Hispanic Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists in Texas

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The question of how one can be both Hispanic and Protestant has perplexed Mexican Americans in Texas ever since Anglo-American Protestants began converting their Mexican Catholic neighbors early in the nineteenth century. Mexican-American Protestants have faced the double challenge of being a religious minority within the larger Mexican-American community and a cultural minority within their Protestant denominations. As they have negotiated and sought to reconcile these two worlds over nearly two centuries, los Protestantes have melded Anglo-American Protestantism with Mexican-American culture to create a truly indigenous, authentic, and empowering faith tradition in the Mexican-American community. This book presents the first comparative history of Hispanic Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists in Texas. Covering a broad sweep from the 1830s to the 1990s, Paul Barton examines how Mexican-American Protestant identities have formed and evolved as los Protestantes interacted with their two very different communities in the barrio and in the Protestant church. He looks at historical trends and events that affected Mexican-American Protestant identity at different periods and discusses why and how shifts in los Protestantes' sense of identity occurred. His research highlights the fact that while Protestantism has traditionally served to assimilate Mexican Americans into the dominant U.S. society, it has also been transformed into a vehicle for expressing and transmitting Hispanic culture and heritage by its Mexican-American adherents.