Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. 8-11

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Introduction: Christianities in the Now South

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pp. 1-12

I have been studying to write this book my entire life. My mother was from New England stock and my father from Appalachian. Every time we traveled down from Michigan to see our relatives along the Ohio River in tiny South Webster, Ohio, my brothers and I marveled at their twanging accents. We would get back in the car to head north and try for days to talk that way ...

Part I: Rock of Ages Cleft for Me: Southern Traditions Revised

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1. I Was Hungry, and You Gave Me Something to Eat: Hospitality, Scarcity, and Fear in Southern Christianity

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pp. 15-41

The first I was aware that southern Christianity was different from the midwestern varieties I knew was on summer vacations in my grandparents’ small town in Appalachia. Depending on which week we visited there would be a white revival tent outside the Baptist church, behind the Methodist church, or up the street from the Evangelical United Brethren church. ...

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2. The Religion of the Lost Cause, Reloaded

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pp. 42-62

Twenty years ago the former pastor of historic Scots Presbyterian Church in Charleston asked me if I knew why people from Charleston liked to go to China so much. I should have known that it was a setup for a joke, but knowing that he had just been to China, I said, No, I didn’t, and asked him why. He laughed as he said, ...

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3. Rattlesnakes, Holiness, and the Nearness of the Holy Spirit

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pp. 63-83

When people found out I was writing a book about religion in the South, I was surprised how often I was asked, “Are you going to be talking about serpent-handling Pentecostals?” The question came from my devout Catholic next-door neighbor, Joe, from other professors, from people I had just interviewed in distant cities, ...

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4. Washed in the Blood in the Red States: Religion and Politics

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pp. 84-104

I know what you may be thinking when you read that title above: this must be a chapter about the Tea Party at prayer. At least that is the reaction I get during the twenty or so times a year when my commitments take me out of the South and into cities and states in other regions. My colleagues, friends, and even new acquaintances in Colorado, ...

Part II: Gulf Coast Disaster: Religion Is Only as Good as What It Does

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5. Our Church Is Cleaning Up after Katrina

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pp. 107-130

Most Americans who were alive in the waning days of August 2005 have vivid, media-framed memories of the nightmare that was Hurricane Katrina for New Orleans, southern Louisiana parishes, and coastal Mississippi. Bodies on the street—black bodies, apparently dead, abandoned outside the New Orleans Convention Center. ...

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6. Mississippi Flooding

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pp. 131-150

The first installment in this post-Katrina examination of southern faith in the light of hurricane recovery in the Gulf states focused on the storm and what people of faith did when confronted with the newly destroyed city of New Orleans. First they dealt with flooding and loss of housing and services, and then they began to cooperate to address the ways corruption, ...

Part III: Brand New Start: Southern Religious Innovations

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7. Megachurches and the Reinvention of Southern Church Life

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pp. 153-176

Megachurches are big in the South. That is, the phenomenon of megachurches—churches with approximately two thousand people in weekly worship attendance—is especially prevalent in the South. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which tracks all things megachurch, estimates that the southern states ...

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8. The Changing Face of the Catholic South

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pp. 177-200

Of all European faiths transplanted to what became the U.S. southern states, Roman Catholicism came first. In St. Augustine, Florida, under the Spanish; in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, under the French; and in the Bardstown, Kentucky, area with French immigrants and transplanted Catholics from Maryland, ...

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9. Christian Homeschoolers

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pp. 201-214

If you sought an intimate introduction to contemporary American evangelicalism layered with southern hospitality, it would be hard to beat the Christian homeschooling movement and a visit to one of their conventions in Nashville. Each year there are roughly forty-five homeschooling conventions in the United States—concentrated in the South, the Southwest, ...

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10. Southern, Christian, and Gay

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pp. 215-242

In perhaps no area is contemporary southern Christianity more deeply divided than over the issue of homosexuality. For conservative Christians in the South, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and now transgender persons have “chosen a lifestyle” that amounts to rejecting God’s natural order of creation. ...

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Conclusion: Southern Christianities in Harmony and Conflict

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pp. 243-248

For many months after the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, I saw a steady armada of church buses, trailers with crosses pulled by large Dodge Ram pickups, and rigs of every description transiting their way on Interstates 65 and 40 (part of my daily commute) to get to and from the Gulf Coast. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 249-250

More than for any other book I have written, my debts to others for this volume mounted quickly. The first people I need to acknowledge are the countless individuals at historic sites, churches, Christian colleges, reenactments, and public places like restaurants in each of the southern states who offered welcome, stories, and viewpoints for not much more than a respectful ...

Notes

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pp. 251-270

Index

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pp. 271-278