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Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith Along the Highways of America

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8608-7
256 pages
August 2007, Jossey-Bass
Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith Along the Highways of America (0787986089) cover image


On Easter 2006, Eric Elnes and several companions set out to walk from Phoenix, Arizona to the nation’s capital. They dreamed of fostering deeper conversations about what it means to be progressive Christians in an age of fundamentalism. On their journey they discovered thousands of people in every state—red and blue—and every kind of church who welcomed them and shared their hunger for relationship and conversation about what it means to be  Christian. Asphalt Jesus tells the story of the journey and further articulates a joyous and loving faith that moves beyond simple categories of “Christian Right” and “Christian Left.”


Asphalt Jesus builds on the author Eric Elnes’s previous book, The Phoenix Affirmations. Arising from the three great loves that the Bible reveals (love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self), these twelve affirmations reflect commitments to environmental stewardship, social justice, and artistic expression as well as openness to other faiths. Transcending theological and culture wars, inclusive and generous in spirit and practice, these principles allow believers and seekers alike to affirm their Christian faith in a fresh way.


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Diana Butler Bass.


The Phoenix Affirmations.

1. The Idea That Wouldn't Go Away: Listening to God.

2. Phoenix Rising.

3. Hellfire, Damnation, and Garbage Dumps.

4. Jesus First Baptist Church.

5. The Trickster Shows Up-Again!

6. Asphalt Jesus.

7. Faith in Podunk.

8. Silence of the (Christian) Lambs.

9. A Little Light That Shined.

10. Art and Soul.

11. "Perfesser Creek-Water".

12. Faithful Doubting.

13. A Letter from God.

Discussion Guide by C. Howie Howard.


CrossWalk America.

The Author and the Core Walk Team.

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Author Information

Eric Elnes, Ph.D., is the senior pastor of Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ (www.artin worship.com), a community committed to a progressive, inclusive Christianity. He is the cofounder of CrossWalk America (www.CrossWalkAmerica.org), a nonprofit organization that hosted the walk and continues to help those interested in progressive Christian faith find each other, explore, and articulate their beliefs.

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“Elnes has hit one out of the ballpark with this remarkably energetic and accessible narrative presentation  of what twenty-first century Christianity looks like in the lives of those who are becoming it right now. This book is an exhilarating gift to all of us.”--Phyllis Tickle, complier, The Night Offices


“Eric Elnes’ book Asphalt Jesus is as exciting as the adventure it describes. He and his fellow walkers went from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., on foot to dramatize the crisis of American Christianity that is lost in the negativity of fundamentalism. Dramatically they hold out another vision that captivates millions. This is a ‘must read’ if you are concerned with what is happening to Christianity in the United States.”--John Shelby Spong, author, Jesus for the Non-Religious


“No one will ever be able to accuse Eric Elnes of ‘Talkin’ the Talk, but not Walkin’ the Walk!’ This beautifully told story is more than just the diary of a remarkable journey undertaken by an intrepid band of religious progressives. It is an odyssey into the heart and soul of the American religious scene. Readers will think they have made the journey themselves, met a whole new group of friends, and discovered a forgotten landscape and an abiding truth: we are all on the same journey, and we need to listen to, and respect, one another.”--Dr. Robin Meyers, UCC minister and professor; author, Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future


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