Posts Tagged ‘Conversion’

Barber, “The Actuality of Liberation’s Problem”

April 12, 2013

Barber, Dan. 2013.  “The Actuality of Liberation’s Problem.” The Other Journal. http://theotherjournal.com/2013/04/11/the-actuality-of-liberations-problem/

Excerpt: “There is a tendency, when approaching the relation between Christianity and Marxism, to try to identify some element that would be common to both. This element becomes a third thing that allows us to give sense to the relation between the two initially given things of Christianity and Marxism. Such an approach, naming an element common to both Christianity and Marxism—liberation, for instance—allows us to adjudicate their relation. In fact, this third thing provides a site of adjudication to which each side is already implicitly committed. After all, if both Christianity and Marxism avow liberation, how could either object to being evaluated in terms of its capacity to bring about such liberation?”

Hodge, “The Catholic Church in Timor-Leste”

April 10, 2013

Hodge, Joel.  2013.  The Catholic Church in Timor-Leste and the Indonesian occupation: A spirituality of suffering and resistance.  South East Asia Research 21(1): 151-170.

Abstract: During the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste (1975-99), the Roman Catholic Church grew in importance to the East Timorese people. This is demonstrated by the large increase in Timorese affiliation to the Church: 25-30% of the populace were baptized Catholics in 1975 compared with over 90% in the 1990s. Various explanations have been offered for this growth, many of which identify ‘extrinsic’ factors such as the religious prescriptions of Indonesian law or the pressures of Islamization. While acknowledging the importance of these factors, this paper argues that certain intrinsic factors substantially influenced the identification of the Timorese experience of occupation with Catholic faith and solidarity. An understanding of these intrinsic factors can provide a more expansive understanding of Timorese culture, experience and history. Drawing on original research into the faith and experience of Timorese people during the occupation, the author explores the relationship between suffering, resistance and the Catholic faith of the Timorese in four areas: language; ‘a spirituality of resistance’; martyrdom; and sanctuary and advocacy for the persecuted. The paper draws on the insights of French philosopher and literary critic, René Girard, regarding the importance of Christianity in the context of violence. Girard has argued for a particular understanding of the centrality of the victim in human culture and of how Christianity helps to reveal this centrality. Girard’s perspective sheds light on how the Timorese came to terms with their experience of suffering and violence under Indonesian occupation through their identification with Jesus Christ and the Church.

Rakovic, “In the Haze of the Serbian Orthodoxy”

February 26, 2013

Rakovic, Slavisa. 2012. In the Haze of the Serbian Orthodoxy: ‘Conversion’ to the Ancestral Faith and Falling from the Church: Four Formerly Devout-to-Church Christians Speak. The Anthropology of East Europe Review 30(2).

Abstract: This paper is the result of research into the road towards and the road from institutional Orthodoxy and the experiences of four individuals, mutual acquaintances, who in the 1990s found “refuge in a search for meaning of life” in the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC). However, towards the end of the 2000s, they decided to abandon institutionalized religion and to move from the so-called theological-ecclesiastic model of Christian religiosity to an alternative model which negotiates between Christianity as doctrine and non-religious life-styles and “life philosophies”, as they are colloquially termed. Once torn between the conservativeness of institutional Orthodoxy and the modernity of their social environment (friendship groups, networks of people with similar interests, etc.), the four former members of the SOC declare that the SOC today is a community that has problems integrating cosmopolitan worldviews and is incapable of dealing with modernity and the diversity of contemporary society.

Marina, “Getting the Holy Ghost”

January 20, 2013

Marina, Peter. 2013. Getting the Holy Ghost: Urban Ethnography in a Brooklyn Pentecostal Tongue-Speaking Church. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Publisher’s Description: This book carries an ethnographic signature in approach and style, and is an examination of a small Brooklyn, New York, African-American, Pentecostal church congregation and is based on ethnographic notes taken over the course of four years. The Pentecostal Church is known to outsiders almost exclusively for its members’ “bizarre” habit of speaking in tongues. This ethnography, however, puts those outsiders inside the church pews, as it paints a portrait of piety, compassion, caring, love—all embraced through an embodiment perspective, as the church’s members experience these forces in the most personal ways through religious conversion. Central themes include concerns with the notion of “spectacle” because of the grand bodily display that is highlighted by spiritual struggle, social aspiration, punishment and spontaneous explosions of a variety of emotions in the public sphere. The approach to sociology throughout this work incorporates the striking dialectic of history and biography to penetrate and interact with religiously inspired residents of the inner-city in a quest to make sense both empirically and theoretically of this rapidly changing, surprising and highly contradictory late-modern church scene.

The focus on the individual process of becoming Pentecostal provides a road map into the church and canvasses an intimate view into the lives of its members, capturing their stories as they proceed in their Pentecostal careers. This book challenges important sociological concepts like crisis to explain religious seekership and conversion, while developing new concepts such as “God Hunting” and “Holy Ghost Capital” to explain the process through which individuals become tongue-speaking Pentecostals. Church members acquire “Holy Ghost Capital” and construct a Pentecostal identity through a relationship narrative to establish personal status and power through conflicting tongue-speaking ideas. Finally, this book examines the futures of the small and large, institutionally affiliated Pentecostal Church and argues that the small Pentecostal Church is better able to resist modern rationalizing forces, retaining the charisma that sparked the initial religious movement. The power of charisma in the small church has far-reaching consequences and implications for the future of Pentecostalism and its followers.

Roberts, “Is Conversion a ‘Colonization of Consciousnesss’?”

January 18, 2013

Roberts, Nathaniel. 2012. Is Conversion a ‘Colonization of Consciousness’? Anthropological Theory 12(3):271-294.

Abstract: The trope in which conversion – especially of non-Western people to Christianity – is envisioned as a type of conquest is one many scholars have found compelling. This article examines the implicit moral psychology behind the idea that conversion is a ‘colonization of consciousness’, which it identifies as rooted in a secular liberal model of the self and of religion. The appeal of the conversion-as-conquest trope lies in its focus on power, but by building secular liberal assumptions into its theoretical optic it remains ironically blind to some of the most pervasive ways power operates today – namely, through the production of secular truths about religion, and by authorizing ‘autonomous’ secular subjectivities as normative. Drawing on examples from the author’s research on Pentecostal conversion in Indian slums, and on a national context where violent anti-conversion activism is prevalent, the article argues that while both conversion and opposition to it entail power, this power is not well understood on the model of mental colonization, or ‘resistance’ by uncolonized subjectivities.

Weibel, “Blind in a Land of Visionaries”

December 29, 2012

Weibel, Deana. 2012. Blind in a Land of Visionaries: When a Non-Pilgrim Studies Pilgrimage. In Missionary Impositions: Conversion, Resistance, and Other Challenges to Objectivity, eds. Hillary K. Crane and Deana Weibel. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Wiegele, “Silence, Betrayal, and Becoming”

December 29, 2012

Wiegele, Katharine L. 2012. Silence, Betrayal, and Becoming within the Interpretive Gap of Participant Observation. In Missionary Impositions: Conversion, Resistance, and Other Challenges to Objectivity in Religious Ethnography, eds. Hillary K. Crane and Deana Weibel. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

DiCarlo, “Observations from the Back Pew”

December 29, 2012

DiCarlo, Lisa. 2012. I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions are Good: Observations from the Back Pew. In Missionary Impositions: Conversion, Resistance, and Other Challenges to Objectivity in Religious Research, eds. Hillary K. Crane and Deana Weibel. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Bielo, “Writing Religion”

December 29, 2012

Bielo, James S. 2012. Writing Religion. In Missionary Impositions: Conversion, Resistance, and Other Challenges to Objectivity in Religious Ethnography, eds. Hillary K. Crane and Deana Weibel. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Adogame and Shankar (eds) “Religion on the Move!”

December 4, 2012

Adogame, Afe and Shobana Shankar (eds).  2012.  Religion on the Move!: New Dynamics of Religious Expansion in a Globalizing World.  Leiden: Brill.

Publisher’s Description:  How do religions spread in today’s world, where Christian missions have lost influence and modern nations have replaced colonial empires? Religions on the Move is a collection of essays charting new religious expansions. Contemporary evangelists may be Nigerian, Korean, Brazilian or Congolese, working at the grassroots and outside the mainstream in Pentecostal, reformist Islamic, and Hindu spiritual currents. While transportation and media provide newfound mobility, the mission field may be next door, in Europe, North America, and within the “South,” where migrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America settle. These essays, using perspectives from religious studies, ethnography, history and sociology, show that immigrants, women, and other disempowered peoples transmit their faiths from everywhere to everywhere, engaging in globalization from below.

%d bloggers like this: