Pub. Date:
New York University Press
Against All Odds: The Struggle for Racial Integration in Religious Organizations

Against All Odds: The Struggle for Racial Integration in Religious Organizations


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Religious institutions are among the most segregated organizations in American society. This segregation has long been a troubling issue among scholars and religious leaders alike.

Despite attempts to address this racial divide, integrated churches are very difficult to maintain over time. Why is this so? How can organizations incorporate separate racial, ethnic, and cultural groups? Should they? And what are the costs and rewards for people and groups in such organizations?

Following up on Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith's award-winning Divided by Faith , Against All Odds breaks new ground by exploring the beliefs, practices, and structures which allow integrated religious organizations to survive and thrive despite their difficulties. Based on six in-depth ethnographies of churches and other Christian organizations, this engaging work draws on numerous interviews, so that readers can hear first-hand the joys and frustrations which arise from actually experiencing racial integration. The book gives an inside, visceral sense of what it is like to be part of a multiracial religious organization as well as a theoretical understanding of these experiences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814722237
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 01/01/2005
Pages: 197
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Brad Christerson is associate professor of sociology at Biola University.

Michael Oluf Emerson is Provost and Professor of Urban Studies at North Park University in Chicago, and a Kinder Fellow at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. He has authored or co-authored fifteen books, including Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, Transcending Racial Barriers, and Against All Odds: The Struggle for Racial Integration in Religious Organizations (NYU Press, 2005).

Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments
1 Against All Odds
2 The Need for Belonging
3 A Place to Call Home
4 White Flight or Flux?
5 Embrace and Division
6 Together and Separate
7 Jesus Is Color-Blind
8 What We Learned
About the Authors

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Against All Odds whets our appetite for a larger research study using hundreds of churches. It is a welcoming beginning.”


“Breaks new ground by offering us a much better understanding of the operation of both religious congregations and race relations in the U.S. The research is impressive, the analysis smart, and the insights and implications important. This is a unique and significant book.”
-Christian Smith,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Draws on six case studies to propose a nuanced theory of the dynamics associated with the success or failure of multicultural congregations. This book honestly confronts the issues related to taking part in or pastoring an integrated congregation.”
-Donald E. Miller,Executive Director, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California

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