Of Borders and Margins

Of Borders and Margins : Hispanic Disciples in Texas, 1888-1945

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The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), like many other Protestant churches in the United States, lives in an uneasy and tension-filled relationship with its Hispanic constituency. In this engagingly written work, Daisy L. Machado locates the historical underpinnings of this relationship through an analysis of the Disciples' interaction with Hispanics in Texas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Machodo shows that, while there was a large Hispanic population in the state during this period, the Christian Church was not able to develop a significant presence in Hispanic communities. Much of this failure can be traced, she argues, to the notion of the frontier, which influenced and shaped both church policy and theology for Disciples ministering to the Hispanic community. The frontier ethos - with a focus on divine providence and election, ideas about a chosen race and virgin land, and an understanding of the church as a socializing and Americanizing agent - provided an Anglo-American prism through which Disciples saw themselves and others.
The acceptance and implementation of these ideologies meant that while the Christian Church was taking its place as a member of the American Protestant establishment, it was simultaneously failing in its work among Hispanics. The missionary theology inspired by the frontier ideology led to the formation of a paternalistic relationship between the church and the Hispanic community, with a predominantly Anglo-American church overseeing dependant Hispanic congregations lacking indigenous leadership. The church mission in Texas, then, was at odds with the very people it sought to reach, and Hispanic Disciples saw their church as failing to repond to their needs and visions. The result was the creation of a small Hispanic church in Texas that is still struggling to be self-supporting, and has no Mexican-American ministers. It is a church that exists on both the geographical and denominational margins of the Christian Church. Written with both an engaging style and a crisp historical view, Of Borders and Margins offers a penetrating historical examination of a previously unexamined area of the history of American Protestantism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 168 pages
  • 154.9 x 233.7 x 22.9mm | 453.6g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0195152239
  • 9780195152234

Review quote

The author's interpretive contextual analysis is cogently written and well organized. It is a narrative that deserves to be pondered not only by members of the Disciples denomination but also by a much wider religious and secular population. Overall, I recommend this book as a valuable contribution to our understanding of the dynamics that have characterized Anglo-Hispanic relations in past centuries and continue to influence contemporary ministries. It is an
excellent example of scholarship that is readable, reflective, and relevant. * The Journal of American History *
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