A lot of parties have put a lot of stake in the Great Awakening, the wave of religious enthusiasm which swept up and down the colonial seaboard in the early 1740s. To evangelicals, it shows how well revivals can work and entrenches them at the nation's foundation. To liberal Protestants during the cold war and to neoconservatives since, it has endowed American nationhood with moral ballast.
Not long ago the New York Times carried a story about a California congregation that maintains three separate bands: one specializing in soft rock, one in hard rock and one in classic rock. It effectively recruits its members, all 8,000 of them, according to their taste in Christian rock music.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.