a) "With God on our Side" will be a highly engaging book for a mainstream readership that explores a growing movement within American Christianity (consisting of millennials, Gen Z-ers, and “nones” who claim no formal religious affiliation) that is calling for an “alternative orthodoxy,” in direct response to what its adherents see as an error in reading and applying scripture among many mainstream Christians and the Christian Right.
b) This book is both timely and necessary, because it shines a light on a new U.S. movement that is often overlooked or misrepresented. Pundits have interpreted the mass departure of Christian youth from mainstream churches as evidence of America growing more secular, despite the religious underpinnings of this new youth movement.
c) The book will address the following Big Questions: 1. In what concrete ways are a new generation of Christian leaders seeking to live and work as Jesus did? 2. What does the struggle within Christianity to reclaim orthodoxy look like on the ground? 3. Does this attempt by devout Christians to redefine their faith represent the beginnings of a fifth Great Awakening? 4. What is the historical context for this new American Awakening?
d) Research-driven reporting and comprehensive historical analysis form the highest level of reportage. I will spend a year researching and reporting across the U.S. and documenting this movement’s leaders, who I’ve already been profiling for the New Yorker. I will embed for two years in a community of 650 members at a grassroots church in Philadelphia and northern New Jersey.
e) I will produce a 100,000-word book (to be published by FSG in 2024), two dispatches in the New Yorker, and a podcast.
f) Building on the overwhelming response to my On Religion column in the New Yorker, "With God on our Side" will have a large mainstream and faith-based readership. "With God on our Side" represents the only body of work defining this new religious movement.