Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission - AAR ACADEMY SER (Paperback)
  • Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission - AAR ACADEMY SER (Paperback)
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Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission - AAR ACADEMY SER (Paperback)

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Paperback 194 Pages / Published: 17/11/2011
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It is commonly accepted that the way to build church growth is to target specific ethnic or racial groups. People prefer to worship with their own, the theory goes, and if growth is what you want you have to accept that fact. In this book Kathleen Garces-Foley challenges the accepted wisdom and puts forth an alternative hypothesis about the role of a multi-cultural ideology in integrating a range of ethnic and generational groups. Through the story of one Asian-American-led multiethnic congregation in Southern California, Evergreen Baptist Church, she seeks to understand how the multiethnic church works as a new and unique social institution. The driving force behind the formation of multiethnic churches, Garces-Foley says, is a new generation of Christians who have been raised in diverse urban settings and have internalized a value for diversity as taught in the public schools. In the case of Evergreen, she finds, many of the younger members learned about the evangelical theology of racial reconciliation in Bible study groups such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and after graduation sought out a multiethnic church where they could put their theological commitment into action. In response to the demand for greater diversity in religious life, churches are increasingly adopting a multiethnic identity and looking for strategies for managing the conflicts that inevitably emerge in diverse settings. Evergreen, Garces-Foley shows, has been successful in reframing these conflicts into opportunities for Christian growth, through a "theology of discomfort." This strategy turns on its head the idea that the Church is supposed to be a place of comfort, and challenges members to embrace the discomfort of cross-cultural exchanges as integral to Christian discipleship. By stressing the sacrifice of comfort required in the multiethnic church, Evergreen and parishes like it inspire members to bear the costs of diversity. Moreover, to the extent that these churches encourage members to take their commitment for racial reconciliation beyond the church walls, they are participating in a larger social discourse about racial justice and may have a positive role to play in the future of our multiethnic society.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199796809
Number of pages: 194
Weight: 294 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 11 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Ethnography has the potential to reformulate our understanding of the world by presenting located, contextual sociological truths that can lead to the transformation of scholarship. Kathleen Garces-Foley gets it right. She has chosen a location that highlights the important features of 21st century American Christianity and she renders an account that shows why and how multi-ethnic congregations are transformative of the landscape of American religion and, potentially, for the cultural repertoire through which we encounter racial diversity. Well-written and accessible, this book deserves a wide audience in the academy and outside of it, and should be read by anyone who cares about the potential of religious institutions to become arenas that foster tolerance, caring, equality, and the spanning of traditional lines of social division. * Penny Edgell, author of Congregations in Conflict and Religion and Family in a Changing Society. *
Combining a thorough survey of up-to-date knowledge on multiethnic churches and her own fieldwork, Garces-Foley offers an insightful and wide-ranging assessment of today's attempts to create inclusive, ethnically diverse communities of faith. Through the trials and successes of one multiethnic church, Garces-Foley not only affirms the desire to achieve racial diversity but also reveals the strains of achieving an ethnically inclusive community that simultaneously affirms the ethnic identity of all members. Through this one church, Crossing the Ethnic Divide artfully explores strategies of ethnic inclusion and the variable salience of ethnic identity within church cultures. * Gerardo Marti, author of A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church *
In this rich ethnography, Kathleen Garces-Foley takes us inside a multiethnic congregation of young urban evangelicals in Los Angeles. Here, she explores in depth the challenges this new style of congregation faces as it both affirms diversity and seeks to build a shared community. An excellent read, of benefit to scholars and religious leaders alike. * Wade Clark Roof, Professor of Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara *
Crossing the Ethnic Divide is a significant addition to the growing literature on race and religion. ...It is useful for courses in Asian American Studies, religious studies, adn teh sociology of religion, and in seminaries as well. * Journal of American Ethnic History *
The book simply and honestly tells it as it is. It carefully details the realities, complexities, and difficulties of pursuing a genuinely multiethnic congregation. * Contemporary Sociology *

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