Journal Article

Jesus Freak and the Junkyard Prophet: The School Assembly as Evangelical Revival

Jonathan H. Ebel

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 77, issue 1, pages 16-54
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Jesus Freak and the Junkyard Prophet: The School Assembly as Evangelical Revival

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The Christian Wrestling Federation (CWF) and You Can Run But You Cannot Hide (YCR) are two evangelical revivalistic ministries working through popular forms—professional-style wrestling and rock music—to convince young men and women to become Christians. Each group also stages character education assemblies in public schools across the United States. This article describes the activities of these two groups, places each in the broader context of the history of American revivalism, and discusses some of the issues raised by their inclusion in public school curricula. Conservative evangelical discontent with American public education is amply documented, as are attempts by local, state, and national organizations to make more room for Christianity in schools. Revivalist character educators have received almost no attention as part of this “Christianization” effort, yet their work helps frame and answer persistent questions about approaches to moral education, the place of religion in public education, and the much-studied relationship between evangelicalism and popular culture. The history of English and American revivalism, a history in which these ministries partake fully, offers potential answers to these questions—answers that encourage caution on the part of the educators and revivalists who embrace the school assembly as a moral educational venue.

Journal Article.  16039 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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