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Moral AmbitionMobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches$
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Omri Elisha

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267503

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267503.001.0001

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The Names of Action

The Names of Action

(p.85) Chapter 4 The Names of Action
Moral Ambition

Omri Elisha

University of California Press

This chapter offers ethnographic profiles of four individuals who personify the activist orientation of evangelical social engagement and embody the virtues, struggles, and moral ambitions that go along with it. The profiles are categorized thematically according to four biblical archetypes that include the Apostle, the Teacher, the Prophet, and the Missionary. The apostle, Paul Genero, founded the Samaritans of Knoxville as a coalition of pastors, ministry professionals, and laypeople committed to outreach mobilization, training, and collaboration. Modeled on faith-based organizations in other cities, the Samaritans of Knoxville were meant to serve an intermediary role in the Christian community. Stacy Miggs, the teacher, described the gift of mercy as an almost visceral compulsion rather than a cognitive choice, a force that impels her to get involved in other people's lives. The prophet, Jim Elroy, was the director of the Fuller Street Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters in Knoxville. The Missionary, Margie Mckenzie, a staff member at Marble Valley Presbyterian, was charged with overseeing the megachurch's social outreach ministries, which meant coordinating charity drives, scheduling outreach events, and organizing workshops on outreach-related topics.

Keywords:   ethnographic profiles, social engagement, moral ambitions, Samaritans of Knoxville, biblical archetypes

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