Abstract

Abstract:

House for All Sinners and Saints (HFASS), a congregation affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Denver, Colorado, has recently attracted attention for its blend of confessional church tradition and its embrace of popular culture. It attracts the types of people not usually associated with mainstream Christianity, including queers, recovering addicts, and abuse victims. Given these biographies, a range of different subcultures has come together to shape beliefs and practices in unconventional ways. As a reaction to the opposition many members have experienced in the Christian mainstream, the congregation is rumoured to call itself ironically “Half-Ass” (after the acronym of its name—HFASS). This article frames religion and popular culture as entering into dialogue at House for All Sinners and Saints and discusses the meanings that emerge at this intersection. It argues that popular culture is not employed as a mere catch-all tool to fill the pews but, rather, serves to express deviance and dissent from the religious mainstream, encourage new forms of consciousness regarding being “unconventionally” Christian, and affirm alternative Christian-and-minority-member identities while simultaneously emphasizing the centrality of the confessional tradition for contemporary American culture.

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