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Homespun GospelThe Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism$
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Todd M. Brenneman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199988983

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199988983.001.0001

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God’s in the Business of Giving Mulligans: Sentimentality and Therapeutic Culture

God’s in the Business of Giving Mulligans: Sentimentality and Therapeutic Culture

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 God’s in the Business of Giving Mulligans: Sentimentality and Therapeutic Culture
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Homespun Gospel
Author(s):

Todd M. Brenneman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199988983.003.0002

This chapter investigates the rise of evangelical therapeutic culture in the twentieth century. Through the examination of Max Lucado, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen as case studies, it becomes apparent that evangelical sentimentality is a large part of evangelical literature. In this literature, the tropes of God as father, human beings as children, and nostalgia for the nuclear family are emphasized. In the combining of sentimental tropes and therapeutic concerns, evangelicals like those mentioned craft authority for themselves as religious guides and healers. This therapeutic evangelicalism is further crafted as a practical approach to life that can help the audience live better lives but ultimately encourages narcissism.

Keywords:   Therapeutic evangelicalism, Sentimentality, Narcissism, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen

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