The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of Gods Love

Hardcover | November 28, 2012

byMatthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, Stephen G. Post

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Beneath our culture's obsession with wealth and power, status and celebrity, millions of Americans are quietly engaged in a deeply religious struggle to wake up from petty selfishness and to embrace a life of benevolence and compassion. Drawing on an extensive random survey of 1,200 men and women across the United States, Matthew Lee, Margaret Poloma, and Stephen Post here shed new light on how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love and how that transformative experience expresses itself in concrete acts of benevolence.The authors find that the vast majority of Americans (eight out of ten) report that they have felt God's love increasing their compassion for others, one of many important revelations uncovered by the survey. In order to more fully flesh out the meaning of the survey's results, the authors alsoconducted 120 in-depth interviews with Christian women and men from all walks of life and from across the country who are engaged in benevolent service. Their stories offer compelling examples of how receiving God's love, loving God, and expressing this love to others has made a difference in theworld and given their lives deeper significance. As a result, some provide community service, others strive for social justice, still others seek to redefine religion and the meaning of "church" in America. Interviewees who may have grown up with judgmental images of God tended to trade them in fora loving and accepting God more consistent with their own emotionally powerful personal experiences. Based on equal measures of scholarly research and human insight, The Heart of Religion offers an unprecedented level of detail about the experience and expression of divine love.

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Beneath our culture's obsession with wealth and power, status and celebrity, millions of Americans are quietly engaged in a deeply religious struggle to wake up from petty selfishness and to embrace a life of benevolence and compassion. Drawing on an extensive random survey of 1,200 men and women across the United States, Matthew Lee, ...

Matthew Lee is Professor of Sociology at the University of Akron. He is coauthor, with Margaret Poloma, of A Sociological Study of the Great Commandment in Pentecostalism. Margaret Poloma is Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Akron. She is the author of Main Street Mystics, among other books. Stephen Post is the Presi...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 28, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199931887

ISBN - 13:9780199931880

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of Tables and FiguresIntroduction1. Why Should We Care about Godly Love?2. Diversities in the Experience and Expression of Godly Love3. Introducing the Exemplars of Godly Love4. Partnering with the Divine: Spiritual Transformation and Godly Love5. The Breath of Prayer: Energizing Godly Love6. The Cup of Suffering and Joy: Divine Love and Healing7. Human Partners and Godly Love: Relationships Forming Fluid Networks8. Benevolence in the Eyes of the Beholder: Effects of Social FiltersConclusion: Cultural Grids and Biblical HolesNotesIndex