Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity - Oxford University Press - due May 2014

Advance Praise for The Deconstructed Church

“As growing numbers of Americans say they are ‘nonreligious,’ observers note a comparable shift among those who are religious toward looser, more individualistic, anti-institutional, experimental expressions of faith. Marti and Ganiel have done a superb job of examining these emerging expressions, illuminating both the practices and beliefs of individuals and the innovative congregations they are forming.”
  • Robert Wuthnow, Gerhard R. Andlinger ‘52 Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University
“In the midst of a polarized landscape, where ‘religion’ and ‘church’ signal a lack of vitality and authenticity, Emerging Churches are putting together something new out of the debris. Marti and Ganiel show us why we should pay attention. They describe the faith found here as neither shopping nor seeking, but a conversation carried on in congregations that are determinedly open and inclusive. This book provides a careful analysis of this much-discussed movement and shows why it is so well-suited to our times.”
  • Nancy T. Ammerman, author of Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life

Monday, December 9, 2013

‘The Last Stop: Understanding the Emerging Church Movement’ Interview with Gladys Ganiel and Gerardo Marti Published in Bearings

‘The Last Stop: Understanding the Emerging Church Movement’ Interview with Gladys Ganiel and Gerardo Marti Published in Bearings

Bearings5CoverAn interview with Gerardo Marti and me, ‘The Last Stop: Understanding the Emerging Church Movement,’ has been published in the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings magazine.

The interview begins on page nine and is based in large part on our forthcoming book, The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity, and includes questions such as:
  • How do you introduce the Emerging Church to those who are unfamiliar with the movement?
  • What does the Emerging Church Movement tell us about the contemporary religious landscape? What is its significance as a modern religious movement?
  • Do you think the Emerging Church Movement will play a role in Christianity’s historical development?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Deconstructed Church: A Quick Update

My co-author Gladys Ganiel and I have been working diligently to craft the final contours of our forthcoming book The Deconstructed Church — a book oriented toward describing the identity and practices of "Emerging Christians." While the draft is not complete, it looks like we're on target to turn in the manuscript this summer.

A lot of writing exists (and much more since we received the contract with Oxford University Press) about the Emerging Church Movement—mostly a mixture of suppositions, speculations, and various spokespeople representing their visions for the movement. But sociologists of religion have been reluctant to pay much attention to this group of network-dependent, loosely-affiliated, and largely marginalized "Christians." There are insiders and critics who are sick to death of hearing about emerging/emergent Christians, while there are plenty of outsiders who are still discovering it, intrigued by the orientation, and struggling to figure it out.

And there are a few scholars of religion who have found enough permanence among these groups (existing since the late 1990s, with and without the label) that one esteemed colleague said to me that she's heard of several people who are trying to stake some kind of scholarly "claim" to understanding the movement.

Like a lot of researchers, I follow my nose: meaning, I have a set of questions that intrigue me, a set of observations that coalesce at various times, and moments of opportunity to investigate things that serve to highlight important aspects about identity, social change, and the often surprising dynamics that govern our lives.

I have zero interest in staking any exclusive claim to understanding the Emerging Church Movement. I've spoken about it at academic conferences and written about it. Occasionally, I've been interviewed by a reporter. But there are others. Gladys certainly has her expertise. Other social scientists have recently published some insightful analyses (James Bielo's Emerging Evangelicals and Josh Packard's The Emerging Church come to mind). What I am interested in doing is taking a fairly extensive data set that combines my interviews/observations with Gladys', and supplementing those with data gathered originally by Tony Jones for his dissertation in Practical Theology at Princeton (you can find it on Amazon).  Although Tony has published his thoughts, I have avoided reading this work closely as Gladys and my goal has been to systematically analyze the whole of the data and inductively assess the patterns that (ahem) "emerge."

I'm very pleased with our work so far. I think our book holds some surprises—even for those who are long time observers and insiders. We bring our own conceptual lenses to bear to what has become an impossibly ambitious task: How do we frame the workings of a diffuse religious orientation against the backdrop of the changed society that makes it possible? The Emerging Church Movement would not have existed 100 years ago, even 50 years ago.  It is a manifestation of shifting ground for what it means to be religious today, and what the possibilities for congregational life are in the near future.

As a book-length analysis, it strains a blog post to summarize our findings. You'll forgive me that I won't even try. But I am excited enough to say "Stay Tuned," this book will be worth the wait. Expected sometime Fall 2014.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Index Your Book Manuscript

Although I paid about $750 to have my first book A Mosaic of Believers indexed, I didn't end up liking the job. Although not every reader uses a book's index, I came to see it as an opportunity to promote ideas and concepts and to show how my book speaks to those. So I indexed my next two books. 

Here's a quick how-to: 

Get a stack of index cards. Go through proof sheets of your book marking names, places, organizations (those are easy), and also ideas, concepts, theoretical items (which may not be addressed directly by actual name or label). Put the names/labels on the header line of an index card, a separate card per header. List page numbers relevant for each header. As your stack of cards grow, place headers in alphabetical order using a little card filing box. 

As you go through the proof sheets, you'll see your index cards grow, and you'll also have more ideas. You might create new index cards and re-think how to group together other pages that correspond to these new ideas.

When you finish going through the proofs, sort your index cards. Perhaps some (most?) can become sub-ideas, or sub-themes, and those will be placed under cards you now assign as main headings. You can create cross-reference headings if you have related ideas (see xyz…) .  

It took me about 4-5 days (not full time, amidst all else) to work through proofs, creating cards, and getting it done. 

Then I had a student type up my headings followed by page numbers, and put sub-headings underneath also with page numbers. All headings are in alphabetical order.

Proof read your final sheet of indexed terms and page numbers. Send to publisher! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Highly Recommended" - CHOICE Reviews - Worship across the Racial Divide

More feedback continues to come from Worship across the Racial Divide. This one comes from CHOICE Reviews:

49-5448ML39212011-18782 CIP
Humanities \ General

Marti, Gerardo.  Worship across the racial divide: religious music and the multiracial congregation.  Oxford, 2012.  266p bibl index afp ISBN 0-19-539297-3, $29.95; ISBN9780195392975, $29.95. Reviewed in 2012jun CHOICE.

This book is more scientifically grounded in research and study than the title suggests. Marti (sociology, Davidson College) spent more than two years studying the hypothesis that music and worship play an essential role in stimulating diversity in congregations. He found that the hypothesis is incorrect, and that though music and worship are important in multiethnic/multiracial congregations, what is important is not the performance of the service but rather the practices that surround the congregation in the absorption and production of the music. The author devotes a great deal of space to examining the sociological perspective of worship from a practice-based application. He tears down preconceived notions in contemporary worship scholarship about achieving racial diversity and a universal worship experience and about how churches need to focus on their structural practices if they wish to achieve diversity and ethnicity in their congregations. A scholarly, thought-provoking examination of this topic.

Summing Up:
 Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
 -- B. L. Eden, Valparaiso University

Monday, June 25, 2012

5 Stars for "Worship across the Racial Divide" from Christianity Today

Christianity Today has chosen to review my newest book Worship across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation.  In addition to the enthusiastic review from Michael Emerson, a leading scholar of race and religion, the CT editors gave the book a full 5 stars. 

The review (and comments from readers) can be found here

Friday, April 20, 2012

Research on Multiracial Congregations that Does Not Yet Exist

I recently revisited an article I wrote published in 2010.  It struck me that the title of this brief article does not anticipate that nearly one-third describes the type of research we need on multiracial congregations that does not yet exist

Research on Multiracial Congregations that Does Not Yet Exist

First, we should expand more widely the scope of “diversity” examined in diverse congregations to more actively incorporate a broader scope of cultural experiences and ancestral backgrounds.
Second, we should pursue a more inclusive range of diverse congregations and avoid treating “multiracial churches” as a homogenous category; clearly, they are not.
Third, we should focus more attention on non-Christian congregations. 
St. Martin's Episcopal ChurchSt. Martin's Episcopal Church (Photo credit: joseph a)
Fourth, we should isolate significant arenas of diversification and investigate contemporary initiatives for diversification (and rigorous research will likely identify intriguing ironies and contradictions).
Fifth, we should exercise greater caution in our use of racial and ethnic categories as well as become better prepared for working through new and changing “multiracial identities.”
Finally, we should expand the use of multiracial churches as strategic arenas for data collection to address other interesting and important social dynamics.   

These suggestions--with expanded discussion and a number of relevant citations from research research--can be found here.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Diverse Church as Musical Production

Reviews are beginning to come in for my new book Worship across the Racial Divide. The latest one is right here.

Review of Worship across the Racial Divide by Franklin Golden

A very special thanks to Franklin Golden, co-pastor of Durham Presbyterian Church who posted a very nice, very concise summary and response to my new book at the Faith and Leadership Blog at Duke Divinity.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Author Reading: Worship across the Racial Divide ~ Ch 3

Continuing a series of readings from my new book "Worship across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation" published with Oxford University Press. These feature short previews of each chapter and introduce you to some of the insights from the book.

From Part 1 "Confronting Popular Notions of Race and Worship", here's the beginning of Chapter 3 on African Americans as the Icon of "True Worship" in diverse churches.

The reading from the beginning of the book, Chapter 1, is here. Chapter 2 is here.