Ambitious evangelicals want to reach the city—a dynamic place filled with connotations of fashion, power, and cosmopolitanism. But the desire of evangelical churches to be relevant and racially diverse is colliding with the implicit racism still underlying their history. Drawing from observations in a multiracial evangelical church in downtown Chicago, The Urban Church Imagined reveals how modern evangelicalism is deeply entangled in the desire for contemporary relevance while persisting in racial prejudices and outright discrimination.
—Gerardo Marti, author of A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church
"The City Imagined expertly takes us into the heart of 'new urban' Christianity, a Christianity reflecting a renewed interest in the city, but a city highly constructed to serve idealized purposes. With richness of analysis and deep insight, we learn about the very heart of new America--the good, the bad, and the ugly. A fascinating read."
—Michael O. Emerson, Provost and Professor, North Park University and author of Blacks and Whites in Christian America
"The authors demonstrate how the racialized urban imaginary affects the religious practices, organizations, and identity of this recently formed congregation, and the complex interactions among race, religion, class, gender, cultural consumption, and the city. The discussion revolves around the key concepts of racialized urban imaginary, managed diversity, and racial utility. A significant contribution to religion, race, and urban studies."
“In The Urban Church Imagined, Jessica M. Barron and Rhys H. Williams examine the 'dueling imaginations' posited by Downtown Church’s [DC] suburban-based leaders and city-based congregants as their new congregation negotiates racial, class, and gender boundaries. The depth and accessibility of this book make it an excellent read for scholars, students, and religious leaders interested in the sociology of religion, race theory, and/or the urban landscape.”
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