Even in our world of redefined life partnerships and living arrangements, most marriages begin through sacred ritual connected to a religious tradition. But if marriage rituals affirm deeply held religious and secular values in the presence of clergy, family, and community, where does divorce, which severs so many of these sacred bonds, fit in? Sociologist Kathleen Jenkins takes up this question in a work that offers both a broad, analytical perspective and a uniquely intimate view of the role of religion in ending marriages.
For more than five years, Jenkins observed religious support groups and workshops for the divorced and interviewed religious practitioners in the midst of divorces, along with clergy members who advised them. Her findings appear here in the form of eloquent and revealing stories about individuals managing emotions in ways that make divorce a meaningful, even sacred process. Clergy from mainline Protestant denominations to Baptist churches, Jewish congregations, Unitarian fellowships, and Catholic parishes talk about the concealed nature of divorce in their congregations. Sacred Divorce describes their cautious attempts to overcome such barriers, and to assemble meaningful symbols and practices for members by becoming compassionate listeners, delivering careful sermons, refitting existing practices like Catholic annulments and Jewish divorce documents (gets), and constructing new rituals.
With attention to religious, ethnic, and class variations, covering age groups from early thirties to mid-sixties and separations of only a few months to up to twenty years, Sacred Divorce offers remarkable insight into individual and cultural responses to divorce and the social emotions and spiritual strategies that the clergy and the faithful employ to find meaning in the breach. At once a sociological document, an ethnographic analysis, and testament of personal experience, Sacred Divorce provides guidance, strategies and answers to readers looking for answers and those looking to heal.
The Seven Deadly Sins: Sayings of the Fathers of the Church is the inaugural volume in a new series from the Catholic University of America Press. This series will feature a wide range of scholars compiling material from the Fathers of the Church series to focus on a specific area of theology. Forthcoming titles will focus on Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell, and Angels and Demons, with others to be announced shortly.
Sacred Scripture did not neatly list the seven deadly sins, so where did this tradition come from? Unsurprisingly, it can be traced back to the Church Fathers. But were there eight or seven? In a sense, the answer is “both.” The tradition of the capital sins has a rich development in the patristic era, not only in the presentation of the list of vices but in the preaching and teaching of the early shepherds of the Church. So how do the capital sins spawn other vices in the soul? How does one cultivate the virtues that heal the soul from those vices? How are gluttony and lust related? Is sadness really a vice? How is vainglory different from pride? What role does almsgiving have in soothing the passion of anger? The Fathers of the Church answer these questions and more in this volume.
The capital vices are the gateway drugs to countless sins. The path of the book descends through the vices, culminating with their queen ruler, pride. The words of the Fathers will assist the reader in being more realistic about the attacks upon the soul. The text should also be edifying and medicinal. Since each chapter begins with vice and ends with virtue, one’s path through the chapters represents a sort of ascent out of vice and into the freedom of the virtues. The text gives special attention throughout to the thought of Augustine of Hippo, Evagrius of Pontus, John Cassian, Gregory the Great, and Maximus the Confessor.
Since World War II, historians have analyzed a phenomenon of “white flight” plaguing the urban areas of the northern United States. One of the most interesting cases of “white flight” occurred in the Chicago neighborhoods of Englewood and Roseland, where seven entire church congregations from one denomination, the Christian Reformed Church, left the city in the 1960s and 1970s and relocated their churches to nearby suburbs. In Shades of White Flight, sociologist Mark T. Mulder investigates the migration of these Chicago church members, revealing how these churches not only failed to inhibit white flight, but actually facilitated the congregations’ departure.
Using a wealth of both archival and interview data, Mulder sheds light on the forces that shaped these midwestern neighborhoods and shows that, surprisingly, evangelical religion fostered both segregation as well as the decline of urban stability. Indeed, the Roseland and Englewood stories show how religion—often used to foster community and social connectedness—can sometimes help to disintegrate neighborhoods. Mulder describes how the Dutch CRC formed an insular social circle that focused on the local church and Christian school—instead of the local park or square or market—as the center point of the community. Rather than embrace the larger community, the CRC subculture sheltered themselves and their families within these two places. Thus it became relatively easy—when black families moved into the neighborhood—to sell the church and school and relocate in the suburbs. This is especially true because, in these congregations, authority rested at the local church level and in fact they owned the buildings themselves.
Revealing how a dominant form of evangelical church polity—congregationalism—functioned within the larger phenomenon of white flight, Shades of White Flight lends new insights into the role of religion and how it can affect social change, not always for the better.
In 1788, following the death of charismatic founder Mother Ann Lee, the celibate religious group known as the Shakers set out to institutionalize equality of the sexes in their theology, government, and daily practice. In this book, Glendyne Wergland evaluates how well they succeeded in that mission by examining the experiences of women within Shaker communities over more than a century.
Drawing on an extensive archive of primary documents, Wergland discusses topics ranging from girlhood, health, and dress to why women joined the Shakers and how they were viewed by those outside their community. She analyzes the division of labor between men and women, showing that there was considerable cooperation and reciprocity in carrying out most tasks-from food production to laundering to gathering firewood-even as gendered conflicts remained.
In her conclusion, Wergland draws together all of these threads to show that Shaker communities achieved a remarkable degree of gender equality at a time when women elsewhere still suffered under the legal and social strictures of the traditional patriarchal order. In so doing, she argues, the experience of Shaker women served as a model for promoting women's rights in American political culture.
Pentecostalism is currently the fastest-growing Christian movement, with hundreds of millions of followers. This growth overwhelmingly takes place outside of the West, and women make up 75 percent of the membership. The contributors to Spirit on the Move examine Pentecostalism's appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community and access to power. Exploring a range of topics, from Neo-Pentecostal churches in Ghana that help women challenge gender norms to evangelical gospel musicians in Brazil, the contributors show how Pentecostalism helps black women draw attention to and seek remediation from the violence and injustices brought on by civil war, capitalist exploitation, racism, and the failures of the state. In fleshing out the experiences, theologies, and innovations of black women Pentecostals, the contributors show how Pentecostal belief and its various practices reflect the movement's complexity, reach, and adaptability to specific cultural and political formations.
Contributors. Paula Aymer, John Burdick, Judith Casselberry, Deidre Helen Crumbley, Elizabeth McAlister, Laura Premack, Elizabeth A. Pritchard, Jane Soothill, Linda van de Kamp
How often do you find moments of deep peace and satisfaction in your day-to-day life? How often does connection with other people, the divine, or nature make you feel more alive? How often are you touched by a sense of awe-inspiring beauty, compassionate love, or pure joy? For many of us, these kinds of experiences tend to be fleeting and all too rare. Fortunately, new research is suggesting that a regular practice of paying attention to experiences like these can help any of us find them more often and cultivate richer, deeper, and more satisfying lives.
In Spiritual Connection in Daily Life, Lynn Underwood introduces her Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES), which is comprised of sixteen simple, multiple-choice questions that invite us to become more attuned tothese extraordinary experiences in ordinary life. The DSES is the definitive set of questions for measuring the experience of spiritual connection and has been used in hundreds of studies, translated into over twenty languages, and used around the world by counselors, therapists, nurses, social workers, clergy from multiple faiths, and business leaders.
Spiritual Connection in Daily Life offers a step-by-step guide to using the DSES to improve our abilities to sense the “more than” in the midst of our days. Embraced by people from many different cultures, religious traditions, and professional backgrounds, the DSES doesn’t require any extraordinary experience like hearing divine voices or embarking upon a dramatic religious conversion. Nor does it belabor the exact definition of “spirituality.” Rather, it simply invites us to focus on aspects of our daily lives such as deep peace, sense of inner strength, longing, and compassionate love. The sixteen questions also provide a common, nonpolarizing language for communicating with others about the role of the “more than” in our lives.
Adherents of all faith traditions, as well as people with no religious leanings whatsoever, have experienced profound and lasting benefits from having these experiences, including improved health behaviors, better relationships, decreased stress and burnout, and improvements in daily mood. Now all of us can reap these same long-term benefits with just a little bit of self-reflection and Dr. Underwood’s expert guidance.
Sport and Christianity explores the connections between these two seemingly disparate phenomena. It reflects on what the fascination for sport reveals about the human person and to what degree sporting activities are compatible with, and can even advance, the church's mission.
The impact of St. Mark’s Community Center and United Methodist Church on the city of New Orleans is immense. Their stories are dramatic reflections of the times. But these stories are more than mere reflections because St. Mark’s changed the picture, leading the way into different understandings of what urban diversity could and should mean. This book looks at the contributions of St. Mark’s, in particular the important role played by women (especially deaconesses) as the church confronted social issues through the rise of the social gospel movement and into the modern civil rights era.
Ellen Blue uses St. Mark’s as a microcosm to tell a larger, overlooked story about women in the Methodist Church and the sources of reform. One of the few volumes on women’s history within the church, this book challenges the dominant narrative of the social gospel movement and its past. St. Mark’s and the Social Gospel begins by examining the period between 1895 and World War I, chronicling the center’s development from its early beginnings as a settlement house that served immigrants and documenting the early social gospel activities of Methodist women in New Orleans. Part II explores the efforts of subsequent generations of women to further gender and racial equality between the 1920s and 1960. Major topics addressed in this section include an examination of the deaconesses’ training in Christian Socialist economic theory and the church’s response to the Brown decision. The third part focuses on the church’s direct involvement in the school desegregation crisis of 1960 , including an account of the pastor who broke the white boycott of a desegregated elementary school by taking his daughter back to class there. Part IV offers a brief look at the history of St. Mark’s since 1965.
Shedding new light on an often neglected subject, St. Mark’s and the Social Gospel will be welcomed by scholars of religious history, local history, social history, and women’s studies.
What is the state of Christianity in China? Some scholars say that China is invulnerable to religion. In contrast, others say that past efforts of missionaries have failed, writing off those converted as nothing more than “rice Christians” or cynical souls who had frequented the missions for the benefits they provided. Some wonder if the Cultural Revolution extinguished any chances of Christianity in China.
Rodney Stark and Xiuhua Wang offer a different perspective, arguing that Christianity is alive, well, and on the rise. Stark approaches the topic from an extensive research background in Christianity and Chinese history, and Wang provides an inside look at Christianity and its place in her home country of China. Both authors cover the history of religion in China, disproving older theories concerning the number of Christians and the kinds of Christians that have emerged in the past 155 years. Stark and Wang claim that when just considering the visible Christians—those not part of underground churches—thousands of Chinese are still converted to Christianity daily, and forty new churches are opening each week.
A Star in the East draws on two major national surveys to sketch a close-up of religion in China. A reliable estimate is that by 2007 there were approximately 60 million Christians in China. If the current growth rate were to hold until 2030, there would be more Christians in China—about 295 million—than in any other nation. This trend has significant implications, not just for China but for the greater world order. It is probable that Chinese Christianity will splinter into denominations, likely leading to the same political, social, and economic ramifications seen in the West today.
Whether you’re new to studying Christianity in China or whether this has been your area of interest for years, A Star in the East provides a reliable, thought-provoking, and engaging account of the resilience of the Christian faith in China and the implications it has for the future.
In the Middle Ages everyone, it seems, entered into some form of marriage. Nuns -- and even some monks -- married the bridegroom Christ. Bishops married their sees. The popes, as vicars of Christ, married the universal Church. And lay people, high and low, married each other. What united these marriages was their common reference to the union of Christ and Church. Christ™'s marriage to the Church was the paradigmatic symbol in which all the other forms of union participated, in superior or inferior ways. This book grapples with questions of the impact of marriage symbolism on both ideas and practice in the early Christian and medieval period. In what ways did marriage symbolism -- with its embedded concepts of gender, reproduction, household, and hierarchy -- shape people™'s thought about other things, such as celibacy, ecclesial and political relations, and devotional relations? How did symbolic cognition shape marriage itself? And how, if at all, were these two directions of thinking symbolically about marriage related?