Cover image for The American spiritual culture : and the invention of jazz, football, and the movies
The American spiritual culture : and the invention of jazz, football, and the movies
Dean, William D.
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Publication Information:
New York : Continuum, [2002]

Physical Description:
240 pages ; 24 cm
Americans are perhaps the most openly and energetically religious of all the peoples among the developed nations. Americans are religious in all the obvious ways, belonging to churches, synagogues, and mosques as well as nurturing private spiritualities. But they are religious also in public ways, aiming to find a standard large enough to frame their common life and to judge them and their country. In this book, William Dean describes the spiritual culture that is grounded in the emerging American story. He also explores the concept of God (or the "Ultimate") that is central to that story--a concept that is reflected in contemporary American culture, including popular culture. The first part of the book argues that Americans are a pragmatic, culturally displaced, immigrant people and teases out the meaning of this description for a concept of God that is theologically and religious adequate--pragmatic yet attentive to both tradition and mystery. In the second half of the book, the author verifies his analysis by examining three quintessential American popular cultural forms, which he would argue are forms of religious expression. They are jazz (improvisation), football (violence), and the movies (fantasy). The American spiritual culture is a work of constructive theology that is wide-ranging in scope, combining cultural commentary, rich historical illustrations, and theo-philosophical insights.
Skepticism -- Displaced people -- Pragmatism -- Mystery -- Jazz -- Football -- The movies.
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