Phyllis Tickle

 

Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
When God Talks Back
Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God
By T.M. Luhrmann

What People Are Saying

"Not since Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart a quarter century ago has there been so readable, so informing, so scholarly, and yet so winsome a report about any group of American believers as Luhrmann's When God Talks Back. This is religion writing at its best—a masterful examination that is a candid, humble, clear-eyed, and affirming record of what faith looks like and how it operates."

—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence and founding editor of Publishers Weekly's Religion Department

 

"Luhrmann is a well-qualified guide: an anthropologist specializing in esoteric faiths...She has addressed a subject that most other people would never touch. We should thank her."  
The New Yorker

"A refreshing approach to this polarizing subject...[a] scholarly but deeply personal investigation."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A simultaneously scholarly and deeply personal analysis of evangelical communities in America...[When God Talks Back] is an erudite discussion both profoundly sympathetic and richly analytical."
Kirkus (starred review) 

"Resistant to the scornful stereotypes of the New Atheists, evangelicals who shared their spiritual lives with [Luhrmann] come across as complex men and women whose faith reflects intense emotional and mental commitment...In this sympathetic yet probing analysis, the evangelical spiritual dialogue with the deity emerges as the consequence of a surprisingly self-conscious strategy for finding meaning in a whirlwind of postmodern uncertainty. Much here for curious skeptics to ponder."
Booklist (starred review) 

"Yet again T. M. Luhrmann investigates a puzzling phenomenon and illuminates it brilliantly. Whether you are a determined rationalist or a dedicated evangelical, you'll be enlightened by Luhrmann's synthesis—a worthy successor to William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience."
—Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University

"T. M. Luhrmann's gift is the ability to observe and report with the eyes of both an anthropologist and a novelist.  This alchemy is so evident as she makes this most extraordinary narrative exploration of faith and its manifestations in everyday American life. A lovely book and a wonderful read."  
—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

Prayer is not an aberration. As part of the daily life of literally billions of people, it must be regarded as well within the normal repertory of human behaviors. Yet anthropology—ready enough to discourse about religion—has never managed a thick description of prayer. This is the ground that T. M. Luhrmann breaks with a deeply engrossing, first-ever, thick anthropological description of prayer in two American evangelical congregations.  A remarkable intellectual venture.
—Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography

"What if nonbelievers could understand how people come to experience God? What if believers could come to understand just how difficult the process of coming to experience God is for all of us, here at the end of modernity?  When God Talks Back is a chance for our divided nation to stop talking past each other about our national preoccupation: God."
—Ken Wilson, senior pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor and author of Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer