WHEN GOD TALKS BACK by T.M. Luhrmann
WHEN GOD TALKS BACK
Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God
Published by Knopf March 27, 2012
Author touring to Houston, New York, and San Francisco
“An erudite discussion both profoundly sympathetic and richly analytical.
“T.M. Luhrmann entered the Vineyard Christian Fellowship openly—declaring herself an anthropologist who wanted to understand the evangelical way and mind—and she was both welcome and eventually somewhat transformed. Near the end Lurhmann writes that although she’s not sure she’d call herself a Christian, she has ‘come to know God.’
“She begins by describing the current evangelical movement—how widespread it is, how God has become an intimate friend rather than a harsh judge and how evangelicals largely avoid theodicy. She sketches the history of the Vineyard and attributes to the 1960s counterculture some of the spiritual energy that animates the evangelical movement.
“As the title suggests, the author devotes much of her discussion to the conversation between believers and their God, a conversation facilitated by specific techniques of prayer. She talks about the problem of hearing God’s voice, and attempts to cover all bases. For example, she includes major passages about the long history of the phenomenon, schizophrenia and skeptics’ reservations and disdain. Lurhmann underwent extensive prayer training, and her research is substantial—years of commitment, countless interviews, extensive endnotes and a vast bibliography.
“She accords deep respect for those whose religious experiences are scientifically unverifiable, and she concludes that evangelicals have, to a great extent, reprogrammed their brains and that they and skeptics live in alternate universes.
“A simultaneously scholarly and deeply personal analysis of evangelical communities in America.”
-KIRKUS, a starred review
T.M. LUHRMANN is a psychological anthropologist and a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. She received her education from Harvard and Cambridge Universities, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. In 2007 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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