Dr. Timothy Walch of the Hoover Presidential Library has published a positive review of my latest book in Choice, a journal for librarians. Not only did Dr. Walsh recommend the book, but in the expanded listing he also recognized the wide number of audiences this book would appeal to, including undergraduates, graduate students, researchers and faculty, and professionals and practitioners. I had hopes that the book would have theoretical and practical implications for multiple audiences and I’m glad to know that an emeritus colleague thought so, as well! As Choice reviews are very brief, I will paste the text here, but you can read the official version in the December 2020 issue (vol. 58, no. 4) and the review number is #58-0991.
The image of American Catholicism as rigid, unchanging, and immutable dates to colonial times. In fact, as Day (Franciscan School of Theology) notes, American Catholicism evolved from a republican style (1750–1820), to an immigrant tradition (1820–1920), and then to an evangelical impulse (1920–60). Since the 1960s, American Catholicism has developed an individualistic style that emphasizes discipleship at the parish level. Volunteerism is replacing institution building as a means of Catholic engagement. It is in this context that Day focuses on the work of JustFaith Ministries, which describes itself on its website as “a vast community of faithful people, transformed by the Spirit, and leading extraordinary lives of compassion.” Since 1989, JustFaith Ministries has enlisted 50,000 people in more than 1,500 churches to share its vision. Day studied JustFaith Ministries over the course of three years, and her conclusions are based on interviews, surveys, participant-observation data, and traditional printed secondary sources. Including two useful appendixes and a substantive bibliography, this readable, professional treatment of JustFaith Ministries puts the organization in the context of a larger social movement within American Catholicism.