Blood and Fire: Godly Love in a Pentecostal Emerging Church
by Margaret M. Poloma and Ralph W. Hood, Jr.
What does it mean to live out the theology presented in the Great Commandment to “love God above all and to love your neighbor as yourself”? In Blood and Fire, Poloma and Hood explore how understandings of Godly Love function to empower believers. Though Godly Love may begin as a perceived relationship between God and a person, it is made manifest as social behavior among people.
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About the Book :
Blood and Fire offers a deep ethnographic portrait of a charismatic church and its faith-based ministry, illuminating how religiously motivated social service makes use of beliefs about the nature of God’s love. It traces the triumphs and travails associated with living a set of rigorous religious ideals, providing a richly textured analysis of a faith community affiliated with the “emerging church” movement in Pentecostalism, one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic religious movements of our day.
Based on over four years of interviews and surveys with people from all levels of the organization, from the leader to core and marginal members to the poor and addicts they are seeking to serve, Blood and Fire sheds light on the differing worldviews and religious perceptions between those who served in as well as those who were served by this ministry.
Blood and Fire argues that Godly Love--the relationship between perceived divine love and human response--is at the heart of the vision of emerging churches, and that it is essential to understand this dynamic if one is to understand the ongoing reinvention of American Protestantism in the 21st century.
"This is an exceptional book in that it tells the story of the failure of a faith-based movement rather than its success. In a richly textured narrative, the authors describe the limitations of religious charisma when it confronts the harsh reality of a business-minded board that requires accountability. This book is fascinating reading for anyone who wants to understand the interplay between spirit and flesh, vision and economic reality."
—Donald E. Miller, Executive Director, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California
“Blood and Fire not only illuminates the group Poloma and Hood examine but provides students of new religious movements with a virtual treasure trove of data for analysis--from concrete examples of the pitfalls of founding, organizing, and maintaining a new religious movement to the demonstration of the `precariousness of charismatic leadership.’ A must read for anyone interested in new religious movements and what one might call engaged evangelical Christianity.”
--Susan M. Setta, Chair, Philosophy and Religion, Northeastern University
About the Authors:
Margaret Poloma is Professor Emeritus at the University of Akron. She has authored many books including Main Street Mystics,The Assemblies of God at the Crossroads,and The Charismatic Movement.
Ralph W. Hood, Jr., is Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He is the coauthor of The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism; The Psychology of Religion, An Empirical Approach; and Measures of Religiosity; and editor of The Handbook of Religious Experience, among others.
Published by New York University Free Press, Washington Square, New York, NY 10003. www.nyupress.org