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California Jesus: A (Slightly) Irreverent Guide to the Golden State's Christian Sects, Evangelists and Latter-Day Prophets Paperback – October 11, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
J. Gordon Melton is THE go-to guy about American religious diversity; note his mention of possible new material for a second edition, and his endorsement of California Jesus to his colleagues.
"I wanted to take a moment an thank you fro sending me a copy of California. While I initially though it (given its cover and page size) to be another exploitation of the weird, I was very happy to see a learned commentary on the groups discussed and a good choice of pictures to illustrate the text. You are to be congratulated on the book. Well done! By the way, if you do a second edition, there are several groups I would like to suggest that you include.
I was also somewhat humbled by you mention of me in the dedication. But is is good to know that my small contribution in building the Santa Barbara collection has had some positive effects.
As you are probably aware, I moved to Baylor 5 years ago. The Institute for the Study of American Religion came with me and we will celebrate its 50th year in existence next year at the American Academy of Religion's meeting in Boston. Also, the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia of american religions was published in October. It is now in two volumes.
Again, thank you for sending me the copy of California Religion. I will be recommending it to my colleagues, especially those teaching new religions."
J. Gordon Melton
J. Gordon Melton
Distinguished Professor of American Religious History
Waco, TX 76712
December 2, 2016 (J Gordon Melton)
About the Author
Mike Marinacci is a scholar of religious history, spending over 25 years studying American spiritual groups and leaders, especially the unorthodox sects and figures who have emerged in the Golden State.
Top customer reviews
It's nicely laid out visually, with lots of images that add to the entertainment value.
Sometimes I wished it would go more in depth into talking about the political associations with a group, such as the very short section on the Jesus Freaks, for example, which left that very important aspect out entirely, though it's not obscure knowledge. They were begun by Campus Crusades, which also has a Military Ministry, to stop protests against the Vietnam war. The officials of the organization only pretended to be hippies to garner support from naive believers and steer their votes. So, leaving out that kind of element from the stories kept it more surface level than I was personally hoping for.
But other than that, I thought it was great -- easy to understand, light, easy and fun without an authorial bias getting in the way, and written with relaxed human compassion rather than with any rancor even toward ruthless con men who negatively affected a lot of lives. Lots of very interesting facts and vivid stories about characters that should not be forgotten.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book. It is both entertaining and informative. My only criticism is that some of the photos were too dark.
From the snakeoily but determined Rev. William Money who wrote the first English language book published in California to the integrated glossolalia of Rev. William Seymour; from the erotic theatrics of Aimee Semple Macpherson to the outrageous donation demands of Dr. Gene Scott and his wife Pastor Melissa Scott (former porn star Barbie Bridges); from the comic-book ministry of Jack Chick to the ongoing Doomsdays of Family Radio; from the murderous Nazi-sympathizing Kingdom of Yahweh to the sexual abuses of the Children of God and the rather anti-Semitic “Passion” of Mel Gibson; from the warm, LGBT-welcoming Metropolitan Church of Rev. Troy Perry to the colorful artistic achievement of Salvation Mountain and more, this book is chock full of true stories which the author delivers with empathy, irony and attention to detail. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in “the Golden State’s Christian Sects, Evangelists and Latter-Day Prophets.”