Journal Article

Ego-affirming Evangelicalism: How a Hollywood Church Appropriates Religion for Workers in the Creative Class<sup>*</sup>

Gerardo Marti

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 71, issue 1, pages 52-75
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srq003
Ego-affirming Evangelicalism: How a Hollywood Church Appropriates Religion for Workers in the Creative Class*

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The “creative class” is a growing stratum of American labor consisting of nomadic workers who master self-promotion for economic survival. Using ethnographic and interview data from a Los Angeles church with a majority of attenders working in the entertainment industry, the paper demonstrates how a congregation oriented around a softer form of Word of Faith/Prosperity theology provides moral guidance for creative class believers. Their personal pursuit of fame and fortune is viewed as a veneer for the real self who not only lives by God's standards but also interacts with broader society in solidarity with others in their moral community with the goal of fulfilling religious aspirations. The resulting ego-affirming evangelicalism suggests that congregations that accommodate individual “greatness” within a cohesive community will be embraced by creative class workers who seek both inspiration for daily work and consolation for the isolation and fatigue experienced through their occupational challenges.

Keywords: evangelicalism; work; economics; congregation

Journal Article.  10546 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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