RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY

God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America

Indiana Univ. Aug. 2019. 176p. notes. ISBN 9780253041531. $22; ebk. ISBN 9780253041555. REL
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Lenz (Belabored) states that “Christianity and politics have made the pulpit a complicated place.” In particular, the author finds megachurches, evangelicalism in general, and areas of the Bible Belt to be purveyors of cultural conservatism. In her words, they offer “a dangerous lie,” providing “an easy brand of corporate Christianity” that energizes adherents far more than any social gospel. This is the God land that Lenz surveys, against which her own spiritual as well as marital divorce serve as starting points for a piercing cross-examination of the religious landscape within the Bible Belt. For Lenz, her unwillingness to remain silent in the face of domestic horrors such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 spell her doom both as an evangelical and as a pastor’s wife. She is proimmigration, ecumenical to a fault, and archly political, attuned to feminist issues only when her voice and advocacy reach a theological glass ceiling. American religion, concludes Lenz, is dying. But, as the Christian message, it is in resurrection that believers find their faith.
VERDICT A spiritual awakening for readers of all beliefs.

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