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The urban church imagined : religion, race, and authenticity in the city

Author: Jessica M Barron; Rhys H Williams
Publisher: New York : New York University Press, [2017]
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The Urban Church Imagined illuminates the dynamics surrounding white urban evangelical congregations' approaches to organizational vitality and diversifying membership. Many evangelical churches are moving to urban, downtown areas to build their congregations and attract younger, millennial members. The urban environment fosters two expectations. First, a deep familiarity and reverence for popular consumer culture,
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version :
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jessica M Barron; Rhys H Williams
ISBN: 9781479802371 1479802379
OCLC Number: 1038178688
Target Audience: Specialized.
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Introduction: Race, church, city --
City Jesus --
Urban outfitters --
The diversity list --
City outreach --
"Swirl babies" --
"Should I stay or should I go?" --
Conclusion: The city imagined.
Responsibility: Jessica M. Barron and Rhys Williams.

Abstract:

The Urban Church Imagined illuminates the dynamics surrounding white urban evangelical congregations' approaches to organizational vitality and diversifying membership. Many evangelical churches are moving to urban, downtown areas to build their congregations and attract younger, millennial members. The urban environment fosters two expectations. First, a deep familiarity and reverence for popular consumer culture, and second, the presence of racial diversity. Church leaders use these ideas when they imagine what a "city church" should look like, but they must balance that with what it actually takes to make this happen. In part, racial diversity is seen as key to urban churches presenting themselves as "in touch" and "authentic." Yet, in an effort to seduce religious consumers, church leaders often and inadvertently end up reproducing racial and economic inequality, an unexpected contradiction to their goal of inclusivity. Drawing on several years of research, Jessica M. Barron and Rhys H. Williams explore the cultural contours of one such church in downtown Chicago. They show that church leaders and congregants' understandings of the connections between race, consumer culture, and the city is a motivating factor for many members who value interracial interactions as a part of their worship experience. But these explorations often unintentionally exclude members along racial and classed lines.

Drawing on nearly two years of ethnographic data and 55 qualitative interviews, this work examines the ways in which race, class, gender, and consumption intersect with an urban context to shape the goals, identity, and experiences of a new religious congregation in Chicago.

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"The City Imagined expertly takes us into the heart of 'new urban' Christianity, a Christianity reflecting a renewed interest in the city, but a city highly constructed to serve idealized purposes. Read more...

 
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