All in Sync: How Music and Art Are Revitalizing American Religion

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University of California Press, May 5, 2003 - Religion - 300 pages
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Robert Wuthnow shows how music and art are revitalizing churches and religious life across the nation in this first-ever consideration of the relationship between religion and the arts. All in Sync draws on more than four hundred in-depth interviews with church members, clergy, and directors of leading arts organizations and a new national survey to document a strong positive relationship between participation in the arts and interest in spiritual growth. Wuthnow argues that contemporary spirituality is increasingly encouraged by the arts because of its emphasis on transcendent experience and personal reflection. This kind of spirituality, contrary to what many observers have imagined, is compatible with active involvement in churches and serious devotion to Christian practices.

The absorbing narrative relates the story of a woman who overcame a severe personal crisis and went on to head a spiritual direction center where participants use the arts to gain clarity about their own spiritual journeys. Readers visit contemporary worship services in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston and listen to leaders and participants explain how music and art have contributed to the success of these services. All in Sync also illustrates how music and art are integral parts of some Episcopal, African American, and Orthodox worship services, and how people of faith are using their artistic talents to serve others.

Besides examining the role of the arts in personal spirituality and in congregational life, Wuthnow discusses how clergy and lay leaders are rethinking the role of the imagination, especially in connection with traditional theological virtues. He also shows how churches and arts organizations sometimes find themselves at odds over controversial moral questions and competing claims about spirituality. Accessible, relevant, and innovative, this book is essential for anyone searching for a better understanding of the dynamic relationships among religion, spirituality, and American culture.
 

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All in sync: how music and art are revitalizing American religion

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Wuthnow (director, Ctr. for the Study of Religion, Princeton) has written numerous books on religion in America, including Creative Spirituality. Here he discusses the importance of the arts in ... Read full review

Contents

A Puzzle The Question of Religious Vitality
1
Explaining Religious Vitality
8
Rethinking the Conventional Wisdom
12
Are the Arts a Factor?
16
Contemporary Spirituality Seeking the Sacred in an Era of Uncertainty
21
The Search for Spirituality
23
Practices with Roots
27
Involvement in a Religious Community
32
The Arts and Devotional Life
130
The Joy of Worship Expression and Tradition in Congregational Life
134
The Artistic Involvement of Church Members
137
What Churches Are Doing
142
Contemporary Worship
151
Liturgical Renewal
168
The Difference It Makes
179
Redeeming the Imagination The Arts and Spiritual Virtue
183

Devotion to a Tradition
39
Effort Devoted to Spiritual Growth
43
Practices with Results
47
Evangelicals Mainliners and Catholics
49
Summing Up
52
A Blending of Cultures The Arts and Spirituality
56
Childhood Exposure to the Arts
59
Adult Participation in the Arts
60
Expressing Creativity
64
SelfDefinition and Valuing the Arts
65
A Summary Measure
66
The Arts and Spirituality
68
Social Factors
72
Making the Connections
75
Personal Spirituality Art and the Practice of Spiritual Discipline
79
Rediscovering Prayer
83
Spiritual Direction
93
Art and Discipline
103
Times of Trial
109
The Role of Groups
113
From Self to Service
122
What Americans Try to Imagine
185
Changing Meanings of the Imagination
189
The Imagination and Faith
192
The Imagination and Hope
198
The Imagination and Community
203
Encouraging the Imagination
209
The Morality Problem Why Churches and Artists Disagree
213
Public Perceptions of the Arts
214
What Arts Leaders Think
224
Church Leaders Views
228
Evangelicals Talk about the Arts
230
Working Together?
234
The Artist in Everyone Faithful Living in a Spiritual Democracy
236
A Spiritual Democracy
238
Spiritual Formation
240
The Role of Leadership
244
Methodology
249
Notes
261
Index
279
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Page 275 - David Freedberg. The Power of Images. Studies in the History and Theory of Response (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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About the author (2003)

Robert Wuthnow is Gerhard R. Andlinger '52 Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. His most recent books are Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist (California, 2001), Growing Up Religious: Christians and Jews and Their Journeys of Faith (1999), After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s (California, 1998), and Loose Connections: Joining Together in America's Fragmented Communities (1998).

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