Grant Us Courage: Travels Along the Mainline of American Protestantism

Hardcover | December 1, 1995

byRandall Balmer

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In 1950, Christian Century ran a series of articles on twelve churches, some large, some small, each representing a strand of American mainline Protestantism. Now, nearly fifty years later, Randall Balmer--author and host of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, the acclaimed book and PBS series onAmerican evangelicism--has revisited each of these twelve churches to take the pulse of Protestantism today. The result is a remarkable narrative, graced with touches of local color and memorable portraits of the people involved, and filled with deft observations and carefully nuanced insights aboutProtestantism at century's end. Much as he did in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, Balmer crisscrosses America to give us a first-hand look at how Christianity has fared in the last half-century. What emerges is a church challenged by diminished influence, but with signs of hope for the future. For instance, he takes us to WestHartford, Connecticut, where we learn how a gregarious pastor, Bob Heppenstall, rekindled the spirit of the First Church of Christ Congregational--still housed in its stately, classic New England meetinghouse--that had suffered from inept management until recent years. And in Ames, Iowa, at theCollegiate United Methodist Church, we watch George White struggle to regain his church's once dominant voice in the religious life of the town, a voice now dimmed by the growth of fundamentalism. Some churches have held steadfastly to long-established roles, such as the Washington Prairie LutheranChurch, in Decorah, Iowa, which has been a model of continuity, serving its Norwegian-American community in much the same way since it was founded in 1851. And Balmer also visits some thriving churches, such as Hollywood's First Presbyterian Church, led by the great preacher John Lloyd Ogilvie, whowas recently appointed chaplain of the U.S. Senate. In Minneapolis, Balmer encounters Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, a congregation that has not only increased its membership, but can now call itself the biggest Lutheran church in the world. In Grant Us Courage, one of our most thoughtful chroniclers of the American scene offers an intimate look at mainline Protestantism at the close of the century. We come away with the feeling of having been there, of having listened to the voices of an important segment of Christian life, and ofhaving found a deeper understanding of religious life in America today.

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From Our Editors

Balmer, the author and host of PBS's Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, offers a vivid, first-hand look at mainline Protestantism at the close of the century. He crisscrossed America to visit 12 churches that represent important strands of Christianity in America, resulting in a remarkable narrative of our nation

From the Publisher

In 1950, Christian Century ran a series of articles on twelve churches, some large, some small, each representing a strand of American mainline Protestantism. Now, nearly fifty years later, Randall Balmer--author and host of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, the acclaimed book and PBS series onAmerican evangelicism--has revisited each of ...

From the Jacket

Balmer crisscrosses America to give us a first-hand look at how Christianity has fared in the last half-century. What emerges is a church challenged by diminished influence, but with signs of hope for the future. For instance, he takes us to West Hartford, Connecticut, where we learn how a gregarious pastor, Bob Heppenstall, rekindled ...

Randall Balmer is Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University.

other books by Randall Balmer

Religion in American Life: A Short History
Religion in American Life: A Short History

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 8.5 × 5.83 × 0.75 inPublished:December 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195100867

ISBN - 13:9780195100860

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From Our Editors

Balmer, the author and host of PBS's Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, offers a vivid, first-hand look at mainline Protestantism at the close of the century. He crisscrossed America to visit 12 churches that represent important strands of Christianity in America, resulting in a remarkable narrative of our nation

Editorial Reviews

"Randall Balmer has applied his skills as a theologically aware investigator and experienced journalist to produce this perceptive examination of the same twelve churches initially profiled in a 1950 Christian Century magazine series. What he discovered, 45 years later, provides both observersand members with a valuable profile of mainline Protestantism at the close of the 20th century."--James M. Wall, editor, Christian Century