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T.D. Jakes: America's New Preacher Hardcover – October 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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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