Aimee Semple McPherson and the Development of American Religion ~ Praxis Habitus - On Race Religion & Culture

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Aimee Semple McPherson and the Development of American Religion

On Monday, March 23rd, PBS will air Sister Aimee, a provocative documentary on the life of the astounding American evangelist.

If you don't know Sister Aimee, now is the time. The show is based on a wonderful book, Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America, by religious historian Matthew Avery Sutton.

Aimee Semple McPherson is so important, it is hard to summarize all she accomplished in the scope of modern Christianity. Among them is the incorporation of drama into church services, the promotion of media (she founded KFSG in Los Angeles), and the negotiation of women's religious roles.

The PBS website to accompany the documentary is full of fantastic materials:
- a gallery of pictures of Sister Aimee (my favorite is her "Gospel Car" driven across country doing revivals in 1918)

- a brief biography of her life (she founded the Four Square Gospel denomination)

- resources for teachers on history, religion, culture, and the connection between religion and racism and feminism

Angelus Temple in Echo Park. Notice the radio ...Angelus Temple and KFSG Radio Towers. Image via Wikipedia

- a list of websites and books (besides Sutton's book, I also really enjoyed Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson by Mark Epstein)

- pictures and history of The Angelus Temple, important moment in church architecture that pre-dates Willow Creek by over half a century, and the current home of the Dream Center

- the full transcript of the documentary

Be sure to set your DVRs.

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