Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Burchardt, “Belonging and Success”

December 20, 2013

Burchardt, Marian. 2013. Belonging and Success: Religious Vitality and the Politics of Urban Space in Cape Town. In Topographies of Faith: Religion in Urban Spaces, Edited by Irene Becci, Marian Burchardt, and José Casanova, 167-188. Leiden: Brill.

Schäfer (ed), “American Evangelicals and the 1960s”

September 19, 2013

Schäfer, Axel R. (ed). 2013.  American Evangelicals and the 1960s.  Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Publisher’s Description: In the late 1970s, the New Christian Right emerged as a formidable political force, boldly announcing itself as a unified movement representing the views of a “moral majority.” But that movement did not spring fully formed from its predecessors. American Evangelicals and the 1960s refutes the thesis that evangelical politics were a purely inflammatory backlash against the cultural and political upheaval of the decade. Bringing together fresh research and innovative interpretations, this book demonstrates that evangelicals actually participated in broader American developments during “the long 1960s,” that the evangelical constituency was more diverse than often noted, and that the notion of right-wing evangelical politics as a backlash was a later creation serving the interests of both Republican-conservative alliances and their critics. Evangelicalism’s involvement with—rather than its reaction against—the main social movements, public policy initiatives, and cultural transformations of the 1960s proved significant in its 1970s political ascendance. Twelve essays that range thematically from the oil industry to prison ministry and from American counterculture to the Second Vatican Council depict modern evangelicalism both as a religious movement with its own internal dynamics and as one fully integrated into general American history.

Moral Minority: Book Review

September 3, 2013

Swartz, David R. 2012. Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in the Age of Conservatism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

By: Rebekka King (Middle Tennessee State University)

David R. Swartz has invited you to party. At first glance, the party appears to be a disparate group: the well-dressed Republican senator Mark Hatfield is engaged in a deep conversation with scraggly haired Jim Wallis. Indeed, the room is filled with politically progressive evangelical thinkers, authors and activists. It is a party that is captured in Swartz’s use of Richard Mouw’s phrase the “evangelical diaspora of the ‘60s,” a group which has been regathered with “renewed piety” and a “passion for social activism” (139). As Swartz wheels you around, he takes the time to provide you with the back-story of these important figures present. He tells you about their families, educational pedigree and the major turning points that lead to their lifetime involvement in social activism, theological discernment and political engagement. “This,” he begins, “is Carl Henry.” He goes on to tell you that “no figure embodied the vital shift to political engagement more than Carl Henry, a theologian, editor, and architect of neo-evangelicalism” (15). After Henry, Swartz moves on to other prominent figures who continue to animate neo-evangelical circles. In the corner of the room, Sharon Gallagher is speaking about authenticity in the context of Berkeley’s “Christian World Liberation Front” and Samuel Escobar is reminding the group of the importance of listening to Latin American theologies and politics in order to resist the infiltration of American imperialism. Read the rest of this entry »

Flinn, “Pollapese Catholicism”

July 25, 2013

Flinn, Juliana. 2013. Pollapese Catholicism as Strategy. Oceania 83(1): 16-30.

Abstract: Indigenous groups creatively incorporate outside institutions, including Christianity, for local purposes. Furthermore, people who see themselves as observing tradition may also construe themselves as being Christian and citizens of a nation. Despite the original external origins of Christianity, meaning becomes locally constructed and asserted for local purposes so that religion as practiced is about local, regional, or national concerns rather than commitment to particular dogmas, institutions, and hierarchy. A case in point are the people of Pollap in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, who converted to Christianity in the middle of the twentieth century through the efforts of a Catholic catechist. Today the islanders practice a vibrant version of Catholicism in which local symbols and beliefs infuse imported Catholic ritual, and in which biblical verses and imagery support secular, political strategies. Pollapese seem less concerned with theology and more with behavior that demonstrates good character. As they attempt to exploit and reconcile potentially conflicting guides for behavior from the realms of religion, tradition, and government, they make strategic use of their understandings of Catholicism’s dictates for political and social purposes.

Zehner, “The church, the monastery and the politician: Perils of entrepreneurial leadership in post-1970s Thailand”

June 4, 2013

Zehner, Edward. 2013.The church, the monastery and the politician: Perils of entrepreneurial leadership in post-1970s Thailand. Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 14(2):185-203.

Abstract: In recent decades, Thailand has seen the development of new styles of social and political organisation whose effects can be seen across religious and confessional lines. Among them are charismatically led large-scale organisations emulating the style of large-scale businesses. The article ‘triangulates’ this style via brief case studies of the Thai Rak Thai Party (now the Phuea Thai Party), the Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation movement and the Church of the Divine Call (pseudonym), who share some underlying similarities despite their overt differences. The similarities among the groups flow in part from trends associated with economic development and globalisation. Yet, at the same time these groups – and the ways in which they inspired such fervent opposition – express some enduring features of Thai cultural and social organisation.

Garbin, “Visibility and Invisibility”

May 14, 2013

Garbin, David. 2013. The Visibility and Invisibility of Migrant Faith in the City: Diaspora Religion and the Politics of Emplacement of Afro-Christian Churches. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39(5):677-696.

Abstract: In today’s post-industrial city, migrants and ethnic minorities are forming, through their religious practices, particular spaces of alterity, often at the ‘margin’ of the urban experience—for instance, in converting anonymous warehouses into places of worship. This paper examines diverse facets of the religious spatiality of Afro-Christian diasporic churches—from local emplacement to the more visible public parade of faith in the urban landscape. One of the aims is to explore to what extent particular spatial configurations and locations constitute ‘objective expression’ of social status and symbolic positionalities in the post-migration secular environment of the ‘host societies’. Without denying the impact of urban marginality, the paper shows how religious groups such as African Pentecostal and Prophetic churches are also engaged, in their own terms, in a transformative project of spatial appropriation, regeneration and re-enchantment of the urban landscape. The case study of the Congolese Kimbanguist Church in London and Atlanta also demonstrates the need to examine the articulation of local, transnational and global practices and imaginaries to understand how religious and ethnic identities are renegotiated in newly ‘localised’ diasporic settings.

Lim (ed), “Christianity in Contemporary China”

May 8, 2013

Lim, Francis Khek Gee, ed.  2012.  Christianity in Contemporary China: Socio-cultural Perspectives.   New York: Routledge.

Publisher’s Description: Christianity is one of the fastest growing religions in China. Despite its long history in China and its significant indigenization or intertwinement with Chinese society and culture, Christianity continues to generate suspicion among political elites and intense debates among broader communities within China. This unique book applies socio-cultural methods in the study of contemporary Christianity. Through a wide range of empirical analyses of the complex and highly diverse experience of Christianity in contemporary China, it examines the fraught processes by which various forms and practices of Christianity interact with the Chinese social, political and cultural spheres. Contributions by top scholars in the field are structured in the following sections: Enchantment, Nation and History, Civil Society, and Negotiating Boundaries. This book offers a major contribution to the field and provides a timely, wide-ranging assessment of Christianity in Contemporary China.

Durbin, ” ‘I am an Israeli'”

May 3, 2013

Durbin, Sean. 2013. “I am an Israeli”: Christian Zionism as American redemption. Culture and Religion 14(2).

Abstract: This article argues that discourse used to define and understand Israel by prominent American Christian Zionists is a discourse of national idealisation. Drawing on Durkheim’s (2008) notion of symbols as sources of social solidarity, I argue that this imagined Israel reflects conservative social and military values that are shared among Christian Zionists and their supporters – values which many in this broad category see the United States failing to uphold. Following this, I show how one of America’s most prominent pastors – John Hagee – and his organisation – Christians United for Israel – have taken on the role of a contemporary Jeremiah, criticising the American government for not adequately supporting Israel. This article concludes by considering how Christian Zionists are calling America to renew and align itself with God by ‘blessing’ Israel, and acting like Israel.

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