Archive for April, 2012

Vincett, et al. “Young People and Performance Christianity in Scotland”

April 30, 2012

Giselle Vincett, Elizabeth Olson, Peter Hopkins, and Rachel Pain.  2012.  Young People and Performance Christianity in Scotland.  Journal of Contemporary Religion.  27(2): 275-290.

Abstract: Based upon qualitative research in Glasgow, Scotland, this article examines transformations in religious identity and practices of young socially and economically included Christians, aged 16–27. The authors argue that young people’s religiosity has been shaped by large-scale social trends in the West, including secularisation and pluralisation. They argue that these influences have promoted a religiosity that de-emphasises propositional belief systems in favour of what they call ‘performance Christianity’, which highlights religious action in the everyday or secular, combined with a discourse of authenticity and a pluralistic approach to institutions and religious spaces. Finally, the authors consider the ways in which young people’s performance Christianity destabilises traditional ideas about belief and what it means to be Christian.

 

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Roeland, et al. “Can We Dance In This Place?”

April 30, 2012

Johan Roeland, Miranda Klaver, Marten van der Meulen, Remco van Mulligen, Hijme Stoffels, Peter Versteeg.  2012.  “Can we dance in this place?”: Body Practices and Forms of Embodiment in Four Decades of Dutch Evangelical Youth Events.  Journal of Contemporary Religion.  27(2): 241-256.

Abstract: This article describes the developments of the EO Youth Day, a Dutch Christian mass event that attracts thousands of young people every year. It is argued that in the course of time, the EO Youth Day has changed from a modest and sober event characterized by a Calvinist outlook to an expressive ‘hip’ event with an evangelical swing. This change becomes especially visible when the first versions of the EO Youth Day in the 1970s are compared with more recent ones—a comparison we shall make in this article. Central to this change is the way the body is addressed and referred to in what we call the ‘forms of embodiment’ offered at the EO Youth Day. Evidence for this is provided by an explorative empirical study of four EO Youth Days—those organized in 1977, 1987, 1999, and 2008.

Togarasei “Mediating the Gospel”

April 30, 2012

Togarasei, Lovemore.  2012.  Mediating the Gospel: Pentecostal Christianity and Media Technology in Botswana and Zimbabwe.  Journal of Contemporary Religion.  27(2): 257-274.

Abstract: This article discusses how Pentecostal churches in Botswana and Zimbabwe have appropriated media technologies in their worship. It identifies which media technologies are used by the churches and considers how they are used, the theological justifications for this appropriation, and the effects of this appropriation on the Christian faith. Media technologies discussed include radio, television, the Internet, e-mail, mobile phones, and various print media. The article concludes that Pentecostal churches have fully embraced media technology, in contrast to churches like the African Independent Churches that consider such technologies as trivializing Christianity. The article argues that media technologies have allowed Pentecostal churches in Botswana and Zimbabwe to spread the gospel faster and wider. Possible negative effects of media technology appropriation, such as the commodification of the Christian religion, are also discussed.

 

Lewis, “Touloutoutou and Tet Mare Churches”

April 25, 2012

Lewis, Bertin M. Jr. 2012. Touloutoutou and Tet Mare Churches: Language, Class and Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas.  Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 41(1): 1-15.

Abstract: Within Haiti’s growing transnational Protestant community, there are different types of churches and adherents that practice traditional forms of Protestant Christianity (such as the Adventist, Methodist and Baptist faiths) and Pentecostal/Charismatic forms of Protestant Christianity. Using Michèle Lamont’s work on symbolic boundaries, I explore how Haitian Protestants living in New Providence, Bahamas, differentiate these two major Haitian Protestant church cultures through the use of denigrating terms about differing religious traditions. Churches which practice traditional forms of Haitian Protestantism, for example, are sometimes called touloutoutou churches. Churches where Pentecostal/Charismatic forms of Haitian Protestantism are practiced are sometimes referred to as tet mare churches by some Haitian Protestants. In addition, practitioners’ descriptions reflect issues of social class and contested notions of Christian authenticity among Haitian Protestants in the Bahamas.

Marti “The Adaptability of Pentecostalism”

April 19, 2012

Marti, Gerardo.  2012.  “The Adaptability of Pentecostalism: The Fit between Prosperity Theology and Globalized Individualization in a Los Angeles Church” Pneuma 34(1): 5-25.

Abstract: A main theme in the study of global Pentecostalism is its adaptability to the modern world system; yet, the way in which adaptability “works“ is not well theorized. Hannah Arendt’s analysis of “the private and public realm“ and Ulrich Beck’s description of “individualization and self-culture“ offer heuristic frameworks for understanding how prosperity theology is well-suited to macro-historical patterns that address the growing individualization of everyday life, especially in relation to uncertain career paths and risk-oriented work structures. Arendt’s and Beck’s theoretical conceptualizations move away from sect-like notions of Pentecostals cultivating a bounded system among the non-Spirit-filled natives. Instead, their theoretical conceptualizations reveal Pentecostalism — especially in its prosperity orientation — to be fully compatible with individualization processes experienced by and demanded from today’s workers. A case study of the ministry of Oasis Christian Center to Hollywood entertainment industry workers illustrates connections between the Prosperity/Word of Faith orientation of the congregation and overarching processes of individualization.

Premawardhana, “Transformational Tithing”

April 17, 2012

Premawardhana, Devaka. 2012. Transformational Tithing: Sacrifice and Reciprocity in a Neo-Pentecostal Church. Nova Religio 15(4):85-109.

Abstract: This article examines a controversy surrounding the theology of prosperity associated with neo-Pentecostalism: the aggressive soliciting of tithes from largely underclass worshippers, and the eagerness of those worshippers to respond beyond what seems financially sound. Drawing on ethnographic research among Cape Verdean immigrants in a Boston branch of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, I argue that a sense of empowerment often accompanies sacrificial tithing. This sense comes through the insertion of worshippers into multiple relations of reciprocity. Those whom I observed submitting to their pastor’s calls to tithe should not, therefore, be glibly dismissed as victims of alienation or brainwashing. Their expressions of devotion are active and creative strategies of self-transformation in response to the precariousness of the migrant’s life-world.

Gunther Brown, “Testing Prayer”

April 16, 2012

Gunther Brown, Candy. 2012. Testing Prayer: Science and Healing. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Publisher’s Description: When sickness strikes, people around the world pray for healing. Many of the faithful claim that prayer has cured them of blindness, deafness, and metastasized cancers, and some believe they have been resurrected from the dead. Can, and should, science test such claims? A number of scientists say no, concerned that empirical studies of prayer will be misused to advance religious agendas. And some religious practitioners agree with this restraint, worrying that scientific testing could undermine faith.

In Candy Gunther Brown’s view, science cannot prove prayer’s healing power, but what scientists can and should do is study prayer’s measurable effects on health. If prayer produces benefits, even indirectly (and findings suggest that it does), then more careful attention to prayer practices could impact global health, particularly in places without access to conventional medicine.

Drawing on data from Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, Brown reverses a number of stereotypes about believers in faith-healing. Among them is the idea that poorer, less educated people are more likely to believe in the healing power of prayer and therefore less likely to see doctors. Brown finds instead that people across socioeconomic backgrounds use prayer alongside conventional medicine rather than as a substitute. Dissecting medical records from before and after prayer, surveys of prayer recipients, prospective clinical trials, and multiyear follow-up observations and interviews, she shows that the widespread perception of prayer’s healing power has demonstrable social effects, and that in some cases those effects produce improvements in health that can be scientifically verified.

Crumbley, “Saved and Sanctified”

April 13, 2012

Crumbley, Deidre. 2012. Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia. Gainsville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Publisher’s Description: During the early twentieth century, millions of southern blacks moved north to escape the violent racism of the Jim Crow South and to find employment in urban centers. They transplanted not only themselves but also their culture; in the midst of this tumultuous demographic transition emerged a new social institution, the storefront sanctified church.
Saved and Sanctified focuses on one such Philadelphia church that was started above a horse stable, was founded by a woman born sixteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and is still active today. “The Church,” as it is known to its members, offers a unique perspective on an under-studied aspect of African American religious institutions.
Through painstaking historical and ethnographic research, Deidre Helen Crumbley illuminates the crucial role these oftentimes controversial churches played in the spiritual life of the African American community during and after the Great Migration. She provides a new perspective on women and their leadership roles, examines the loose or nonexistent relationship these Pentecostal churches have with existing denominations, and dispels common prejudices about those who attend storefront churches. Skillfully interweaving personal vignettes from her own experience as a member, along with life stories of founding members, Crumbley provides new insights into the importance of grassroots religion and community-based houses of worship.

Siekierski, “Catholics in the Holy Spirit”

April 12, 2012

Siekierski, Konrad. 2012.  Catholics in the Holy Spirit: the Charismatic Renewal in Poland. Religion, State, and Society 40(1):145-161.

Abstract: Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity is without doubt one of the most dynamic and culturally significant contemporary religious phenomena. Not only is it the fastest-growing religious movement worldwide, but it has also permeated into the largest Christian tradition, Roman Catholicism, becoming a hallmark of what is known as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR). In this article I discuss various aspects of CCR within the Catholic Church in Poland. First I describe briefly the history, structures and activities of Polish CCR and discuss controversies that surround it. Then I give a short account of my research in which I have focused on the narratives of life change offered by CCR members, interpreting this change in terms of religious conversion. Finally, I touch upon the issue of the internal diversity of contemporary Polish Catholicism, and show CCR’s spirituality, based on immediate personal contact with the sacred, as a noteworthy element of this phenomenon.

Kuropatkina, “Pentecostals and the Russian ‘National Idea'”

April 12, 2012

Kuropatkina, Oksana. 2012. The “New” Pentecostals and the Russian “National Idea.” Religion, State, and Society 40(1):133-144.

Abstract: This article considers the role and place of ‘New’ Pentecostals (Neo-Pentecostals) in modern social, cultural and political processes in Russia and their attempts to contribute to creating a new ‘national idea’ for postsoviet Russian society. I look at the context of current debate on the latter subject: socialists call for a reproduction of the Soviet experience; others call for building an ‘Orthodox Russia’; others support a ‘conservative synthesis’ which looks back at previous experience of state-building with a multiconfessional and multiethnic character and involves building a religious and moral basis on Orthodoxy and other ‘traditional religions’; yet others support the liberal model and the integration of Russia into the western world. In this context I consider various aspects of Pentecostal participation: their current practical activities (charitable activity and support for democracy and human rights); the building of a theocratic (Christian) state; the study of the Russian religious heritage and an attempt to synthesise Orthodox and Protestant (Evangelical) traditions; and prayer for the country in the apocalyptic perspective.

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