The Religions of the United States in Practice is a rich anthology of primary sources with accompanying essays that examines religious behavior in America. From praying in an early American synagogue to reading anti-Catholic novels to performing Haitian Voudou baptism, the volumes explore faith through action. The documents and essays consider the religious practices of average people - praying, singing, healing, teaching, imagining, and persuading. Some documents are formal liturgies, while others texts describe more spontaneous religious actions. Because religious practices also take place in the imagination, dreams, visions, and fictional accounts are also included. Accompanying each primary document is an essay that sets the religious practice in its historical and theological context - making this volume ideal for classroom use and accessible to general readers. The introductory essays explain the various meanings of religious practices as lived out in churches and synagogues, in parlors and fields, beside rivers, on lecture platforms, and in the streets. Volume I moves from Colonial days to the end of the nineteenth century.
Among the fascinating subjects covered are Early American hymns. Dutch-American wedding ceremonies, witchcraft in Puritan culture, Mormon healing rituals, Muskogee corn ceremonies, anti-Catholic pornography, debates over cremation. Volume 2 continues into the twentieth century, exploring such practices as Pentecostal prayer services, the singing of Hanukkah songs, debates over ordaining women, Buddhist chanting, the guitar mass, speaking in tongues, vision quests, Jewish mourning practices, and Charismatic renewal among Latino Catholics. The Religions of the United States in Practice offers a sampling of religious perspectives that approximates the living texture of popular religious thought and practice in the United States. The history of religion in America is more than the story of institutions and famous people. This anthology presents an engrossing and nuanced story composed of the everyday actions and thoughts of lay men and women.
This rich collection opens the reader's mind to an impressive range of religious practice and serves as a valuable complement to traditional approaches to American religious studies. Highly recommended for general readers through faculty. Choice