Posts Tagged ‘Charismatic Christianity’

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.

Oro, “South American Evangelicals’ Re-Conquest of Europe”

May 2, 2014

Oro, Ari Pedro. 2014. South American Evangelicals’ Re-Conquest of Europe. Journal of Contemporary Religion 29(2): 219-232.

AbstractThis article focuses on networks of South-American preachers, led by charismatic characters such as the Argentinean pastor Carlos Annacondia, who export themselves not only to countries within the Americas but also to Europe. The prevailing justification among Latin-American Evangelicals for undertaking this ‘reverse mission’ (Freston) is in the view that especially the ‘old’ Roman Catholic Europe is spiritually ‘cooled down’ and that the time is ripe for re-evangelizing it. This study analyzes the way in which network-based charismatic entrepreneurship has encouraged transnational imaginaries of re-conquering Europe spiritually, more specifically in terms of the meanings the members of these networks attribute to the ‘spiritual re-conquest’. I conclude by suggesting that, similar to flows from other regions in the global South, such as Africa, the much vaunted ‘reverse mission’ to Europe is vested with meanings that transcend the spiritual re-conquest as such. In the case of Latin America, this article argues, the chief motivation is symbolic: to strengthen the status of local churches and their leaders against the backdrop of a highly competitive religious market on the Latin-American sub-continent.

van de Port, “Golden Storm”

November 5, 2013

van de Port, Mattijs, 2013. Golden Storm: The Ecstasy of the Igreja de Sao Francisco, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. In Religious Architecture: Anthropological Perspectives edited by Oskar Verkaaik. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp.63-82

Volume Abstract: Religious Architecture: Anthropological Perspectives develops an anthropological perspective on modern religious architecture, including mosques, churches and synagogues. Borrowing from a range of theoretical perspectives on space-making and material religion, this volume looks at how religious buildings take their place in opposition to the secular surroundings, how they, as evocations of the sublime, help believers to move beyond the boundaries of modern subjectivity, and how they, in their common sense definition, function as community centers in urban daily life. The volume includes contributions from a range of anthropologists working in the UK, Mali, Brazil, Spain and Italy.

Silva and Rodrigues, “Brazilian Missionaries in Barcelona”

July 25, 2013

Silva, Marcos de Araujo and Donizete Rodrigues. 2013. Religion, Migration, and Gender Strategies: Brazilian (Catholic and Evangelical) Missionaries in Barcelona. Religion and Gender 3(1).

Abstract: This article reflects on gender strategies developed by Brazilian Pentecostal missionaries linked to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God/United Family, in the city of Barcelona,Spain. From a comparative study of the daily life of the missionaries, the paper discusses how ‘feminized’ and ‘manly’ character, respectively, define important boundaries between Catholic charismatic and Evangelical groups.The ethnographic data demonstrate how certain religious particularities of immigrants can act as a source of social differentiation that highlights opportunities and specific doctrinal strategies for women and men, in the context of diaspora.

When God Talks Back: Book Review

July 19, 2013

Luhrmann, T.M. 2012. When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

By Nofit Itzhak (University of California, San Diego)

While conducting fieldwork for her dissertation project among contemporary witches in Britain, Tanya Luhrmann woke up one morning to the startling vision of six druids standing against the window of her London apartment. The vision, a kind of temporary blurring of the boundary between the perceptible and the imagined, was the fruit, Luhrmann surmised later on, of visualization exercises aimed at enhancing one’s imaginative capacities, exercises she engaged in alongside her interlocutors, as she tried to understand how modern, rational people came to experience magic as real. In Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft (1989), the resulting ethnography, she suggested that it was specifically this kind of imaginative and sensory retraining that allowed her interlocutors to inhabit a world which was at once rational and magical. Luhrmann’s latest ethnography, When God Talks Back, picks up where Persuasions left off, or rather addresses a similar problematic in a different ethnographic context, that of the American Evangelical Vineyard.

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Luhrmann, “Making God real and making God good: Some mechanisms through which prayer may contribute to healing”

June 30, 2013

Luhrmann, Tanya. 2013. Making God real and making God good: Some mechanisms through which prayer may contribute to healing. Transcultural Psychiatry published online 21 June (Early View). DOI: 10.1177/1363461513487670.

Abstract: Many social scientists attribute the health-giving properties of religious practice to social support. This paper argues that another mechanism may be a positive relationship with the supernatural, a proposal that builds upon anthropological accounts of symbolic healing. Such a mechanism depends upon the learned cultivation of the imagination and the capacity to make what is imagined more real and more good. This paper offers a theory of the way that prayer enables this process and provides some evidence, drawn from experimental and ethnographic work, for the claim that a relationship with a loving God, cultivated through the imagination in prayer, may contribute to good health and may contribute to healing in trauma and psychosis.

Eskridge, “God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America”

June 6, 2013

Eskridge, Larry. 2013. God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America. New York : Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: The Jesus People movement was a unique combination of the hippie counterculture and evangelical Christianity. It first appeared in the famed “Summer of Love” of 1967, in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and spread like wildfire in Southern California and beyond, to cities like Seattle, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. In 1971 the growing movement found its way into the national media spotlight and gained momentum, attracting a huge new following among evangelical church youth, who enthusiastically adopted the Jesus People persona as their own. Within a few years, however, the movement disappeared and was largely forgotten by everyone but those who had filled its ranks.

God’s Forever Family argues that the Jesus People movement was one of the most important American religious movements of the second half of the 20th-century. Not only do such new and burgeoning evangelical groups as Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard trace back to the Jesus People, but the movement paved the way for the huge Contemporary Christian Music industry and the rise of “Praise Music” in the nation’s churches. More significantly, it revolutionized evangelicals’ relationship with youth and popular culture. Larry Eskridge makes the case that the Jesus People movement not only helped create a resurgent evangelicalism but must be considered one of the formative powers that shaped American youth in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Frahm-Arp, “Singleness, Sexuality, and the Dream of Marriage”

December 14, 2012

Frahm-Arp, Maria. 2012. “Singleness, Sexuality, and the Dream of Marriage.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):369-383.

Abstract: In contemporary South Africa the nuclear family, made up of a husband and wife with two or three children living in a suburban area, is considered a social ideal and symbol of social and economic success. In Pentecostal Charismatic Churches the nuclear family is also held up as a symbol of success and as a sign of spiritual favour and blessing. Yet many young professional women who are members of Pentecostal Charismatic Churches struggle to find suitable husbands and marry. This paper examines why these women encounter these difficulties and how the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches in this study are opening up new social spaces in which singleness is an acceptable social state. In so doing the paper shows the complex relationship between weddings, sexuality, and economics in the life of young upwardly mobile Pentecostal Charismatic Christians.

Pearce, “Reconstructing Sexuality in the Shadow of Neoliberal Globalization: Investigating the Approach of Charismatic Churches in Southwestern Nigeria”

December 13, 2012

Pearce, Tola Olu. 2012.”Reconstructing Sexuality in the Shadow of Neoliberal Globalization: Investigating the Approach of Charismatic Churches in Southwestern Nigeria.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):345-368.

Abstract: This study examines how Charismatic churches in southwestern Nigeria are attempting to construct new social identities through their doctrines on marriage and sexual practices specifically constructed to set them apart from other social groups. I argue that these perspectives on sexuality revolve around narratives of the body, sexual desire, and conjugal sexual pleasure within monogamous marriages. The strong rejection of polygyny and other sexual discourses are linked to the global exchange of ideas. I make the case that an important device for developing these identities is emotion training and a vision for both public and private behavior. This study is a textual analysis of written and audio material that lays bare their theories and practices. The data reveal a focus on shaping sexual desire and building conjugal love, trust, and respect, but the training also molds other emotions such as fear, guilt, and shame.

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.

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