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Trusting the Spirit: Renewal and Reform in American Religion

Trusting the Spirit: Renewal and Reform in American Religion

Richard Cimino

ISBN: 978-0-787-95907-4 March 2002 Jossey-Bass 240 Pages




Can renewal and reform groups rekindle spiritual vitality and fervor in today's religious institutions?

The call to revive one's faith fills more pages of the Christian and Jewish scriptures than any other theme. Today, reform and renewal organizations and movements play a key role in most denominations, whether conservative, moderate, or liberal.

In this fascinating book, Richard Cimino provides you with an in-depth look at six vibrant reform and renewal movements that are revitalizing traditional faith communities from the inside out. Cimino walks you through how all the components of renewal and reform--the organization, the larger denomination, the congregation, and the individual members--interact at both local and national levels, and answers the question of how effective these organizations and movements are within their traditions. Filled with interviews and case studies, Trusting the Spiriy concludes by outlining strategies for renewal and reform that can be put into practice in a wide range of religious contexts.
"Richard Cimino's well-researched case studies add immensely to our awareness of the substantial and increasing vigor of American religion. His book comes as another compelling rebuke to those still clinging to the passe claim that religion is declining and must soon die." --Rodney Stark, professor of sociology and comparative religion, University of Washington

"Renewal movements are as much a part of American religion as church buildings and synagogues, yet it is difficult to stay abreast of the latest of these developments. Which movements are most successful and why? Are they revitalizing all traditions or only some? Should the leaders of religious organizations embrace them or fear them? Combining journalistic and sociological methods, Richard Cimino has written an excellent book that helps us to answer these questions." --Robert Wuthnow, professor of sociology, Princeton University and author, After Heaven: Spirituality in America Since the 1950s

"Richard Cimino is a careful recorder and knowledgeable observer of religious trends and brings much-needed attention to renewal and reform movements and organizations that have done so much to shape religion in America over the years. His book, Trusting the Spirit, also provides practical insight into those factors that can help churches break out of a stagnant maintenance mode." --George Gallup Jr., chairman, The George H. Gallup International Institute