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The New Evangelical Social Engagement$
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Brian Steensland and Philip Goff

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199329533

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199329533.001.0001

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“FORMED” Emerging Evangelicals Navigate Two Transformations

“FORMED” Emerging Evangelicals Navigate Two Transformations

(p.31) 1 “FORMED” Emerging Evangelicals Navigate Two Transformations
The New Evangelical Social Engagement

James S. Bielo

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how the question of a new evangelical social engagement articulates with the Emerging Church movement. Using the example of Emerging evangelicals in Cincinnati, Ohio and their creation of a spiritual formation program, I consider how this group seeks to combine two transformations: inner spiritual change and public social change. Based on Harding’s notion of “transevangelicalism,” I argue that for these Emerging evangelicals social engagement is defined by collapsing divides between personal and public transformation. However, cultural tensions arise as competing imperatives exist in the production and consumption of this spiritual formation program. The tensions center on an uneasy relationship with late modern temporality and an anxiety about invoking old fundamentalist separatism in pursuit of a changed evangelicalism. Ultimately, these tensions incite familiar evangelical tropes and dilemmas. This chapter is grounded in nearly four years of ethnographic fieldwork conducted with Emerging evangelicals from October 2007 to July 2011.

Keywords:   Evangelicals, Emerging church, Transevangelicalism, Spiritual formation, Cultural tensions

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