In an attempt to understand the growing popularity and influence of Christian fundamentalism, sociologist and documentary filmmaker James Ault spent three years inside the world of a Massachusetts fundamentalist church.Spirit and Flesh takes us into worship services, home Bible studies, youth events, men’s prayer breakfasts, and bitter conflicts leading to a church split. We come to know the members of the congregation and see how the church acts as an extended family that provides support and security along with occasional tensions. Intimate and rigorously fair-minded, Spirit and Flesh will help non-religious readers better understand their fellow citizens, and will allow devout readers to see themselves through the eyes of a sympathetic outsider.
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|Title of eBook: Spirit and Flesh|
|Release Date: 12-22-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Spirit and Flesh|
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Spirit and Flesh
You're either for God or against him.
I remember trying to muster the courage to first pick up the telephone to call the Reverend Frank Valenti. It was February 1983, the middle of Ronald Reagan's first term as president and a moment of ascending strength for a popular conservatism that was then transforming American politics. As a young sociologist having recently completed my Ph.D., I was several months into a research project to better understand what I called the conservative "pro-family" movement. By that I meant those groups struggling to defend what they saw as traditional family values through a constellation of enthusiasms including opposition to abortion, sex education, homosexual rights and the equal rights amendment. While the New Right as a political coalition also contained Libertarians and old-style Republicans, it was this popular movement animated by concerns around family and gender that gave new-right conservatism its mass base and political clout.
My apprehension about calling Pastor Valenti stemmed from the suspicion and hostility that hovered over my first contacts with conservatives. I had sought them out near my home in Northampton, Massachusetts, a county seat on the Connecticut River in the western part of the state, where I had moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to teach sociology at Smith College. My first contacts had been with grassroots activists in right-to-life groups and in Birthright, an antiabortion counseling group. They were almost always wary and guarded, imagining that a sociologist-and one teaching at Smith College at that-would be prejudiced against all they stood for. Since I