In the "twinkling of an eye" Jesus secretly returns to earth and gathers to him all believers. As they are taken to heaven, the world they leave behind is plunged into chaos. Cars and airplanes crash and people search in vain for loved ones. Plagues, famine, and suffering follow. The antichrist emerges to rule the world and to destroy those who oppose him. Finally, Christ comes again in glory, defeats the antichrist and reigns over the earth. This apocalyptic scenario is anticipated by millions of Americans. These millions have made the Left Behind series--novels that depict the rapture and apocalypse--perennial bestsellers, with over 40 million copies now in print. In Rapture Culture, Amy Johnson Frykholm explores this remarkable phenomenon, seeking to understand why American evangelicals find the idea of the rapture so compelling. What is the secret behind the remarkable popularity of the apocalyptic genre? One answer, she argues, is that the books provide a sense of identification and communal belonging that counters the "social atomization" that characterizes modern life. This also helps explain why they appeal to female readers, despite the deeply patriarchal worldview they promote. Tracing the evolution of the genre of rapture fiction, Frykholm notes that at one time such narratives expressed a sense of alienation from modern life and protest against the loss of tradition and the marginalization of conservative religious views. Now, however, evangelicalism's renewed popular appeal has rendered such themes obsolete. Left Behind evinces a new embrace of technology and consumer goods as tools for God's work, while retaining a protest against modernity's transformation of traditional family life. Drawing on extensive interviews with readers of the novels, Rapture Culture sheds light on a mindset that is little understood and far more common than many of us suppose.
Über die ästhetische und politische Kraft des Populären
Author: Florian Niedlich
Publisher: transcript Verlag
Category: Social Science
Mittlerweile geht der Trend auch im deutschsprachigen Raum zu einer stärker differenzierten Perspektive auf die ästhetischen und politischen Potentiale der Popkultur. Dieser Entwicklung trägt der Band Rechnung. Die Beiträge befassen sich u.a. mit Popliteratur und Musikvideos, den Beatles und Hip-Hop, The Terminator und The Wrestler, Monty Python und Switch. Dabei thematisieren sie auch bislang unberücksichtigte Phänomene wie posthumanistische und Körper-Diskurse, Darstellungen des Alter(n)s und religiöse Eschatologie. Das Buch kombiniert prägnante Einzelanalysen mit einem profunden Einstieg in die Popkulturforschung und liefert einen Überblick über die dort aktuell geführten Debatten. Eine Untersuchung des Phänomens Pop in seinen vielfältigen Facetten.
Alexis de Tocqueville once described the national character of Americans as one question insistently asked: "How much money will it bring in?" G.K. Chesterton, a century later, described America as a "nation with a soul of a church." At first glance, the two observations might appear to be diametrically opposed, but this volume shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one another, defining the US in terms of religion, and religion in terms of economics. Bringing together original contributions by leading experts and rising scholars from both America and Europe, the volume pushes this field of study forward by examining the ways religions and markets in relationship can provide powerful insights and open unseen aspects into both. In essays ranging from colonial American mercantilism to modern megachurches, from literary markets to popular festivals, the authors explore how religious behavior is shaped by commerce, and how commercial practices are informed by religion. By focusing on what historians often use off-handedly as a metaphor or analogy, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as the marketplace. Using these categories, the contributors test the assumptions scholars have come to hold, and offer deeper insights into religion and the marketplace in America.
Here, Crawford Gribben offers a history, description, and analysis of the rapture-novel genre. The late 1980s culminated in the creation of the Left Behind series. The novels in this series, Gribben shows, are derivative - borrowing entire characters and significant incidents from earlier books.
Since its initial publication, Critical Digital Studies has proven an indispensable guide to understanding digitally mediated culture. Bringing together the leading scholars in this growing field, internationally renowned scholars Arthur and Marilouise Kroker present an innovative and interdisciplinary survey of the relationship between humanity and technology. The reader offers a study of our digital future, a means of understanding the world with new analytic tools and means of communication that are defining the twenty-first century. The second edition includes new essays on the impact of social networking technologies and new media. A new section – “New Digital Media” – presents important, new articles on topics including hacktivism in the age of digital power and the relationship between gaming and capitalism. The extraordinary range and depth of the first edition has been maintained in this new edition. Critical Digital Studies will continue to provide the leading edge to readers wanting to understand the complex intersection of digital culture and human knowledge.
How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change
Author: Katharine K. Wilkinson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Despite three decades of scientists' warnings and environmentalists' best efforts, the political will and public engagement necessary to fuel robust action on global climate change remain in short supply. Katharine K. Wilkinson shows that, contrary to popular expectations, faith-based efforts are emerging and strengthening to address this problem. In the US, perhaps none is more significant than evangelical climate care. Drawing on extensive focus group and textual research and interviews, Between God & Green explores the phenomenon of climate care, from its historical roots and theological grounding to its visionary leaders and advocacy initiatives. Wilkinson examines the movement's reception within the broader evangelical community, from pew to pulpit. She shows that by engaging with climate change as a matter of private faith and public life, leaders of the movement challenge traditional boundaries of the evangelical agenda, partisan politics, and established alliances and hostilities. These leaders view sea-level rise as a moral calamity, lobby for legislation written on both sides of the aisle, and partner with atheist scientists. Wilkinson reveals how evangelical environmentalists are reshaping not only the landscape of American climate action, but the contours of their own religious community. Though the movement faces complex challenges, climate care leaders continue to leverage evangelicalism's size, dominance, cultural position, ethical resources, and mechanisms of communication to further their cause to bridge God and green.
Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America
Author: Erin A. Smith
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Since the late nineteenth century, religiously themed books in America have been commercially popular yet scorned by critics. Working at the intersection of literary history, lived religion, and consumer culture, Erin A. Smith considers the largely unexplored world of popular religious books, examining the apparent tension between economic and religious imperatives for authors, publishers, and readers. Smith argues that this literature served as a form of extra-ecclesiastical ministry and credits the popularity and longevity of religious books to their day-to-day usefulness rather than their theological correctness or aesthetic quality. Drawing on publishers' records, letters by readers to authors, promotional materials, and interviews with contemporary religious-reading groups, Smith offers a comprehensive study that finds surprising overlap across the religious spectrum--Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish, liberal and conservative. Smith tells the story of how authors, publishers, and readers reconciled these books' dual function as best-selling consumer goods and spiritually edifying literature. What Would Jesus Read? will be of interest to literary and cultural historians, students in the field of print culture, and scholars of religious studies.
In recent years evangelical Christians have been increasingly turning their attention toward issues such as the environment, international human rights, economic development, racial reconciliation, and urban renewal. Such engagement marks both a return to historic evangelical social action and a pronounced expansion of the social agenda advanced by the Religious Right in the past few decades. For outsiders to evangelical culture, this trend complicates simplistic stereotypes. For insiders, it brings contention over what "true" evangelicalism means today. Beginning with an introduction that broadly outlines this "new evangelicalism," the editors identify its key elements, trace its historical lineage, account for the recent changes taking place within evangelicalism, and highlight the implications of these changes for politics, civic engagement, and American religion. The essays that follow bring together an impressive interdisciplinary team of scholars to map this new religious terrain and spell out its significance in what is sure to become an essential text for understanding trends in contemporary evangelicalism.
The Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism
Author: Todd M. Brenneman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In popular evangelical literature, God is loving and friendly, described in heartfelt, often saccharine language that evokes nostalgia, comfortable domesticity, and familial love. This emotional style has been widely adopted by the writers most popular among American evangelicals, including such celebrity pastors as Max Lucado, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen. Todd M. Brenneman provides groundbreaking insight into the phenomenon of evangelical sentimentality: an emotional appeal to readers' feelings about familial relationships, which can in turn be used as the basis for a relationship with God. Brenneman shows how evangelicals use tropes of God as father, human beings as children, and nostalgia for an imagined idyllic home life to provide alternate sources of social authority, intended to help evangelicals survive a culture that is philosophically at odds with conservative Christianity. Yet Brenneman also demonstrates that the sentimental focus on individual emotion and experience can undermine the evangelical agenda. Sentimentality is an effective means of achieving individual conversions, but it also promotes a narcissism that blinds evangelicals to larger social forces and impedes their ability to bring about the change they seek. Homespun Gospel offers a compelling perspective on an unexplored but vital aspect of American evangelical identity.
Edited by one of the nation’s preeminent labor historians, this book marks an ambitious effort to dissect the full extent of Wal-Mart’s business operations, its social effects, and its role in the U.S. and world economy. Wal-Mart is based on a spring 2004 conference of leading historians, business analysts, sociologists, and labor leaders that immediately attracted the attention of the national media, drawing profiles in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Review of Books. Their contributions are adapted here for a general audience. At the end of the nineteenth century the Pennsylvania Railroad declared itself “the standard of the world.” In more recent years, IBM and then Microsoft seemed the template for a new, global information economy. But at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Wal-Mart has overtaken all rivals as the world-transforming economic institution of our time. Presented in an accessible format and extensively illustrated with charts and graphs, Wal-Mart examines such topics as the giant retailer’s managerial culture, revolutionary use of technological innovation, and controversial pay and promotional practices to provide the most complete guide yet available to America’s largest company.
This book argues that problems with recognizing the State of Israel lie at the heart of approaches to nationhood and unease over nationalism in modern Protestant theology, as well as modern social theory. Three interrelated themes are explored. The first is the connection between a theologian's attitude to recognizing Israel and their approach to the providential place of nations in the divine economy. Following from this, the argument is made that theologians' handling of both modern and ancient Israel is mirrored profoundly in the question of recognition and ethical treatment of the nations to which they belong, along with neighboring nations. The third theme is how social theory, represented by certain key figures, has handled the same issues. Four major theologians are discussed: Reinhold Niebuhr, Rowan Williams, John Milbank, and Karl Barth. Alongside them are placed social theorists and scholars of religion and nationalism, including Mark Juergensmeyer, Philip Jenkins, Anthony Smith, and Adrian Hastings. In the process, debates over the relationship between theology and social theory are reconfigured in concrete terms around the challenge of recognition of the State of Israel as well as stateless nations.
Why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world
Author: Nicholas Guyatt
Publisher: Random House
Category: Political Science
Journeying to the dusty heartlands of America's Bible Belt, Nicholas Guyatt goes in search of the truth behind a startling statistic: 50 million Americans believe the apocalypse will take place in their own lifetimes. They're convinced that, any day now, Jesus will snatch up his followers and spirit them to heaven. For the rest of us, things are going to get very nasty indeed: massive earthquakes, devastating wars, not to mention the terrifying rise of the Antichrist. But true believers aren't just sitting around waiting for the Rapture. They're getting involved in debates over abortion, gay rights and even foreign policy. Are they devout or deranged? Why do they seem so cheerful about the end of the world? And, given the disturbing involvement of a leading presidential candidate, does their influence stretch beyond the Bible Belt ... perhaps even to the White House? Strange, funny and unsettling in equal measure, Have a Nice Doomsday uncovers the apocalyptic obsession at the heart of the world's only superpower.