Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace

Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace

Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace

Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace

Synopsis

Like other pre-colonial socio-economic formations, the profession of prostitution underwent a dramatic change in Bengal soon after the British take-over. Under the Raj explores the world of the prostitute in nineteenth century Bengal. It traces how, from the peripheries of pre-colonial Bengali rural society, they came to dominate the center-stage in Calcutta, the capital of British India--thanks to the emergence of a new clientele brought forth by the colonial order.

Sumanta Banerjee examines the policies the British administration implemented to revamp the profession to suit its needs, as well as to screen its practitioners in a bid to protect its minions in the army from venereal diseases. He also analyzes the class structure within the prostitute community in nineteenth century Bengal, its complex relationship with the Bengali bhadralok society--and, what is more important and fascinating for modern researchers in popular culture--the voices of the prostitutes themselves, which we hear from their songs, letters, and writings, collected and reproduced from both oral tradition and printed sources.

Excerpt

On March 12, 2006, the revivalist Billy Graham spoke in New Orleans as part of his Celebration of Hope evangelistic crusade. Graham came out of retirement to encourage New Orleans residents during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. People packed the New Orleans Arena in record numbers as thousands more went to an overflow area to watch a videocast of Celebration of Hope. Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea, longtime members of the Billy Graham team, warmed up the crowd with a few songs. A captive audience turned out to hear this American icon deliver what most deemed to be his last sermon.

Although age and a prolonged bout with Parkinson's disease tempered the preaching of his earlier years, Graham still demonstrated an ability to connect with the crowd. For example, there was a special moment when he abruptly stopped preaching and proceeded to drink slowly from a glass of water. No doubt many in attendance speculated that Graham was taking a few moments to collect his thoughts. After emptying his glass, Graham took a deep breath and exclaimed, “Ahhhhh, fresh New Orleans water,” a timely remark to residents struggling to get basic utilities just months after Hurricane Katrina damaged much of the city's infrastructure. Graham then commended the mayor of New Orleans for getting services back to the city and reminded his audience that “just like New Orleans is coming back, so is Jesus Christ, and you better be ready.” The crowed cheered, suggesting Graham's tactical drink of water and appeal to the city's restoration struck a chord.

Fifty years ago, Graham captured the imaginations of many Americans and became the de facto pope of evangelical Christianity. He emerged at a unique historical moment when technological advances in travel and communication allowed him to crisscross the country and broadcast his sermons to the masses (Butler, Wacker, and Balmer 2003; Martin 1991). Graham's media savvy, marketing skills, and compelling message of . . .

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