High on God: How Megachurches Won the Heart of America
"God is like a drug, a high, [I] can't wait for the next hit." This direct quote from a megachurch member speaking about his experience of God might be dismissed as some sort of spiritually-induced drug riff. However, according to...
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"God is like a drug, a high, [I] can't wait for the next hit." This direct quote from a megachurch member speaking about his experience of God might be dismissed as some sort of spiritually-induced drug riff. However, according to the research in this book, it was not only sincere, but a deeply felt, and sought-after sensibility. Megachurch attendees desire this first-hand experience of God, and many report finding it in their congregations. The book focuses on the emotional, social and religious dynamics that pull thousands of people into megachurches and how those churches make some feel like they are 'high on God' and can't wait to get their next spiritual 'hit.' High on God gives the first robust and plausible explanation for why megachurches have conquered the churchgoing market of America. Without condescension or exaggeration, the authors show the genius of megachurches: the power of charisma, the design of facilities, the training of leaders, the emotional dynamics, and the strategies that bring people together and lead them to serve and help others. Using Emile Durkheim's concept of homo duplex, the authors plot the strategies that megachurches employ to satisfy the core human craving for personal meaning and social integration, as well as personal identity and communal solidarity. The authors also show how these churches can go wrong, sometimes tragically so. But they argue that, for the most part, megachurches help their attendees find themselves through bonding with and serving others.
- Preface: Am I High On God?
- Part I: Desire Is The Heart Of Religion
- 1. Megachurch The Drug That Works
- 2. The Problem Of Cooperation And Homo Duplex
- 3. Interaction Rituals And Embodied Choice Theory
- 4. Defining Religion: The Profane And The Sacred
- 5. Megachurch: An American Original (almost)
- 6. Congregations In A Time Of Change
- Part Ii: Pistons Of Desire And Power: Cracking The Megachurch Code
- 7. The Micro-sociology Of Interaction Rituals Within Megachurches
- 8. Desire For Acceptance And Belonging
- 9. Desire For Wow Or Hacking The Happy
- 10. Desire For A Reliable Leader
- 11. Desire For Deliverance
- 12. Desire For Purpose In Service
- 13. Desire To Re-member
- Part Iii: The Dark Side Of American Megachurches: How They Blind And Bind
- 14. Dissecting Megachurch Scandals
- 15. Conclusion: Havens Of Health Or Habitats For The Prosperity Gospel?
- Postscript From The Pews
- Appendix A: Megachurch Data And Methods
- Appendix B: How Is God