Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace

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Overview

Joel Osteen, Paula White, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, and Brian McLaren pastor some the largest churches in the nation, lead vast spiritual networks, write best-selling books, and are among the most influential preachers in American Protestantism today. Spurred by the phenomenal appeal of these religious innovators, sociologist Shayne Lee and historian Phillip Luke Sinitiere investigate how they operate and how their style of religious expression fits into America's cultural landscape. Drawing from the theory of religious economy, the authors offer new perspectives on evangelical leadership and key insights into why some religious movements thrive while others decline.

Holy Mavericks provides a useful overview of contemporary evangelicalism while emphasizing the importance of "supply-side thinking" in understanding shifts in American religion. It reveals how the Christian world hosts a culture of celebrity very similar to the secular realm, particularly in terms of marketing, branding, and publicity. Holy Mavericks reaffirms that religion is always in conversation with the larger society in which it is embedded, and that it is imperative to understand how those religious suppliers who are able to change with the times will outlast those who are not.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What I cannot help but wonder is whether and how this archetype [that of successful evangelical leaders in America] is applicable to other religions in America, or to successful brands of Christianity outside of the United States. In this sense, the book's methodology and theoretical positioning is potentially groundbreaking in the broader field of religious studies. While it is recommended to the interested and informed general reader, and to students of Christianity and of contemporary religion in America, the book's theoretical strength makes it a valuable read for students and scholars of contemporary popular religion more widely."-Journal of Religion and Culture,

" is a clearly written and accessible book. It raises theoretical issues and offers colorful and descriptive analysis of each leader without getting lost in the minutiae... I find their explanation for the success of these evangelical innovators convincing and especially applicable to the present state of American culture and evangelicalism specifically. makes a descriptive contribution to the supply-side/religious economies perspective on the success of religion in America."-Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion,

"The value of the book lies in its descriptive detail of five mega-church leaders, giving the reader a feel for the broader evangelical landscape and offering numerous textual references along the way. Given its brevity and accessible narrative style, this book would make excellent reading for an undergraduate introduction to American evangelical religion. Students will be impressed with the tremendous influence of these evangelical 'superstars' and the book will pique interest in the study and critique of American religion. Additionally, scholars will appreciate the very helpful bibliographic essay that neatly documents the steady growth of research in the theory of religious economy, which essentially began with Peter Berger's (1967)."-Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses,

"[P]rovides useful background about popular religious figures whose names may be familiar but whose ministries are often misunderstood, especially in the academic study of religion. The text complicates popular notions of evangelicalism as it tries to account for evangelicalism's broad appeal."-Pneuma,

"These evangelical innovators are household names, thanks in large part to their multimedia know-how, but they preach a conservative message—often regarded as antiquated. Most important, their ministries supply existential fulfillment to existential demands. This book (especially the bibliographic essay "Theory of Religious Economy") will most appeal to scholars and students. However, curious readers will enjoy it as well. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal

,

Library Journal

Jesus Christ advised his followers in John 17 "to be in, but not of" the world. Yet some of today's Christians are icons of popular culture and lead churches with the savvy and skill of corporate titans. Twenty-first-century pastors and evangelists are akin to CEOs or master marketers who create brands such as Kleenex and Coke. Sociologist Lee and historian Sinitiere here analyze the U.S. "religious economy." The authors profile five celebrity-like figures in American Protestantism: Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Brian McLaren, and Paula White. These evangelical innovators are household names, thanks in large part to their multimedia know-how, but they preach a conservative message-often regarded as antiquated. Most important, their ministries supply existential fulfillment to existential demands. This book (especially the bibliographic essay "Theory of Religious Economy") will most appeal to scholars and students. However, curious readers will enjoy it as well. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.
—C. Brian Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814752357
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,461,601
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Shayne Lee is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Houston. He is the author of T. D. Jakes and Holy Mavericks.

Phillip Luke Sinitiere holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Houston.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Evangelical Innovators 11

2 The Smiling Preacher: Joel Osteen and the Happy Church 25

3 Great Jazz: T. D. Jakes and the New Black Church 53

4 A New Kind of Christian: Brian McLaren and the Emerging Church 77

5 Messed-Up Mississippi Girl: Paula White and the Imperfect Church 107

6 Surfing Spiritual Waves: Rick Warren and the Purpose-Driven Church 129

Epilogue 149

Bibliographic Essay: Theory of Religious Economy 159

Bibliography 177

Index 193

About the Authors 199

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