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

"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

,

"Introduces us to some of the most prominent religious innovators in the United States today—'savvy spiritual suppliers,' as the authors say—who are skilled at recalibrating their messages and ministries to fit particular audiences. Religious scholars will welcome the attention given to cultural themes in the analysis, and the emphasis on more than just individual choice; general readers will be enthralled by the creativity of the producers but also appalled at the captivity of religious faith to contemporary culture."
-Wade Clark Roof,University of California at Santa Barbara

"A fascinating journey into the worlds of five of the most influential religious leaders in the United States. Holy Mavericks provides an open window to view change both in American religion and American culture. In reading this book, you will find that these five religious giants do not practice old time religion, and yet, ironically, they do. Holy Mavericks shows us how."
-Michael O. Emerson,co-author of People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States

"Takes us beyond the scandal-mongering and speculation so common in popular media coverage of religion to provide a deeper level of insight into some of the most influential ministries in the spiritual marketplace of American religion today. Combining keen sociological analysis with crucial historical contextualization, Lee and Sinitiere explain what have been the keys to the relative successes of these ministries' leaders as individuals willing to 'do business' outside of traditional ministerial boundaries in a variety of ways. . . . A must-read for those seeking to understand this intersection of faith, commerce, and politics."
-Milmon F. Harrison,author of Righteous Riches: The Word of Faith Movement in Contemporary African American Religion

“The new book Holy Mavericks casts a wide net in its study of evangelical innovators . . . Co-authors Shayne Lee and Phillip Luke Sinitiere see [them] as helping to create the competition and vitality of America’s religious marketplace.”
-Religion Watch

,

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: 807,768
  • 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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