From the New York Times bestselling author of Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved, a fascinating look at the world of Christian women celebrities
Since the 1970s, an important new figure has appeared on the center stage of American evangelicalismthe celebrity preacher's wife. Although most evangelical traditions bar women from ordained ministry, many women have carved out unofficial positions of power in their husbands' spiritual empires or their own ministries. The biggest starssuch as Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, and Victoria Osteenwrite bestselling books, grab high ratings on Christian television, and even preach. In this engaging book, Kate Bowler, an acclaimed historian of religion and the author of the bestselling memoir Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved, offers a sympathetic and revealing portrait of megachurch women celebrities, showing how they must balance the demands of celebrity culture and conservative, male-dominated faiths.
Whether standing alone or next to their husbands, the leading women of megaministry play many parts: the preacher, the homemaker, the talent, the counselor, and the beauty. Boxed in by the high expectations of modern Christian womanhood, they follow and occasionally subvert the visible and invisible rules that govern the lives of evangelical women, earning handsome rewards or incurring harsh penalties. They must be pretty, but not immodest; exemplary, but not fake; vulnerable to sin, but not deviant. And black celebrity preachers' wives carry a special burden of respectability. But despite their influence and wealth, these women are denied the most important symbol of spiritual powerthe pulpit.
The story of women who most often started off as somebody's wife and ended up as everyone's almost-pastor, The Preacher's Wife is a compelling account of women's search for spiritual authority in the age of celebrity.
|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
A Personal Note ix
Glossary of Important Terms xv
Chapter 1 The Preacher 21
Chapter 2 The Homemaker 65
Chapter 3 The Talent 117
Chapter 4 The Counselor 153
Chapter 5 The Beauty 192
Appendix I Megachurches in the United States 253
Appendix II Researching Megachurch Pastors' Wives 257
Appendix III Some Demographics from the Profiles 264
Appendix IV Women in Conservative Seminaries 270
Appendix V Women on Staff at Megachurches 275
Appendix VI Highlights of the Timeline of Women's Ordination 279
What People are Saying About This
“Excellent. . . . [Bowler’s] wonderful work provocatively considers what women gain and lose in becoming 'market-ready' for evangelical communities.”Publishers Weekly“An eye-opener. . . . [Bowler] is a thorough researcher and witty writer.”LaVonne Neff, Christian Century"I cannot overstate the effect this book had on me. Whether you are a student of American religious history, a follower of popular Christian culture, or someone who has never thought twice about the women who grant legitimacy to the powerful men they marry, Kate Bowler will take you places you could not have gone on your own.”Barbara Brown Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Learning to Walk in the Dark