The University of Alabama Press

Religion and American Culture

John Smith, Will Wordsworth

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Go

Browse Books in Series:

Religion and American Culture

1

Results 1-7 of 7

:
Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Bishops, Bourbons, and Big Mules

A History of the Episcopal Church in Alabama

Bishops, Bourbons, and Big Mules tells the story of how the Episcopal Church gained influence over Alabama’s cultural, political, and economic arenas despite being a denominational minority in the state.

The consensus of southern historians is that, since the Second Great Awakening, evangelicalism has dominated the South. This is certainly true when one considers the extent to which southern culture is dominated by evangelical rhetoric and ideas. However, in Alabama one
non-evangelical group has played a significant role in shaping the state’s history. J. Barry Vaughn explains that, although the Episcopal Church has always been a small fraction (around 1 percent) of Alabama’s population, an inordinately high proportion, close to 10 percent, of Alabama’s significant leaders have belonged to this denomination. Many of these leaders came to the Episcopal Church from other denominations because they were attracted to the church’s wide degree of doctrinal latitude and laissez-faire attitude toward human frailty.

Vaughn argues that the church was able to attract many of the state’s governors, congressmen, and legislators by positioning itself as the church of conservative political elites in the state--the planters before the Civil War, the “Bourbons” after the Civil War, and the “Big Mules” during industrialization. He begins this narrative by explaining how Anglicanism came to Alabama and then highlights how Episcopal bishops and congregation members alike took active roles in key historic movements including the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement. Bishops, Bourbons, and Big Mules closes with Vaughn’s own predictions about the fate of the Episcopal Church in twenty-first-century Alabama.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Hope's Promise

Religion and Acculturation in the Southern Backcountry

This eloquent study describes the complex process of assimilation that occurred among multi-ethnic groups in Wachovia, the evangelical community that settled a 100,000-acre tract in Piedmont North Carolina from 1750 to 1860. It counters commonplace notions that evangelicalism was a divisive force in the antebellum South, demonstrating instead the ability of evangelical beliefs and practices to unify diverse peoples and foster shared cultural values.


In Hope's Promise, Scott Rohrer dissects the internal workings of the ecumenical Moravian movement at Wachovia—how this disparate group of pilgrims hailing from many countries (Germany, Ireland, Scandinavia, England) and different denominations (Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, Anglican) yielded their ethnicities as they became, above all, a people of faith. By examining the "open" farm congregations of Hope, Friedberg, and Friedland, Rohrer offers a sensitive portrayal of their evangelical life and the momentous cultural changes it wrought: the organization of tight-knit congregations bound by "heart religion;" the theology of the new birth; the shape of religious discipline; the sacrament of communion; and the role of music. Drawing on courthouse documents and church records, Rohrer carefully demonstrates how various groups began to take on traits of the others. He also illustrates how evangelical values propelled interaction with the outside world—at the meetinghouse and the frontier store, for example—and fostered even more collective and accelerated change.


As the Moravians became ever more "American" and "southern," the polyglot of ethnicities that was Wachovia would, under the unifying banner of evangelicalism, meld into one of the most sophisticated religious communities in early America.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

The Life of Selina Campbell

A Fellow Soldier in the Cause of Restoration

This first biography of Selina Campbell opens a window onto the experience of women in one of the most dynamic religious groups of 19th-century America.

Loretta M. Long examines the life and influence of Selina Campbell, one of the most visible women in the 19th-century Disciples of Christ movement. Best known as the wife of Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples, Selina Campbell both shaped and exemplified the role
of women in this dynamic religious group (also known as the Stone-Campbell movement). Her story demonstrates the importance of faith in the lives of many women during this era and adds a new dimension to the concept of the "separate spheres" of men and women, which women like Campbell interpreted in the context of their religious beliefs.

A household manager, mother, writer, and friend, Campbell held sway primarily in the domestic sphere, but she was not held captive by it. Her relationship with her husband was founded on a deep sense of partnership conditioned by their strong faith in an all-powerful God. Each
of them took on complementary roles according to the perceived natural abilities of their genders: Alexander depended on Selina to manage his property and raise the children while he traveled the country preaching. Campbell outlived her husband by 30 years, and during that time published several newspaper articles and supported new causes, such as women in missions.

In the end, as Long amply demonstrates, Selina Campbell was neither her husband's shadow nor solely a domestic worker. She was, in her husband's eyes, a full partner and a "fellow soldier" in the cause of Restoration.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Recovering the Margins of American Religious History

The Legacy of David Edwin Harrell Jr.

Recovering the Margins of American Religious History, a celebration of the life and work of David Edwin Harrell Jr., brings together essays from Harrell’s colleagues, peers, and students that explore his impact and legacy in the field of American religious studies. Raised in an upper-class family in mid-twentieth-century Jacksonville, Florida, Harrell’s membership in the Church of Christ helped establish his sense of self as a spiritual outsider. This early exclusion from the Christian mainstream laid a foundation for Harrell’s pioneering studies of marginalized faiths, including the first stirrings of neo-fundamentalism and the diminishingly influential social gospel movement.
 
Harrell’s connections with these religious movements point to his deeper ongoing concerns with class, gender, and race as core factors behind religious institutions, and he has unblinkingly investigated a wide range of social dynamics. Combining an extensive knowledge of and long-standing passion for American religious history with a comprehensive understanding of the developing world, Harrell’s research and writings over his lifetime have produced compelling portraits of the American religious underclass, an increased integration of religion into the narrative of world history, and innovative new comparative studies in the healing and charismatic movements of the developing world.
 
Contributors
Scott C. Billingsley / Wayne Flynt / James R. Goff Jr. / John C. Hardin / Samuel S. Hill / Richard T. Hughes / Beth Barton Schweiger / Grant Wacker / B. Dwain Waldrep / Charles Reagan Wilson

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Storm of Words

Science, Religion, and Evolution in the Civil War Era

Monte Harrell Hampton

Storm of Words is a study of the ways that southern Presbyterians in the wake of the Civil War contended with a host of cultural and theological questions, chief among them developments in natural history and evolution.

Southern Presbyterian theologians enjoyed a prominent position in antebellum southern culture. Respected for both their erudition and elite constituency, these theologians identified the southern society as representing a divine, Biblically ordained order. Beginning in the 1840s, however, this facile identification became more difficult to maintain, colliding first with antislavery polemics, then with Confederate defeat and reconstruction, and later with women’s rights, philosophical empiricism, literary criticisms of the Bible, and that most salient symbol of modernity, natural science.

As Monte Harrell Hampton shows in Storm of Words, modern science seemed most explicitly to express the rationalistic spirit of the age and threaten the Protestant conviction that science was the faithful “handmaid” of theology. Southern Presbyterians disposed of some of these threats with ease. Contemporary geology, however, posed thornier problems. Ambivalence over how to respond to geology led to the establishment in 1859 of the Perkins Professorship of Natural Science in Connexion with Revealed Religion at the seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. Installing scientist-theologian James Woodrow in this position, southern Presbyterians expected him to defend their positions.

Within twenty-five years, however, their anointed expert held that evolution did not contradict scripture. Indeed, he declared that it was in fact God’s method of creating. The resulting debate was the first extended evolution controversy in American history. It drove a wedge between those tolerant of new exegetical and scientific developments and the majority who opposed such openness. Hampton argues that Woodrow believed he was shoring up the alliance between science and scripture—that a circumscribed form of evolution did no violence to scriptural infallibility. The traditionalists’ view, however, remained interwoven with their identity as defenders of the Lost Cause and guardians of southern culture.

The ensuing debate triggered Woodrow’s dismissal. It also capped a modernity crisis experienced by an influential group of southern intellectuals who were grappling with the nature of knowledge, both scientific and religious, and its relationship to culture—a culture attempting to define itself in the shadow of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Through a Glass Darkly

Contested Notions of Baptist Identity

Through a Glass Darkly is a collection of essays by scholars who argue that Baptists are frequently misrepresented, by outsiders as well as insiders, as members of an unchanging monolithic sect.
 
In contemporary discussions of religious denominations, it is often fashionable and easy to make bold claims regarding the history, beliefs, and practices of certain groups. Select versions of Baptist history have been used to vindicate incomplete or inaccurate assertions, attitudes, and features of Baptist life and thought. Historical figures quickly become saints, and overarching value systems can minimize the unsavory realities that would contribute to a truer interpretation of Baptist life.
 
The essays in this volume use the term Baptist in the broadest sense to refer to those Christians who identify themselves as Baptists and who baptize by immersion as a non-sacramental church rite. Over the past four hundred years, Baptists have grown from a persecuted minority to a significant portion of America’s religious population. They have produced their fair share of controversies and colorful characters that have, in turn, contributed to a multifaceted history.
 
But what does it mean to be a “real Baptist”? Some look to historical figures as heroic exemplars of Baptist core values. Others consider cultural, social, or political issues to be guideposts for Baptist identity. Through a Glass Darkly dives deeper into history for answers, revealing a more complete version of the expansive and nuanced history of one of America’s most influential religious groups.
 
Contributors:
James P. Byrd / John G. Crowley / Edward R. Crowther / Christopher H. Evans / Elizabeth H. Flowers / Curtis W. Freeman / Barry G. Hankins / Paul Harvey / Bill J. Leonard / James A. Patterson / Jewel L. Spangler / Alan Scot Willis

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

The Woman I Am

Southern Baptist Women's Writings, 1906-2006

Melody Maxwell’s The Woman I Am analyzes the traditional, progressive, and potential roles female Southern Baptist writers and editors portrayed for Southern Baptist women from 1906 to 2006, particularly in the area of missions.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) represents the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, yet Southern Baptist women’s voices have been underreported in studies of American religion and culture. In The Woman I Am, Melody Maxwell explores how female Southern Baptist writers and editors in the twentieth century depicted changing roles for women and responded to the tensions that arose as Southern Baptist women assumed leadership positions, especially in the areas of missions and denominational support.

Given access to a century of primary sources and archival documents, Maxwell writes, as did many of her subjects, in a style that deftly combines the dispassionate eye of an observer with the multidimensional grasp of a participant. She examines magazines published by Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), an auxiliary to the SBC: Our Mission Fields (1906–1914), Royal Service (1914–1995), Contempo (1970–1995), and Missions Mosaic (1995–2006). In them, she traces how WMU writers and editors perceived, constructed, and expanded the lives of southern women.

Showing ingenuity and resiliency, these writers and editors continually, though not always consciously, reshaped their ideal of Christian womanhood to better fit the new paths open to women in American culture and Southern Baptist life. Maxwell’s work demonstrates that Southern Baptists have transformed their views on biblically sanctioned roles for women over a relatively short historical period.

How Southern Baptist women perceive women’s roles in their churches, homes, and the wider world is of central importance to readers interested in religion, society, and gender in the United States. The Woman I Am is a tour de force that makes a lasting contribution to the world’s understanding of Southern Baptists and to their understanding of themselves.

1

Results 1-7 of 7

:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

Religion and American Culture

Content Type

  • (7)

Access

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access