Believers: A Journey into Evangelical America

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Penguin, Dec 18, 2007 - Religion - 336 pages
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Evangelical Christians comprise roughly a fourth of the U.S. populationmore than 60 million Americans who say they are born again and experience a daily personal relationship with God. They live in every part of the country and are engaged in every walk of life. They include farmers and factory workers, teachers and tycoons, doctors, lawyers, homemakers, and the current president of the United States. Theirs is a faith tradition that goes back more than 300 years in this country and to Europe before that. Their personal faith and their vision of America are shaped by an understanding of the Bible as Gods inerrant word and of the universe as a cosmic battlefield between the forces of good and evil. They earnestly believe that having a personal faith in Jesus Christ is humankinds only hope of salvation and are committed to what they consider to be a divine mandate to win the world to Christ and bring biblical values to bear in what they see as an increasingly secular and hedonistic society. With panoramic sweep and intimate narrative detail, award-winning religion journalist and onetime fundamentalist Jeffery L. Sheler takes readers to the places where todays evangelicals live, work, and worship, to meet them firsthand and discover how their unique brand of Christian faith shapes their lives and how they, in turn, are shaping and being shaped by their communities and the wider culture around them. Stops along the way include: The trend-setting Saddleback Church in Southern California, a 15,000-member congregation that has become a template for the evangelical mega-church movement with its marketing savvy and non-traditional approach to worship and outreach, through the efforts of AmericaspastorSaddlebacks founder and best-selling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren. The Colorado Springs, Colorado, headquarters of Focus on the Family and a revealing encounter with its controversial founder, Dr. James Dobson, an influential voice of the religious right A bucolic Pennsylvania hillside where thousands of evangelical teenagers flock each summer to mosh for Jesus in the dust and the mud of a four-day Christian rock festival and showcase for the one-billion-dollar-a-year Christian music industry. A mountain village in Guatemala where a team of lay missionaries from Alabama ministers to the poor and learns important lessons of faith from the people they were sent to help. Washington, DC, where some of evangelicalisms chief political operatives roam the corridors of power, seeking to capitalize on the growing activism of conservative Christian voters and the heightened stature of having an evangelical Christian in the White House. Through poignant personal stories reported superbly and presented in a riveting style, Believers paints an in-depth portrait of a people of faith who believe in the power of the gospel to transform lives, and of their pursuit of a vision for a just and righteous America.

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BELIEVERS: A Journey Into Evangelical America

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Travels with Chaplain Charley into such heartlands as Grand Rapids, Mich., and Orange County, Calif., on the trail of homegrown fundamentalists.At one time, fundamentalist Christians liked being ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NemesisClaws - LibraryThing

Only read it halfway, and then put it down, never to be read again. It was interesting, but got a bit redundant at times. Read full review



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About the author (2007)

Jeffery L. Sheler is an award-winning journalist who reported for U.S. News & World Report for twenty-four years, fifteen as the religion editor. He authored thirty-five cover stories and is now a contributing editor. He is also the author of Is the Bible True?, which was named one of the top ten religious book of 2000 by Christianity Today. Sheler is an occasional correspondent for PBS’s Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

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