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Thursday, March 2, 2006

Getting ready to talk about counterculture.

Wouldn't you like to read a short, vigorously argued, engaging book of contemporary religious and cultural history so we can discuss it in a few weeks? Sure you would! I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Oppenheimer's Knocking on Heaven's Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture, which I reviewed for the current issue of UU World, but I didn't have enough space in that review to say nearly as much about the book as I would have liked. Rather than just launch a series of responses to the book here, I'd love to engage the book with you.

Unitarian Universalist readers should read at least the introduction, the first chapter (which describes Unitarian Universalists' embrace of gay rights in the early 1970s), and the conclusion — but the chapter on Southern Baptists will intrigue congregational polity-watchers, too.

Oppenheimer argues that the counterculture of the sixties was characterized by a style more than any particular ideology. UUs interested in the legacy of the black empowerment controversy in the UUA will find his conclusion about the nature of this countercultural style especially provocative, but his arguments helped me understand denominational (rather than congregational) behavior in all sorts of new ways. But let's not get ahead of ourselves: Get a copy of the book, read it, and sometime near the end of March or beginning of April I'll start posting some questions and additional thoughts about the book.

The publisher hasn't released a paperbook edition, unfortunately, even though the book is a couple years old, but public and university libraries are likely to have a copy. Amazon has hardcovers at a discount if you don't mind spending $30 or so for a book; you can click the book's cover over in the sidebar, or click here.

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 2 March 2006 at 10:24 PM

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Ethan Dickey:

March 3, 2006 09:18 AM | Permalink for this comment

I'm in the middle of reading it right now, thanks to the advert on the right side of the screen there. This should be interesting. Maybe I should have taken notes?


March 3, 2006 11:52 AM | Permalink for this comment

I just read the first chapter last night, and what I thought was so revealing was his description of our over accepting UU church not as a faith with a theology but as a culture. And one that can't say no.

ps. I got a used copy for $17 on Amazon,

Jamie Goodwin:

March 3, 2006 05:34 PM | Permalink for this comment

This is a fantastic Idea, what a cool way to connect with each other. If it works we should do it more often.


March 3, 2006 08:21 PM | Permalink for this comment

I have stopped into three independent bookstores to try to get this book and all were sold out. I'm going to wait until more copies come in, as I'm *really* trying to support the indies. Can't wait!


March 4, 2006 05:25 PM | Permalink for this comment

You can also buy the book from Powells or, dear PeaceBang, from my favorite independent bookstore. Or go comparison shopping at Froogle.

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