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Posts Tagged ‘Religious life in Ocean Grove’

 

New Jersey Marathon in Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo © 2015.

 

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger,net.  (Re-post from 2017 and then 2019)

On August 23, 2017, Newsmax published its top 50 religious landmarks in America.  They began their coverage with this:

“Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis and leaders have initiated nearly every significant sociopolitical event in America. Their churches and synagogues were catalysts and hubs that made possible the American War of Independence, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. They founded schools and hospitals, created architectural wonders, and emphasized the preservation of nature.

“Religious landmarks in most of the original 13 states could easily fill their own top 50 lists, especially the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. However, these sites exemplify the diversity of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and commitment to religious freedom — the hallmark of American exceptionalism.”

 

The statement above is extraordinary and true.

 

Below is what they said about Ocean Grove. (…ranked #1 among the 50 religious landmarks in America.)

 

1. “God’s Square Mile;” Ocean Grove, New Jersey; 1869 This popular seaside retreat, concert, and vacation destination for millions is a lasting testament to the Victorian-era revivalist movement that followed the Second Great Awakening.

“Methodist ministers founded Ocean Grove believing ‘religion and recreation should go hand in hand.’   Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this quaint town is crammed with picturesque Victorian homes, antiques, a historic Auditorium, chapel, and tent community, and offers numerous tours and activities on land, sea, and air. Methodists still gather here regularly as well as other Christian groups.”

 

Editor’s Note:

This Newsmax designation is huge, at least in the eyes of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.  It  is a great honor for the CMA, but it perpetuates the myth that Ocean Grove is still a religious community and not a small town with multiple factions including the CMA.

You will notice that OG is the only town on the list. They did not name a true “landmark” such as  The Great Auditorium. The rest on the list are mostly buildings from all over America, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral.   So does the religious aspect of OG meet the definition of “landmark?”

And, it is wrong to continue characterizing OG as if nothing has changed, and it is wrong to refer to the religious life here as “Ocean Grove” which is a place where there is more going on than the CMA’s activities.

The CMA is a powerful presence here, but the most salient historic emblems of the town are the Victorian homes which are maintained and paid for by a largely secular and diverse community of residents. Without that Victorian architectural renaissance, OG would not be on this list or the National and State Historic Registers.

This award will have practical consequences, and perhaps our readers would like to speculate as to what these consequences will be.

Here is a link to the Newsmax presentation:

www.newsmax.com/BestLists/top-religious-landmarks-america/2017/08/23/id/809233/

 

BEN WEBSTER (tenor sax.)  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz.

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