Divided Hearts: The Presbyterian Journey through Oklahoma History

By Smith, Seth | The Catholic Historical Review, April 2011 | Go to article overview
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Divided Hearts: The Presbyterian Journey through Oklahoma History


Smith, Seth, The Catholic Historical Review


Cassity, Michael, and Danney Goble. Divided Hearts: The Presbyterian Journey through Oklahoma History. (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. 2009. Pp. xix, 340. $24.95. ISBN 978-0-806-13848-0.)

As the title, Divided Hearts, suggests, authors Michael Cassity and Danney Goble see tension at the heart of the Presbyterian experience in Oklahomatension between "theology and practice . . . 'civilization' and 'heathenism. . .' tradition and modernization, [and] faith and science" (pp. xv-xvi).The book charts this tension from the early-nineteenth-century arrival of missionaries in the southeast to minister to the Five Civilized Tribes, follows them down the Trail of Tears, and documents the controversial debates on slavery and the Civil War that led to the removal of the missionaries from the Indian Territory. This began a transitory period for Presbyterians as they grew from missionaries to establishment while Oklahoma itself grew from territory to state. As their story progresses through the twentieth century, the authors demonstrate how the Oklahoma Presbyterians dealt with the most important social issues of the day, especially issues of race and sex.

Tension defined Oklahoma Presbyterianism on both a congregational and personal level; it developed out of Presbyterianism 's heavy emphasis on education (often state-supported) as a means to achieve salvation and belief in the necessity of participating in a civilized, market-based society.

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