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Saving the Protestant Ethic: Creative Class Evangelicalism and the Crisis of Work

Saving the Protestant Ethic (Oxford University Press, 2023) captures in-group tensions and creative adaptation among contemporary Conservative Protestants as they navigate the changing class and economic dynamics of American society. This book surveys efforts  to develop new ethical and theological frameworks that better align with new modes of work and deeper engagement with dominant cultural institutions. Such adaptation proves challenging on a number of fronts, as leaders of this "faith and work movement" must face off against both the identity-fragmenting conditions of modern work as well as their own tradition's ambivalence toward secular work and economics.

Drawing on the insights and cultural theory of Max Weber, Saving the Protestant Ethic blends original archival research with interviews of movement leaders to examine the movement's origins, motivations, progress, and challenges. At the forefront of such efforts are new organizations, books, conferences, worship songs, seminary classes, vocational programming, and lay-led study groups seeking to instill an upgraded Protestant work ethic for modern work settings. These efforts all illuminate the evolving role that religion plays in pluralistic public settings shaped by the intersections of advanced capitalism and persisting interest in meaningful work and trancendent purposes. 

Available on Oxford University Press or Amazon.

Praise for Saving the Protestant Ethic:

"In these days when almost everything about American evangelicalism is controversial, this well-researched, fair-minded book about the evangelical 'faith and work' movement is a welcome contribution. Andrew Lynn has provided a great deal for supporters of the movement, its critics, and all who worry about the moral malaise present in the marketplace to ponder."

-Robert Wuthnow, author of Why Religion Is Good for American Democracy

"The faith at work movement is an ongoing and evolving social movement, not a flash in the pan or a passing fad. Andrew Lynn brings us a strong contribution to the growing number of scholarly studies of the surprisingly diverse nature of the faith at work movement. Lynn's provocatively titled Saving the Protestant Ethic focuses on and brings us fresh insights into the conservative evangelical Protestant wing of the movement, whose search for meaning and purpose drives their economic activity."

-David W. Miller, Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative

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