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Longing for Jesus
Worship at a Black Holiness Church in Mississippi, 1895-1913
Lester Ruth
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POD; Published: 8/22/2013
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6949-4
Price: $ 26.50
187 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 7.5 x 9.25
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Series: The Church at Worship

A detail-rich study of the most significant African-American congregation in the South a century ago

The Church at Worship is a series of documentary case studies of specific worshiping communities from around the world and throughout Christian history that can inform and enrich worship practices today. In this third volume, Longing for Jesus, Lester Ruth vividly portrays a prominent African-American holiness church in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early twentieth century.

Ruth's rich selection of primary documents presents readers with a vibrant snapshot of this dynamic church and its pastor, Charles Price Jones, caught between factors that threatened the existence of the congregation itself: Jim Crow racism, conflicting visions for the church, appropriate Christian piety, and social aspirations. In the midst of conflicts inside and outside, the church fought to create a space where it could worship Jesus as it saw fit.

Read a blog post by Ruth about the book on EerdWord.
John Giggie
-- University of Alabama
"Masterfully knitting new strands of research into a rich tapestry of religious history, Lester Ruth brings to life the long-hidden story of the nation's first African-American Holiness church. . . . By turns narrative history, exegesis, and study of Christian practice, Ruth's book brims with insight and wisdom about how a small church in the deep South sparked a movement that would sweep the country and start a revolution in worship and preaching."
W. Scott Haldeman
-- Chicago Theological Seminary
"Lester Ruth's Longing for Jesus takes the reader inside Christ Temple of Jackson, Mississippi, and the ministry of Charles Price Jones, a central figure in the Black Holiness movement. . . . We can experience the richness of worship in that place and imagine enriched worship practices for ourselves. This accessible and innovative introduction to a critical but underappreciated figure in the history of American Protestant worship is a great gift indeed."
Dale T. Irvin
-- New York Theological Seminary
"This richly rewarding book takes the reader into Christ Temple under the leadership of Charles Price Jones a century ago in order to discover a host of fresh insights into hymnody, preaching, and the encounter with God that takes place in worship. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the study and practice of worship."
James Abbington
-- Candler School of Theology
"Lester Ruth has unburied the rich treasures and legacy of the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA and its founder, Charles Price Jones. . . . Ruth's meticulous attention to the documents, music, and worship practices successfully connects us to the songs, prayers, and sermons of these 'saints on higher ground'!"
Melva Costen
-- Interdenominational Theological Center
"Longing for Jesus invites us into a significant form of African-American communal worship at a significant time in American history. This Holiness congregation at worship is no doubt reflective of other nascent African-American churches struggling to find meaning and freedom in a confused religious environment. . . . I highly commend this scholarly research series to all who take worship seriously!"