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The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God's Love

Matthew T. Lee and Others

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Beneath our culture's obsession with wealth and power, status and celebrity, millions of Americans are quietly engaged in a deeply religious struggle to free themselves from petty selfishness and to embrace a life of benevolence and compassion. Drawing on an extensive random survey of 1,200 men and women across the United States, Matthew Lee, Margaret Poloma, and Stephen Post here shed new light on how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love and how that transformative experience expresses itself in concrete acts of benevolence. The authors find that the vast majority of Americans (eight out of ten) report that they have felt God's love increasing their compassion for others, one of many important revelations uncovered by the survey. In order to more fully flesh out the meaning of the survey's results, the authors also conducted 120 in-depth interviews with Christian women and men from all walks of life and from across the country who are engaged in benevolent service. Their stories offer compelling examples of how receiving God's love, loving God, and expressing this love to others has made a difference in the world and given their lives deeper significance. As a result, some provide community service, others strive for social justice, still others seek to redefine religion and the meaning of "church" in America. Interviewees who may have grown up with judgmental images of God tended to trade them in for a loving and accepting God more consistent with their own emotionally powerful personal experiences. Based on equal measures of scholarly research and human insight, The Heart of Religion offers an unprecedented level of detail about the experience and expression of divine love.

Publishers Weekly Review

Nov 19, 2012 – This sociological investigation into lived spiritual experiences, via surveys and interviews, focuses on how feeling divine love affects an individual's engagement in charity and community service. Building off previous findings of a correlation between religiosity and community benevolence, the authors find through their survey data that believing in God's love is the single best predictor of community benevolence. The book supplements dry survey data and analysis with interviews; having chosen prominent figures they consider to be prime examples of community benevolence, the authors recount detailed interviews that focus on their subjects' spiritual backgrounds, "born again" moments, and the service they've performed. The book also broadens its scope by examining prayer experiences, Pentecostalism, and a general typology for the benevolent, classified by types of spirituality and types of benevolence. While these broader discussions are admirably ambitious, they diffuse focus from the interview subjects, whose narratives are the highlight of the work. Furthermore, while the blend of academic prose and analysis with sensitive spiritual topics is intriguing and unusual, occasionally the juxtaposition of topic and tone is jarring.
The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God's Love
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  • $21.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Religion & Spirituality
  • Published: Nov 14, 2012
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Seller: Oxford University Press
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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