Pentecostals in America

Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh

Columbia University Press

Pentecostals in America

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Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231141833

192 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.00

Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231141826

192 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£70.00

Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231512220

192 Pages

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Pentecostals in America

Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh

Columbia University Press

Pentecostalism is one of the most significant modern movements in global Christianity today. A mixture of ecstatic expression and earnest piety, metaphysical nuance and embodied spirituality, it is far more than the stereotype of a supernatural sideshow. In this presumably secular era, Pentecostalism continues to grow, adapting to a diverse religious marketplace and becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Originally an American phenomenon, it is now a globe-spanning religion.

In this book, Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh provides a thematic overview of Pentecostalism in America, covering Pentecostal faith and practices, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, trends and offshoots, and the future of American Pentecostalism. She also considers Pentecostalism’s spiritual lineages, examining colorful leaders, ordinary adherents, and prominent outliers, as well as its deep roots in American popular culture. She examines Pentecostalism as a narrative performance, aiming to explain what Pentecostalism is through the experiences and stories of its adherents. Sánchez Walsh treats this Christian movement with the critical eye it has often lacked, and places it in context within the larger narrative of American religious history. An indispensable introduction to Pentecostalism, rich with insights for experienced readers, Pentecostals in America is an essential study of a vibrant religious movement.
Pentecostals in America is a lively thematic exploration of Pentecostal believers across the twentieth century and into our own time. With a keen ear and an acute sensitivity toward the stories that tie worshipers to this eclectic and powerfully embodied tradition, Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh insightfully scrutinizes the faith and practices of Pentecostal women and men. She attends closely to a diverse cast of noted leaders as well as contemporary outliers who stretch the boundaries of the tradition, analyzing important factors such as gender and sexuality ideals, popular culture, and race and ethnicity. A smart, compelling, and entertaining analysis of a homegrown American religion that has become a global force. R. Marie Griffith, John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis
'Pentecostals tell great stories' and so does Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh in this marvelous new addition to the Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series. Combining empathy with insight and deep scholarship with dramatic flair, Sánchez Walsh offers a well-rounded, richly textured picture that tells us a good deal about America as well as about Pentecostalism. This book will engage students, inspire scholars, and advance understanding of the power and complexity of religion in American life. Amanda Porterfield, author of Corporate Spirit: Religion and the Rise of the Modern Corporation
In Penteacostals in America, Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh explores, describes, and interprets the almost infinitely varied and complex world of American Pentecostalism. The result is an impressionist painting of Pentecostalism in America, beautifully colored and bursting with vivid description and stimulating interpretations, both useful and delightfully interesting to read. Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh’s book Pentecostals in America is a fresh take on the traditional history of the American Pentecostal movement. The book is thematic, rather than chronological, and explores issues around gender, sexuality, race, music, fame, and theological innovation by using snapshots of Pentecostal lives in order to excavate the complexities of the religious tradition. By focusing on particular people, Sanchez-Walsh puts well known Pentecostals including William Seymour, Charles Fox Parham, Aimee Semple McPherson, and A. A. Allen in conversation with more controversial figures such as Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Juanita Bynum, and the prosperity preacher Joel Osteen. She weaves her ethnographic findings together with historical and biographical research, thus enlivening the narrative with her wry, funny voice and personal observations. Sánchez Walsh writes with verve and the careful observation of one who has studied the movement for a long time. Angela Tarango, Trinity University
This exciting project offers a compelling take on Pentecostalism’s history in the U.S., and is an eminently readable introduction to the subject that should be accessible to both students and scholars alike. By arguing that Pentecostalism, as a social and religious movement, is quintessentially American, Sánchez Walsh highlights Pentecostalism’s flexibility and improvisational nature. Phillip Luke Sinitiere, College of Biblical Studies
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Pentecostal Faith and Practice
2. Pentecostal Innovators
3. Gender, Sexualities, and Pentecostalism
4. Pentecostalism and Popular Culture
5. “Laundry Talk”: Race, Ethnicity, and the Construction of an American Pentecostal Identity
6. Outliers: Heresy and American Pentecostalism
Epilogue. A Whole New Thing—The Future of Pentecostalism in America
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Arlene M. Sánchez Walsh is associate professor of religious studies at Azusa Pacific University. She is the author of the award-winning Latino Pentecostal Identity: Evangelical Faith, Self, and Society (Columbia, 2003).