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Strengths in Diverse Families of Faith: Exploring Religious Differences

Strengths in Diverse Families of Faith Cover

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This book explores how religious families draw on their spiritual beliefs, religious practices, and faith communities to help them strengthen their marital relationships and their parenting.

Using in-depth interviews from eight religious groups – Asian American Christian; Black Christian; Catholic and Orthodox Christian; Evangelical Christian; Jewish; Latter-day Saint; Mainline Protestant; and Muslim – the book uses the interviewees’ own words to show how their religion impacts their lives and influences their relationships. The book also includes an introductory chapter which describes the study and the sample; a conceptual chapter which places the empirical chapters in theoretical context in sociological study of religious families; and a concluding chapter which describes how the editors and authors developed respect and admiration for religious cultures other than their own.

Drawing on such a diverse group of religions in America, this book will be of interest to those studying individual religious groups, as well as wider ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Marriage and Family Review.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Exploring Strengths in American Families of Faith
David C. Dollahite and Loren D. Marks

1. The Inner Logic of Religion(s): Theoretical Implications Regarding Eight American Religious-Ethnic Communities
Greg J. Wurm, David C. Dollahite, and Loren D. Marks

2. New Christians in a New Land: Faith Journeys of Asian American Immigrant Families
Daye Son, Braquel R. Egginton, Yaxin Lu, Amy L. Ai, Loren D. Marks, and David C. Dollahite

3. Weathering the Storm: The Shelter of Faith for Black American Christian Families
Mallory A. Millett, Lauren E. Cook, Antonius D. Skipper, Cassandra D. Chaney, Loren D. Marks, and David C. Dollahite

4. Kept Together by Faith: Confession and Forgiveness among American Catholic and Orthodox Christian Families
Thomas White, Joe M. Chelladurai, Pamela A. Monroe, James C. Garand, David C. Dollahite, and Loren D. Marks

5. Relationship with God and the Word: Faith among American Evangelical Christian families
Savannah L. Kroff, Katie Lee Cragun, J. Roberto Reyes, Joe D. Wilmoth, David C. Dollahite, and Loren D. Marks

6. Shalom bayit—Peace of the Home: Ritual and Tradition in American Jewish Families
Heather H. Kelley, Ashley B. LeBaron, Lance J. Sussman, Jay Fagan, David C. Dollahite, and Loren D. Marks

7. Together Forever: Eternal Perspective and Sacred Practices in American Latter-day Saint Families
Nathan D. Leonhardt, Elisabeth R. Kirchner, Tommy M. Phillips, Antonius D. Skipper, David C. Dollahite, and Loren D. Marks

8. Loving God, Loving Others: The Sacred Among American Mainline Protestant Families
T. J. Moore, Melanie S. Hill, Pamela Ebstyne King, Rob Palkovitz, David C. Dollahite, and Loren D. Marks

9. Answering to Allah: Relational Unity among American Muslim Families
Lee W. Essig, Melanie L. Lott, Mona M. Abo-Zena, Zahra Alghalfi, Loren D. Marks, and David C. Dollahite

10. Surmounting the Empathy Wall: Deep Respect and Holy Envy in Qualitative Scholarship
Loren D. Marks and David C. Dollahite

This book is available from Routledge.

Religion and Families: An Introduction

Religion & Families

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This is the first multidisciplinary text to address the growing scholarly connection between religion and family life. The latest literature from family studies, psychology, sociology, and religion is reviewed along with narratives drawn from interviews with 200 racially, religiously, and regionally diverse families which bring the concepts to life. Written in a thought-provoking, accessible, and sometimes humorous style by two of the leading researchers in the field, the book reflects the authors’ firsthand experience in teaching today’s students about religion’s impact on families. Prior to writing the book, the authors read the sacred texts of many faiths, interviewed religious leaders, and attended religious services for a wide array of faiths. The result is an accurate and engaging account of why and how families are impacted by their religion. The pedagogical features of the text include boldfaced key terms defined in the glossary, text boxes, chapter conclusions, summary points, and review questions.

Religion and Families:

  • Examines several denominations within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
  • Reviews findings from racially and ethnically diverse families, from traditional and diverse family forms, and examines gender and life-course issues.
  • Addresses the impact of one’s religious involvement on longevity, divorce rates, and parenting styles.
  • Considers demographic, family-, couple-, and individual-level data that relate to prayer and other sacred practices.
  • Presents a balanced treatment of the latest research and a new model for studying family and religion.
  • Explores the "whys," "hows," and processes at work in the religion-family connection.

The book opens with a discussion of why religion and family connections matter. Chapter 2 defines religion and presents a new conceptualization of religion. Empirical research connections between religion and marriage, divorce, family, and parent-child relationships are explored in chapters 3 through 6. The interface between religion and the family in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are reviewed in chapters 7, 8, and 9. Chapter 10 explores the unique challenges that religion presents for diverse family forms. Prayer as a coping mechanism for life’s challenges such as death and disability are explored in chapter 11. Chapter 12 examines forgiveness in the context of marriages and families. The book concludes with a review of the book’s most important themes and findings.

Intended as a text for undergraduate courses in family and religion, the psychology or sociology of the family, the psychology or sociology of religion, pastoral/biblical counseling, or family and youth ministry, taught in human development and family studies, psychology, sociology, religion, social work, pastoral counseling, and sometimes philosophy. This book also appeals to family therapists and counselors.