Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hollywood Faith: Holiness, Prosperity, and Ambition in a Los Angeles Church - Book Review

Many thanks to Kathleen Hladky at Florida State University (her recent article) who provided a review of my book Hollywood Faith for the H-Pentecostalism thread of Humanities and Social Sciences (H-Net) Reviews Online, a powerful consortium of scholars attempting to provide timely updates of new research.

In the review, she concludes:
Throughout Hollywood Faith, Marti contributes to the study of Pentecostalism and contemporary Christianity by drawing attention to topics too often overlooked by scholars of religion: the relationship between religion and work, multiracial Christian congregations, and the Word of Faith movement.
Overall, her reading of my book shows great sensitivity to the layered themes on religion, economics, and race found there.

You can read the full review here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Smartphone Religion at the Duke Divinity Call & Response Blog

Christmas season is in full gear at the Marti house -- finishing up my classes, the kids homework projects before the end of the year, community activities here in Davidson.

In the midst of it all, I've been able to take Jason Byasee's invitation to again contribute last week to the Faith & Leadership Blog at Duke Divinity.

My latest post on The Wi-Fi Church of the Future (and the Present)
is tagged under Innovation | Liturgy | Technology ):

Worldwide iPhone sales by quarter in an svg fo...Image via Wikipedia

"The past two years have seen a rapid acceleration in the adoption of portable computing by the average person. This will inevitably prompt changes by church leaders."
It's prompted a good online exchange.

I'll encourage you to read the whole post on your own. But more than the post itself are the responses that follow it.

The Executive Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity first describes his "knee jerk" reaction against churches leaning on such technology. Another believes "the app" already exists. And yet another comment brings concern for the poor and their access to wi-fi technology and information.

I appreciate the dialogue. I'm learning all the time, and the comments are helpful.

Overall what this exchange suggests to me is that we've arrived at an interesting moment in the relationship between technology and church.

Assorted smartphones. From left to right, top ...Image via Wikipedia

The American culture has swallowed the use of smartphones almost whole -- after all, analysts can readily predict how many iPhones will be found under the Christmas tree this year.

But church leaders remain nervous about learning new techniques to harness the use of these advanced devices to their ministries.

Smartphones are not the future; they are already here.

So the failure lies not in ministry budgets (people have their own phones), it lies in the imagination of leaders to use these devices to advance their ministry.