On the Lived Theology Reading List: How the Other Half Worships

How the Other Half Worships, Camilo José VergaraInvestigating Churches Among America’s Poorest

America is known as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, enjoying more opportunities and a higher standard of living than many. While even the U.S. is home to poor neighborhoods crippled by poverty and violence, one institution can be found across the country regardless: the church.

In How the Other Half Worships, author Camilo José Vergara explores the conditions, beliefs, and practices that shape the churches and the lives of the nation’s urban poor. A compilation of decades worth of research and field work, this publication includes more than 300 richly textured color photographs and a series of candid interviews with pastors, church officials, and congregation members. Vergara’s work stands as a stark witness to how churches are being rebuilt in the dilapidated streets of America’s cities and how religion is being reinvented by the nation’s poor.

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Camilo José Vergara, a 2002 John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow, is the author and coauthor of numerous books including The New American Ghetto, American Ruins, Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery, and Subway Memories. His photography has been exhibited widely and acquired by institutions including the New York Public Library, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He currently resides in Manhattan. Vergara and Charles Marsh were both Fellows at the American Academy in Berlin, in the spring of 2010.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

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