This book combines both current scholarship, some of it historical, with original, ethnographic research carried out among different Protestant Latino congregations across the country. I applaud the authors, whose findings are significant not only for Protestant congregations but also for our own US Catholic Church. * Theological Studies * Mulder, professor of sociology at Calvin College; Ramos, assistant professor of sociology at George Fox University; and Marti, professor of sociology at Davidson College, have teamed up as part of the Latino Protestant Congregation Project, a joint endeavor of Davidson College and Calvin College, to create this cooperative study. By 2030, they write, it is estimated that half of all Latinos in the United States-who currently make up 17% of the population-will be Protestant. The 'Latino Reformation,' as Time named it, has remained largely invisible to the general public, fellow Protestants, and social scientists, in part because few dedicated researchers speak Spanish. But now the Latino Protestant Congregation Project has released its initial substantive and complex findings, examining styles of worship, values, congregation demographics, leadership structures, and sociopolitical perspectives. The fine mix of fresh quantitative data and engaging qualitative case studies gives a rich feel for the diversity of Latino Protestant communities, from a Dutch-Latino Reformed church in Iowa to the non-denominational church in Los Angeles that encourages members to 'transcend' ethnicity. Additionally, the chapter on Latino Protestants' political and social engagement is required reading for anyone interested in likely Latino voting patterns in 2018 and beyond. * Publishers Weekly * Mulder, Aida I. Ramos, and Gerardo Marti present a revealing and surprising glimpse into Latino religious subcultures in the United States. The authors contend that Latino Protestantism is an important yet neglected area of study. Not only is the Latino demographic growing, but Latino Protestants are running against the trend of a general decline of affiliation in organized religion. Based on information from the qualitative study the Latino Protestant Congregation (LPC) Project as well as other critical investigations that considered a number of U.S. congregations, the authors present these groups as dynamic, diverse, and as conflicted as other religious denominations, highlighting their distinctive features. The authors state that their goal here is to offer a road map for future study. Indeed, this provides fascinating detail that gives way to further research. VERDICT General sociologists and sociologists of religion will find this study beneficial, and even nonexperts will discover something new in this informative read. * Library Journal * In this welcome study, sociologists Mulder (Calvin College), Ramos (George Fox University), and Marti (Davidson College) summarize recent survey research on Latinos in the US with special attention to ethnographic findings from the Latino Protestant Congregation (LPC) Project funded by the Lilly Foundation. It is estimated that by 2030, one-third of the US population will be Latino and that half of all Latinos in the US will be Protestants. Chapter 1 documents the growth and dispersion of Latinos in the US, and chapter 2 examines the decline of foreign-born Latinos and the rise of US-born Latinos. Chapter 2 also provides valuable information on Latino living arrangements, language, socioeconomic status, and health care. Chapters 4 and 5 address religious conversion. Though a majority of Latinos in the US are Catholics, the longer Latino families reside in the US, the more likely they are to become Protestant. Chapter 4 focuses on issues of identity among Protestant Latinos. What does being a non-Catholic Latino mean? Chapter 6 addresses social issues. The authors found that Protestant Latinos are overwhelmingly conservative and opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage. This well-researched book contributes greatly to the understanding of the changing face of Latino Protestantism in the US.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. * CHOICE * With Latinos being among the fastest growing racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., the study of Latino Protestants will only increase in importance. Latino Protestants in America is on the cutting edge of this trend, and offers one of the first social scientific introductions to the topic. Full of rich analyses and careful to emphasize the complexity and nuances of these religious groups, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in understanding the shifting demographics of American religion and the future of U.S. religion and politics. * Politics and Religion * This volume takes readers inside the numbers to highlight the many reasons Latino Protestants are growing as well as the diversity of this group. It offers a nuanced picture of Latino Protestants in America, from worship practices to political engagement. The narrative helps readers move beyond misconceptions about Latino religion and offers a window into the diverse ways that religion plays out in real life. * Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology * Masterfully interweaving threads of ethnographic accounts, survey data, journalistic work, historical scholarship, and occasional theological references, three sociologists-Mark T. Mulder, Aida I. Ramos, and Gerardo Marti-depict the colorful tapestry that is Latino Protestantism in the US. . . . The book's treatment of ethnic identities within Latino Protestant congregations is among its greatest theoretical contributions. . . . there is no current text that engages with the wide array of scholarly voices on Latino Protestantism brought forth in this volume. The authors's engagement in the field makes the book current and timely. . . the book makes clear directions worthy of continued and concerted attention in the study of Latino Protestantism. As such, this work is valuable to anyone wading through the numerous opinions on Latino Protestantism and seeking an empirically based, socio-scientific presentation of current research. * Reading Religion * An ambitious, comprehensive, and nuanced exploration of Latino Protestantism in the United States, this book draws on survey data and extensive qualitative fieldwork to demonstrate the variety of Latino Protestant identities and communities. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand this fast-growing portion of the American religious landscape and how it is reconfiguring the American Latino community. -- Penny Edgell, University of Minnesota Weaving together a rich array of sources, these authors demonstrate that Protestant churches in the United States function as increasingly important sites for the production of Latino identity, even as they show that this identity cannot be reduced to any singular definition. In its extensive reach across the country and through its interdisciplinary approach, Latino Protestants in America captures the nuances of religious faith as an everyday practice that also has the power to redefine the political and economic forces that shape our lives. -- Jane Juffer, Cornell University Growing, diverse, and little understood-Latino Protestants receive here a thorough and much-needed examination. Drawing together existing historical, survey, and ethnographic data, the authors add systematic new observations from a team of research fellows. The result is a book that will be the go-to reference in the years ahead. -- Nancy Ammerman, Boston University In this landmark study, the authors unpack the complexity of Latino Protestants, drawing on a variety of empirical studies, including surveys and ethnographic description. The book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the changing face of Protestantism, the conversion of Latinos from Catholicism, and the demographics of immigrants from Latin America. -- Donald E. Miller, University of Southern California