From the Bible Belt to the Sun Belt
Posted: 14 April 2011 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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From the Bible Belt to the Sun Belt – Plain Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism - Darren Dochuk; 2011; W.W. Norton; New York 409 Pgs.

Dochuk, Asst. Prof of History; Purdue, has written a detailed study of the Evangelical Xtian movement in So. Calif.  Beginning with the immigration of peoples from the Western South at the end of the depression and during WWII to find employment in the southern Calif. Defense industries through the first election of Ronald Reagan, Dochuk traces the creation of this movement from its beginning as an effort to build communities that kept the traditions of the Western South pertinent to their new communities, through these peoples efforts to save the US from Communism, and unfamiliar cultural values.  Dochuk while extensively covering the role of the clergymen and businessmen who strongly influenced this movement never ignores the role of the common person in the development and expansion of the evangelical/fundamentalist movement both internally and on the stage of national politics.

Some quotes
: . “collective witness” was in this sense, a quest for organic community among those who yearned for the neighborliness of the small town South.  Over time, however, as local congregations grew in size and confidence “collective witness” came to mean no-hold-barred proselytization of the “unsaved.”          Pg. 24
The Legacy of clerical power in the western South set the stage.  In Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas the preacher assumed a prestige that placed him at the center of public life.  Novelist and minister’s son Erskine Caldwell once wrote that a clergyman in the Deep South “was frequently called upon to act as a social worker, a marriage counselor, a financial advisor, an arbitrator between feuding families, a psychiatric consultant, and as a judge to decide what was and what was not moral conduct.”  Pg. 29

Prior to WWII, most clerics in the predominantly Protestant South had not seen a reason to identify with the pessimistic, countercultural, crisis (premillenialist – GRH) theology.  Amid the turmoil of the post-war years, however, this system began to make better sense.  Yet even as they adopted it they altered it.  Once a complex doctrine that encouraged intellectualizing.  McGee and his cohort helped turn it into an impetus form local activism, cultural engagement and American global engagement.                      Pg. 157-8

Banowsky readily admitted, “but, in my judgment, what really keeps such a coalition from occurring is not . . . the stupidity of the ordinary people, but rather the elitism of the patricians.                    Pg. 356

If you are interested in recent US cultural or political history you will find this book interesting. For this I would give it a B+.
If you are politically active trying influence society.  A solid A.

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Gary the Human

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Posted: 24 April 2011 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This sounds interesting! Thank you.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks;

I find investigating the reality of human actions and social organization much more interesting than theology/philosophy.

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Gary the Human

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Posted: 25 April 2011 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I think any discussion of California Evangelism needs to also consider the San Francisco Earthquake and its aftershocks… so to speak

Earthquake Evangelism: the San Francisco Quake & the Azusa Revival
By TheOldLandmark

http://oldlandmark.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/earthquake-evangelism-the-san-francisco-quake-the-azusa-revival/

The devastating disaster caused panic throughout southern California, and the saints of the newly-formed Azusa Street Mission, who viewed the convulsions as a sure sign of God’s judgment and might, used the opportunity to escalate evangelism and call men to repentance.

Frank Bartleman, who chronicled the early Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles, was spiritually spurred by the event and went to great lengths to spread the Gospel in the weeks following the earthquake. Before the quake, Bartleman had written a tract entitled “The Last Call.” He and other Christian workers in the city distributed over 10,000 of the pamphlets on April 22.

According to Bro. Bartleman, many preachers in California were “working overtime to prove that God had nothing to do with earthquakes and thus allay the fears of the people.” Bartleman, along with other Pentecostals, aptly attributed the destruction to God’s hand and felt compelled to warn others of their need to speedily repent before incurring the further wrath of the Almighty.

Bartleman clearly saw the disassociation of God with the quake as an infernal campaign: “The devil put on a big propaganda on this line . . . He [God] showed me all hell was being moved to drown out His voice in the earthquake, if possible” (Bartleman 50). In 1907, John Casper Branner, a renowned geologist published a chapter in an anthology about the earthquake, which denies the divine origin of tectonic activity:

All to sooth fears of the weak and the incurious…

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Posted: 28 April 2011 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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CC:

Thanks for the info.  From the Bible Belt trough the Sunbelt is attempting is not a full history of Evangelism in So. California rather it records the history and the effects of the migration from the Western South to So. Calif. and how they developed their influence on US society. It covers their motivations, financing, educational & community structures, etc.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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red face
. . .  sort of noticed that. . . BUT
It is such an interesting piece of trivia regarding the evangelical dynamics/tactics of mass persuasion I couldn’t resist sharing.

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