California matters, both as a place and as an idea. What famed historian Kevin Starr has called ""the California Dream"" is a vital part of American self-understanding. Just as America was meant to be a place of renewal, even redemption, for Europe, so too California was intended as a place of renewal for America. Therefore, California--place and idea--provides a fertile ground for scholars to think deeply about what it means to articulate ""the promise of American life."" This book follows in the train of George Marsden's classic The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship--believing that people of faith have a contribution to make to scholarship--and of Jay Green's more recent book, Christian Historiography: Five Rival Views--believing that scholars of faith should engage in moral inquiry. In this book, eight authors inquire into the moral questions that emerge from studying California. ""This superb collection demonstrates how much fresh historical insight can be gained by careful examination of a single state in the USA. The book's particular virtue is to show how a theological interpretive framework illuminates questions of race, urbanization, the environment, immigration, and more. The individual essays are penetrating, the entire effect superb."" --Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame ""Anyone with a curiosity about California will find matters to savor in this engaging volume. The essays reflect the moral seriousness of their authors and also offer accessible windows to contemplate some of the many diversities of a truly remarkable state."" --George M. Marsden, University of Notre Dame ""The eclectic essays of California Dreaming give us glimpses of what has made the place coveted land and contested ground over the past two centuries. Filled with vibrant personalities and causes as diverse as the state itself, the stories told here remind us of the ongoing value of reflections--both historical and moral--upon the California experience."" --Richard Pointer, Westmont College ""As a resident of another border state, Texas, that is as much an idea as a place, I appreciate how California serves as a reflection in micro of what America itself can or should mean. This book inspires that sort of reflection and is, therefore, useful and of interest to anyone hoping to come to grips with questions of place and meaning in a postmodern era."" --Barry Hankins, Baylor University ""California, for good and perhaps not always for good, has been the beacon of America's future for a century and a half. Yet there are many Californias, and they lead us in different directions. In this thought-provoking book, eight Christian scholars engage the past and the present, north and south, race and gender, politics, and the landscape itself. Throughout, they pursue not an agenda but a moral perspective. There is much here to delight the mind."" --Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara Ronald Wells is Professor Emeritus of History at Calvin College, Michigan. He is now Associate Director of the Maryville-Lee Symposium on Faith and the Liberal Arts at Maryville College, Tennessee. His many books include History Through the Eyes of Faith, History and the Christian Historian and The Wars of America: Christian Views.