Living the Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches

Living the Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches

by Korie L. Edwards
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195314247

ISBN-13: 9780195314243

Pub. Date: 08/27/2008

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

It is communion Sunday at a mixed-race church. A black pastor and white head elder stand before the sanctuary as lay leaders pass out the host. An African-American woman sings a gospel song as a woman of Asian descent plays the piano. Then a black woman in the congregation throws her hands up and yells, over and over, "Thank you Lawd!" A few other African

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Overview

It is communion Sunday at a mixed-race church. A black pastor and white head elder stand before the sanctuary as lay leaders pass out the host. An African-American woman sings a gospel song as a woman of Asian descent plays the piano. Then a black woman in the congregation throws her hands up and yells, over and over, "Thank you Lawd!" A few other African-Americans in the pews say "Amen," while white parishioners sit stone-faced. The befuddled white head elder reads aloud from the Bible, his soft voice drowned out by the shouts of praise. Even in this proudly interracial church, America's racial divide is a constant presence.

In The Elusive Dream, Korie L. Edwards presents the surprising results of an in-depth study of interracial churches: they help perpetuate the very racial inequality they aim to abolish. To arrive at this conclusion, she combines a nuanced analysis of national survey data with an in-depth examination of one particular church. She shows that mixed-race churches adhere strongly to white norms. African Americans in multiracial settings adapt their behavior to make white congregants comfortable. Behavior that white worshipers perceive as out of bounds is felt by blacks as too limiting. Yet to make interracial churches work, blacks must adjust their behavior to accommodate the predilections of whites. They conform to white expectations in church just as they do elsewhere.

Thorough, incisive, and surprising, The Elusive Dream raises provocative questions about the ongoing problem of race in the national culture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195314243
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/27/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

1 Decently and in Order: Congregational Worship 19

2 Bringing Race to the Center: Extrareligious Activities 39

3 Spiritual Affirmative Action: Leadership Structure and Characteristics 55

4 Racial Identity: Material for Cross-Racial Bridging? 83

5 Why Do They Come? 101

6 Reproducing White Hegemony 117

Conclusion: The Elusive Dream 139

Appendix A Research Methods 141

Appendix B National Congregations Study Variables and Operationalizations 157

Appendix C Tables 161

Appendix D Interview Guides 177

Notes 189

Bibliography 201

Index 219

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