Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pg. 99: "Faith in the Halls of Power"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: D. Michael Lindsay's Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.

About the book, from the publisher:
Evangelicals, once at the periphery of American life, now wield power in the White House and on Wall Street, at Harvard and in Hollywood. How have they reached the pinnacles of power in such a short time? And what does this mean for evangelicals -- and for America?

Drawing on personal interviews with an astonishing array of prominent Americans -- including two former Presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful figures -- D. Michael Lindsay shows first-hand how they are bringing their vision of moral leadership into the public square. This riveting volume tells us who the real evangelical power brokers are, how they rose to prominence, and what they're doing with their clout. Lindsay reveals that evangelicals are now at home in the executive suite and on the studio lot, and from those lofty perches they have used their influence, money, and ideas to build up the evangelical movement and introduce it to the wider American society. They are leaders of powerful institutions and their goals are ambitious -- to bring Christian principles to bear on virtually every aspect of American life.

Along the way, the book is packed with fascinating stories and striking insights. Lindsay shows how evangelicals became a force in American foreign policy, how Fortune 500 companies are becoming faith-friendly, and how the new generation of the faithful is led by cosmopolitan evangelicals. These are well-educated men and women who read both and The New York TimesChristianity Today, and who are wary of the evangelical masses' penchant for polarizing rhetoric, apocalyptic pot-boilers, and bad Christian rock. Perhaps most startling is the importance of personal relationships between leaders -- a quiet conversation after Bible study can have more impact than thousands of people marching in the streets.

Faith in the Halls of Power takes us inside the rarified world of the evangelical elite -- beyond the hysterical panic and chest-thumping pride -- to give us the real story behind the evangelical ascendancy in America.
Among the praise for the book:

"This important work should be required reading for anyone who wants to opine publicly on what American evangelicals are really up to."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An impressive and admirably fair-minded book: anybody who wants to understand the nexus between God and power in modern America should start here."
--The Economist

"People of faith have an enormous impact on our society. Michael Lindsay's brilliant book has the story everyone else has missed. You must read this book."
--Senator Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN)

"Jesus tells his followers to 'be in the world but not of the world.' This has created tension for the faithful from the first century Church until today. D. Michael Lindsay takes the reader where faith meets politics and culture. This book explores how modern evangelicals struggle to apply the principles of Christ to an ever-changing society. Faith in the Halls of Power provides crucial insights into how evangelicals are influencing and being influenced by our world."
--Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)

"For more than three decades evangelical Christians have been self-consciously assuming positions of leadership across virtually all sectors of American society. Michael Lindsay's fact-filled book, based on his unique collection of personal interviews, presents a striking self-portrait of this new elite and how they reached power."
--Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone

"Quick, which of these fellows exercises more influence upon American life: Michael Moore or Rick Warren? If your answer is Michael Moore, you should read this book. It's an engaging account of how evangelical leaders like Rick Warren and many, many others have swept into the halls of power -- from the White House and corporate boardrooms to the Academy and Hollywood. Through interviews with more than 350 evangelicals in leadership positions, Michael Lindsay provides a fresh, valuable portrait of a powerful force in modern America."
--David Gergen, Advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton

Read more about Faith in the Halls of Power at the Oxford University Press website.

Lindsay has several interesting posts at the OUP Blog: "God Goes To Harvard" (about changes in faith on campus), "Onward Christian Soldiers" (about faith in the military), and "Introductions: Michael Lindsay, Karen Hughes and America" (about how he secured an interview with Karen Hughes).

D. Michael Lindsay is a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University where he is also the Faculty Associate of Leadership Rice and Assistant Director of the Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life.

The Page 99 Test: Faith in the Halls of Power.

--Marshal Zeringue