Histories of Christian Life in America, 1630–1965
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Series: Lived Religions
The History of American Christian Practice Project, a three-year collaborative enterprise under the sponsorship of the Lilly Endowment, set out to confront Christian practice as an aspect of American religious history. The twelve principal researchers for the project faced far more knots than we could ever hope to untangle in a single volume of essays...
Christian practice has always defied singular definition, particularly in the diversity and competition of America’s religious marketplace. From the earliest days of colonial settlement, a Christian practice without controversy would have been difficult to find. The sacraments were, of course, among the most obvious points of contention: Were there seven of them, two, or none?...
PART I: PURITAN AND EVANGELICAL PRACTICE IN NEW ENGLAND, 1630–1800
1 Writing as a Protestant Practice: Devotional Diaries in Early New England
One morning in April of 1757, Sarah Osborn, a 43-year-old schoolteacher, rose with the first light of the sun, closed the curtains around her bed for privacy, and knelt on her bed in front of a small portable desk.With a few quick strokes of her penknife, she sharpened her quill, carefully dipped it in a pot of ink, and then began writing. “Stay with me,” she wrote to God, her quill...
2 Forgiveness: From the Puritans to Jonathan Edwards
In 1740, the Reverend Jonathan Edwards fretted about the state of affairs in his town, Northampton, Massachusetts. The son and grandson of New England ministers, he had recently led many townspeople into a period of spiritual awakening and would later achieve fame as a defender of Calvinist revivals. Yet he worried that such religious fervor had not engendered...
PART II: MISSION, NATION, AND CHRISTIAN PRACTICE, 1820–1940
3 Assembling Bodies and Souls: Missionary Practices on the Pacific Frontier
In the 1850s, George Q. Cannon, a future apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), journeyed as a missionary to the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii).Braced for a hostile reception from the natives, Cannon was dismayed to find that other Christian missionaries proved to be his most stubborn opponents: “Everything was done to have them [the residents] shun us,”...
4 Honoring Elders: Practices of Sagacity and Deference in Ojibwe Christianity
It is everywhere apparent, even in Bob Dylan’s voice on his recent albums, that youth is evading the baby boomer generation. As that generation matures, its parent generation has become the very old. Today, many Christian faith communities find themselves graying along with the population as a whole. In a contemporary culture that valorizes youth...
5 Nurturing Religious Nationalism: Korean Americans in Hawaii
Two features of the architecture of the Korean Christian Church in the Liliha Street neighborhood of Honolulu stand out for their nationalistic symbolism. The first is the entrance to the church, a replica of an ancient palace gate in Seoul. This distinctive and colorful passageway into the church was the pride of the congregation when the building was dedicated in 1938...
6 Re-Forming the Church: Preservation, Renewal, and Restoration in American Christian Architecture in California
Throughout U.S. history, American Christians have bemoaned the contemporary state of Christian belief and practice. Following the U.S.–Mexican War and the military conquest of the far Southwest in 1848, this Christian complaint took on a unique shape. As Anglo-American Protestantism arrived in a region with a recent Latin- American Catholic past, calls for Christian renewal became problematic...
PART III: DEVOTIONAL PRACTICES AND MODERN PREDICAMENTS, 1880–1920
7 “Acting Faith”: Practices of Religious Healing in Late-Nineteenth-Century Protestantism
At five minutes before seven o’clock on a winter evening in the year 1879, Sarah Mix knelt at the bedside of Mrs.Herbert Hall. For months, Hall had been confined to her bed with what she described as “enlargement of the spleen, inflammation of the bowels, and falling of the uterus.” Her doctors had given her no hope of recovery, and she had begun to prepare herself to die. But Hall’s friends were not willing to give up...
8 Observing the Lives of the Saints: Sanctification as Practice in the Church of God in Christ
In the first half of the twentieth century, African American churches in the Holiness and Pentecostal traditions fascinated anthropologists and sociologists. These “Sanctified” churches, as Zora Neale Hurston termed them, embraced traditional religious practices such as fasting, prayer, and modest dress as a major part of their spiritual discipline.1 In studies of these churches, however, these disciplinary practices...
9 The Practice of Prayer in a Modern Age: Liberals, Fundamentalists, and Prayer in the Early Twentieth Century
During the first quarter of the twentieth century, as the battle between selfdescribed fundamentalists and modernists among American Protestants intensified, a Kansas pastor penned an article for the conservative publication Moody Bible Institute Monthly entitled “Flattening the Spiritual Life.” The danger of liberalism, this pastor warned, was that liberal theology produced a deadened spiritual life...
PART IV: LIBERAL PROTESTANTS AND UNIVERSALIZING PRACTICES, 1850–1965
10 Cosmopolitan Piety: Sympathy, Comparative Religions, and Nineteenth-Century Liberalism
In 1871 Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911)—a fierce abolitionist, a renowned colonel of a black regiment during the Civil War, an activist for women’s rights, and a wide-ranging man of letters—published the most influential of his many religious essays,“The Sympathy of Religions.”He wrote much of the piece in the winter of 1870 for a lecture in Boston, but he had first focused on the subject...
11 The Practice of Dance for the Future of Christianity: “Eurythmic Worship” in New York’s Roaring Twenties
In the spring of 1924, the Reverend William Norman Guthrie, rector of St. Mark’s-in- the-Bouwerie Episcopal Church in New York City, faced a serious showdown with his bishop.William Thomas Manning, the Bishop of the Diocese of New York, was outraged at reports of “pagan dances” and other “non-Christian forms of worship” at St. Mark’s. He ordered Guthrie and his vestry to stop any such activities...
12 Taste Cultures: The Visual Practice of Liberal Protestantism, 1940–1965
Each of these short historical vignettes indicates the significance its protagonists assigned not just to art but also to the activity of art’s evaluation. Like their Protestant forbearers from earliest colonial times, these mid-twentieth-century liberal Protestants framed important roles for visual practice in shaping American religious belief...
List of Contributors
Page Count: 376
Illustrations: 23 halftones
Publication Year: 2006
Series Title: Lived Religions
Series Editor Byline: David D. Hall and Robert A. Orsi, Series Editors See more Books in this Series
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Practicing Protestants