The field of American religious history is currently exploring new models for narrating the story of religion in the United States. Older consensus models are no longer in favor. I argue for a contact model that foregrounds the meetings and encounters between religious people. Such a model emphasizes the religious combinations made by individuals as well as between and among traditions in and through their American experience. My own work tries to develop this model in a variety of venues.
- A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).
A history of the “third force” in American (U.S.) religion – alongside mainstream denominationalism and evangelicalism – beginning from the time of the European Renaissance.
- America: Religions and Religion, 5th. ed. (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 2012). Textbook.
- Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
Uses concept of nature religion to explore various eras and movements in American religious history.
- Reconsidering Nature Religion (Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 2002). A rethinking of the concept and kinds of nature religion in the U.S. after over a decade since Nature Religion in America appeared.
- American Spiritualities: A Reader (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001).
An anthology that develops a typology for spirituality in past and, especially, present-day spirituality in the United States.