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Boundless FaithThe Global Outreach of American Churches$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520259157

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520259157.001.0001

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The Challenges Ahead

The Challenges Ahead

Good for America, Good for the World?

(p.235) Chapter 7 The Challenges Ahead
Boundless Faith

Robert Wuthnow

University of California Press

The chapter identifies four social factors that have contributed to the increasing global engagement of American Christianity. One is the shrinkage of distances between the United States and other parts of the world that has come about through transportation and communication technology, economic integration, and international migration. A second factor is the cultural flattening of the world that has occurred with the spread of English, with television and popular music, and with the disruption of local community traditions that is often associated with international trade. The third factor is the organizational muscle in international faith based humanitarian and relief agencies. The strength of these organizations reflects not only a history that is nearly two centuries old but also new alliances, hybrid structures, coalitions with secular agencies, and, perhaps most important, greatly enlarged support from government. The final factor is the grassroots energizing activity of congregations themselves. This activity consists of preaching and teaching about Americans' common bond with and responsibility to be engaged with the rest of the world.

Keywords:   American Christianity, communication technology, economic integration, international migration, secular agencies

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