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Sutton begins by describing a pageant that finds her magic in full flower, and then flashes back to the opening of her spectacular megachurch. We learn that she was a headstrong, clever, religiously troubled, and not always manageable girl, the only child of an orphan mother greatly attached to the brassy, egalitarian, and unconventional Salvation Army.

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Minnie Kennedy, married at fifteen to a man of fifty, had prayed for a daughter, and Aimee was raised with the maternal indulgence and high hopes more usually bestowed on a son. Mother and daughter were alike ambitious, and when Aimee found her religious vocation Minnie went with her and managed everything, including the finances.

She was rescued from worldliness by love at first sight with a tall Irish-immigrant evangelist, Robert Semple, who introduced her to a radical new religious movement, Pentecostalism. Its hallmarks were faith healing, the millennial belief that the Second Coming was imminent, and glossolalia, or speaking in tongues. After days of self-torment, sleeping and eating little but praying almost continuously, Aimee managed this last sign of inner baptism.

Aimee Semple McPherson Returns to Pentecost

Her husband, on their ill-fated mission, witnessed what she herself calls hysterics. Horrified by an odorous Hindu cremation occurring on the street below their windows, she began screaming. His sympathetic caress touched the match to the pent-up powder keg of my emotions, and immediately I was in the grasp of violent hysterics. It seemed as I listened to the high-pitched wails and wild laughter that came from my heart that the screams came from another person entirely. She was no stranger to out-of-body sensations. Earlier that year, en route to China, she had been unexpectedly called upon to preach in Royal Albert Hall, and, as she described it, her hour of impressive oratory came entirely from her subconscious, like speaking in tongues, only the tongue this time was English.


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Throughout the pressure-laden decades of her success, she suffered lapses of discipline and nervous breakdowns that led to extended periods of seclusion. She was a woman on the edge, and fascinating as such. When the schools stopped feeding children free lunches, Aimee took over the program. When city welfare agencies staggered under the load of beggars, the women of Angelus Temple sewed quilts and baked loaves of bread by the thousands.

When bread lines stretched for city blocks.

Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America

Angelus Temple was the only place anyone could get a meal, clothing, and blankets, no questions asked. She literally kept most of that Mexican community. Nor, herself a feminist symbol, though not a member of any feminist organization, did she neglect the cause of gender equality.

Confronted with St. She also visited a harem and a leper colony. Her book contains many images of women enslaved or victimized. Pentecostalism is unusual primarily in its expectation of present-day miracles—faith healing, talking in tongues—like those reported in Acts.

Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America by Matthew Avery Sutton

There was a tide of irreligion that she could not stem. Her scandals, her mercenary bent and vanity, and her eventually rampant worldliness hurt her cause. In , she rattled teacups by bobbing her trademark long auburn hair; she slimmed down her stocky figure, shopped for clothes in Paris, and was caught trying to smuggle some past U. McPherson and her strong-willed mother had already become permanently estranged, and before her death Aimee suffered a heavily publicized, litigious break with her daughter, Roberta.

Like many another enchantress of the public, she attained few and fleeting private satisfactions.

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Empathetic, critical, and insightful simultaneously, Sutton has produced a compellingly narrated book about one of modern America's most magnetic women. Matthew Sutton deftly addresses Sister Aimee's fame and her legacy in his fine biography, but he does so with care and attention to her humanity as well. Americans of the s and s were fascinated by her, and readers today will feel the same way, thanks to Matthew Avery Sutton's timely and absorbing biography.

This is terrific history, reflecting meticulous research, persuasive argumentation, and a writing style as vibrant as the story it tells.

Ta kontakt med Kundesenteret. Avbryt Send e-post. Les mer. Bush, Americans have long sought to integrate faith with politics. During the years between the two world wars, McPherson was the most flamboyant and controversial minister in the United States. She built an enormously successful and innovative megachurch, established a mass media empire, and produced spellbinding theatrical sermons that rivaled Tinseltown's spectacular shows.