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T.D. Jakes: America's New Preacher Hardcover – October 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arguing that West Virginia native T.D. Jakes "is the signpost for postdenominational Protestant America" for his "uncanny ability to blend the spiritual with the secular," Tulane University sociologist Lee offers an intriguing exploration of Jakes's popularity. His entrepreneurial spirit and multimedia approach have endeared him to millions, while his lavish lifestyle and focus on Christians' right to material prosperity continue to spark criticism. Lee avoids heavy jargon and effectively pares his study down to the essentials, making this an accessible portrait despite some occasionally awkward prose. His approach is generally well-balanced; he admires Jakes's journey up from poverty, his hard work and innovation, but believes his "strong embrace of capitalism, penchant for self-invention and reinvention, rugged individualism, and... insatiable appetite for success" reflect the darker side of the nation that made him a Christian celebrity. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Jakes has risen from poverty in the mining towns of West Virginia to a multimillion--dollar faith industry based in Dallas, benefiting from the controversial trend toward prosperity religion. Lee, a professor of African studies, examines the rags-to-riches life of Jakes in the broader context of changes in how Americans view religion. Lee calls Jakes a postmodern preacher who seeks to combine godly wisdom with psychological insight on the human condition, capitalizing on an uncanny ability to touch on the modern-day ills at the heart of most Americans' spiritual struggles. Lee also explores the changes in Pentecostalism from an ascetic faith to one that preaches prosperity for the pastor and the congregants, a change that has provoked criticism from some quarters. Lee sees the rise of Jakes to a status comparable to that of Billy Graham, forging a following of all races and economic backgrounds, as symbolic of a trend toward the commodification of religion as more churches struggle to hold onto their flock in the face of secular appeals to wealth and therapeutic alternatives. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814752055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814752050
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,582,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Keepin it real! on February 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Almost a decade ago a classic book called The Black Church in the African American Experience warned us about a fast growing Neo-Pentecostal movement threatening the traditional black church. It's about time someone picked up their mantle and let us know what Neo-Pentecostalism is all about!

This book is the best work on the black church since Lincoln and Mamiya's classic study back in 1990. Lee picks up right where they left off and provides us with probably the most lucid explanation of how what he calls a "Neo-Pentecostal revolution" is a dominant force in contemporary American religion by using Jakes as its powerful general. The author argues that Jakes is part of a "faith industry" that turns spiritual gifts into "valuable commodities" (in other words, cash cows). Lee uses Jakes to diagnose and forecast the changing American religious landscape in it's hypercapitalist, postmodern form. This book is a must read (and easy read too) for religion scholars and average people (like me) who have been wondering for years why Jakes is so popular. I have a new respect for Jakes and yet Lee raises new concerns as well.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. ESq on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a fair book that deal with a complex subject and man. There will be some that think that any analysis of Bishop Jakes written by a secular writer will be slanted, but the author does a great job of presenting a balance picture. Dr. Lee is not a Jakes partisan , but he is not a hater. He explores how Bishop Jakes enter the national spotlight and what he has done to stay there. One thing that was missing from the book was a meaningful discussion on how people like Bishop Jakes and other "Super Pastors" are impacting religion and faith in this country and overseas. But this book is a good start
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Greg Wilson (GW) on October 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I normally don't read books on religion and I had never even heard of T.D. Jakes. A colleague of mine urged me to read it because of my proficiency in postmodern theory. I was pleasantly surprised at Lee's discussion on Jakes as a contemporary pomo figure.

Lee's work confirms my longstanding hunch that we need to stop pandering French theorists for cues on what postmodernism is all about. He showed how Jakes (and American Popular Religion) is theologically conservative but pomo in flash, style, ability to draw from many traditions and willingness turn spiritual gifts into religious commodities. Postmodernism will take a different form in America and so we need more theorists to examine our country's unique way of adopting those sensibilities while maintaining faith in objective reality.

Anyone who wants a clear and concise understanding of how pomo cultural changes affect religion and America should check this book out. My only gripe is that Lee should have been a lot more upfront about his contributions to pomo theory. Lee is really on to something and kind of dropped the ball by not being more aggressive in taking on the pomo canon. I still think this will go down as a pomo classic.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jesus Navarro on July 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book takes a look at one of the strongest emerging religious leaders of this country. I was fortunate enough to have taken a couple of classes with Professor Shayne. The book was about Shayne's research of the life of Bishop T.D. Jakes. From a variety of angles, Shayne demonstrates how Jakes was able to comodify religion and become successful with it by integrating it with pop culture and by blurring the lines that once divided people of different denominations. I greatly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
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