More to Religion Than You Think.
More to America, Too.
Books and Articles

My Amazon.com Author Page is Right Here


The Bible in American Life (Oxford University Press, 2017)
Wrote and edited this with my colleagues Philip Goff and Peter Thuesen.  I think it's the best thing out there on Bible reading in America today.


Flea Market Jesus (Cascade Books, 2012)
The book I wasn't sure I'd ever finish.  Also available in Kindle.  Read Jay Demerath's endorsement below and then buy this one.  

Had anyone else told me he was going to write an account of American individualism as it is concocted, practiced, and sometimes sold in a Midwest flea market that hosts buckskin-clad muzzle-gun shooters and tomahawk throwing on the side, I would have patted them on the back and beat a quick retreat. But not Art Farnsley. This has long been a part of his world. And the result is one of the most personally engaging and intellectually compelling accounts of individualism since Thoreau. Farnsley dips into his own marginality to play interlocutor to the conflicts between anti-individualistic institutionalism and anti-conformist individuality. After being introduced to a beguiling range of his lifelong flea market friends and their composite, Cochise, the book slips up on you like a few cold beers on a hot summer afternoon.” 


Sacred  Circles, Public Squares: The Multicentering of American Religion (Indiana University Press, 2004)
This is the capstone volume from the Religion and Urban Culture Project.  Omar McRoberts' review in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion said it "set a new standard in the whole-city study of religion and will influence
subsequent studies in this vein for many years to come."  I can live with that assessment.

Rising Expectations: Urban Congregations, Welfare Reform, and Civic Life (Indiana University Press, 2003)
My book on faith-based welfare reform. It's been a few years now; my mind hasn't changed and neither have the facts on the ground.  Faith-based welfare reforms are not always unconstitutional and they may even occasionally be effective, but overestimating the capacity of congregations to do this work is always a mistake.

Southern Baptist Politics:  Authority and Power in the Restructuring of an American Denomination (Penn State Press, 1994)
In hindsight, this was a pretty good summary of the political battles in the SBC and marked the first time I traced a propensity toward "politics" as one of the two driving forces (the market being the other) in all manner of American social life.  Not like others hadn't done it before me, but here's where I set my course. 

Congregation and Community (Rutgers Press, 1997)
Nancy Ammerman (Boston University) was the primary author.  I managed the research and contributed to the manuscript as she was writing it.  This is an excellent  book, but you'd see right away that someone else's hand was guiding it.

Flea Market Believers  (Christianity Today Magazine, 2006)
My first published work about religion and politics among the flea market vendors, long before the book came out in in 2012.  Ran in the 50th Anniversary issue of Christianity Today--bless them--which was probably read by over 400,000 people.

Sage Handbook for the Sociology of Religion (Sage Publications, 2008)
My friends Jay Demerath and Jim Beckford edited this.  Jay and I wrote the chapter on congregations and I wrote the chapter on Faith Based Initiatives. I think it's fair to say this was the last I had to say on FBIs.  The legal dust has pretty much settled on this, the country has bigger fish to fry, and the partisans are left with symbolism and hyperbole.

Encyclopedia of American Religion (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2010)
Charles Lippy and Peter Williams edited this mammoth, 4 volume, encyclopedia.  I wrote the entry on "Unaffiliated".   It's an odd name as it presumes "affiliated" is normal, but, then in America it still pretty much is normal to be affiliated IF you don't take "affiliated" too seriously.  Anyhow, people with no religious ties whatsoever are rapidly approaching 20%, so it's a sector worth watching.






Website Builder