Book Release: The Subversive Evangelical

My first academic book is being released next month (June 2019) by McGill-Queen’s University Press and its available on Amazon, too.

Psychedelic front cover of the book

Its a book about Canadian religion, evangelicalism, and charismatic leadership. Evangelicals have of late been scandalized by their association with Donald Trump, and their megachurches are summarily dismissed as “religious Walmarts.” In The Subversive Evangelical I show how a growing group of “reflexive evangelicals” use irony to critique their own tradition and distinguish themselves from the stereotype of right-wing evangelicalism.

The Meeting House is itself an ironic institution–an Anabaptist megachurch that meets in mostly rented movie theatres. It paradoxically touts itself as “a church for people not into church.” I entered this community as a participant observer, and discovered that the marketing is clever and the venue of mall-based theatres is attractive to the more than five thousand weekly attendees. But the heart of the church is its charismatic leader, Bruxy Cavey, whose anti-religious teaching and ironic tattoos offer a fresh image for evangelicals. This charisma, I argue, is not just the power of one individual; it is a dramatic production in which Cavey, his staff, and attendees cooperate, cultivating an identity as an “irreligious” megachurch and providing followers with a more culturally acceptable way to practise their faith in a secular age.

Going behind the scenes to small group meetings, church dance parties, and the homes of attendees to investigate what motivates these reflexive evangelicals, I reveal a playful and provocative counterculture that distances itself from prevailing stereotypes while still embracing a conservative Christian faith.


Part of the Advancing Studies in Religion Series (number 7 in series)

360 Pages, 6 x 9

6 photos, 2 tables, 4 diagrams

ISBN 9780773557338

June 2019

Formats: Cloth, Paperback, eBook

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