When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God

T.M. Luhrmann. Knopf, $27.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-307-26479-4
Psychological anthropologist Luhrmann (Of Two Minds) offers an extended case study examining how believers come to have faith in an active, present God despite secular pressures in contemporary America. Drawing on extensive interviews and personal experience among Vineyard Movement members, Luhrmann focuses on the use of prayer among charismatic evangelical Christians. Her work combines personal narratives and excerpts from bestselling evangelical how-to guides with theories and data from psychology. While maintaining a stance both sympathetic to the evangelical position and scientifically rigorous, these different modes of writing do not always mesh well. For instance, the largely narrative mode gives way in the middle to an extended description of methods and data from her psychological research. In addition, Luhrmann opens and closes with a brief sketch of the history and politics of the evangelical movement, although her focus is on personal belief, not the political engagement of evangelicals. Such material partially distracts from the clear, extensive view into the prayer life and interior world of evangelicals. Luhrmann’s intended audience is skeptics attempting to understand the evangelical approach to God. Her work will also appeal to believers curious about psychological research on prayer. Agent: Jill Kneerim. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2012
Release date: 03/27/2012
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 434 pages - 978-0-307-27727-5
Open Ebook - 312 pages - 978-0-307-95750-4
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