A Sociological Study of the Great Commandment in Pentecostalism: The Practice of Godly Love as Benevolent Service
By: Matthew T. Lee (author), Margaret M. Poloma (author)Hardback
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This sociological study focuses on the Christian 'Great Commandment' - loving and knowing God's love and then reaching out to love others. Empirical results challenge conventional understandings of altruism and suggest pathways for increasing compassionate love. This book will be useful to scholars in a variety of disciplinary specialties with an interest in altruism, religious experience, or attempts to integrate theology and social science. Qualitative interviews with 101 North Americans who report exemplary experiences of 'Godly Love' in a broadly defined pentecostal context demonstrate that self- giving love is paradoxically self-affirming. Doing for others over a lifetime of benevolence in the service of a higher cause - even to the extent of risking one's personal safety - can generate a sense of meaning and purpose that is often lacking in contemporary society. The process of becoming a Godly Love exemplar frequently includes learning how to 'see beyond circumstances' in response to three types of vocation: 'renewers' seeking to revitalize religious institutions, 'servers' providing for immediate needs in the community, or 'changers' working toward social justice.
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- ID: 9780773439023
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