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Secular Steeples 2nd edition: Popular Culture and the Religious Imagination [Paperback]

Conrad Ostwalt

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Book Description

Nov. 29 2012 1441172866 978-1441172860 2nd Revised edition
An exploration of secularization in America, this book provides students with an innovative way of understanding the relationship between religion and secular culture. In Secular Steeples, Conrad Ostwalt challenges long-held assumptions about the relationship between religion and culture and about the impact of secularization. Moving away from the idea that religion will diminish as secularization continues, Ostwalt identifies areas of popular culture where secular and sacred views and objectives interact and enrich each other.

The book demonstrates how religious institutions use the secular and popular media of television, movies, and music to make sacred teachings relevant. From megachurches to sports arenas, the Bible to Harry Potter, biker churches to virtual worship communities, Ostwalt demonstrates how religion persists across cultural forms, secular and sacred, with secular culture expressing religious messages and sometimes containing more authentic religious content than official religious teachings.

An ideal text for anyone studying religion and popular culture, each chapter provides questions for discussion, a list of important terms and guided readings.

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'In this bold, thoughtful, and complex work, Conrad Ostwalt counters major currents in religious and theological studies that identify the nature and role of the religious and sacred by positing their contrary relation to the secular and profane. He argues and richly illustrates how and why these putative contraries are actually in constant and various involvements with and even dependencies on one another and how awareness of these relational dynamics can and should affect our understandings of both American culture and religion and theology.' -- Wesley Kort, Professor in the Department of Religion, Duke University, USA. 'More a reengagement than a revision, this second edition of Conrad Ostwalt's influential work on secularization, religion, and popular culture retains the best aspects of the original - a clear theoretical framework and relevant, entertaining examples - while incorporating not only new material, but also student-friendly features such as lists of key words and concepts, study questions, and even suggestions for guided readings.The first edition of Secular Steeples allowed readers to navigate the reciprocal relationship between religion and popular culture.This new edition will engage, educate, and entertain both previous and new readers alike.I look forward to using it in my classes.' -- Dan W. Clanton, Jr., Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Doane College, Nebraska, USA 'In contrast to modern sociology's secularization theories, Ostwalt sees the sacred and the secular commingling as religious groups secularize by adopting secular forms and as secular forms and institutions betray religious sensibilities. New material in this edition includes forays into football stadiums, Harry Potter, 2012, motorcycles, and the emergent church. To place, text, and image, he now adds communitas. He also adds a chapter seeking to ground his theological view of postmodernism in process theology. Finally, his addition of questions, assignments, and reading suggestions will facilitate the use of the book in classrooms.' -- Richard Walsh, Professor of Religion at Methodist University, USA.

About the Author

Conrad Ostwalt is Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State University, USA.

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