This fascinating book takes readers inside the world of faith-based progressive community organizing, one of the largest and most effective social justice movements in the United States. Drawing on rich ethnographic observation and in-depth interviews, Jack Delehanty shows how organizers use religion to build power for change. As Delehanty convincingly demonstrates, religion is more than beliefs, doctrines, and rituals; within activist communities, it also fuels a process of personal reflection and relationship building that transforms people’s understandings of themselves, those around them, and the political system.
Relational practices like one-on-one conversation and public storytelling take on new significance in faith-based community organizations. Delehanty reveals how progressive organizers use such relational practices to help people see common ground across lines of race, class, and religious sect. From this common ground, organizers work to develop and deploy shared ideas of moral citizenship that emphasize common dignity, equity, and prosperity and nurture the sense that public action is the only way one can live out religious faith.