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Boundless Faith

The Global Outreach of American Churches

Robert Wuthnow (Author)


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In Boundless Faith, the first book to look systematically at American Christianity in relation to globalization, Robert Wuthnow shows that American Christianity is increasingly influenced by globalization and is, in turn, playing a larger role in other countries and in U.S. policies and programs abroad. These changes, he argues, can be seen in the growth of support at home for missionaries and churches in other countries and in the large number of Americans who participate in short-term volunteer efforts abroad. These outreaches include building orphanages, starting microbusinesses, and setting up computer networks. Drawing on a comprehensive survey that was conducted for this book, as well as several hundred in-depth interviews with church leaders, Wuthnow refutes several prevailing stereotypes: that U.S. churches have turned away from the global church and overseas missions, that congregations only look inward, and that the growing voice of religion in areas of foreign policy is primarily evangelical. This fresh and revealing book encourages Americans to pay attention to the grass-roots mechanisms by which global ties are created and sustained.

1. At Home and Abroad
The Changing Contours of American Religion

2. The Global Christianity Paradigm
From Cultural Connection to Demographic Distance

3. Four Faces of Globalization
Debating Heterogeneity and Inequality

4. The Evolution of Transnational Ties
Changing Patterns of Social Organization

5. The Global Role of Congregations
Bridging Borders through Direct Engagement

6. Faith and Foreign Policy
Does Religious Advocacy Matter?

7. The Challenges Ahead
Good for America, Good for the World?

Selected Bibliography
Robert Wuthnow is the Gerhard R. Andlinger '52 Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. His many books include After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s, All in Sync: How Music and Art Are Revitalizing American Religion, and Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist, all from UC Press. With John H. Evans, he coedited The Quiet Hand of God: Faith-Based Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism, also from UC Press.
“A clear and systemic discussion of a topic that has too often been dominated by polemics.”—Timothy Renick Christian Century
“Compelling. . . . With his always sagacious voice, Wuthnow paints a vivid portrait of the interaction between American Christianity and the rest of the world and the future of this relationship.”—Foreword
“Wuthnow’s latest sociological masterpiece.”—Richard Fox Young Theology Today
“An erudite and readable account.”—Publishers Weekly
“Eminent”—Books & Culture: A Christian Rvw
“[Wuthnow] brings something different to the field of study.”—Todd Johnson Church History Stds In Christiany And Culture
“Offers an abundance of interesting and highly relevant material. . . . Like [Wuthnow’s] earlier works, Boundless Faith can be recommended without hesitation.”—Journal American Academy Of Religion/ Jaar
“Wuthnow’s thoughtful and sometimes surprising treatment of available data—statistics about membership, mission, and growth in Christian communities—makes it clear why this kind of scholarship matters. . . . Boundless Faith can help readers concerned about the global role of U.S. churches to rethink and perhaps redirect their efforts to engage with a world that, if not exactly ‘flat,’ is certainly full of neighbors whom we are called to love with generous and informed imagination and with action rooted in strenuous understanding.”—Marilyn McEntyre Sojourners: Faith, Pol & Culture
“A timely and insightful exploration of the global activities of American Christians.”—Anglican & Episcopal History
"An important and timely work. Wuthnow compiles material and offers an interpretation that is not only more encompassing than any existing work, but is also very insightful and thought provoking, and pulls the reader into the globally extended world of faith and community."—Wade Clark Roof, University of California, Santa Barbara

"Boundless Faith is indispensable, breaking new ground as the only systematic look at American religions' effect on governmental foreign policy. This is an invaluable study of superior scholarship."—John Coleman, Loyola Marymount University

PROSE AWARD, Association of American Publishers, Inc.

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