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Urban Church ImaginedReligion, Race, and Authenticity in the City$
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Jessica M. Barron and Rhys Williams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479877669

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479877669.001.0001

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The City Imagined

The City Imagined

(p.163) Conclusion The City Imagined
Urban Church Imagined

Jessica M. Barron

Rhys H. Williams

NYU Press

The concluding chapter reviews the three major concepts discussed in the book—racialized urban imaginary, managed diversity, racial utility—and how they relate to the analysis of the congregation and to each other. Drawing on examples from across the chapters, the conclusion shows that a set of images about what is authentically urban, and that urban-ness is connected to African Americans as well as consumer culture, inform the actions of the church leadership and the church members. In order to realize their imaginary, church leaders hope to foster a diverse congregation, but they want to manage the diversity so that they do not become seen as a “black church” or threaten the leaders’ authority in the congregation. The utility of using racial identity to accomplish these goals is a common organizational practice. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the prospects for multiracial congregations and American religion.

Keywords:   authenticity, managed diversity, multiracial congregations, racialized urban imaginary, racial utility

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