secular diversions into the sacred. That gave way to the more pragmatic class-conscious religion cultures of the New Deal era and, from the late Thirties on, a quilt of secular working-class cultures that coexisted in competitive, though creative, tension. Finally, Pehl shows how the ideology of race eclipsed class in the 1950s and 1960s, and in so doing replaced the class-conscious with the race-conscious in religious cultures throughout the city.
Why did the Victorians hate and fear Roman Catholics so much? This question has long preoccupied literary and cultural scholars alike. Masked Atheism: Catholicism and the Secular Victorian Home by Maria LaMonaca begins with the assumption that anti-Catholicism reveals far more about the Victorians than simple theological disagreements or religious prejudice. An analysis of anti-Catholicism exposes a host of anxieties, contradictions, and controversies dividing Great Britain, the world’s most powerful nation by the mid-nineteenth century.
Noting that Catholicism was frequently caricatured by the Victorians as “masked atheism”—that is, heathenism and paganism masquerading as legitimate Christianity—LaMonaca’s study suggests that much anti-Catholic rhetoric in Victorian England was fueled by fears of encroaching secularism and anxieties about the disappearance of God in the modern world. For both male and female writers, Catholicism became a synonym for larger, “ungodly” forces threatening traditional ways of life: industrialization, rising standards of living, and religious skepticism.
LaMonaca situates texts by Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Michael Field, and others against a rich background of discourses about the growing visibility of Anglo and Roman Catholicism in Victorian England. In so doing, she demonstrates the influence of both pro- and anti-Catholic sentiment on constructs of Victorian domesticity, and explores how writers appropriated elements of Catholicism to voice anxieties about the growing secularization of the domestic sphere: a bold challenge to sentimental notions of the home as a “sacred” space. Masked Atheism will contribute a fresh perspective to an ongoing conversation about the significance of Catholicism in Victorian literature and culture.
Jacqueline Maria HAGAN Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress BV639.I4H23 2008 | Dewey Decimal 261.836
Migration Miracle humanizes the immigration controversy by exploring the harsh realities of the migrants’ desperate journeys. Drawing on over 300 interviews with men, women, and children, Hagan focuses on an unexplored dimension of the migration undertaking—the role of religion and faith in surviving the journey.
The Miriam Tradition works from the premise that religious values form in and through movement, with ritual and dance developing patterns for enacting those values. Cia Sautter considers the case of Sephardic Jewish women who, following in the tradition of Miriam the prophet, performed dance and music for Jewish celebrations and special occasions. She uses rabbinic and feminist understandings of the Torah to argue that these women, called tanyaderas, "taught" Jewish values by leading appropriate behavior for major life events.
Sautter considers the religious values that are in music and dance performed by tanyaderas and examines them in conjunction with written and visual records and evidence from dance and music traditions. Explaining the symbolic gestures and motions encoded in dances, Sautter shows how rituals display deeply held values that are best expressed through the body. The book argues that the activities of women in other religions might also be examined for their embodiment and display of important values, bringing forgotten groups of women back into the historical record as important community leaders
This groundbreaking collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy, and rituals is both a spiritual resource and a celebratory affirmation of Jewish diversity. Giving voice to the private and public sectors of queer Jewish experience, Mishkan Ga'avah is also a commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of both the Stonewall Riots and the first pride march, reflecting the longtime advocacy of the Reform Movement for full LGBTQ inclusion.
Drawing on his five decades of leadership experience, William Byron outlines in this volume the theory, practice, and purpose of leadership. Intuition, humility, empathy, simplicity of lifestyle, and sound speaking and writing skills are all essential for effective leadership, and Byron devotes separate, in-depth chapters to each. Aimed at an audience now largely overlooked by leadership literature, Next Generation Leadership will appeal to the business, government, religion, and nonprofit leaders of tomorrow.
Have you ever thought you completely knew a story, inside and out, only to see some new information that shatters what you had come to accept as unquestioned fact? Well, Richard Nixon is that story, and Nixon’s First Cover-up is that new information.
With few exceptions, the religious ideologies and backgrounds of U.S. presidents is a topic sorely lacking in analysis. H. Larry Ingle seeks to remedy this situation regarding Nixon—one of the most controversial and intriguing of the presidents. Ingle delves more deeply into Nixon’s Quaker background than any previous scholar to observe the role Nixon’s religion played in his political career.
Nixon’s unique and personally tailored brand of evangelical Quakerism stayed hidden when he wanted it to, but was on display whenever he felt it might help him advance his career in some way. Ingle’s unparalleled knowledge of Quakerism enables him to deftly point out how Nixon bent the traditional rules of the religion to suit his needs or, in some cases, simply ignored them entirely. This theme of the constant contradiction between Nixon’s actions and his apparent religious beliefs makes Nixon’s First Cover-up truly a groundbreaking study both in the field of Nixon research as well as the field of the influence of religion on the U.S. presidency. Forty years after Nixon’s resignation from office, Ingle’s work proves there remains much about the thirty-seventh president that the American public does not yet know.
In these dynamic essays, thirteen wise women review their lives for meaning and purpose, striving to integrate both head and heart. They consider how their spiritual paradigms have shaped their vocations as teachers, scholars, guides, mentors, and advocates and how these roles have been integral to their life’s work, not merely to their work life. With courageous and insightful testimonies they narrate the intersecting relationships of work, family, students, patients, and colleagues, weaving them together rather than compartmentalizing them. Challenges inside and outside the academy and other professional settings are revealed, to tell of suffering and transformation, to tally hard-earned life lessons and to share wisdom achieved.
Lives and words are gathered and generously shared, allowing these women to make sense of their own lives while mentoring a wider circle of younger and older readers alike. These “travel tales” of journeys through knowledge and self-knowledge will inform, challenge, surprise, entertain, and inspire.
Passionate Journeys explores the fascinating stories behind the Bhagwan Rajneesh phenomenon of the 1970s and 1980s, focusing on women who left families, careers, and identities to join the community of Rajneeshpuram. Rajneesh was a spiritual leader for thousands of young Americans, and in rural Oregon his devotees established a thriving community. Marion S. Goldman's extensive interviews with women who participated at Rajneeshpuram provide a fascinating picture of the cultural and social climate that motivated successful, established women to join such a movement.
Passionate Journeys will appeal to specialists in feminist theory and women's studies, sociology, religious studies, American studies, and the history of the Northwest.
Marion S. Goldman is Professor of Sociology, University of Oregon. She is also the author of Gold Diggers and Silver Miners: Prostitution and Social Life on the Comstock Lode.
In People of Faith, Mariza de Carvalho Soares reconstructs the everyday lives of Mina slaves transported in the eighteenth century to Rio de Janeiro from the western coast of Africa, particularly from modern-day Benin. She describes a Catholic lay brotherhood formed by the enslaved Mina congregants of a Rio church, and she situates the brotherhood in a panoramic setting encompassing the historical development of the Atlantic slave trade in West Africa and the ethnic composition of Mina slaves in eighteenth-century Rio. Although Africans from the Mina Coast constituted no more than ten percent of the slave population of Rio, they were a strong presence in urban life at the time. Soares analyzes the role that Catholicism, and particularly lay brotherhoods, played in Africans’ construction of identities under slavery in colonial Brazil. As in the rest of the Portuguese empire, black lay brotherhoods in Rio engaged in expressions of imperial pomp through elaborate festivals, processions, and funerals; the election of kings and queens; and the organization of royal courts. Drawing mainly on ecclesiastical documents, Soares reveals the value of church records for historical research.
The Pew and the Picket Line collects works from a new generation of scholars working at the nexus where religious history and working-class history converge. Focusing on Christianity and its unique purchase in America, the contributors use in-depth local histories to illustrate how Americans male and female, rural and urban, and from a range of ethnic backgrounds dwelt in a space between the church and the shop floor. Their vivid essays show Pentecostal miners preaching prosperity while seeking miracles in the depths of the earth, while aboveground black sharecroppers and white Protestants establish credit unions to pursue a joint vision of cooperative capitalism. Innovative and essential, The Pew and the Picket Line reframes venerable debates as it maps the dynamic contours of a landscape sculpted by the powerful forces of Christianity and capitalism. Contributors: Christopher D. Cantwell, Heath W. Carter, Janine Giordano Drake, Ken Fones-Wolf, Erik Gellman, Alison Collis Greene, Brett Hendrickson, Dan McKanan, Matthew Pehl, Kerry L. Pimblott, Jarod Roll, Evelyn Sterne, and Arlene Sanchez Walsh.
The Poor Belong to Us
Dorothy M. BROWN Harvard University Press, 1997 Library of Congress BX2347.8.P66B76 1997 | Dewey Decimal 361.7508822
Between the Civil War and World War II, Catholic charities evolved from volunteer and local origins into a centralized and professionally trained workforce that played a prominent role in the development of American welfare. Dorothy Brown and Elizabeth McKeown document the extraordinary efforts of Catholic volunteers to care for Catholic families and resist Protestant and state intrusions at the local level, and they show how these initiatives provided the foundation for the development of the largest private system of social provision in the United States.
It is a story tightly interwoven with local, national, and religious politics that began with the steady influx of poor Catholic immigrants into urban centers. Supported by lay organizations and by sympathetic supporters in city and state politics, religious women operated foundling homes, orphanages, protectories, reformatories, and foster care programs for the children of the Catholic poor in New York City and in urban centers around the country.
When pressure from reform campaigns challenged Catholic child care practices in the first decades of the twentieth century, Catholic charities underwent a significant transformation, coming under central diocesan control and growing increasingly reliant on the services of professional social workers. And as the Depression brought nationwide poverty and an overwhelming need for public solutions, Catholic charities faced a staggering challenge to their traditional claim to stewardship of the poor. In their compelling account, Brown and McKeown add an important dimension to our understanding of the transition from private to state social welfare.
Table of Contents:
1. The New York System 2. The Larger Landscape 3. Inside the Institutions: Foundlings, Orphans, Delinquents 4. Outside the Institutions: Pensions, Precaution, Prevention 5. Catholic Charities, the Great Depression, and the New Deal Conclusion
Sources Notes Index
Reviews of this book: [The Poor Belong to Us] raise[s] important questions about American social welfare history. [It] is particularly significant in that it restores Catholic charity to its rightful place at the center of that history. As the authors point out, Catholics represented the majority of dependent and delinquent children in most American cities for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their book convincingly demonstrates that Catholic charities' massive efforts to aid their own needy had long-term ramifications for the entire modern American system of welfare provision...The book is an impressive achievement and should be required reading for all social welfare historians. --Susan L. Porter, Journal of American History
Reviews of this book: Brown and McKeown provide a richly documented narrative that incorporates the insights and scholarship of American Catholic history and social history...The Poor Belong to Us represents an ambitious foray into territory within the history of Catholic social activism that has been neglected for too long. It provides an important counterpoise and supplement to the burgeoning scholarship on individual congregations of women religious and the Catholic Worker movement, two area adjacent to this study that have received considerable attention in the past three decades...In The Poor Belong to Us, readers gain a new understanding of the complexities and internal tensions within the world of Catholic social welfare during the century of growth and change chronicled by Brown and McKeown...They show us how, for most American Catholics of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, questions of class and social and economic responsibility can only be understood with reference to the faith, a pervasive yet elusive presence that Brown and McKeown illuminate for us in carefully pruned, contextualized examples from archival sources. --Debra Campbell, Church History
Reviews of this book: This book documents the role of Catholics in the development of American welfare and shows strong parallels between situations and attitudes prevalent in the 19th century and those common today...Following the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law, some of these same questions are being raised afresh today...That situation makes Brown and McKeown's historical account timely and relevant...Brown and McKeown neither try to sugarcoat nor to dramatize the role of Catholic charities in American welfare. The story is interesting enough in itself...This is an excellent work...For anyone wanting to better understand the role of Catholic charities in the American welfare system or even the development of charities and welfare in general, it is invaluable. --Diana Etindi, Indianapolis Star
Reviews of this book: Thoroughly researched and meticulous in its reasoning...[this book] shows how Catholic charities helped poor people in America between the 1870s and 1930s...[It] remind[s] us how 'Catholic' poverty seemed for half a century, and how effectively a generation of more prosperous Catholics reacted to it. It also shows how the idea of caring for the poor, for centuries a religious duty, was rapidly secularized in America...The Poor Belong to Us takes its place as a study and reference work of permanent value. --Patrick Allitt, Books and Culture
Reviews of this book: An interesting history of Catholic charitable institutions in the 20th century. The Poor Belong to Us traces the development of Catholic charities from a collection of ill-funded volunteer organizations in the 19th century into the largest private provider of social services in the country. Crisp writing and a keen eye for relevant detail carries the story along nicely...The authors display a deft hand in assembling their material, and impress the reader with their grasp of the large picture as well as the detail. This is a highly readable account of an important element of the history of the Church in America. --Robert Kennedy, National Catholic Register
Reviews of this book: This institutional history is valuable for underscoring the importance of the private sector in American welfare and for adding a Catholic dimension to recent welfare scholarship. --S.L. Piott, Choice
Reviews of this book: Historian Dorothy Brown and theologian Elizabeth McKeown analyze the evolution of Catholic Churches between the Civil War and World War II from its local volunteer origins to a centralized and professionalized workforce that played a prominent role in the development of the American welfare system that is now under attack. In this fascinating contribution to contemporary welfare scholarship, the authors' study is grounded in concerns and care for the children of the poor. --Dorothy Van Soest, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
<p>Bringing together a never-before-assembled network of biologists, psychologists, and sociologists, <em>Positive Youth Development and Spirituality</em> scientifically examines how spirituality and its cultivation may affect the positive development of adolescents. </p>
<p>Chapters provide groundbreaking new discussions of conceptual, theoretical, definitional, and methodological issues that need to be addressed when exploring the relationships between spirituality and development. Throughout the book, contributors recommend ways in which the research on the spirituality/positive youth development connection may be integral in building the larger field of spiritual development as a legitimate and active domain of developmental science. This volume, which is sure to be seen as a seminal contribution to a field in need of theoretical underpinnings, will be of interest to scholars and scientists in the fields of biology and the social and behavioral sciences.</p>
<p>Contributors include: Mona Abo-Zena, Jeffrey Jensen Arnnett, Peter L. Benson, Marina Umaschi Bers, Aerika Brittian, William Damon, Angela M. DeSilva, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, David Henry Feldman, Simon Gächter, Elena L. Grigorenko, Sonia S. Isaac, Lene Arnett Jensen, Carl N. Johnson, Linda Juang, Pamela Ebstyne King, Richard M. Lerner, Jennifer Menon, Na'ilah Sued Nasir, Guerda Nicolas, Toma´š Paus, Stephen C. Peck, Erin Phelps, Alan P. Poey, Robert W. Roeser, W. George Scarlett, Lonnie R. Sherrod, Gabriel S. Spiewak, Chris Starmer, Moin Syed, Janice L. Templeton, Heather L. Urry, and Richard Wilkinson.</p>
The Profession of Widowhood explores how the idea of ‘true’ widowhood was central to pre-modern ideas concerning marriage and of female identity more generally. The medieval figure of the Christian vere vidua or “good” widow evolved from and reinforced ancient social and religious sensibilities of chastity, loyalty and grief as gendered ‘work.’ The ideal widow was a virtuous woman who mourned her dead husband in chastity, solitude, and most importantly, in perpetuity, marking her as “a widow indeed” (1 Tim 5:5). The widow who failed to display adequate grief fulfilled the stereotype of the ‘merry widow’ who forgot her departed spouse and abused her sexual and social freedom. Stereotypes of widows ‘good’ and ‘bad’ served highly-charged ideological functions in pre-modern culture, and have remained durable even in modern times, even as Western secular society now focuses more on a woman’s recovery from grief and possible re-coupling than the expectation that she remain forever widowed. The widow represented not only the powerful bond created by love and marriage, but also embodied the conventions of grief that ordered the response when those bonds were broken by premature death. This notion of the widow as both a passive memorial to her husband and as an active ‘rememberer’ was rooted in ancient traditions, and appropriated by early Christian and medieval authors who used “good” widowhood to describe the varieties of female celibacy and to define the social and gender order. A tradition of widowhood characterized by chastity, solitude, and permanent bereavement affirmed both the sexual mores and political agenda of the medieval Church. Medieval widows—both holy women recognized as saints and ‘ordinary women’ in medieval daily life—recognized this tradition of professed chastity in widowhood not only as a valuable strategy for avoiding remarriage and protecting their independence, but as a state with inherent dignity that afforded opportunities for spiritual development in this world and eternal merit in the next.
"An engrossing account of the appeal of religious orthodoxy to formerly secular women, many of them once feminist, radical members of the counterculture. . . . This outstanding work of scholarship reads with the immediacy of a novel."ÐÐCynthia Fuchs Epstein, author of Deceptive Distinctions: Sex, Gender, and the Social Order
Debra Kaufman writes about ba'alot teshuva women who have returned to Orthodox Judaism, a form of Judaism often assumed to be oppressive to women. She addresses many of the most challenging issues of family, feminism, and gender. Why, she asks, have these women chosen an Orthodox lifestyle? What attracts young, relatively affluent, well-educated, and highly assimilated women to the most traditional, right-wing, patriarchal, and fundamentalist branch of Judaism? The answers she discovers lead her beyond an analysis of religious renewal to those issues all women and men confront in public and private life.
Kaufman interviewed and observed 150 ba'alot teshuva. She uses their own stories, in their own words, to show us how they make sense of the choices they have made. Lamenting their past pursuit of individual freedom over social responsibility, they speak of searching for shared meaning and order, and finding it in orthodoxy.
The laws and customs of Orthodox Judaism have been formulated by men, and it is men who enforce those laws and control the Orthodox community. The leadership is dominated by men. But the women do not experience theologically-imposed subordination as we might expect. Although most ba'alot teshuva reject feminism or what they perceive as feminism, they maintain a gender consciousness that incorporates aspects of feminist ideology, and often use feminist rhetoric to explain their lives.
Kaufman does not idealize the ba'alot teshuva world. Their culture does not accommodate the non-Orthodox, the homosexual, the unmarried, the divorced. Nor do the women have the mechanisms or political power to reject what is still oppressive to them. They must live within the authority of a rabbinic tradition and social structure set by males. Like other religious right women, their choices reinforce authoritarian trends current in today's society. Rachel's Daughters provides a fascinating picture of how newly orthodox women perceive their role in society as more liberating than oppressive.
In a world in which religion and homosexuality are often by definition incompatible, it is crucial to hear from gay men and women about how they perceive themselves to be religious or spiritual people. Eliciting powerful, frank, and sometimes troubling responses, David Shallenberger interviewed gay men and women who grew up in families that belonged to traditional religions-Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant-that rejected homosexuality as an unacceptable life-style. When these children grew into adulthood and "came out," many rejected the religion of their childhood as they sought out a more accepting gay community. But once they became comfortable with their new gay identity, they began to experience a spiritual hunger and a desire to be part of a religious community. Some sought to return to the traditions from which they came; others desired membership in new religious communities.
The quest for an integration of homosexuality and spirituality is the focus of Reclaiming the Spirit. Shallenberger asks how individuals can balance both a gay and a religious identity, whether coming out is a spiritual experience, and how coming out affects an individual's relationship to a traditional religious community. Divided into chapters that correspond to the common stages of spiritual integration, Reclaiming the Spirit is immensely readable and introduces an important group of voices into the hotly contested debates surrounding religion and gay participation.
Religion has jumped into the sphere of global and domestic politics in ways that few would have imagined a century ago. Some expected that religion would die as modernity flourished. Instead, it now stares at us almost daily from the front pages of newspapers and television broadcasts. Although it is usually stories about the Christian Right or conservative Islam that grab headlines, there are many religious activists of other political persuasions that are working quietly for social justice. This book examines how religious immigrants and religious activists are working for equitable treatment for immigrants in the United States.
The essays in this book analyze the different ways in which organized religion provides immigrants with an arena for mobilization, civic participation, and solidarity. Contributors explore topics including how non-Western religious groups such as the Vietnamese Caodai are striving for community recognition and addressing problems such as racism, economic issues, and the politics of diaspora; how interfaith groups organize religious people into immigrant civil rights activists at the U.S.–Mexican border; and how Catholic groups advocate governmental legislation and policies on behalf of refugees.
Based on ethnographic research by an interdisciplinary team of scholars and activists, Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana illuminates the role that religion plays in the civic and political experiences of new migrants in the United States. By bringing innovative questions and theoretical frameworks to bear on the experiences of Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, Salvadoran, and Vietnamese migrants, the contributors demonstrate how groups and individuals negotiate multiple religious, cultural, and national identities, and how religious faiths are transformed through migration. Taken together, their essays show that migrants’ religious lives are much more than replications of home in a new land. They reflect a process of adaptation to new physical and cultural environments, and an ongoing synthesis of cultural elements from the migrants’ countries of origin and the United States.
As they conducted research, the contributors not only visited churches and temples but also single-room-occupancy hotels, brothels, tattoo-removal clinics, and the streets of San Francisco, El Salvador, Mexico, and Vietnam. Their essays include an exploration of how faith-based organizations can help LGBT migrants surmount legal and social complexities, an examination of transgendered sex workers’ relationship with the unofficial saint Santisima Muerte, a comparison of how a Presbyterian mission and a Buddhist temple in San Francisco help Chinese immigrants to acculturate, and an analysis of the transformation of baptismal rites performed by Mayan migrants. The voices of gang members, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist nuns, members of Pentecostal churches, and many others animate this collection. In the process of giving voice to these communities, the contributors interrogate theories about acculturation, class, political and social capital, gender and sexuality, the sociology of religion, transnationalism, and globalization. The collection includes twenty-one photographs by Jerry Berndt.
Contributors. Luis Enrique Bazan, Kevin M. Chun, Hien Duc Do, Patricia Fortuny Loret de Mola, Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Sarah Horton, Cymene Howe, Mimi Khúc, Jonathan H. X. Lee, Lois Ann Lorentzen, Andrea Maison, Dennis Marzan, Rosalina Mira, Claudine del Rosario, Susanna Zaraysky
Throughout India and Southeast Asia, ancient classical epics—the Mahabharata and the Ramayana—continue to exert considerable cultural influence. Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics offers an unprecedented exploration into South Asia's regional epic traditions.
Using his own fieldwork as a starting point, Alf Hiltebeitel analyzes how the oral tradition of the south Indian cult of the goddess Draupadi and five regional martial oral epics compare with one another and tie in with the Sanskrit epics. Drawing on literary theory and cultural studies, he reveals the shared subtexts of the Draupadi cult Mahabharata and the five oral epics, and shows how the traditional plots are twisted and classical characters reshaped to reflect local history and religion. In doing so, Hiltebeitel sheds new light on the intertwining oral traditions of medieval Rajput military culture, Dalits ("former Untouchables"), and Muslims.
Breathtaking in scope, this work is indispensable for those seeking a deeper understanding of South Asia's Hindu and Muslim traditions.
This work is the third volume in Hiltebeitel's study of the Draupadi cult. Other volumes include Mythologies: From Gingee to Kuruksetra (Volume One), On Hindu Ritual and the Goddess (Volume Two), and Rethinking the Mahabharata (Volume Four).
Riders for God takes us into a world generally inaccessible to outsiders, one situated at the crossroads of two seemingly incongruous realms: motorcycle gangs and Spirit-filled Christianity.
Founded by a former biker and located in southern Indiana, the Unchained Gang is a group of former outlaw bikers, ex-convicts, and recovering addicts who are now born-again Christians. Although they have given up drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and violence they have kept their motorcycles--which they consider to be anointed--and use them as tools in their witness of the word of God as they understand it. The Unchained Gang is an outreach ministry, going into prisons and jails, biker rallies, and other places where people on the fringe are often ignored by other churches and the rest of society.
Combining powerful photographic images with gang members' first-person testimonies, Rich Remsberg shows the ironic juxtaposition of tattoos, leather vests, and the iconography of the biker world with the Christian practices of Bible study, speaking in tongues, and praying at an altar. He explores the lives of men and women who have redirected the extreme nature of their former ways.
Through their own powerful stories, they explain how the addictions and uncontrollable violence that once shaped their lives have given way to dramatic worship and zealous ministry.
An afterword by Colleen McDannell situates the Unchained Gang's
interpretation of Christian living in the larger constellation of pentecostal, born-again, fundamentalist, and mainstream churches.
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of America’s history. Currently, about 40 percent of the nation’s annual population growth comes from the influx of foreign-born individuals and their children. As these new voices enter America’s public conversations, they bring with them a new understanding of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity to a society that has been marked by religious variety.
Sacred Assemblies and Civic Engagement takes an in-depth look at one particular urban area—the Chicago metropolitan region—and examines how religion affects the civic engagement of the nation’s newest residents. Chapters focus on important religious factors, including sectarianism, moral authority, and moral projects; on several areas of social life, including economics, education, marriage, and language, where religion impacts civic engagement; and on how notions of citizenship and community are influenced by sacred assemblies.
On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the Islamist extremist organization al-Qaeda launched four coordinated attacks on the United States, killing 2,977 people. These events and the government’s subsequent “War on Terror” refueled long-standing negative stereotypes about Muslims and Islam among many Americans. And yet thousands of practicing Muslims continued to serve or chose to enlist in the U.S. military during these years.
In Service in a Time of Suspicion, fifteen such service members talk about what it means to be Muslim, American, and a uniformed member of the armed services in the twenty-first century. These honest accounts remind us of our shared humanity.
Current academic discourse frequently understates the role of religion in the development of the American Deaf community. In her new study, Tracy Ann Morse effects a sharp course correction by delineating the frequent use over time of religious rhetoric by members of the Deaf community to preserve and support sign language.
In Chapter One, Morse analyzes Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet’s use of religious references in his 1817 maiden address at the first American school for deaf students. She examines his and other speeches as examples of the intersection of education for deaf Americans and Protestant missionary efforts to convert them. In the second chapter, she presents the different religious perspectives of the two deaf education camps: Manualists argued that sign language was a gift from God, while Oralists viewed hand gestures as animal-like, indicative of lower evolutionary development.
Chapter Three explores the religious rhetoric in churches, sanctuaries where sign language flourished and deaf members formed relationships. In the fourth chapter, Morse shows how Deaf activist George Veditz signed using religious themes in his political films. She also comments on the impact of the bilingual staging of Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which began to change the hearing world’s opinion about the Deaf community. Morse concludes with speculation on the shifting terrain for deaf people due to technological innovations that might supplant religious rhetoric as a tool to support the Deaf community.
In this pioneering study, historian Andreana Prichard presents an intimate history of a single mission organization, the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA), told through the rich personal stories of a group of female African lay evangelists. Founded by British Anglican missionaries in the 1860s, the UMCA worked among refugees from the Indian Ocean slave trade on Zanzibar and among disparate communities on the adjacent Tanzanian mainland. Prichard illustrates how the mission’s unique theology and the demographics of its adherents produced cohorts of African Christian women who, in the face of linguistic and cultural dissimilarity, used the daily performance of a certain set of “civilized” Christian values and affective relationships to evangelize to new inquirers. The UMCA’s “sisters in spirit” ultimately forged a united spiritual community that spanned discontiguous mission stations across Tanzania and Zanzibar, incorporated diverse ethnolinguistic communities, and transcended generations. Focusing on the emotional and personal dimensions of their lives and on the relationships of affective spirituality that grew up among them, Prichard tells stories that are vital to our understanding of Tanzanian history, the history of religion and Christian missions in Africa, the development of cultural nationalisms, and the intellectual histories of African women.
In 1788, following the death of charismatic founder Mother Ann Lee, the celibate religious group known as the Shakers set out to institutionalize equality of the sexes in their theology, government, and daily practice. In this book, Glendyne Wergland evaluates how well they succeeded in that mission by examining the experiences of women within Shaker communities over more than a century. Drawing on an extensive archive of primary documents, Wergland discusses topics ranging from girlhood, health, and dress to why women joined the Shakers and how they were viewed by those outside their community. She analyzes the division of labor between men and women, showing that there was considerable cooperation and reciprocity in carrying out most tasks-from food production to laundering to gathering firewood-even as gendered conflicts remained. In her conclusion, Wergland draws together all of these threads to show that Shaker communities achieved a remarkable degree of gender equality at a time when women elsewhere still suffered under the legal and social strictures of the traditional patriarchal order. In so doing, she argues, the experience of Shaker women served as a model for promoting women's rights in American political culture.
In the wake of dramatic, recent changes in American family life, evangelical and mainline Protestant churches took markedly different positions on family change. This work explains why these two traditions responded so differently to family change and then goes on to explore how the stances of evangelical and mainline Protestant churches toward marriage and parenting influenced the husbands and fathers that fill their pews.
According to W. Bradford Wilcox, the divergent family ideologies of evangelical and mainline churches do not translate into large differences in family behavior between evangelical and mainline Protestant men who are married with children. Mainline Protestant men, he contends, are "new men" who take a more egalitarian approach to the division of household labor than their conservative peers and a more involved approach to parenting than men with no religious affiliation. Evangelical Protestant men, meanwhile, are "soft patriarchs"—not as authoritarian as some would expect, and given to being more emotional and dedicated to their wives and children than both their mainline and secular counterparts. Thus, Wilcox argues that religion domesticates men in ways that make them more responsive to the aspirations and needs of their immediate families.
Reading some of the best-known Torah stories through the lens of transgender experience, Joy Ladin explores fundamental questions about how religious texts, traditions, and the understanding of God can be enriched by transgender perspectives, and how the Torah and trans lives can illuminate one another. Drawing on her own experience and lifelong reading practice, Ladin shows how the Torah, a collection of ancient texts that assume human beings are either male or female, speaks both to practical transgender concerns, such as marginalization, and to the challenges of living without a body or social role that renders one intelligible to others—challenges that can help us understand a God who defies all human categories. These creative, evocative readings transform our understanding of the Torah’s portrayals of God, humanity, and relationships between them.
Winner of the Herbert G. Gutman Prize from the Labor and Working-Class History Association
In Spirit of Rebellion, Jarod Roll documents an alternative tradition of American protest by linking working-class political movements to grassroots religious revivals. He reveals how ordinary rural citizens in the south used available resources and their shared faith to defend their agrarian livelihoods amid the political and economic upheaval of the first half of the twentieth century.
On the frontier of the New Cotton South in Missouri's Bootheel, the relationships between black and white farmers were complicated by racial tensions and bitter competition. Despite these divisions, workers found common ground as dissidents fighting for economic security, decent housing, and basic health, ultimately drawing on the democratic potential of evangelical religion to wage working-class revolts against commodity agriculture and the political forces that buoyed it. Roll convincingly shows how the moral clarity and spiritual vigor these working people found in the burgeoning Pentecostal revivals gave them the courage and fortitude to develop an expansive agenda of workers' rights by tapping into the powers of existing organizations such as the Socialist Party, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the NAACP, and the interracial Southern Tenant Farmers' Union.
Pentecostalism is currently the fastest-growing Christian movement, with hundreds of millions of followers. This growth overwhelmingly takes place outside of the West, and women make up 75 percent of the membership. The contributors to Spirit on the Move examine Pentecostalism's appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community and access to power. Exploring a range of topics, from Neo-Pentecostal churches in Ghana that help women challenge gender norms to evangelical gospel musicians in Brazil, the contributors show how Pentecostalism helps black women draw attention to and seek remediation from the violence and injustices brought on by civil war, capitalist exploitation, racism, and the failures of the state. In fleshing out the experiences, theologies, and innovations of black women Pentecostals, the contributors show how Pentecostal belief and its various practices reflect the movement's complexity, reach, and adaptability to specific cultural and political formations.
Contributors. Paula Aymer, John Burdick, Judith Casselberry, Deidre Helen Crumbley, Elizabeth McAlister, Laura Premack, Elizabeth A. Pritchard, Jane Soothill, Linda van de Kamp
With today's cumbersome insurance procedures, government regulations, endless paperwork, and concerns about malpractice rates, many health care professionals are asking: "Why am I doing this? Am I making a difference to my patients? Is there a better way—and if so, what is it?" In this book, Carson and Koenig examine the state of the health care system with the goal of providing healthcare professionals and caregivers the inspiration and practical tools to reclaim their sense of purpose.
The book begins with an evaluation of the current system from the perspective of the spiritual vision that initially motivated and nourished many caregivers. The authors then pose a vision of a health care system that supports and nurtures the spirituality of patients and their families, of which some elements already exist.
An overview is provided on the preparation necessary for health care professionals to offer spiritual care when there are major implications—for people with chronic illnesses, psychiatric issues, devastating injuries, and those preparing for surgery, facing death, and those living with chronic pain. Also explored are ways that health professionals and caregivers can maintain their own spiritual health even as they work to bring about healing, comfort, and solace to others.
Woven throughout the book are the personal narratives of physicians, nurses, chaplains, health care educators, community resource workers, administrators, therapists, and psychologists—all from a wide range of religious traditions. Their examples inspire and assist professionals in renewing the spiritual focus of health care.
Today, the surprisingly elastic form of the memoir embraces subjects that include dying, illness, loss, relationships, and self-awareness. Writing to reveal the inner self—the pilgrimage into one’s spiritual and/or religious nature—is a primary calling. Contemporary memoirists are exploring this field with innovative storytelling, rigorous craft, and new styles of confessional authorship. Now, Thomas Larson brings his expertise as a critic, reader, and teacher to the boldly evolving and improvisatory world of spiritual literature.
In his book-length essay Spirituality and the Writer, Larson surveys the literary insights of authors old and new who have shaped religious autobiography and spiritual memoir—from Augustine to Thomas Merton, from Peter Matthiessen to Cheryl Strayed. He holds them to an exacting standard: they must render transcendent experience in the writing itself. Only when the writer’s craft prevails can the fleeting and profound personal truths of the spirit be captured. Like its predecessor, Larson’s The Memoir and the Memoirist,Spirituality and the Writer will find a home in writing classrooms and book groups, and be a resource for students, teachers, and writers who seek guidance with exploring their spiritual lives.
Talking to the Dead is an ethnography of seven Gullah/Geechee women from the South Carolina lowcountry. These women communicate with their ancestors through dreams, prayer, and visions and traditional crafts and customs, such as storytelling, basket making, and ecstatic singing in their churches. Like other Gullah/Geechee women of the South Carolina and Georgia coasts, these women, through their active communication with the deceased, make choices and receive guidance about how to live out their faith and engage with the living. LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant emphasizes that this communication affirms the women's spiritual faith—which seamlessly integrates Christian and folk traditions—and reinforces their position as powerful culture keepers within Gullah/Geechee society. By looking in depth at this long-standing spiritual practice, Manigault-Bryant highlights the subversive ingenuity that lowcountry inhabitants use to thrive spiritually and to maintain a sense of continuity with the past.
The books in The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe series chronicle the heretofore neglected stories of women between 1400 and 1700 with the aim of reviving scholarly interest in their thought as expressed in a full range of genres: treatises, orations, and history; lyric, epic, and dramatic poetry; novels and novellas; letters, biography, and autobiography; philosophy and science. Teaching Other Voices: Women and Religion in Early Modern Europe complements these rich volumes by identifying themes useful in literature, history, religion, women's studies, and introductory humanities courses. The volume's introduction, essays, and suggested course materials are intended as guides for teachers--but will serve the needs of students and scholars as well.
This book is the first detailed examination of these four authors as part of a Roman Catholic, counter-modern community of discourse. It is informed by extensive research in the writers' works, scholarship on them, and their personal papers.
Voices from the Ancestors brings together the reflective writings and spiritual practices of Xicanx, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx womxn and male allies in the United States who seek to heal from the historical traumas of colonization by returning to ancestral traditions and knowledge.
This wisdom is based on the authors’ oral traditions, research, intuitions, and lived experiences—wisdom inspired by, and created from, personal trajectories on the path to spiritual conocimiento, or inner spiritual inquiry. This conocimiento has reemerged over the last fifty years as efforts to decolonize lives, minds, spirits, and bodies have advanced. Yet this knowledge goes back many generations to the time when the ancestors understood their interconnectedness with each other, with nature, and with the sacred cosmic forces—a time when the human body was a microcosm of the universe.
Reclaiming and reconstructing spirituality based on non-Western epistemologies is central to the process of decolonization, particularly in these fraught times. The wisdom offered here appears in a variety of forms—in reflective essays, poetry, prayers, specific guidelines for healing practices, communal rituals, and visual art, all meant to address life transitions and how to live holistically and with a spiritual consciousness for the challenges of the twenty-first century.
Health care professionals, clergy, chaplains, social workers, and others who counsel people in medical crisis often find themselves faced with deeply painful questions: Why is this happening to me? Am I dying? Why should I live? I'm just a burden to others.
Here is a workbook that suggests healing verbal responses to such expressions of spiritual pain. The author, an internationally recognized expert in spiritual caregiving, points out that wanting to help is one motivation for learning these skills, but there are also evidence-based reasons: helping patients express their innermost feelings promotes spiritual healing; spiritual health is related to physical and emotional health; spiritual coping helps patients accept and deal with their illness; and patients tend to want their health care professionals to know about their spirituality.
Lessons, tips, and exercises teach how to listen effectively, with guidelines for detecting and understanding the spiritual needs embedded in patients' conversations. Suggestions are provided for verbal responses to patients who express spiritual distress, including tips for building rapport, using self-disclosure, and praying with patients. A FAQ section deals with frequently asked questions and miscellaneous information, such as:
•What do I do when a patient talks on and on and I have to leave?
•How do I answer a "why" question?
•What do I say to a patient who believes a miracle will happen to cure them?
•What if I'm not religious? How can I talk about it?
By practicing and using these healing techniques, Taylor explains, healthcare professionals will be able to provide patients responses to their questions that allow them to become intellectually, emotionally, and physically aware of their spirituality so they can experience life more fully.
Mormonism is a community with two faces: progressive and conservative. This is true of nearly all faith traditions, which can be alternately open or defensive, traditional or innovative, accepting or judgmental. In the case of the LDS Church, it continues, a century after having shaken off the stigma of polygamy, three decades after embracing blacks as equals, and in the face of international growth, to wrestle with freeing itself from its past insularity. In doing so, it will find its place within the larger religious world and its accommodation to the challenges of modernism.
This all represents a challenge for individual members, especially for artists, scholars, and independent thinkers. The poet Robert Haas has made a distinction between religion, which is “communal worship centered on shared ideas of the sacred,” and spirituality, which “has to do with the individual soul’s struggle with its own meaning.” In this anthology, sixteen Latter-day Saints explain how they balance the demands of religion and spirituality in the modern Church. It brings to mind the example of LDS educator Lowell Bennion who offered the image of carrying water on both shoulders to explain the binary nature of balancing faith with reason, institutional commitment with individual integrity, obedience with love.
It is encouraging to discover so many Latter-day saints who, the editor writes, “neither stay with their faith blindly nor leave it rebelliously, but rather choose to struggle with challenges and strive for a more mature discipleship.” The contributors to this anthology are Lavina Fielding Anderson, Mary Bradford, William Bradshaw, Claudia L. Bushman, Fred Christensen, Lael Littke, Armand Mauss, Chase Peterson, Grethe Peterson, J. Frederick “Toby” Pingree, Gregory Prince, Robert A. Rees, Tom Rogers, William D. Russell, Cherry Bushman Silver, and Morris Thurston.
Caterina Vigri (later Saint Catherine of Bologna) was a mystic, writer, teacher and nun-artist. Her first home, Corpus Domini, Ferrara, was a house of semi-religious women that became a Poor Clare convent and model of Franciscan Observant piety. Vigri's intensely spiritual decoration of her breviary, as well as convent altarpieces that formed a visual program of adoration for the Body of Christ, exemplify the Franciscan Observant visual culture. After Vigri's departure, it was transformed by d'Este women patrons, including Isabella da Aragona, Isabella d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia. While still preserving Observant ideals, it became a more elite noblewomen's retreat.Grounded in archival research and extant paintings, drawings, prints and art objects from Corpus Domini, this volume explores the art, visual culture, and social history of an early modern Franciscan women's community.
Honorable Mention for the Robert K. Martin Prize 2019
Media portrayals of Orthodox Jewish women frequently depict powerless, silent individuals who are at best naive to live an Orthodox lifestyle, and who are at worst, coerced into it. Karen E. H. Skinazi delves beyond this stereotype in Women of Valor to identify a powerful tradition of feminist literary portrayals of Orthodox women, often created by Orthodox women themselves. She examines Orthodox women as they appear in memoirs, comics, novels, and movies, and speaks with the authors, filmmakers, and musicians who create these representations. Throughout the work, Skinazi threads lines from the poem “Eshes Chayil,” the Biblical description of an Orthodox “Woman of Valor.” This proverb unites Orthodoxy and feminism in a complex relationship, where Orthodox women continuously question, challenge, and negotiate Orthodox and feminist values. Ultimately, these women create paths that unite their work, passions, and families under the framework of an “Eshes Chayil,” a woman who situates religious conviction within her own power.
In the United States, precious little is known about the active role Muslim women have played for nearly a century in the religious culture of Indonesia, the largest majority-Muslim country in the world. While much of the Muslim world excludes women from the domain of religious authority, the country's two leading Muslim organizations--Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)--have created enormous networks led by women who interpret sacred texts and exercise powerful religious influence.
In Women Shaping Islam, Pieternella van Doorn-Harder explores the work of these contemporary women leaders, examining their attitudes toward the rise of radical Islamists; the actions of the authoritarian Soeharto regime; women's education and employment; birth control and family planning; and sexual morality. Ultimately, van Doorn-Harder reveals the many ways in which Muslim women leaders understand and utilize Islam as a significant force for societal change; one that ultimately improves the economic, social, and psychological condition of women in Indonesian society.
This classic work is an important introduction to the efforts of whites to evangelize African Americans in the antebellum South.
First published in 1979, Wrestlin’ Jacob offers important insights into the intersection of black and white religious history in the South. Erskine Clarke provides two arenas—one urban and one rural—that show what happened when white ministers tried to bring black slaves into the fold of Christianity. Clarke illustrates how the good intentions—and vain illusions—of the white preachers, coupled with the degradation and cultural strength of the slaves, played a significant role in the development of black churches in the South.
From 1833 to 1847, Reverend Charles Colcock Jones served as an itinerant minister to slaves on the rice and cotton plantations in Liberty County, Georgia. The aim of Jones, and of the largely Puritan-descended slave owners, was to harvest not only good Christians but also obedient and hard-working slaves. At the same time, similar efforts were under way in cosmopolitan Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston permitted blacks to worship only under the supervision of whites, and partially as a result, whites and blacks worshiped together in ways that would be unheard of later in the segregated South.
Clarke examines not only the white ministers’ motivation in their missionary work but also the slaves’ reasons for becoming a part of the church. He addresses the important issue of the continuity of African traditions with the religious life of slaves and provides a significant introduction to the larger issues of slavery and religion in the South.