Friday, March 21, 2008

What's In Store: The Spiritual Marketplace

Readers of baldblogging may remember previous posts about various issues dealing with today's spiritual marketplace. I've commented about it in the context of my teaching, documentaries, the installation of a Cardinal, recent scholarship (here too), and religious celebrity (be sure to read this scholar's work on religious celebrity and keep an eye open for her forthcoming work on the religious celebrity of Oprah). Darren Grem has some keen thoughts on the topic as well, in addition to what looks like a great dissertation on related subjects.

Well, I'm happy to announce another "offering" on the subject--a book titled Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace. Co-authored with friend and comrade Shayne Lee, a sociologist at Tulane University and author of T.D. Jakes: America's New Preacher, New York University Press will publish Holy Mavericks in 2009.

Holy Mavericks uses the theory of religious economy to study contemporary religious trends in the United States. It imagines this country as a spiritual marketplace where religious firms offer spiritual goods and services to religious consumers.

The result of nearly three years of research and extensive participant-observation in Connecticut, Florida, California, Georgia, and Texas, our project explores the extraordinary appeal of five evangelicals who make strong cases to replace Billy Graham as America’s leading preacher and evangelist: Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and Brian McLaren. They pastor some the largest churches in the nation, lead vast spiritual networks, and are among the most influential preachers in American Protestantism.

They write best-selling books and draw thousands of people to their conferences. They are fixtures on the airwaves, appearing as special guests on television programs. Newspapers report on their vast influence. Thousands of websites, blogs, and chat rooms dispatch their names throughout cyberspace, both praising and chastising their ministries.

Through the power of their appeal, rather than the authority of ecclesiastical positioning, they assemble multi-million dollar ministries and worldwide renown. With weak or no denominational ties, they are free agents who make their mark on contemporary American society.

When the time comes, get your copy here.

[Photo credits here, here, here, here, and here.]


jazztheo said...

As always thanks for the tip on a good book.

Phil said...

Thanks for stopping by Robert. Looking forward to "finding my groove" with your book.