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Randall Balmer
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Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey Into the Evangelical Subculture in America

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  213 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The televangelists are the most conspicuous element of the evangelical subculture in America, and the bizarre antics of some of the most prominent figures--Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, or Jimmy Swaggart--make for interesting film clips on the evening news. But as Randall Balmer reveals in this vividly written volume, these men are but one small part of a strikingly diverse re ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published July 27th 1989 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1989)
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Balmer claims he was motivated, not to reinforce stereotypes, but to get to the heart of the evangelical subculture. Using specific churches and leaders as examples he highlights some of the themes throughout the subculture. Leaders often use their roles to interpret scripture for their congregations in a "Here is what it says, so this is what it means" style. They emphasize an individual interpretation, but the plainest, most evident reading of the text is the proper one creating no need for an ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Around 1990, Dr. Balmer felt the need to explore and explain the subculture of American Evangelicalism, a world he has inhabited since childhood that he considers oversimplified in the American mind. He is professor of Religious History at Columbia and visiting professor at Yale Divinity and writes for Christianity Today magazine. Most of what he wrote about is still relevant, although now he might want a chapter on Westboro Baptist Church.

Having grown up Lutheran, I need a guide to explain the
This book is super interesting. Randall Balmer, in the late 1980s, took a stroll through America in an attempt to identity some unique strands to the unwieldy subculture of evangelicalism (or fundamentalism, as he generally doesn't discriminate between the two). The result is a fascinating glimpse at the wide diversity of traditions (or counter-traditions) that have emerged under the umbrella of evangelicalism. Each chapter chronicles the exploits of a specific community or phenomena as a case s ...more
I ran into Randy recently, which reminded me that I'd read a few of his books that I never recorded here. This is my absolute favorite book on evangelical subculture, in all of it's weird, bold, intolerant, white glory. It was written awhile ago, but, you get a sense of where the movement was back in the 70s and 80s. The PBS documentary is just . . . awesome.
Dec 31, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth edition of Balmer's book, which was also a series on PBS, most of the essays were written 20 years ago and now seem dated. This edition also contains two essays written ten years ago, and two more written for this new edition. Balmer, formerly a evangelical, approaches his subjects, who range from Jimmy Swaggart to a Native-American Episcopal priest in North Dakota, with respect and without comical irony. However, he does does point out the contradictions and short comings in ...more
Well, I wouldn't normally read this kind of book but I read this book for my history class. It was different and it's really confusing coming from an outsider (I have some sympathies with Roman Catholics)..I like the author's writing style and I'm going to check out one of the bands that were mentioned in the book.
David Ward
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey Into the Evangelical Subculture in America by Randall Balmer (Oxford University Press 1989) (269.20973) traces the author's travels as he attempts to explore the "evangelical subculture." Good luck. He wrote an interesting section of the book on the continued existence into the 21st century of the phenomenon of "old-time camp meetings." He also wrote about Dallas Baptist Seminary and the "California Jesus Movement" of the 1970's. My rating: 4/10, finished ...more
Courtney Huskisson
Randall Balmer seeks to critique the evangelical culture through revealing stories and experiences of the groups he's interacted with over the years. Balmer is highly cynical, and though many of his critiques need to be heard, several are unfair. I think Balmer was also working out some of his own angst in his upbringing and it came out in several of his chapters. I will assume that Balmer's goal is to cause Christians to look in the mirror and encourage them not to be isolationists from culture ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Lona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice complement to When God Talks Back. It was written by an historian of religion who was raised in an evangelical family, so the point of view is unique.
Jun 06, 2007 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in religion from a sociological point of view
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
I read this for a class back in 2006 and loved it. It's non-fiction but is very well-written and reads as fast as a fiction book. The author, born and raised as an evangelical christian, takes an educated pyschological and sociological look at the structure of Christian Fundamentalism in the United States and the reasons for it's popularity.
Jun 25, 2007 Cate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college, religion
A look into the evangelical subculture in America. The book discusses several different enclaves and church books through the eyes of a former evangelical. The book is not altogether surprising, but it reveals some interesting things about this large subculture and is essential for gaining an understanding of such a large group.
Nov 23, 2008 Chad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on-this
Had to give this back to the library before finishing was a Studs Terkel-like look at evanglicals and seemed a bit dated, though it did capture a wide swath of Christians. I actually learned a bit about where Fuller Theological Union got its startup money from: radio preaching!
Jordan J. Andlovec
One of the most important sociological studies of American Evangelicalism ever done, Mine Eyes will evoke memories of childhood, make you angry as all get out, give you hope for our bumbling churches, and more often then not, will make you laugh out loud.
Jun 12, 2007 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Evangelical subculture
Being a Wheaton grad and an Oregon Extension alumni I loved Balmer's (he's an OE alum also)deep search for the truth behind the evangelical rhetoric. He can, however, slant towards the cynical.
Oct 08, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So the book is a bit outdated now, but the author does a great job of capturing the voice of many in the evangelical movement.
Dec 04, 2007 JulieK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very readable and even-handed look at the evangelical culture, written by someone who was raised in that world but has since left the fold.
Apr 24, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: undergrad, explosions
In the words of Lloyd from "Undeclared": it was cathartic. 'You're cathahtic, you idiot!'
May 13, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this for a religion class years ago and LOVED it. Eye-opening, informative and well-written.
May 23, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun investigation of Evangelicals all over the nation.
May 26, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book book though severely time dated. Nonetheless a good read and good info especially on The Church if the King in Georgia, bible camps and bible colleges.
May 23, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
quick, informative
Jul 07, 2008 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book.
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Randall Herbert Balmer, Ph.D. (Princeton University, 1985), is an ordained Episcopal Priest and historian of American religion, and holds the John Phillips Chair in Religion at Dartmouth College. He also has taught at Barnard College; Columbia, Rutgers, Princeton, Drew, Emory, Yale and Northwestern universities; and at Union Theological Seminary. Balmer was nominated for an Emmy Award for the PBS ...more
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