Thursday, August 09, 2007

spirit and flesh

In attacking the incredibly large number of unread books on my shelves, I'm taking a two-pronged approach: books you guys recommended, and books that already have bookmarks in them. In the partially-read category, I've just finished Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. I started reading the book two years ago on this trip to New York. I think it probably came from the free pile at my former employer.

The book is a sociologist's description of life in, as the title suggests, a fundamentalist Baptist church. It's a little dated - I don't know why he waited until 2004 to publish this account of a church he studied in the 80s - but it's totally fascinating, and I imagine little has changed about fundamentalist churches. That is the point, after all. He spent a few years interviewing people, going to services and bible study, and generally getting to know the church in that participant-observer way. It gave me useful insights into where conservative Christians are coming from, but I was also really interested in the discussion of community. With the help of Miss Shirley, I spend a lot of time, particularly during christmas show season, obsessing about community relationships, and there were some small things from our [very, very different] community that I recognized in the book.

And, yknow, on top of the insights, it's just fun reading about other people's lives. So I recommend it, and I now have a copy if anybody wants to read it. (Otherwise, I'll probably give it to J.Chu's book sale.)

5 comments:

miss shirley said...

I want to read it!

Talentedhands said...

Yeah, community is a big thing for me. I'm always looking for connections.

Sophist said...

dude, I can't believe how fast you are making it through books! I don't know what the hell I do with my time, but you are inspirin me. I have been reading this book "Expecting Adam" for about three months now, and have gotten through on average one chapter every two weeks. It's an easy read, too!!

towwas said...

Yeah, I'm kind of on a mission! Although, technically, it did take me about two years to finish Spirit and Flesh. :) In my recent reading spurt, I've been reading on my public transportation commute, during meals, and in the evenings - while neglecting Netflix, Entertainment Weekly, and the New Yorker.

Sophist said...

Got it - yes, it is always one thing at the expense of another... Recently I had to give up all fun whatsoever when I started teaching that class. But since that is done, I now find myself with time to play piano again. Unfortunately it's one hobby at a time these days. Boo to having to work.