Posts Tagged ‘Ritual’

Justice, “As It Was In The Beginning, Is Now, and Ever Shall Be?: Church Organists, Community, and Musical Continuity”

October 23, 2012

Justice, Deborah (2012) “As It Was In The Beginning, Is Now, and Ever Shall Be?: Church Organists, Community, and Musical Continuity” Ethnomusicology Review 14

Abstract: Do local church organists form communities? As ritual specialists, church organists have long played an indispensible role in facilitating North American and European Christian worship. Despite the diverse musical practices of Christianity, most mainline Protestant Sunday morning organ music falls within a relatively narrow range of repertoire and performance practice. Such musical continuity implies a level of communication between organists. Yet, since most organists work similar hours on Sunday mornings, they only infrequently observe each other during services. What explains the musical similarities? Do organists share educational backgrounds and sources of repertoire? How does musical information travel between organists? How does the contemporary reconfiguration of mainline Christianity impact organists’ sense of community? In this paper, I explore these issues through one basic question: do local organists form a musical community?

McGraw, “Tongues of Men and Angels”

September 23, 2012

McGraw, John (2012) “Tongues of Men and Angels: Assessing the Neural Correlates of Glossolalia.” In David Cave & Rebecca Sachs Norris, eds. Religion and the Body: Modern Science and the Construction of Religious Meaning. Leiden: Brill.

First Paragraph: “The accelerating popularity of Charismatic Christianity has brought with it a host of new sensibilities and ritual practices. Glossolalia, or ‘speaking in tongues,’ stands out among these as a particularly dramatic innovation. Typically staid churchgoers, once touched by the Holy Spirit, begin to utter strings of syllables that some claim to be the ‘language of angels.’ Recent neuroimaging studies have highlighted differences in the brains of subjects performing glossolalia in comparison to those same subjects singing a Church hymn. An investigation of the neural correlates of glossolalia highlights the importance of studying the bodily dimensions of ritual practice. But an informed analysis does not reduce social and behavioral complexities to physiological changes; rather, juxtaposing the correlates of human action from a variety of perspectives—in this case the social, the bodily, and the behavioral—suggests productive new approaches to the study of ritual. Having received the attentions of numerous scholars during the 20th and 21st centuries, glossolalia provides an excellent test case for this correlational approach to human action . . .”

Braunlein, “We are 100% Catholic”

September 22, 2012

Braunlein, Peter J. 2012. “We are 100% Catholic“: Philippine Passion Rituals and Some Obstacles in the Study of Non-European Christianity. Journal of Religion in Europe 5(3):384-413.

Abstract: Philippine Catholicism is usually seen as a variant of a non-European Christianity, which was formerly introduced by Spanish missionaries and colonizers into the Philippine Archipelago. Philippine passion rituals, especially self-flagellation and rites of crucifixion, are commonly interpreted as bizarre phenomena of a pre-modern folk-religiosity or archaic survivals of `our’ past, or as a post-colonial mimicry of European religious history. The perspective on Philippine Christianity is always governed by European discourses, whether religious, scientific, or common sense. This paper is an attempt to question dichotomies such as `European’ and `non-European,’ `modern’ and `pre-modern,’ `authentic’ and `inauthentic,’ etc. In the study of religion such dichotomies, I argue, create problems of conceptualizing diversity within one religious tradition and behind such distinctions lurks the implicit self-perception of the West of being exemplary `modern.’ I use Philippine passion rituals as a hermeneutic challenge. Crucifixions are analyzed as media events and from the actor’s perspective, by historicizing the missionary encounter, and by scrutinizing concepts such as `syncretism’ and `identity.’ `Translation’ and the `histoire croisée’ approach are proposed as helpful analytical tools for the study of Christianity.

Bielo, “Belief, Deconversion, and Authenticity”

August 12, 2012

Bielo, James S. 2012. Belief, Deconversion, and Authenticity among U.S. Emerging Evangelicals. Ethos 40(3):258-276.

Abstract: In this article I examine the status of belief among U.S. evangelicals organizing under the moniker of the “emerging church.” As part of their cultural critique of the conservative Christian subculture, many emerging evangelicals recast their standpoint toward the role of propositional doctrine in their definition of an authentic Christian self. I join with colleagues in the anthropology of religion, in particular the anthropology of Christianity, who are rethinking the nature of belief as a form of relational commitment. I argue that emerging evangelicals seek a faith where human–human relationships are a precondition for human–divine relations to flourish. To achieve their desired sense of community emerging evangelicals create ritual structures that foster a highly relational religiosity. I illustrate this recasting of belief through analyses of narrative and institution making, grounded in three years of ethnographic fieldwork.

Ryle, “Burying the Past-Healing the Land”

June 5, 2012

Ryle, Jacqueline. 2012. Burying the Past-Healing the Land: ritualising reconciliation in Fiji. Archives de sciences sociales des religions. 157(1):89-111.

Abstract: This article discusses a high-profile traditional reconciliation ceremony staged in Fiji in November 2003. It describes how human agency is reflected in the state of the land and in people’s social relations, past and present; how human agency is seen to spiritually disturb or reconcile the land, its innate ancestral powers and their influence on people’s relations and the land; and how the efficacy of ancestral spirituality of the land may affect change, punishing or rewarding people’s actions. And it discusses how the power of the Holy Spirit can bring about change through exorcising the land of ancestral spiritual power and un-blocking what Pentecostal Christians describe as demonic spiritual strongholds.

Haynes, “Pentecostalism and the morality of money: prosperity, inequality, and religious sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt”

February 9, 2012

Haynes, Naomi (2012) “Pentecostalism and the morality of money: prosperity, inequality, and religious sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(1): 123-139.

Abstract

As part of a growing body of work focused on the social implications of Pentecostal Christianity, this article explores one of the ways that this religion is shaping relational life on the Zambian Copperbelt. Through a discussion of the changing nature of the prosperity gospel, I show how Pentecostalism embeds believers in social relationships that often extend beyond their religious cohort. In the absence of the lavish wealth promised by prosperity gospel preachers, Pentecostals have had to alter their understanding of divinely authored economic success. Specifically, local definitions of prosperity are characterized not by uniform, individualized wealth, but rather by progress along a gradient of material achievement through relationships that span differences in economic status. This retooled version of the prosperity gospel serves to integrate believers into the wider social world by emphasizing material inequality and promoting displays of wealth. Each of these aspects of Copperbelt Pentecostalism embeds its adherents in networks of exchange that are a central component of urban Zambian sociality. This analysis of Pentecostalism expands on studies of this religion that focus only on formal ritual life, while at the same time challenging interpretations of Pentecostalism that have given its social potential short shrift.

Résumé

Le présent article s’inscrit dans un corpus de plus en plus important de travaux consacrés aux implications sociales du christianisme pentecôtiste. Il explore l’une des manières dont cette religion façonne la vie relationnelle dans la province du Copperbelt, en Zambie. Par la discussion de la nature changeante de la théologie de la prospérité, l’auteure montre comment le pentecôtisme intègre ses fidèles dans des relations sociales qui s’étendent souvent au-delà des limites de leur communauté religieuse. Ne voyant pas venir l’abondance promise par les prédicateurs de la doctrine de la prospérité, les pentecôtistes ont dû revoir leur interprétation d’une réussite économique sanctionnée par Dieu. Plus précisément, les définitions locales de la prospérité sont caractérisées non pas par une possession de biens uniforme et individualisée mais plutôt par une progression suivant un gradient de réussite matérielle, par le biais de relations franchissant les différences de situation économique. Cette version remaniée de la théologie de la prospérité sert à intégrer les croyants dans le monde social qui les entoure, en mettant l’accent sur les inégalités matérielles et en encourageant les signes extérieurs de richesse. Chacun de ces aspects du pentecôtisme dans le Copperbelt intègre les fidèles dans des réseaux d’échange qui sont une composante essentielle de la société zambienne urbaine. L’analyse du pentecôtisme réalisée ici commente les études de cette religion axées uniquement sur le rituel, tout en remettant en question les interprétations faisant peu de cas du potentiel social du pentecôtisme.

Haustein, “Embodying the Spirit(s)”

December 20, 2011

Haustein, Jorg. 2011. Embodying the Spirit(s): Pentecostal Demonology and Deliverance Discourse in Ethiopia. Ethnos 76(4): 534-552.

Abstract: The article explores Pentecostal embodiment practices and concepts with regard to Holy Spirit baptism and demon possession. The studied material is connected to a specific and highly controversial debate in Ethiopian Pentecostalism, which revolves around the possibility of demon possession in born-again and Spirit-filled Christians. This debate runs through much of Ethiopian Pentecostal history and ultimately is concerned with whether or how Christians can be seen to host conflicting spiritual forces, in light of the strong dualism between God and evil in Pentecostal cosmology. The article shows that the embodiment of spirits and/or the Holy Spirit is related to theological concepts of the self, because these concepts define what may or may not be discerned in certain bodily manifestations. Moreover, the article contends that this debate thrives on a certain ambiguity in spirit embodiment, which invites the discernment of spiritual experts and thereby becomes a resource of power.

Klaver, “From Sprinkling to Immersion”

December 20, 2011

Klaver, Miranda. 2011. From Sprinkling to Immersion: Conversion and Baptism in Dutch Evangelism. Ethnos 76(4): 469-488.

Abstract: Why do recent converts in new evangelical churches desire to be re-baptized by immersion despite their previous infant baptism in mainline churches? This article addresses this question through a discussion of the observed shift in baptism practices from that of ‘sprinkling’ infants (in Protestant mainline churches) to full bodily immersion of adults (in new evangelical churches) in the Netherlands. Based on an ethnographic comparison of these two baptism practices, I demonstrate the performative effect of rituals as well as the importance of connections between material forms, embodiment and doctrines. The call for different baptism practices, I suggest, illustrates a broader shift in Dutch Protestantism from a didactic to an experiential form of Christianity in which the encounter with the sacred is increasingly located in the body. At the same time, it demonstrates how religious authority has moved from institutions to individual believers.

Müller, “African Pilgrimage”

December 8, 2011

Müller, Retief (2011) African Pilgrimage: Ritual Travel in South Africa’s Christianity of Zion. Londong: Ashgate 

Publisher’s description: Years after the end of Apartheid South Africa remains racially polarized and socially divided. In this context pilgrimage and travelling rituals serve to help those who often find themselves at the bottom end of the social ladder to make sense of their world. This book describes a South Africa that is made up of a number of different fragmented worlds. The focus is on the Zion Christian Church, one of the largest religious movements in southern Africa, and a good example of indigenized African Christianity. Pilgrimage plays an important role in reintegrating some of those fragmented worlds into something approaching wholeness. This book tells the story of how the enduring ritual of pilgrimage is transforming African religion, along with the lives of ordinary South Africans.

Lindhardt (ed.), “Practicing the Faith”

October 5, 2011

Lindhardt, Martin (ed.) 2011. Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians. New York and Oxford: Berghahn.

Publisher’s Description: Over the past decades, Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity has arguably become the fastest growing religious movement in the world. Distinguishing features of this variant of Christianity include formal ritual activities as well as informal, experiential, and ecstatic forms of worship. This book examines Pentecostal-charismatic ritual practice in different parts of the world, highlighting, among other things, the crucial role of ritual in creating religious communities and identities.

Contributors: Martin Lindhardt, Joel Robbins, Jacqueline Ryle, Kelly Chong, Thomas J. Csordas, Martyn Percy, Paul Gifford, Simon Coleman, Jon Bialecki, Gretchen Pfeil, David Smilde

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