Homespun Gospel: The Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism

Hardcover | December 17, 2013

byTodd M. Brenneman

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God, as depicted in popular evangelical literature, is loving and friendly, described in heartfelt, often saccharine prose evocative of nostalgia, comfortable domesticity, and familial love. This emotional appeal is a widely-adopted strategy of the writers most popular among Americanevangelicals, including such high-profile pastors as Max Lucado, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen. Todd M. Brenneman offers an in-depth examination of this previously unexplored aspect of American evangelical identity: sentimentality, which aims to produce an emotional response by appealing to readers'notions of familial relationships, superimposed on their relationship with God. Brenneman argues that evangelicals use sentimentality to establish authority in the public sphere--authority that is, by its emotional nature, unassailable by rational investigation. Evangelicals also deploy sentimentality to try to bring about change in society, though, as Brenneman shows, thesentimental focus on individual emotion and experience can undermine the evangelical agenda. Sentimentality not only allows evangelicals to sidestep intellectual questioning, but sets the stage for doctrinal change as well as weakening the evangelical vision of transforming society into the kingdomof God.

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God, as depicted in popular evangelical literature, is loving and friendly, described in heartfelt, often saccharine prose evocative of nostalgia, comfortable domesticity, and familial love. This emotional appeal is a widely-adopted strategy of the writers most popular among Americanevangelicals, including such high-profile pastors as ...

Todd M. Brenneman is Visiting Instructor of Religious Studies at the University of Central Florida.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 17, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199988986

ISBN - 13:9780199988983

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. God's in the Business of Giving Mulligans: Sentimentality and Therapeutic Culture2. You Are Special: The Anti-Intellectualism of Sentimental Evangelicalism3. ''New York Times Best-Selling Author'': Christian Media and the Marketing of Sentiment4. America Looks Up: Sentimentality, Politics, and American EvangelicalismConclusionNotesIndex