One of Purity Culture’s origin stories is the birth of the militaristic masculine tradition inside white American evangelicalism. It is a story clearly told and meticulously documented by Professor Kristin Kobes Du Mez in her singular book, Jesus and John Wayne. Pioneered by men like James Dobson then continued more recently by John Eldredge and Mark Driscoll, this movement sought to define the nuclear family as the most important unit worthy of the protection of a strong father figure. But what of the generation of men who read Wild at Heart, attended boot camps, and grew up believing they didn’t fit the evangelical picture of masculinity? Their experience of reading this book is told throughout the episode as Professor Du Mez explains where the movement came from and how it shaped the fractured evangelicalism we see today.
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Kristin Kobes Du Mez is Professor of History and Gender Studies at Calvin University. She holds a PhD from the University of Notre Dame and her research focuses on the intersection of gender, religion, and politics. She has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, and Religion News Service, and has been interviewed on NPR, CBS, and the BBC, among other outlets. Her most recent book is Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. Connect with Kristin on Twitter