Leaving Grand Rapids: Investigating the Postconservative Turn in Canadian Evangelicalism

  • Author / Creator
    Willey, Robin D.
  • For sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), the ‘sacred’ constitutes all those things “set apart and forbidden.” Sacred items or ideas are set in relationship to other sacred things within religious contexts. For Evangelical Christians, and to a lesser degree Protestants in general, the sacred has arguably centred on the individual believer and her/his personal relationship with God and scripture. Recently, however, a growing shift within Evangelical Christianity has emphasized the sacred nature of relationships and community, culminating in the mantra “God is love.” This turn has set community above the personal in the hierarchy of sacred Evangelical things—a shift that I describe an example of a postconservative Evangelical theo-politics. In this dissertation, I explore the various socio-historical foundations of this alteration in Canadian Evangelical theo-politics. In particular, I investigate the influence of Evangelical author, pastor, and Oprah Network star Rob Bell who possibly best exemplifies this change and its ramifications. Moreover, I discuss the ways in which postconservatism intersects with various other trends in North American social and religious life, including New Ageism, neoliberalism, and cosmopolitanism. I completed this analysis after collecting over seventeen months of ethnographic data investigating the presence and sources of postconservatism in Evangelical churches in Canada.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2017-06:Spring 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Sociology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kent, Stephen A. (Sociology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Braun, Willi (History & Classics)
    • Krahn, Harvey (Sociology)
    • Wellman, James K., Jr. (Comparative Religion)
    • Harrison, Trevor (Sociology)
    • Mookerjea, Sourayan (Sociology)