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Chapter 3

ANTH 3101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Storefront Church

Course Code
ANTH 3101
April Bass

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The Uniqueness of the American Religious Landscape [Zelinsky]
ANTH 3101, Spring 2019
An Aside on the Nonmetropolitan Scene
Our metropolitan areas contain the greatest part of American population and likely the nation's
houses of worship
Within larger cities and suburbs that strongest expressions of American peculiarities in the
religious landscape appear
Multiple denominations with quarters manifested at or near the center
Antecedent Work
As the world's prime example of a modern or postmodern society, the US shares with other First
World nations a rapid flux of so many elements of its cultural and socioeconomic life
Sheer newness
Failure to develop any reasonable facsimile of any single home country's religious landscape
Only bits and pieces of Native American religious landscapes being rediscovered
Tendency to invest buildings with spiritual significance far more readily than other sites or spaces
Differences of Degree
Large number of churches and church-related facilities
Economic: general affluence of church-goers and tax-exempt status of such enterprises
Large number of denominations
Mosaic of facilities for worship related in ways to such traits of the national character as
individualism, reliance on social and spatial mobility and to class and racial/ethnic structure of
Stodgy, generic church type with vague allusions to premodern tradition and often function as
community center with cemetery usually absent
Some Wider Divergences
The megachurch and the storefront church
Some Virtually Absolute Differences
Church seeks to establish and maintain its identity
How to attract interest of potential parishioners
Names and signs
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