Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Jennings, “Imagining Jesus doing a Whole Lotta Shakin'”

June 3, 2014

Jennings, Mark.  2014. Imagining Jesus doing a Whole Lotta Shakin’: Pentecostal worship, popular music and the politics of experience.  Culture and Religion 15(2): 211-226.

Abstract: This paper commences with a brief outline of the history of the symbiotic relationship between popular music and Pentecostalism in the USA. While early rockers learned many of the techniques of ecstasy from Pentecostal worship, in recent times Pentecostal/charismatic songwriters and worship leaders have completed the circle, re-appropriating popular music forms for use in church. This is particularly the case in Australia, where Hillsong and Planetshakers have led the way in composing worship music using rock, pop and hip-hop forms. Drawing from ethnographic data from my own participant observation at an Australian Pentecostal church, I attempt to address the question ‘Can the ecstatic encounter with God which is central to Pentecostalism be accessed in other, “unbaptized” (i.e. non-Christian) musical contexts?’ The ambivalence of responses from the members of ‘Breakfree’ Christian church point to the fact that this is a political issue: at stake is the authority to determine which experiences are ‘Christian’, and which not.

Jennings, “Breaking Free to the Limit”

January 10, 2014

Jennings, Mark.  2014.  Breaking Free to the Limit: Playing with Foucault, Otto, and Pentecostal Experience.  Journal of Contemporary Religion 29(1): 33-45.

Abstract: This article explores different phenomenological approaches to understanding one of the central elements of Pentecostal spirituality: the ecstatic experience of the divine (often referred to as the ‘encounter’ of the divine). The article begins with a description, based upon participant observation, of a typical church service at ‘Breakfree’ Pentecostal church in suburban Perth, Western Australia. I then outline two phenomenological categories—one theistic, one non-theistic—which shed light on the significance of this experience. These categories are Rudolf Otto’s ‘numinous’ and Michel Foucault’s ‘limit experience’. It is demonstrated that neither of these can be prioritised, as both require an a priori position on the status of the divine. Instead of choosing one or the other, it is argued that both Otto and Foucault provide a resource for understanding and assessing the Breakfree encounter. The article concludes with the observation that a more playful methodology—one that allows the scholar to draw on theistic and non-theistic categories simultaneously—is required.

Koepping, “Spousal Violence among Christians”

December 3, 2013

Koepping, Elizabeth.  2013.  Spousal Violence among Christians: Taiwan, South Australia and Ghana.  Studies in World Christianity. Volume 19, Page 252-270.

Abstract: Local, often unconscious, understanding of male and female informs people’s views irrespective of the religious ideology of (for Christians) the imago dei. This affects church teaching about and dealings with spousal violence, usually against wives, and can be an indicator of the failure of contextualising, from Edinburgh to Tonga and Seoul to Accra, actually to challenge context and ‘speak the Word of God’ rather than of elite-defined culture. In examining five denominations (Assembly of God, Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, True Jesus Church) in Ghana, South Australia and Taiwan, ecclesial attitudes to divorce are shown to have a crucial effect on an abused woman’s decision regarding the marriage, especially where stated clerical practice differs from precept. Adding that to the effects of church teaching, the side-lining of pressure and support groups and the common failure of churches to censure spousal violence of pastors, leads the writer to suggest that any prophetic voice is strangled by shameful culture-bound collusion.

Rocha, “Transnational Pentecostal Connections”

May 22, 2013

Rocha, Cristina. 2013. Transnational Pentecostal Connections: an Australian megachurch and a Brazilian Church in Australia. Pentecostudies 12(1):62-82.

Abstract: The paper analyses transnational flows of Pentecostalism between Australia and Brazil. It analyses the establishment of CNA, a Brazilian church that caters for the increasing number of Brazilian students in Sydney. It also investigates the ways in which Hillsong, an Australian Pentecostal megachurch, has influenced CNA and has been alluring young Pentecostal Brazilians to Australia. Scholars have paid little attention to how religious institutions in the host country may influence rituals and facilitate the establishment of the new church. I argue that churches created by migrants are not established in a deterritorialized diasporic vacuum. Reterritorialization engenders hybridity. Following an admiration for Australian churches due to Australia being part of the English-speaking developed world, CNA is a hybrid of a conservative Brazilian Baptist church and the very informal Hillsong church. I contend that it is precisely this hybridity that makes young Brazilians adhere to it since the church works as an effective bridge between Brazilian and Australian cultures. Furthermore, this paper demonstrates the polycentric nature of Pentecostalism, as Australia is becoming a centre for the dissemination of Hillsong-style Pentecostalism in Brazil.

Maddox, “Prosper, consume and be saved”

May 21, 2013

Maddox, Marion. 2012. Prosper, consume and be saved. Critical Research on Religion. 1(1):108-113.

Abstract:  A Sydney-based megachurch with global reach, well-known for its ‘‘prosperity gospel’’ of financial acquisition, has developed an additional strand: a detailed theology of consumption. The affinity between a theology of guilt-free—indeed, obligatory—consumption and late capitalism goes some way towards explaining the attraction this minority strand of Christianity holds for politicians, including those without personal religious commitments, in a secular electorate.

Ono, Akiko (2012) “You gotta throw away culture once you become Christian: How ‘culture’ is Redefined among Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in Rural New South Wales” Oceania 82(1): 74-85

March 21, 2012

Ono, Akiko (2012) “You gotta throw away culture once you become Christian: How ‘culture’ is Redefined among Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in Rural New South Wales” Oceania 82(1): 74-85

Abstract : This paper is an ethnographic and historical exploration of Aboriginal Pentecostalism, which permeated quickly into the Aboriginal community in rural New South Wales in Australia during the early twentieth century. Today the Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in this region renounce Aboriginal ‘culture’. This, however, does not mean they reject Aboriginality. By examining Malcolm Calley’s ethnography on the mid-twentieth century Pentecostal movement in this region and drawing upon my own fieldwork data, I show the way in which this group of Aboriginal Christians of mixed descent in a ‘settled’ part of Australia have maintained Aboriginality and reinforced attachment to the community through faith in the Christian God, whilst, paradoxically, developing strong anti-culture and anti-tradition discourses. This paper advocates shifting the study of social change from a dichotomised model that opposes invading moral orders against resisting traditional cultures, to one that examines the processual manifestations of the historical development of vernacular realities.

Farhadian, “Introducing World Christianity”

December 4, 2011

Farhadian, Charles E.  (2012) Introducing World Christianity. Madden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Publisher’s Description: This interdisciplinary introduction offers students a truly global overview of the worldwide spread and impact of Christianity. It is enriched throughout by detailed historic and ethnographic material, showing how broad themes within Christianity have been adopted and adapted by Christian denominations within each major region of the world.

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the spread and impact of world Christianity
  • Contains studies from every major region of the world, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, the North Atlantic, and Oceania
  • Brings together an international team of contributors from history, sociology, and anthropology, as well as religious studies
  • Examines the significant social, cultural, and political transformations in contemporary societies brought about through the influence of Christianity
  • Takes a non-theological approach, focusing instead on the impact of and response to Christianity
  • Discusses Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox forms of the faith
  • Features useful maps and illustrations
  • Combines broader discussions with detailed regional analysis, creating an invaluable introduction to world Christianity

This is an engaging multidisciplinary introduction to the worldwide spread and impact of Christianity. Bringing together chapters from leading scholars in history, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies, this book examines the major transformations in contemporary societies brought about through the influence of Christianity.

Each chapter shows how the broad themes within Christianity have been adopted and adapted by Christian denominations within each major region of the world. In this way, the book paints a global picture of the impact of Christianity, enriched by detailed historic and ethnographic material for each particular region. Throughout, the chapters examine Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox forms of Christianity. The combination of broader perspectives and deep analysis of particular regions, illuminating the social, cultural, political, and religious features of changes brought about by Christianity, makes this book essential reading for students of world Christianity.

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