Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of California Press
Series: The Anthropology of Christianity
Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
Writing this book has been a labor of love, but a labor nonetheless. I am tremendously thankful for all of the support, encouragement, and insight I have received from people and institutions along the way. I alone take full responsibility for the content, but I am proud to acknowledge the company I have kept in the process. ...
Chapter 1: Introduction
There are many ways to be ambitious, and many different objectives that ambitious people aspire to aside from wealth and power. For those we call “people of faith,” the life of religious commitment is a relentless, often challenging pursuit of virtues that—like fame, fortune, or artistic genius—are perceived as elusive yet ultimately attainable. ...
Chapter 2: Awaking Sleeping Giants
Whether you are a newcomer or seasoned churchgoer, one of the serious challenges of attending a worship service at a suburban megachurch on Sunday morning is finding a decent parking spot. A novice in every sense, I learned quickly that to get a good space in the sprawling parking lots of either Eternal Vine Church or Marble Valley Presbyterian— ...
Chapter 3: A Region in Spite of Itself
“Why Knoxville?” It seemed as though every other day someone would ask why I chose Knoxville as the site for my research. Even local evangelicals, who might be expected to ask whether I was a Christian before anything else, were initially perplexed and amused that I chose to conduct my study in their city instead of another, presumably more obvious location. ...
Chapter 4: The Names of Action
The socially engaged evangelicals described in this book are not social or political activists in any conventional sense. They do not adhere to a particular social movement or activist identity; they do not organize rallies, protests, or other forms of direct action meant to sway public opinion or impress and intimidate public figures. ...
Chapter 5: The Spiritual Injuries of Class
There was a time, not so long ago, when conservative evangelicalism was widely assumed to be a “religion of the dispossessed” (Niebuhr 1929), a rigid sectarian faith reserved for the poor and uneducated masses who reject modernity and all that comes with it. On the contrary, many North American evangelicals are educated, economically well off, ...
Chapter 6: Compassion Accounts
The dismantling of the federal welfare state in the 1990s sparked renewed public interest in religiously inspired or “faith-based” charity work and welfare activism. Religious conservatives in particular were emboldened by the idea that the downsizing of government’s role in the business of welfare would usher in a new era in which religious charities, ...
Chapter 7: Taking the (Inner) City for God
Listening to churchgoers at Eternal Vine and Marble Valley Presbyterian talk about Knoxville’s impoverished inner city, it often seemed as though the inner city was something of a missionary preoccupation. For those less involved in social outreach it is uncharted territory, an alluring but harsh and unsettling element of the urban landscape. ...
One of the more unexpected surprises of my fieldwork came when I was invited to accompany a group of high school students on a biennial “spring break mission trip” to Washington, DC, organized by the youth ministry at Marble Valley Presbyterian. I was invited by Margie McKenzie, whose career as an outreach coordinator began as a result of having attended this same trip years earlier. ...