Cowboy Christians

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Marie W. Dallam
  • New York, NY: 
    Oxford University Press
    , February
     248 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Cowboy Christians examines the long history of cowboy Christianity in the American West, with a focus on the present-day cowboy church movement. Based on five years of historical and sociological fieldwork in cowboy Christian communities, this book draws on interviews with leaders of cowboy churches, traveling rodeo ministries, and chaplains who serve horse racing and bull riding communities, along with the author's first-hand experiences as a participant observer.

Marie W. Dallam traces cowboy Christianity from the postbellum period into the twenty-first century, looking at religious life among cowboys on the range as well as its representation in popular imagery and the media. She examines the structure, theology, and perpetuation of the modern cowboy church, and speculates on future challenges the institution may face, such as the relegation of women to subordinate participant roles at a time of increasing gender equality in the larger society. She also explores the cowboy Christian proclivity for blending the secular and the sacred in leisure environments like arenas, racetracks, and rodeos. Dallam locates the modern cowboy church as a descendant of the muscular Christianity movement, the Jesus movement, and new paradigm church methodology. Cowboy Christians establishes the religious significance of the cowboy church movement, particularly relative to twenty-first-century evangelical Protestantism, and contributes to a deeper understanding of the unique Christianity of the American West.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Marie Dallam is Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Honors College. Her previous books include Daddy Grace: A Celebrity Preacher and His House of Prayer (2007) and the co-edited collection Religion, Food, and Eating in North America (2014). Her research focuses on intersections of religion and culture in the United States.

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