Margaret Poloma

Margaret M. Poloma, Ph.D. (Case Western Reserve University, 1970) has written extensively about religious experience in contemporary American society, including pioneering studies of prayer, Pentecostalism, contemporary revivals and divine healing. Much of this work has focused on diverse pentecostal spiritualities (i.e., denominational Pentecostal, charismatic, Third Wave, neo-pentecostal, etc.), as reported in Charismatic Movement; The Assemblies of God at the Crossroad; Main Street Mystics; Blood and Fire (with Ralph W. Hood); and The Assemblies of God (with John C. Green)]. Her pioneering research on prayer (c.f., Varieties of Prayer with George H. Gallup Jr.) has served as a bridge between Pentecostal spirituality and common spiritual experiences of American Christians through data collected in two national surveys (1989 and 2009). Through the use of both qualitative and quantitative measures to explore the experiential dimension of religion, Poloma was able to mine research nuggets that suggested religious experience does indeed impact human behaviour. Most recently she has collaborated with some twenty other colleagues in the John Templeton Foundation-sponsored Flame of Love Project ( ) to develop a model of “Godly Love” that demonstrates the dynamic process in which experiences of the divine contribute to a better understanding human benevolence. Major findings from this research are found in Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen G. Post, The Heart of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2013).