Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : Arts : Arts and Entertainment News
4/26/2012 3:22:00 PM
Travelogue has premise that remains unfulfilled
"Places of Faith: A Road Trip Across America's Religious Landscape" by Christopher P. Scheitle and Roger Finke. Oxford University Press (New York, 2012). 240 pp., $27.95.
Catholic News Service


In a rented Dodge Charger, two sociologists from Penn State University set off on a five-week, 6,904-mile trip to various points across the United States. "Places of Faith: A Road Trip Across America's Religious Landscape" is a glimpse into this journey. Authors Christopher P. Scheitle and Roger Finke invite the reader to join them in "discovering America's rich religious mosaic by exploring some of the most distinctive and important sites within America's religious geography."

Each of the book's chapters focuses on a different destination, with additional short "views from the road." The primary sites are Memphis, Tenn.; Houston; Colorado Springs, Colo.; San Francisco; Salt Lake City; central Nebraska; Detroit; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and central Pennsylvania. The chapters provide some history and a broad religious overview of the area; a site-specific experience of the authors -- often in a worship setting; additional commentary and analysis; and a brief list of related references and further reading.

Though much material and many miles are covered, the book's title suggests a broader landscape than that actually presented. The pieces of a religious mosaic are heavily reliant on Christianity, with a spectrum presented from African-American churches, mega-churches, parachurch groups, Mormonism, Catholic and Lutheran churches of European and Hispanic heritages, and local "house" churches. A chapter each is given to Islam, Judaism and "Asian religions."

It is not clear how the authors chose the primary destinations for their "carefully charted" course, nor how they determined the status of these destinations as some of the most distinctive and important. Large areas of the country -- New England, the upper Midwest, the Northwest, the Southeast -- were not visited and are not represented. (Christianity's arrival, with the first Mass in 1565, would seem a worthy reason to include, or at least make mention of, St. Augustine, Fla.)

The authors, scholars who "have each published extensively on historical and national trends in American religion," appear to limit their approach to many of the sites by using mainline Protestant Christianity as their baseline for comparison.

On their experience of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formal name of the Mormons, they note: "On many Sundays the worship service resembles that of many Protestants, sometimes even using the same hymns." From the multitude of Asian religious experiences to explore in San Francisco, most of which were "strikingly different from other religious congregations in the United States," the authors chose to write about their experience of a Buddhist community that "seemed to have more in common with traditional Protestant churches than with the Buddhist temples we had just visited."

Even their description of a Mass sounded like a Protestant service, with no mention of Catholicism's integral element of the Eucharist: "There was a confession of faith, Bible readings, prayers, a homily or short sermon, a blessing, a collection, and there was singing, much singing."

References to "a typical Protestant congregation" and Catholic worship "similar to Roman Catholic Masses conducted everywhere" seem to belie the book's basic premise of America's "ever-changing religious geography" with "a rich and varied topography." Of the many religious leaders interviewed in this exploration of diversity, only two were women.

The book is uneven not only in its treatment across regions and leadership, but also in its treatment of the different religious traditions and of the groups within them. Though pointing to America's rich religious variety, the authors presume the reader to be Christian or at least quite familiar with Christianity. A Christian reader might learn of the "five pillars" of Islam, or of the Jewish law contained in the Torah. A Muslim, a Hindu or someone unaffiliated with a religion would not learn any of the basic tenets that undergird Christianity.

Learning about a religious tradition other than one's own can be a rich and rewarding experience. This book provides some pieces toward this exploration, with interesting statistics, entertaining anecdotes and interviews, and compelling photos.

But for a more comprehensive, expansive and extraordinary resource on the American religious landscape, see Harvard University's Pluralism Project at: pluralism.org. For a road trip that provides more breadth to American Christianity, see "Sundays in America: A Yearlong Road Trip in Search of Christian Faith" by Suzanne Strempek Shea, Beacon Press, 2008.





Advanced Search






Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved