Archive for July, 2013

Carlin, “When God Talks Back: Summary and Commentary”

July 27, 2013

Carlin, Nathan. 2013. When God Talks Back: Summary and Commentary for Psychologists of Religion. Pastoral Psychology.

Abstract: This article is a review of T. M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. I engage the book from the perspective of psychology of religion and suggest that the book will be of interest to psychologists of religion for three reasons: (1) psychologists of religion have emphasized the importance of “context” and “culture” in recent decades, and Luhrmann, writing as an anthropologist, offers a model for how psychologists of religion or psychological anthropologists with an interest in religion might attend to context and to culture; (2) the book offers new data about an understudied group or denomination of American Christianity, the Vineyard Christian Fellowship; and (3) the book is distinctive in its analysis in that it offers a reductive yet sympathetic and adaptive interpretation of American evangelical religious experience. To the extent that pastoral theologians are interested in psychology of religion, they will find this book of interest as well. Some limitations of the book are also noted.

Kim, “American Evangelicals Talking with God”

July 27, 2013

Kim, Rebecca Y. 2013. American Evangelicals Talking with God in their Minds. Pastoral Psychology.

Abstract: Tanya M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back examines how God becomes real in the minds of American evangelicals. How is it that sensible and reasonable people in this evidential world claim to walk and talk with God and experience God personally? Luhrmann answers this conundrum as an anthropological psychologist and sympathetic outsider delving into the world of American evangelicals. She finds that evangelicals are able to experience an all-loving God who has a direct and positive effect in their lives because they train their minds to do so. They school their minds to see, touch, and feel God. Reviewing the book’s important contributions to our understanding of how faith is conceived in the mind, this article raises questions for religious practitioners and those in the field of pastoral psychology regarding people’s efforts to have and to hold onto their faith in the modern world.

Gooren, “Is it the Spirit Moving”

July 27, 2013

Gooren, Henri. 2013. Is It the Spirit Moving, Or Is It Just That Burrito From Lunch? A Review Essay of T.M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship to God. Pastoral Psychology.

Abstract: T. M. Luhrmann sets out to explore a crucial theme in contemporary evangelical Protestantism: the process by which members of the so-called “new paradigm” churches not only learn how to pray to God but also how to engage God in entire conversations. Luhrmann analyzes how prayer, visions, therapeutic practices, and spirituality play a part in this process. Beautifully written and compellingly told, When God Talks Back deserves the widest possible audience.

Stromberg, “Christian Charismatics”

July 27, 2013

Stromberg, Peter. 2013. Christian Charismatics, Anthropologists, and Truth: A review essay on Tanya Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back. Pastoral Psychology.

Abstract: Throughout her career, anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann has inquired into the nature of belief. One focus of her efforts has been the question of how outsiders can grasp the beliefs of groups whose fundamental convictions differ from their own. In the work reviewed here, these concerns play out in a study of the Vineyard church, a charismatic Christian group. As she presents her ethnographic account of the group, Luhrmann also addresses theoretical questions about the evaluation of truth across different cultural contexts.

Yu and Yu, “Learning to Listen”

July 27, 2013

Yu, Dan Smyer and Wendy Smyer Yu. 2013. Becoming Conversant by Learning to Listen: A Reading of T.M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship to God. Pastoral Psychology.

Abstract: This review considers T. M. Luhrmann’s ethnographic findings on contemporary evangelical Christian practices and her aim to bridge the “rift between believers and non-believers.” Luhrmann’s portrayal of these practices stems from current research within evolutionary psychology, sociology, and the neurosciences on consciousness and religiosity. Depth Psychology and aspects of non-affiliated, lived religions that cultivate such “experiences of mind” are also considered.

Selka, “Cityscapes and contact zones”

July 25, 2013

Selka, Stephen. 2013. Cityscapes and contact zones: Christianity, Candomble, and African heritage tourism in Brazil. Religion 43(3): 403-420.

Abstract: In this article the author explores the ways in which Catholic, evangelical, and Candomblé actors produce competing framings that shape encounters taking place in the city of Cachoeira in the Brazilian state of Bahia. The framing of Cachoeira as a site of heritage tourism – one where local religious practices are read as part of the African heritage and attractions for African American ‘roots tourists’ – obscures as much as it reveals. This is not to suggest that this framing is entirely inaccurate or to deny that many visitors themselves describe their trips to Bahia this way. But I contend that the ‘heritage frame’ masks key issues that complicate diasporic encounters in Cachoeira, particularly different understandings of heritage and religion and their relationship to black identity that African Americans and Afro-Brazilians bring to these encounters.

Girard, “The outpouring of development”

July 25, 2013

Girard, William. 2013. The outpouring of development: place, prosperity, and the Holy Spirit in Zion Ministries. Religion 43(3): 385-402.

Abstract: This article explores a Pentecostal vision of economic development in Central America and considers how it becomes ‘really real’ for adherents, in part, through a sense of place. These Christians maintain that economic progress can only occur through the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, whose role in development becomes apparent to them as they encounter a correspondence between three elements at three different churches: the church’s level of prosperity; the intensity of the Holy Spirit; and the level of development associated with the broader locality. The article first describes this development project and explores the town of Copán Ruinas, Honduras – considered the least developed of the three places – and then provides an ethnographic account of all three churches, moving ‘up’ from Copán Ruinas through San Pedro Sula (the wealthiest city in Honduras) and ending in Guatemala City. To track the differences between these churches, the article attends to the variations in texture between them.

Wanner, “The city as promised land”

July 25, 2013

Wanner, Catherine. 2013. The city as promised land: moral reasoning, evil, and the dark side of capitalism in Ukraine. Religion 43(3): 365-384.

Abstract: The theological prescriptions of a believer’s burden preached at a large non-denominational Charismatic megachurch in Ukraine involve transforming the city in which one lives into a promised land. The means to do so involve making money and using that money to create ‘blessings’ for others. The actions of a group of entrepreneurs associated with this megachurch who have put this theology into practice have led to cross-cutting indictments of evil. The controversy that ensued over the proper response of a believer to suffering and urban plight reveals how the processes of moral reasoning to determine the sources of evil can be interpreted very differently when there is little agreement over the divine or demonic providence of money and what the public role of religion should be.

Coleman and Maier, “Redeeming the city”

July 25, 2013

Coleman, Simon and Katrin Maier. 2013. Redeeming the city: creating and traversing ‘London-Lagos.’ Religion 43(3): 353-364.

Abstract: The authors focus on strategies and aesthetics of urban expansion in Lagos and London by members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. On the one hand, these two metropolises represent very different forms of urban governance and religious context. On the other, they are juxtaposed and conjoined in significant ways as believers seek to fulfill spiritual and economic aspirations. ‘London-Lagos’ becomes a stretched city space that is created but also traversed as members negotiate diasporic linkages in the remaking of their lives as both believers and urban citizens.

Elisha, “Time and Place for Prayer”

July 25, 2013

Elisha, Omri. 2013. The Time and Place for Prayer: evangelical urbanism and citywide prayer movements. Religion 43(3): 312-330.

Abstract: This article explores a recent trend in evangelical revivalism known as ‘citywide prayer,’ a movement organized around prayer networks and public rituals that highlight religious concerns deemed specific to cities and metropolitan regions. Building on research that includes ethnographic fieldwork in Knoxville, Tennessee, and focusing on the discourse and practical strategies of citywide prayer, the article argues that advocates of this movement promote a style of evangelical urbanism in which prayer serves as a key medium for reimagining one’s sense of place, against the disorientation and alienation associated with urban life. Moreover, prayer is presented as a medium for marking time in non-secular terms, as is demonstrated in the use of technologies of religious discipline such as annotated prayer calendars, which invite participants to inhabit multiple coexisting temporalities. It is further suggested that when enacted this evangelical urbanism constitutes a form of urban praxis, enabling projects of emplacement that respond to larger forces that are seen otherwise to limit grassroots agency. Among the wider implications of this discussion is the observation that evangelical revivals, despite their well-known emphasis on individual salvation and millennialist fervor, are oriented toward and engaged with situated social realities of the ‘here and now,’ including the rhythms of daily life in modern cities.

%d bloggers like this: