Christianity

New Immigrant Christianity

New Immigrant Christianity

The Immigration Act of 1965 allowed entry of greater numbers of Asian and Hispanic immigrants who transformed the American religious landscape, bringing their own forms of worship and expression. One physical change is the emergence of “nesting churches,” buildings that house multiple congregations with different religious identities.... Read more about New Immigrant Christianity

Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism

Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism

American evangelicalism dates back to the New England Puritans. Today, the term references a diverse group of Christians who often prioritize spiritual rebirth, proselytizing, and spiritual piety. Fundamentalism emerged in the 20th century as a particular theology characterized most notably by biblical literalism. Pentecostalism refers to Christian denominations who prioritize the spirit and whose worship services may include speaking in tongues, faith healings, and other charismatic expressions.... Read more about Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism

The Social Gospel

Proponents of the “social gospel” connected social reform to scriptural ideals, calling for regulation of the rapidly industrializing, vastly unequal society that emerged in the early 1900s. The following decades, characterized by war and social unrest, saw a series of Christian movements—notably those organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—and intellectual positions, including liberation theology, a new and progressive theology that emerged from Latin American Catholicism.... Read more about The Social Gospel

Latter Day Saints Movement

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known for many years as the Mormon Church, is the largest movement descended from the prophetic claims of Joseph Smith. In the mid-19th century, the Church moved from upstate New York, Smith’s home, to the West, eventually reaching Utah where Mormons founded Salt Lake City. Through the present day, members of the church continue to negotiate their place within Christianity and American society.... Read more about Latter Day Saints Movement

The Growth of Eastern Orthodoxy

The Growth of Eastern Orthodoxy

The ecclesiastical authority of Eastern Orthodox churches, which lack universal leaders comparable to the Pope in Roman Catholicism, resulted in the relatively independent organization of Eastern Orthodox churches in the United States, where congregations are often drawn together by a shared national origin.... Read more about The Growth of Eastern Orthodoxy

American Catholicism

American Catholicism

American Catholicism was defined by waves of immigration: older populations in Maryland and the Southwest were joined in the 19th and 20th centuries by immigrants from Italy, Ireland, and Poland, among other countries. Tension between various nationalities, in addition to a dialectic between assimilation and the preservation of devotional practices, defined 20th century Catholic religious existence. The 20th century also saw the election of a Catholic president of the United States.... Read more about American Catholicism

African American Christianity

African American Christianity

The First Great Awakening led many enslaved people in the United States to convert to Christianity. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, distinct black churches emerged, seeking autonomy from white Christians. These denominations grew and now thrive in the present day. They are historically influenced by various political and religious movements, including black nationalism and liberation theology.... Read more about African American Christianity

Christian Settlements

Christian Settlements

The European colonization of North America created a range of Christian societies along the Atlantic coast. From the Puritans of Massachusetts, to the Dutch Calvinists in New York, to the Spanish Catholics across the Southwest, Christian towns and communities emerged across the land that is now the United States.... Read more about Christian Settlements

The Cross and the Icon

Orthodox Christian IconThe shape of the cross informs the architecture of many churches, and the symbol’s frequent appearance in the decoration of Christian spaces stands for the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. For Orthodox Christians, other important images include icons, figurative representations of Christ, the Virgin Mary or saints, which adorn worship spaces, are placed in homes, and are carried throughout everyday life.... Read more about The Cross and the Icon

Easter Pilgrimage to Chimayó

Easter Pilgrimage to ChimayoSantuario de Chimayó is a church north of Santa Fe that draws tens of thousands of penitentes, penitential pilgrims, in the week before Easter. The pilgrims seek to participate in Christ’s journey to Calvary, and often take dirt from the church’s miraculous ground, all in a hope of growing closer to God.... Read more about Easter Pilgrimage to Chimayó

Advent and Christmas

Advent is a four-week season of preparation for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ. The prominence of Christmas in American culture has led to the popularization of Christmas carols and the figure of Santa Claus. Traditions particular to certain expressions of Christianity, such as the Mexican posada, preserve other, distinctly religious forms of celebrating Christmas.... Read more about Advent and Christmas

Service and Mission

Some Christians understand their faith to be a call to action for social justice. As members of a “mission” community, these Christians go into the world to create new church communities, address political and social issues, and meet immediate human needs, providing food, housing, and healthcare.... Read more about Service and Mission

The Power of Prayer

The Power of PrayerFrom Pentecostal utterances to silent monastic contemplation, prayer is central to Christian life. Prayer can be communal or individual; it might consist of well-established texts, like the Lord’s Prayer, or spontaneous thoughts. Through varied postures, actions, and settings of prayer, Christians engage with God.... Read more about The Power of Prayer

Gospel Music

Gospel MusicGospel music developed among black Christians in the United States. Informed by the “ring-shouts” of enslaved people, the gospel genre moved into urban centers during the 20th century and became increasingly widespread in both religious and popular secular contexts.... Read more about Gospel Music

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