I'm in the middle of some historical reading at the moment, but as Spring Break is right around the corner, I'll have to pick up a copy of this book and spend some time with it while I'm sitting beside the Cass River in Michigan, enjoying the crisp, fresh, spring air.
I'm not sure that Vineyard Christian Fellowships are necessarily completely representative of the whole of Evangelical Christianity, nor that observing from a distance with an anthropologists eye would reveal everything that is there to see. But I think it is always important to look at serious observations of the church, and give the observer credit for a critical eye.
I would have to concur with her conclusion that the general atmosphere inside the churches she observed, one of self-interest and the pursuit of personal comfort, is pervasive in a significant proportion of Evangelical Christian churches. There are a lot of people who gather for the Sunday morning service in golf shorts and t-shirts, to hear some good music and a good "talk" with power point slides by the pastor who is bent on making them feel good so that they'll drop some bucks in the plate and come back for more next week.
But Luhrmann either doesn't notice, or doesn't encounter, the element of self-sacrifice that is there as well. It's the thing that makes people look past the accumulation of personal wealth to sacrifice their time and their personal preferences to serve on mission fields where personal comfort isn't anywhere nearby. And while a lot of "mission trips" are generally exotic vacations to soothe guilty consciences for those who can afford them, I know teenagers who live for the chance to spend their spring break in the Dominican Republic, in appalling conditions, in order to minister to Haitian refugees who need their hands for simple service. Luhrmann misses that.