Posts Tagged ‘Evangelicalism’

Ridgely, “Connected Christians”

May 14, 2014

Ridgely, Susan B.  2014.  “Connected Christians: New Practices in Evangelical Spirituality.”  Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 14(1): 84-93.

Excerpt: Having been reared on Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey and having been home schooled through high school, it was not surprising that Seth wanted his children to grow up to embrace Jesus and to live according to the Bible. Nor was it surprising that this millennial father, and second-generation evangelical, desired to express his religious commitments through a tattoo on his forearm that will read, “Veritology,” a term coined in a Focus on the Family (Focus) DVD seminar. “Veritology: What is Truth?” headlined The Truth Project’s first lesson, a lesson that asked the question that has anchored Seth’s life since he first saw the series two years ago: “Do our actions reflect what we believe to be ?” Seth explained, “you can go back and basically analyze your beliefs, not just the things you say you believe, but what you actually believe, by looking at how you behave. And I think that has been—it’s been both convicting and it’s been amazingly inspirational to me.” As Seth interpreted Focus’s question, it licensed his movement away from reliance on traditional Evangelical authorities, organizations, and the material they’ve produced. In this way, Seth reflected the “New evangelicals,” as Tom Krattenmaker calls them: Young “[b]elievers eschewing locked-down doctrinal declarations and political battles to tend to the specific and the local.” These young evangelicals might be seen as part of the “emergent church” or Gordon Lynch’s Generation X Christianity, but none of them used those terms or viewed themselves as part of a movement. Rather, like many of his generation, Seth shied away from the rigidness of Christian institutions or the labels of broad movements, while magnifying the piece of his tradition that demanded that he be in relationship with others. This emphasis on relationship with God and community has led me to term Seth and his fellow second-generation evangelicals “connected Christians.” In this short essay I compare the religious practices of Seth and twenty other “connected Christians” with those practiced by fifteen of their first-generation co-religionists. Here, I explore how feeling comfortable in their Evangelical tradition and confident in their relationships with both God and the world has oriented the second-generation toward what they perceive to be unique spiritual expressions of faith that have been shaped by, but are distinct from, their parents.

Kaell, “Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage”

May 10, 2014

Kaell, Hillary. 2014. Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage. New York: New York University Press. 

Publisher’s Description: Since the 1950s, millions of American Christians have traveled to the Holy Land to visit places in Israel and the Palestinian territories associated with Jesus’s life and death. Why do these pilgrims choose to journey halfway around the world? How do they react to what they encounter, and how do they understand the trip upon return? This book places the answers to these questions into the context of broad historical trends, analyzing how the growth of mass-market evangelical and Catholic pilgrimage relates to changes in American Christian theology and culture over the last sixty years, including shifts in Jewish-Christian relations, the growth of small group spirituality, and the development of a Christian leisure industry.

Drawing on five years of research with pilgrims before, during and after their trips, Walking Where Jesus Walked offers a lived religion approach that explores the trip’s hybrid nature for pilgrims themselves: both ordinary—tied to their everyday role as the family’s ritual specialists, and extraordinary—since they leave home in a dramatic way, often for the first time. Their experiences illuminate key tensions in contemporary US Christianity between material evidence and transcendent divinity, commoditization and religious authority, domestic relationships and global experience.

Hillary Kaell crafts the first in-depth study of the cultural and religious significance of American Holy Land pilgrimage after 1948. The result sheds light on how Christian pilgrims, especially women, make sense of their experience in Israel-Palestine, offering an important complement to top-down approaches in studies of Christian Zionism and foreign policy.

Juzwik, “American Evangelical Biblicism”

April 4, 2014

Juzwik, Mary M. 2014. American Evangelical Biblicism as Literate Practice: A Critical Review. Reading Research Quarterly. Early online publication.

Abstract: Practices of Biblical reading and interpretation are central to the literacy lives of those who call themselves evangelical Christians. More than one third of the U.S. population identifies as evangelical Christians, making evangelical Biblicism a pervasive and influential—if under-the-radar—literacy practice in U.S. life. Scholars of American evangelicalism have traditionally understood belief in the Bible as authoritative as one defining characteristic of the evangelical subculture in the United States. However, scholars interested in language, interpretation, and textual practices are only beginning to map out the contours of the literacy practices and ideologies entailed by American evangelical Biblicism. Critically reviewing scholarship across history, anthropology, religious studies, and sociology, I characterize evangelical Biblicism as an interpretive tradition mediated by a complex set of sociocultural practices and textual ideologies. From this standpoint, Biblicism involves the unceasing work of establishing and sustaining a transitive relationship among biblical text, right beliefs, and righteous actions. This set of relations gives rise to an interpretive tension that evangelicals have historically navigated between the necessity of interpretive freedom, allowing the Bible to live anew for each generation of believers (presence in the world), and the unchanging Truth of God’s word (the purity of the Word). Evangelicals dialogically mediate the transitivity among text, belief, and action—and attendant tensions between the purity of the Biblical Word and its presence in the world—in textual communities. Bibles themselves function as mediating literacy artifacts and articles of commerce in a global evangelical print culture. This understanding of American evangelical Biblicism as literate practice raises new questions and issues for literacy scholarship, related to how young people are introduced to evangelical Biblicist traditions and practices; how evangelical Biblicist traditions, practices, and ideologies travel around, across, and beyond textual communities; and how evangelical Biblicism shapes teaching and learning in schools.

 

Fernando, “Religion’s ‘state effects'”

March 25, 2014

Fernando, Oshan.  2014. Religion’s ‘state effects’: Evangelical Christianity, political legitimacy, and state formation.  Religion, early online publication.

Abstract: The author argues in this paper that the ‘state effects’ generated by religious movements – even those operating at the margins of societies – require us to consider anew the impact of religious movements on state formation. In Sri Lanka, for instance, evangelicals are a minority. Yet their practice of proselytizing to new audiences was considered ‘unethical,’ generating opposition that was directed not only at them, but also at ruling elites for failing to stem what was seen as an intrusion of incompatible ‘Western’ ideals. Instead of considering how such Christian movements seek to ‘take over’ the functions of the ‘state’ as has been the experience in the United States and parts of Latin America, the author illustrates in this article why it makes more theoretical sense to ask how their activities impinge upon the conceptual frameworks through which the ‘state’ is imagined.

McAlister, “Possessing the Land for Jesus”

March 25, 2014

McAlister, Elizabeth.  2014.  Possessing the Land for Jesus.  In Spirited Things: The Work of “Possession” in Afro-Atlantic Religions, Paul Christopher Johnson, ed.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Excerpt: “The American and Haitian religious actors I follow here are not part of the vast nongovernmental organization complex that has made Port-au-Prince a ‘Republic of NGOs.’  Rather, I am interested in independent missions and congregations that are also linked to global networks.  North American evangelicals, including Haitian Americans in the diaspora, form relationships with Haitian church congregations precisely in the sphere of privatized humanitarian assistance that neoliberal economic policies have created as the primary theater of operations for aid, relief, recovery, rebuilding, and development.  After the quake in Haiti, biblical quotations about land resonated with conflicts over land occupied by tent encampments, competition for international relief monies, and discussions about the best way to rebuild the nation.  It was in this context that dispossessed Pentecostals began to think, speak, and strategize about ‘God’s people possessing the land.'”

Bean, “Compassionate Conservatives?”

March 11, 2014

Bean, Lydia.  2014.  Compassionate Conservatives? Evangelicals, Economic Conservatism, and National Identity.  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 53(1): 164–186.

Abstract: In the United States, white evangelicals are more economically conservative than other Americans. It is commonly assumed that white evangelicals oppose redistributive social policies because of their individualistic theology. Yet Canadian evangelicals are just as supportive of redistributive social policy as other Canadians, even though they share the same tools of conservative Protestant theology. To solve this puzzle, I use multi-sited ethnography to compare how two evangelical congregations in the United States and Canada talked about poverty and the role of government. In both countries, evangelicals made sense of their religious responsibilities to “the poor” by reference to national identity. Evangelicals used their theological tools differently in the United States and Canada because different visions of national solidarity served as cultural anchors for religious discourse about poverty. To understand the political and civic effects of religion, scholars need to consider the varied ways that religious groups imagine national community within religious practice.

Miller, “The Age of Evangelicalism”

March 4, 2014

Miller, Steven P.  2014.  The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: For years, evangelicalism has figured prominently in the American cultural and political landscape, seen everywhere from the election of openly devout President George W. Bush to the wild popularity of Christian self-help books and end-times thrillers like the Left Behind series and prompting sociologist Alan Wolfe to write, in 2003, ”We are all evangelicals now.” In fact, Wolfe responded not at the emergence or height of the phenomenon, but near its conclusion. Evangelical Christianity became central to American culture over several decades, beginning as early as the 1970s, but by 2008, that historical moment was ending.

Steven P. Miller offers an in-depth exploration of the place and meaning of evangelical Christianity in the United States between 1970 and 2008, America’s born-again years, when evangelical Christianity entered the American mainstream in ways both obviously and subtly influential. The Age of evangelicalism began in the 1970s, propelled by the rapid ascendance of an avowedly born-again president, Jimmy Carter, and the equally rapid emergence of the Christian Right. It climaxed three decades later with the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, who synthesized Carter’s Jesus talk and the Christian Right’s cultural activism. During this period, the influence of evangelical Christianity extended well beyond its churches. Evangelicalism-broad enough to include both Hal Lindsey’s best-selling 1970 prophecy guide, The Late, Great Planet Earth and, thirty years later, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner’s emergence as a gay icon-meant that it influenced even its many detractors and bemused bystanders, who resided in an increasingly secular nation.

During the Age of Evangelicalism, Miller demonstrates, born-again Christianity was far from a subculture. It provided a language, medium, and foil by which millions of Americans came to terms with the end of the ”American Century.”

Strhan, “Christianity and the City”

February 17, 2014

Strhan, Anna. 2014 Christianity and the City: Simmel, Space, and Urban Subjectivities. Religion and Society: Advances in Research. 4(1): 125-149.

Abstract: This article examines the growing scholarly interest in urban religion, situating the topic in relation to the contemporary analytical significance of cities as sites where processes of social change, such as globalization, transnationalism, and the influence of new media technologies, materialize in interrelated ways. I argue that Georg Simmel’s writing on cities offers resources to draw out further the significance of “the urban” in this emerging field. I bring together Simmel’s urban analysis with his approach to religion, focusing on Christianities and individuals’ relations with sacred figures, and suggest this perspective opens up how forms of religious practice respond to experiences of cultural fragmentation in complex urban environments. Drawing on his analysis of individuals’ engagement with the coherence of God, I explore conservative evangelicals’ systems of religious intersubjectivity to show how attention to the social effects of relations with sacred figures can deepen understanding of the formation of urban religious subjectivities.

Martin, “Nationalism and religion; collective identity and choice”

December 20, 2013

Martin, David.  2014.  Nationalism and religion; collective identity and choice: the 1989 revolutions, Evangelical Revolution in the Global South, revolution in the Arab World.  Nations and Nationalism 20(1): 1-17.

Excerpt: Let me restate my primary focus in this lecture. I explore the dialectic between the autonomous powers of religion and nationalism, and between collective identity and choice, in my three revolutionary transformations. I am canvassing three contemporary transformations to query how far nationalism remains the main game in town in the light of major transnational religious movements and in the light of the transnational and personal imaginaries of young people with access to the internet. The revolutions of 1989 look like evidence for the resilience of ethno-religion as a vehicle of collective identity, although there were also major outcrops of inner conscientious dissent at work in combination with transnational religious influences, notably the Catholic Church. Evangelical Christianity in the Global South looks like personal choice and a collective transnational identity on a collision course with nationalism, including nationalist religion: the Catholic Church in Latin America, and in Africa and Asia the nationalist constructions and postcolonial mobilisations of intellectual and political elites. At the same time, there have been intermittent alliances between Evangelicalism and nationalism. As for the Arab revolutions, it depends on who is doing the looking. Some see them as nationalism disguised, others as religion taking over from nationalism as the vehicle of collective identity, though with a significant margin of pluralism, inwardness and maybe choice.

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