Education

  • Ph.D., M.A. University of Southern California
  • B.A. Pepperdine University

Background

The focus of my research and teaching is race-ethnicity, religion, identity, inequality and social change. I am most interested in uncovering the dynamics of contemporary issues like diversity, religious innovation and political power. My courses are often seminar style and are best characterized by a cooperative process of critical thinking and analytical dialogue.

At Davidson College, I was honored in 2009 for my teaching and scholarship with the L. Richardson King Professorship. I remain active in scholarship through a broad range of research projects which have been generously funded, especially by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment. My leadership experience in professional associations includes: President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (2021-2024), Editor of Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review (2012-2021), Chair of the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association (2019-2021), Co-Chair the Religion and Social Science Program Unit of the American Academy of Religion (2009-2016), and Executive Council of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2007-2010). I am serving a third term on the Board of Directors of the Louisville Institute (2014-2023), providing millions of dollars in research grants to those who lead and study American religious institutions. These academic activities build on my formative experience as a Congregational Studies Team Fellow (2005-2007) and Core Member (2011-2015).

In addition to speaking engagements, consultations, peer-reviewed articles, and grant-funded research, much of my scholarship and teaching is represented in the books I have written:

  • A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church (Indiana University Press)
  • Hollywood Faith: Holiness, Prosperity, and Ambition in a Los Angeles Church (Rutgers University Press) 
  • Worship across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation (Oxford University Press)
  • The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity, co-authored with Gladys Ganiel (Oxford University Press)
  • Latino Protestants in America: Diverse and Growing, co-authored with Mark T. Mulder and Aida I. Ramos (Rowman & Littlefield)
  • American Blindspot: Race, Class, Religion, and the Trump Presidency (Rowman & Littlefield) 
  • The Glass Church: Robert H. Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral, co-authored with Mark T. Mulder (Rutgers University Press)
  • Robert H. Schuller and Church Growth Christianity: Library of Religious Biography, co-authored with Mark T. Mulder (Wm. B. Eerdmans, forthcoming)