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The Evangelicals You Don't Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians [Kindle Edition]

Tom Krattenmaker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

So you have a problem with evangelical Christians? Which ones?

These are the provocative questions Tom Krattenmaker poses to his fellow progressives in
The Evangelicals You Don’t Know. He challenges stereotypes about evangelical Christians and introduces readers to a movement of “new evangelicals” who are bringing forth a non-partisan expression of evangelicalism and creating opportunities for alliances and partnerships to advance the common good. Krattenmaker argues that cultural fault lines no longer divide the religious from the secular, or the evangelicals from “everyone else.” Rather, the lines that matter now run between the fundamentalist culture warriors of both the left and right on one side, and, on the other, the good-doers of any faith, or none, who want to work together to solve our society’s problems and introduce a new civility and decency to our shared national life.

Krattenmaker is one of the best-informed non-evangelicals writing about evangelicalism in American public life. He offers interesting stories, intriguing character sketches, and incisive writing in his readable and engaging book. Recounting the findings and insights gleaned from his many years of engagement with evangelical America, he draws conclusions sure to surprise, challenge, and even inspire non-evangelicals who had written off this controversial and influential faith movement.
The Evangelicals You Don’t Know offers a refreshing alternative to narratives that pay attention only to aspects of evangelicalism that are most distasteful and threatening to secular-progressives and liberal religionists — providing instead a hopeful introduction to promising new currents rising among theologically conservative Christians.



Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Journalist Krattenmaker sheds fact-filled light on Evangelical Christians who are more inclined toward socially informed acts and open discussion. While the subtitle suggests this is a generational difference, Krattenmaker notes that this is more about ways of expressing conviction, not necessarily age. Drawing examples from many sources, he discusses Compassion Connect, based in Portland, Oregon; the annual Q conference’s attention to service-oriented witnessing over political sparring; and a wonderfully ironic and powerful confessional program developed by Evangelical students at ultraliberal Reed College. Krattenmaker, not an Evangelical Christian himself, is a fair-minded, interviewer and reporter, substantiating his findings in detail but also bringing alive the interviewees and the work they are accomplishing with their new methodology of exercising their religious beliefs. --Francisca Goldsmith

Review

A frequent USA Today contributor, Krattenmaker (Onward Christian Athletes) combines reporting and opinion in this analysis of new evangelical leaders and their efforts to engage the culture in a noncombative way. Krattenmaker, who is not an evangelical and describes himself as a secular progressive, says he is keenly interested in evangelicals who “defy the stereotype.” He is convinced that people such as Kevin Palau, Gabe Lyons, Jonathan Merritt, and even Focus on the Family’s new leader, Jim Daly, are moving away from confrontation on such issues as abortion and gay rights. He also suggests evangelicals may be distancing themselves from their unblinking support of capitalism and the Republican Party. And they are also doing good works, whether fighting sex-trafficking or adopting orphans. Krattenmaker calls this “goodwill-mongering” evangelism and salutes these efforts. He convincingly argues that liberals, and especially atheists, should drop their reflexive antipathy toward evangelicals and begin to engage them. The two camps may not agree, but the nation may be better served by a more understanding and respectful posture. While many of the evangelicals he writes about have written their own books, this volume may be more persuasive to left-leaning, secular readers. (Publishers Weekly)

Religion journalist Krattenmaker (USA Today, Onward Christian Athletes) sheds fact-filled light on
Evangelical Christians who are more inclined toward socially informed acts and open discussion. While the subtitle suggests this is a generational difference, Krattenmaker notes that this is more about ways of expressing conviction, not necessarily age. Drawing examples from many sources, he discusses Compassion Connect, based in Portland, Oregon; the annual Q conference’s attention to service-oriented witnessing over political sparring; and a wonderfully ironic and powerful confessional program developed by Evangelical students at ultraliberal Reed College. Krattenmaker is not an Evangelical Christian himself; instead he is a fair-minded, inquisitive interviewer and reporter, substantiating his findings in detail but also bringing alive the interviewees and the work they are accomplishing with their new methodology of exercising their religious beliefs.
(Booklist)

Krattenmaker writes about religion in public life and is a columnist for USA Today. He is a sympathetic outside observer of the "new evangelicals" who reject the divisive rhetoric and political alliance between conservative Christians and right-wing Republicans. Rather than focusing on "wedge" issues such as abortion and gay rights, as did Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, a new generation is promoting a variety of social good works and linking cooperatively with nonevangelicals. As examples of those he wants secular progressives to know, Krattenmaker highlights Kevin Palau's service projects in Portland, Gabe Lyons's annual conference of leaders attempting to engage the culture, and Jim Daly's altered tone at Focus on the Family. Some new evangelicals have embraced environmentalism as "creation care," while others have questioned a one-sided American support of Israel that neglects Palestinians. The new generation is much more open to gay rights. One indication was the appearance and reception of gay alumni at the 2011 Homecoming of evangelical Wheaton College. Krattenmaker suggests that even the stalemate between pro-choice and pro-life may be circumvented by providing cooperative assistance to women and families, thus reducing the number of abortions. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. (CHOICE)

Mention evangelical Christians—indeed, Christianity itself—and many Americans think of right-wing political conservatism often expressed in its most judgmental forms—opposition to abortion, gay marriage, and a disbeliever in evolution—while promoting school prayer and Christmas crèches on the courthouse lawn. Surprisingly, argues Krattenmaker (contributing columnist, religion, USA Today; Onward Christian Athletes), young evangelicals share this criticism of their faith communities and are increasingly transforming evangelicalism from within. Outmoded conceptions of evangelism, hateful attitudes toward gays and lesbians, scorn heaped on those of other faiths or on those who have none, anti-intellectual rejection of science and evolution: such attitudes are being weighed and found wanting by the “next Christian” leaders Krattenmaker encounters. These young evangelicals, says the author, are altering for the better not only evangelicalism’s self-presentation but also its self-understanding and commitments. Krattenmaker offers little explanation of the dynamics behind these changes other than to suggest that a younger generation is weary of the “culture wars” of the faith and wary of a dogmatism that thinks it has nothing to learn from nonbelievers. VERDICT Krattenmaker’s engaging journalistic survey of kinder, gentler, younger evangelicals working toward cooperation rather than confrontation will hearten secularists and progressive religionists, as well as evangelicals who have long been uncomfortable with the political captivity of their faith. (Library Journal)

The wonderfully informative notes section adds nuance and perspective to Krattenmaker’s statements and will aid in understanding his perspectives. His willingness to see things with new eyes is an admirable lesson for people on every part of the political, social, and religious strata. . . The Evangelicals You Don’t Know aims for an audience of progressive non-evangelicals. Some Christians may feel on their guard as they begin, but the author’s honesty, humility, and research will put them at ease. Readers of all faiths and backgrounds will see religion, in general, and evangelical Christianity, specifically, in a broader, more positive light through Krattenmaker’s research, experience, and insight. (Foreword Reviews)

Krattenmaker, one of America’s leading journalists on religion, presents a fair-minded, critical assessment of evangelicalism from his liberal vantage point. Krattenmaker complexifies the situation in which we find ourselves in America today. Drawing attention to a groundswell of compassion and civic virtue within evangelical Christianity that does not fit the negative stereotypes of much of secular America, Krattenmaker powerfully argues that the battle is not between evangelicals and non-evangelicals, including secularists. . . . Journalism of this caliber and scope is vitally important if we are to move beyond the partisan politics and religious fervor that so divides our society in the pursuit of a more humane America. A must read for all concerned—everybody. (Patheos)

For the first time, I believe that someone has accurately described the generational paradigm shift that is happening amongst Evangelicals specifically and religion in general in clear and example-driven way. . . . If you're a pastor, you need this book to help you understand what is coming. If you're a millennial, this book will give flesh to all of the things you've been feeling and ideas you've been engaging. If you're a non-religious or non-Evangelical, this book really points to a broader shift of consciousness that is taking place in all faiths and non-faiths alike. (The Revangelical Blog)

The Evangelicals You Don't Know: Introducing the next Generation of Christians provides a boost of encouragement. (Sojourners)

These aren’t your (grand)father’s Evangelicals, says Tom Krattenmaker in this cultural study of Evangelical Christians in America. Combining storytelling with interviews and plenty of hard data, the Portland journalist offers a new vision of Evangelicals—ecofriendly, city-serving sorts with beards and tattoos—that doesn’t square with perceptions of the Evangelical Religious Right. (Oregon Humanities Magazine)

Kratenmaker introduces us to a generation of evangelical leaders who are politically either neutral or liberal and are heeding Jesus' call to assist the poor and protect the children and widows; and to reintroduce civil discourse into the lexicon of theologically conservative Christians. This book will certainly bend the perception of any reader that automatically equates Christians and the Religious Right. (Oregon Business)

Krattenmaker engagingly narrates some noteworthy changes in American religion for a broader audience. (Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review)

For years, atheists have been countering the claims of prominent evangelical Christians, with their anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-science beliefs. What Tom Krattenmaker shows us in this book is that a new wave of Christians, while still believing in God, may hold views closer to atheists than their older evangelical counterparts. They are growing in influence and we're all better off because of it.

It's this new generation of Christians -- dedicated to social justice issues -- whose beliefs stand a chance of surviving in a post-religious America. If Christianity has ever let you down, this book will lift you up. While atheists pride themselves on winning minds, the Religious Left is doing an incredible job of winning hearts. Tom Krattenmaker shows us how they're doing it and offers a preview of what's to come.
(Hemant Mehta, blogger at FriendlyAtheist.com and author of The Young Atheist's Survival Guide)

Tom Krattenmaker’s excellent book demonstrates that evangelicals once again, always exquisitely attuned to the idiom of the culture, are finding new ways to live out their faith in a pluralistic society. The very good news in these pages is that this rising generation of “new evangelicals” is eager to consign the follies and the fallacies of the Religious Right to the dustbin of irrelevance. (Randall Balmer, Mandel Family Professor of Arts & Sciences, Dartmouth College, author of The Making of Evangelicalism)

The Evangelicals You Don’t Know is a thoughtful and informative book. Tom Krattenmaker expertly and entertainingly charts a development that although small and inchoate, at present, may conceivably come to change the texture of American religion and polity as we know it a decade or so from now. (Jacques Berlinerblau, director of Program for Jewish Civilization, Georgetown University)

Tom Krattenmaker is one of the liberals we evangelicals need to know. In The Evangelicals You Don’t Know, one of America’s leading journalists on religion presents a fair-minded, critical assessment of evangelicalism from his liberal vantage point. Krattenmaker complexifies the situation in which we find ourselves in America today. Drawing attention to a groundswell of compassion and civic virtue within evangelical Christianity that does not fit the negative stereotypes of much of secular America, Krattenmaker powerfully argues that the battle is not between evangelicals and non-evangelicals, including secularists. As he sees it, the culture war dividing line is between religious and secular totalitarians on the one hand and those from across the religious and cultural spectrum that are coming together in support of the common good. Journalism of this caliber and scope is vitally important if we are to move beyond the partisan politics and religious fervor that so divides our society in the pursuit of a more humane America. A must read for all concerned—everybody. (Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D., Theologian of Culture, author of Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths; Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church)

Traditional ‘evangelicals’ are aging quickly and fading fast in this country. But, in the decline of this once so powerful force, Tom Krattenmaker finds signs of hope for Christianity and the country. In the margins and often out of the lime light, ‘new’ evangelicals are stepping in and reimagining their faith for a new world and younger generation. Tom has his fingers on the pulse of the struggles in American Christianity, and this book is must-read for anyone hoping to understand religion in America today. (Jim Wallis)

As demographic shifts challenge white Christian dominance in America, Tom Krattenmaker has his finger on the nervous pulse of the leading expression of that culture: white evangelical Protestants. With the keen eye of a journalist who has been both critic and sympathetic observer, Krattenmaker provides an insider's look at a group of new evangelicals who are using the transformed religious landscape as an opportunity to recover an evangelicalism that is less concerned with ideological battle lines and more concerned with pragmatic solutions to social problems. (Robert P. Jones)

Product Details

  • File Size: 778 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 1 edition (April 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C1ZPNJA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,158 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Evangelicals Progressives Can Work With? July 24, 2013
Format:Hardcover
In 1991, James Davison Hunter introduced the term culture war into American public discourse. His book, Culture Wars: The Struggle To Define America, described "competing moral visions"--Progressivism and Orthodoxy--that generated heated conflict on a number of hot-button issues: family, education, media and the arts, law, and electoral politics. Many people interpreted these conflicts in geographical (Blue State vs. Red State), partisan (Democrat vs. Republican), or ideological/religious terms (secular Left vs. religious Right), although such interpretations were overbroad and simplistic. Two decades later, these conflicts still roil the waters of American society.

The purpose of Tom Krattenmaker's The Evangelicals You Don't Know is to introduce progressive readers to "the next generation of Christians" and urge them to work together on issues of common concern. In the process, he reframes America's culture wars. "At the level that matters, the quarrels that vex American society are not between Christians and non-Christians, between religionists and atheists, between evangelicals and everyone else." In other words, Hunter's Progressivism/Orthodoxy dichotomy is inadequate. "The line that matters now is the one separating the `we're always right/you're always wrong' arguers from unity-seeking, goodwill-mongering action takers of whatever religious persuasion, or none, ready to go to work to address a society's aching needs." What actually divides America, he seems to be saying, is not what you believe but how you behave--how you put your beliefs into practice. For Hunter, Progressivism and Orthodox are polar opposites; for Krattenmaker, mirror images.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book about "us" I've ever read May 25, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Tom Krattenmaker has bumped Dan Gilgoff's "The Jesus Machine" out of the No. 1 spot of of the most reasoned and meaningful examinations of the world I inhabit. As an evangelical -- I might even qualify as a capital-E Evangelical because of my many years working for Focus on the Family -- I appreciate that Krattenmaker has written a book free of incendiary rhetoric and full of revealing analysis. We are not the "bad guys" or the "good guys" like most other books from outside or inside our camp posit; we're just "guys" trying to live by the values we hold dear, succeeding sometimes, failing others, making the world a better place with the former and, hopefully, learning from the latter.

For someone who does not profess an evangelical faith himself, Krattenmaker presents an understanding of us -- not just of our actions, but our hearts -- that, frankly, we don't usually articulate as well as he does here. He calls us on our crap -- which we ought to be doing to each other, if we follow biblical exhortations; shows respect for what motivates even our missteps (our belief in the truth of the Bible); and, unlike any other commentator who has commented on us, challenges his own tribe (liberals/progressives) to take the journey he's taken to appreciate us as more than a caricature or a Bill Maher punchline.

The people profiled, ideas advanced and conclusions reached by Krattenmaker have the power and insight to change the world. Here's an idea to foster that outcome: Read the book with someone who couldn't disagree with you more on matters of faith and ideology, and then use it to guide discussions to help you get past your mutual faulty presumptions. Then band together to do some good in your community.

I live in L.A. Who wants to be my discussion partner?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Evangelicals I actually DO Know September 17, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Tom Krattenmaker is a Portland area journalist specializing in religion and public-life. He has contributed articles to everyone form USA Today, Salon, the Huffington Post and the Phildelphia Inquirer. His previous book, Onward Christian Athletes, took aim at the way pro athletes are used by Conservative Chrisitianity to spread their agenda (i.e. the gospel). In his new book, The Evangelicals You Don't Know, Krattenmaker takes a closer look at new trends within the Evangelical movement. He writes not as a religious insider, but as a journalist examining the movement. He is a self-described progressive and is therefore suspicious of evangelical's tradition agenda.

Krattenmaker observes a shift within evangelicalism. While older evangelicals have tended to behave as though they were engaged in a war with wider American culture (alá Chuck Colson and Jim Dobson), 'new evangelicals' are more willing to engage in dialogue. There has been a noticeable change in tone. His exploration of this shift leads him to people like Shane Claiborne, Kevin Palau, Jonathan Merritt, Gabe Lyons, Dave Kinneman, Jim Henderson and Jim Daly (current head of Focus on the Family). What he finds is that the `new evangelicals' are more concerned about community and civil service, more engaged with the wider culture, more compassionate and less combative on typical `hot-button issues' like marriage equality and abortion, and less aligned with the republican party and conservative values. His interview with Jim Daly reveals that even ultra-conservative evangelicals have also moved beyond culture wars to a kinder, gentler conservatism, more willing to engage in mutual dialogue without demonizing the opposition.

I liked Krattermaker's tone throughout this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The fairest non-evangelical take on evangelicals that you could ever...
Through his personal experiences with his subjects as well as extensive research, Tom Krattenmaker offers the fairest and most positive <i>non-evangelical</i> take on the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Tyler Francke
5.0 out of 5 stars A Balanced and Surprisingly Hopeful Voice in Today's Religious Culture
I was a fan of journalist Tom Krattenmaker’s work as a religion and culture writer long before picking up a copy of his new book, The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amy Hollingsworth
4.0 out of 5 stars A view of a segment of evangelical christians through the eyes of a...
The author is a progressive writing on the changing face of evangelicals in the light of the past few decades. Read more
Published 12 months ago by PlatoFromTexas
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Some Inspiring People
Review of The Evangelicals You Don’t know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians by Tom Krattenmaker (Rowman & Littlefield Publ, New York, 2013, 221 pp)

The... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Herbert Hoefer
5.0 out of 5 stars An Evangelical appreciates this well researched and documented book.
I was thrilled to find this book defining the new, younger generation of evangelicals in a nonbiased, investigative, documented manner. Read more
Published 15 months ago by joan a. schultz
3.0 out of 5 stars Biased material
The author thought he was presenting a bird's eye view of younger "evangelicals". He captured a small portion of the younger recent church goers. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Lucy H Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Every thought leader should read this book
As an evangelical, I greatly appreciate my friend Tom Krattenmaker's latest book. His opening questions are worth repeating: "So you have a problem with evangelical Christians? Read more
Published 17 months ago by David Sanford
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read for everyone. A MUST read for Evangelicals.
I have spent my entire life (45 years) in the American Evangelical movement and have been a full time pastor for twenty-two years in four churches ranging from "mini" to "mega. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dan Collison
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Journalist Tom Krattenmaker is not a Christian, but he does an excellent job of introducing progressives to a new kind of Evangelicalism in his new book, The Evangelicals You Don't... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Tiffany Malloy
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning from the New Evangelicals
Who are the new evangelicals? Are they the movement coming out from Portland, Oregon? Are they people who are hitting back at fundamentalist evangelicals portrayed as... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Dr Conrade Yap
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