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Watch This!: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism

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Overview

Through their constant television broadcasts, mass video distributions, and printed publications, African American religious broadcasters have a seemingly ubiquitous presence in popular culture. They are on par with popular entertainers and athletes in the African American community as cultural icons even as they are criticized by others for taking advantage of the devout in order to subsidize their lavish lifestyles.

For these reasons questions abound. Do televangelists proclaim the message of the gospel or a message of greed? Do they represent the "authentic" voice of the black church or the Christian Right in blackface? Does the phenomenon reflect orthodox "Christianity" or ethnocentric "Americaninity" wrapped in religious language?

Watch This! seeks to move beyond such polarizing debates by critically delving into the dominant messages and aesthetic styles of African American televangelists and evaluating their ethical implications.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The eight chapters move along at a nice clip...nobody in the academy is paying enough attention [to the cost of televangelism]. Jonathan Walton is." -Katherine Sonderegger,Modern Theology

"This book is the best work we have on the complex dynamics of the Black megachurch phenomenon. Walton is a brilliant cultural critic and courageous prophetic voice!"
-Cornel West,Princeton University

“Walton presents a spectacular piece of contemporary scholarship on the Black Church and media. He asserts that his work is foremost a scholarly work in Christian social ethics but the reader will find that it is more than that. It is an attempt to bridge the person in the pulpit, pew, and classroom in such a way that the only song that can be sung is, ‘blest be the ties that bind.’”-Homiletic.net,

"An important examination of the Black Electronic Church. Jonathan Walton brings new insights into the major TV evangelists in the African American community."
-James H. Cone,Union Theological Seminary

"One of the first books to thoughtfully analyze how African American television ministries are re-shaping the contours of black religious experiences. With critical insight into the theological, social, and political logics of three mega-ministries, Walton’s book provides just the stimulus we need for a long overdue conversation!"
-Marla Frederick,Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814794524
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 733,377
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan L. Walton is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Prelude xi

Invocation: Time to Tune IN: The Phenomenon of African American Religious Broadcasting 1

1 We Too Sing America: Racial Invisibility, Respectability, and the Roots of Black Religious Broadcasting 19

2 Something Within: The Cultural Sources of Rev. Frederick J.Eikerenkoetter II 47

3 Standing on the Promises: Diversity and Change within Contemporary Black Christian Practices 75

4 Come, Ye Disconsolate The Ministry of Bishop T.D.Jakes 103

5 We Are Soldiers! The Ministry of Bishop Eddie L.Long 125

6 Fill My Cup, Lord: The Ministry of Pastors Creflo and Taffi Dollar 145

7 The Reasons Why We Sing: The Computing Rituals of Self-Affirmation and Social Accommodation 167

8 Lift Every Voice: Authority, Ideology, and the Implications of Religious Broadcasting for the Black Church 199

Benediction: Blest Be the Tie That Binds 229

Notes 235

Bibliography 261

Index 275

About the Author 283

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