Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism / Edition 1

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Overview

Religion has long been a source of identity for many Southerners, and the Appalachian areas in particular have proven to be a virtual fortress protecting faith and culture. Yet, in a region popularly thought to be religiously homogeneous, congregations reflect a wide range of doctrinal differences over such issues as conversion, ministerial leadership, and the authority on which a church bases its core beliefs.
Profiling the prominent Christian traditions in southern Appalachia, this book brings together contributions by twenty scholars who have long studied the religious practices found in the region’s cities, small towns, and rural communities. These authors provide insights into not only the independent mountain churches that are strongly linked to local customs but also the mainline and other religious bodies that have a significant presence in Appalachia but are not strictly associated with it. The essays explore the nature of ministry within these various churches, show the impact of broader culture on religion in the region, and consider the question of whether previously isolated, tradition-based churches can retain their distinctiveness in a changing world.
One group of chapters focuses on elements of mountain religion as seen in the beliefs and practices of mountain Holiness folk, serpent handlers, and various Baptist traditions. Later chapters review the history and activities of other denominations, including Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Wesleyan/Holiness, Church of God, and Roman Catholic. Also considered are the economic history of the region, popular religiosity, and the role of church-affiliated colleges. Taken together, these essays offer a richly nuanced understanding of Christianity in Appalachia.
The Editor: Bill J. Leonard is dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University. His other books include Out of One, Many: American Religion and American Pluralism and God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Contributors: Monica Kelly Appleby, Donald N. Bowdle, Mary Lee Daugherty, Melvin E. Dieter, Howard Dorgan, Anthony Dunnavant, Gary Farley, Samuel S. Hill, Loyal Jones, Helen Lewis, Charles H. Lippy, Bill J. Leonard, Deborah Vansau McCauley, Lou F. McNeil, Marcia Clark Myers, Bennett Poage, Ira Read, James Sessions, Barbara Ellen Smith, H. Davis Yeuell.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572330405
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

The Editor: Bill J. Leonard is dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University. His other books include Out of One, Many: American Religion and American Pluralism and God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Contributors: Monica Kelly Appleby, Donald N. Bowdle, Mary Lee Daugherty, Melvin E. Dieter, Howard Dorgan, Anthony Dunnavant, Gary Farley, Samuel S. Hill, Loyal Jones, Helen Lewis, Charles H. Lippy, Bill J. Leonard, Deborah Vansau McCauley, Lou F. McNeil, Marcia Clark Myers, Bennett Poage, Ira Read, James Sessions, Barbara Ellen Smith, H. Davis Yeuell.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Faith and the Faiths
1 Legends of the Fall: Contesting Economic History 1
2 The Church and the Family Farm Ministry in Central Appalachia 18
3 Popular Religiosity in Central Appalachia 40
4 Uneven Ground: Cultural Values, Moral Standards, and Religiosity in the Heart of Appalachia 52
5 The Church College in Central Appalachia 73
6 Mountain Religion: An Overview 91
7 Mountain Holiness 103
8 Old-Time Baptists of Central Appalachia 117
9 Serpent Handlers: When the Sacrament Comes Alive 138
10 Mountain Preachers, Mountain Ministers 153
11 The Commission on Religion in Appalachia: Empowering the People 165
12 Southern Baptists 175
13 The Presbyterians in Central Appalachia 189
14 "Mountaineers Are Always Free:" The Stone-Campbell Traditions 208
15 Wesleyan/Holiness Churches 227
16 Holiness in the Highlands: A Profile of the Church of God 243
17 Catholic Mission and Evangelization 257
18 A Baptism by Immersion in Big Stone Gap: From South Side Chicago to Southern Appalachia 278
19 The Virtue of Hope 297
Contributors 313
Index 317
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