Posts Tagged ‘Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’

van Wyk, “The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa”

April 12, 2014

van Wyk, Ilana.  2014. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa: A Church of Strangers.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Publisher’s Description: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a church of Brazilian origin, has been enormously successful in establishing branches and attracting followers in post-apartheid South Africa. Unlike other Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (PCC), the UCKG insists that relationships with God be devoid of ’emotions’, that socialisation between members be kept to a minimum and that charity and fellowship are ‘useless’ in materialising God’s blessings. Instead, the UCKG urges members to sacrifice large sums of money to God for delivering wealth, health, social harmony and happiness. While outsiders condemn these rituals as empty or manipulative, this book shows that they are locally meaningful, demand sincerity to work, have limits and are informed by local ideas about human bodies, agency and ontological balance. As an ethnography of people rather than of institutions, this book offers fresh insights into the mass PCC movement that has swept across Africa since the early 1990s.

Selka, “Demons and Money”

March 25, 2014

Selka, Stephen.  2014.  Demons and Money: Possessions in Brazilian Pentecostalism.  In Spirited Things: The Work of “Possession” in Afro-Atlantic Religions, Paul Christopher Johnson, ed.  Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Excerpt: “…this chapter explores interrelated understandings of spiritual and material possession – “possession by” and “possession of” – in the [Universal Church of the Kingdom of God] and similar neo-Pentecostal churches.  Spirit possession is central to Afro-Brazilia religions such as Candombé and Umbanda.  yet many Pentecostal Christians believe that the spirits that possess the practitioners of these religions are demons, and the practices of the [Universal church] in particular focus on liberating people from demonic influence.  This influence is seen as the cause of afflictions ranging from physcial illness to depression and of misfortunes such as divorce or unemployment.

In addition, some Pentecostal churches, especially third-wave or neo-Pentecostal ones, espouse what is often referred to derisively as the “theology of prosperity.”  Also know as the “health and wealth” gospel in North America, its proponents preach that the acquisition of material possessions is possible through faith.  The [Universal church] and similar neo-Pentecostal churches combine their promises of prosperity with an emphasis on deliverance from demons.  At first glance the relationship between these two kinds of possession might seem spurious, but they are closely connected.  In the most explicit formulation of this connection, as we see in the [Universal church], liberation from spiritual possession opens the way for the accumulation of material possessions.  That is, demonic control (possession by) impedes our realization of the prosperity (possession of) that God desires for human beings.”

van de Kamp, “Public counselling”

March 24, 2013

van de Kamp, Linda.  2013.  Public counselling: Brazilian Pentecostal intimate performances among urban women in Mozambique.  Culture, Health & Sexuality, advanced online publication.

Abstract: Analysing the public character of Brazilian Pentecostal counselling sessions in urban Mozambique, this paper aims to examine the configurations of exposure through which counselling acquires and produces sociocultural forms of intimacy. During ‘therapy of love’ sessions held by the Brazilian Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, strict bodily acts need to be performed publicly to authorise love. Drawing on the notion of religious habitus, the paper focuses on how the performativity of Brazilian Pentecostal counselling practices responds to and shapes a public culture of love and intimacy among upwardly mobile women in urban Mozambique, and how the performative scripts converts carry out during therapy result in ambiguous relationships.

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