A Church of Our Own: Disestablishment and Diversity in American Religion

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Rutgers University Press, 2005 - Religion - 307 pages
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In this definitive collection of essays spanning fifteen years, R. Stephen Warner traces the development of the “new paradigm” interpretation of American religion. Originally formulated in the 1990s in response to prevailing theories of secularization that focused on the waning plausibility of religion in modern societies, the new paradigm reoriented the study of religion to a focus on communities, subcultures, new religious institutions, and the fluidity of modern religious identities. This perspective continues to be one of the most important driving forces in the field and one of the most significant challenges to the idea that religious pluralism inevitably leads to religious decline.

A leading sociologist of religion, Warner shows how the new paradigm stresses the role that religion plays as a vehicle for the bonding and expression of communities within the United States—a society founded on the principle of religious disestablishment and characterized by a diverse and mobile population. Chapters examine evangelicals and Pentecostals, gay and lesbian churches, immigrant religious institutions, Hispanic parishes, and churches for the deaf in terms of this framework. Newly written introductory and concluding essays set these groups within the broad context of the developing field. A thoughtfully organized and timely collection, the volume is a valuable classroom resource as well as essential reading for scholars of contemporary religion.

 

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A church of our own: disestablishment and diversity in American religion

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With this collection of essays written since 1990, Warner (New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small-Town Church ) outlines his arguments for a "new paradigm" for studying ... Read full review

Contents

Reflections on American Religion 1991
13
A Paradigm Is Not a Theory 1997
63
New Paradigm Histories of American Religion
69
Religion Boundaries and Bridges 1997
83
Enlisting Smelsers Theory of Ambivalence to Maintain
105
Mendocino Presbyterian
125
The Place of the Congregation in the Contemporary American
145
Seeing the Word in a Church for the Deaf with James
209
Pentecostal Immigrants and the Making of the
226
Some Principles
232
Interpreting Asian American Religion for a NonAmerican
253
Changes in the Civic Role of Religion 1999
263
Looking Forward and Outward
278
List of Authors Cited Works
293
Index
299
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About the author (2005)

R. STEPHEN WARNER is a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1989, he received the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion for New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small-Town Church.

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