Claire Mitchell and I took part in an ‘In Conversation’ event at the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland in Belfast on Tuesday 19 October 2010. We spoke about our forthcoming book, Evangelical Journeys: Choice and Change in a Northern Irish Religious Subculture, which will be published by UCD Press next year.
The Centre has posted our conversation on-line, and you can have a listen here.
Our book seeks to identify combinations of factors – ranging from the personal to the social to the political – that have prompted the faith of Northern Irish evangelicals to change in various directions.
In the book, we focus on six types of journeys: converting, deepening (in a conservative direction), maintaining a steady journey, moderating (in a liberal direction), transforming (becoming post-evangelical?), and exiting evangelicalism.
We think our book will be of interest to those beyond academic sociology, and this was confirmed by some of the questions raised during the question and response session.
For instance, one man said that he thought that the book could offer some insights to leaders in the churches, particularly around the reasons why some people choose to stay in church and others choose to go.
We responded that we hoped that the book would help evangelicals to gain a better understanding about why people do take different paths, and that this might inspire empathy for those who had chosen an alternative route from one’s own.