Gibson, “Pentecostal Peacefulness”

Gibson, Ian. 2017. Pentecostal Peacefulness: virtue ethics and the reception of theology in Nepal. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.12700

Abstract: The anthropology of Christianity has struggled to theorize the place of theology in Christian social life. Drawing on Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of virtue ethics, in particular his concepts of practice, narrative, and moral tradition, I explore the reception of Pentecostal theology in the Nepali city of Bhaktapur. I show how local Christians have drawn on Pentecostal eschatology to develop a pacifistic ethics, allowing them to negotiate local social and religious conflicts. The belief that Christ has decisively defeated evil spirits allows local Christians to detach themselves from cycles of aggression connected with witchcraft accusations, providing a space of security in which to cultivate distinctive practices of care. Connecting this local theology with a wider tradition in Pentecostal moral thought, I argue that MacIntyre’s virtue ethics provides a powerful tool for interpreting the relationship between local circumstance and extra-local theology, and for studying cross-cultural patterns of theological reception.

 

L’anthropologie du christianisme a rencontré quelque difficulté à théoriser la place de la théologie dans la vie sociale chrétienne. À partir de l’histoire des vertus retracée par Alasdair MacIntyre, et en particulier de ses concepts de pratique, de narration et de tradition morale, l’auteur explore la réception de la théologie pentecôtiste dans la ville népalaise de Bhaktapur. Il montre comment les chrétiens locaux ont exploité l’eschatologie pentecôtiste pour développer une éthique pacifiste, qui leur permet de négocier les conflits sociaux et religieux locaux. La croyance que le Christ a remporté une victoire décisive sur les mauvais esprits permet aux chrétiens locaux de se détacher des cycles d’agression liés aux accusations de sorcellerie et de se créer un espace de sécurité dans lequel ils peuvent cultiver des pratiques distinctes d’attention envers les autres. En reliant cette théologie locale à une plus large tradition de la pensée morale pentecôtiste, l’auteur avance que l’éthique des vertus de MacIntyre offre un outil puissant pour interpréter la relation entre circonstances locales et théologie venue de l’extérieur, ainsi que pour étudier différents schémas culturels de réception théologique.

Vogel, “Predestined Migrations”

Vogel, Erica.  2014. Predestined Migrations: Undocumented Peruvians in South Korean Churches.  City and Society 26(3): 331-351.

Abstract: This article explores how undocumented Peruvian laborers have established a significant presence within some of Korea’s powerful evangelical churches through their identification of respuestas (answers or signs) from God. Many Peruvians arrived in Korea in the early 1990s on their way to more profitable labor destinations, such as Japan or Europe, but stayed after finding factory work. Through their conversions to Protestantism in Korea, they have begun to identify events such as unplanned pregnancies or their ability to evade deportation as signs that their migration to Korea was predestined. Through promoting their respuestas to various audiences, Peruvians not only recast their unlikely migration as predestined but change their own status from being economic laborers to recognized leaders within Korean churches. Korean church leaders embrace Peruvians and respuestas as a way to promote their church’s own cosmopolitan image and desires for launching global missions to locations such as Peru. As such, respuestas are a common framework through which migrants and church leaders co-create their global aspirations and experiences.

Koepping, “Spousal Violence among Christians”

Koepping, Elizabeth.  2013.  Spousal Violence among Christians: Taiwan, South Australia and Ghana.  Studies in World Christianity. Volume 19, Page 252-270.

Abstract: Local, often unconscious, understanding of male and female informs people’s views irrespective of the religious ideology of (for Christians) the imago dei. This affects church teaching about and dealings with spousal violence, usually against wives, and can be an indicator of the failure of contextualising, from Edinburgh to Tonga and Seoul to Accra, actually to challenge context and ‘speak the Word of God’ rather than of elite-defined culture. In examining five denominations (Assembly of God, Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, True Jesus Church) in Ghana, South Australia and Taiwan, ecclesial attitudes to divorce are shown to have a crucial effect on an abused woman’s decision regarding the marriage, especially where stated clerical practice differs from precept. Adding that to the effects of church teaching, the side-lining of pressure and support groups and the common failure of churches to censure spousal violence of pastors, leads the writer to suggest that any prophetic voice is strangled by shameful culture-bound collusion.

Harkness, “Songs of Seoul”

Harkness, Nicholas. 2013. Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Release Date: December 13, 2013

Publisher’s Description: Songs of Seoul is an ethnographic study of voice in South Korea, where the performance of Western opera, art songs, and choral music is an overwhelmingly Evangelical Christian enterprise. Drawing on fieldwork in churches, concert halls, and schools of music, Harkness argues that the European-style classical voice has become a specifically Christian emblem of South Korean prosperity. By cultivating certain qualities of voice and suppressing others, Korean Christians strive to personally embody the social transformations promised by their religion: from superstition to enlightenment; from dictatorship to democracy; from sickness to health; from poverty to wealth; from dirtiness to cleanliness; from sadness to joy; from suffering to grace. Tackling the problematic of voice in anthropology and across a number of disciplines, Songs of Seoul develops an innovative semiotic approach to connecting the materiality of body and sound, the social life of speech and song, and the cultural voicing of perspective and personhood.

Baldacchino “Markets of piety and pious markets”

Baldacchino, Jean-Paul.  2012.  Markets of piety and pious markets: the Protestant ethic and the spirit of Korean capitalism.  Social Compass 59(3): 367-385.

Abstract: The author takes a historical and ethnographic approach to the rise of Korean Protestantism and its relationship to Korean modernization and capitalist development. He argues that while theories of Asian capitalism have looked at the ways a Confucian work ethic has helped the development of Asian capitalist economies, this perspective ignores the overarching concern with regional identity. This approach has also tended to ignore the diversity of religious landscapes in East Asia. The author argues that the phenomenal rise of Protestantism in South Korea has to be located within the context of processes of modernization. Exploring ethnographically the nature of Korean Protestantism reveals a theological doctrine of Puritanism, which shares ‘elective affinities’ with the capitalist ethic. Adopting a Weberian approach the author undertakes a detailed analysis of the sermons and ritual life of one Korean church in Seoul and relates this to larger historical and economic processes in South Korea.

Kim, “The Heavenly Touch Ministry in the Age of Millennial Capitalism”

Kim, Sung-Gun (2012) “The Heavenly Touch Ministry in the Age of Millennial Capitalism” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 15(3):51-64

Abstract: Neo-liberal globalization (also known as “millennial capitalism”) and the neo-Pentecostal-charismatic movement seem to be converging and spreading in the same areas of the globe. Against a backdrop of Pentecostal growth from its coalescence with indigenous shamanism in modern Korea, Presbyterian Elder and scientist Ki-Cheol Son, famous for his charismatic preaching and healing ministry, founded the Heavenly Touch Ministry (HTM) in Seoul in 2004. Unlike most Reformed Charismatics, he promotes the idea that God wants Christians to be successful, with special attention to financial prosperity. The success of HTM’s doctrines stressing deliverance/healing and blessings hinges on two interrelated sets of factors: first, HTM’s teachings, representing a collective aspiration within the contemporary Korean religious market, are effectively marketed by Elder Son, who has a keen perception of people’s need for miracles; and second, the teachings work in idioms (such as “Name-it-and-claim-it!”) that are familiar and accessible to a wide range of shamanistic middle-class believers struggling for financial success in the new economic climate. It seems to me that these sets of factors make identical claims, stated differently. HTM is a product of neo-liberal globalization, and its followers represent the neo-Pentecostal middle class in the global village. This paper elaborates this thesis with reference to observations at HTM’s deliverance meetings and newspaper interviews with Son.

Farrelly, “The New Testament Church and Mount Zion in Taiwan”

Farrelly, Paul (2012) “The New Testament Church and Mount Zion in Taiwan” in Lenore Manderson, Wendy Smith, & Matt Tomlinson (eds) Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and the Pacific (Springer, New York).

Abstract: Members of the New Testament Church (NTC) led by Elijah Hong, “God’s Chosen Prophet”, believe that God has forsaken the traditional Mount Zion in Israel and that the new Mount Zion in Taiwan is imbued with the spiritual significance and power that the old mountain once had. Mount Zion is both a pilgrimage destination and nature-based utopian community of several hundred adherents, serving as an Eden-like sanctuary and as the setting for the impending Tribulation. The NTC’s theology, as manifested in Mount Zion and the objects on it, is a curious blend of Pentecostal Protestantism and Chinese religiosity.

Yang, “Death, Emotion, and Social Change among the Austronesian-speaking Bunun of Taiwan”

 Yang, Shu-Yuan (2011) “Death, Emotions, and Social Change among the Austronesian-Speaking Bunun of Taiwan” Southeast Asian Studies 49(2):214-239

Abstract; Focusing on the analysis of mortuary rites, this article explores how the Bunun, an Austronesian-speaking indigenous people of Taiwan, conceptualize and deal with death in particular historical contexts. It suggests that death rituals should not be treated as self-contained wholes or closed symbolic systems but as busy intersections of multiple social processes. The paper examines how colonial policies and the introduction of Christianity have transformed the ways in which death is dealt with among the Bunun, and how they continue to pose questions on how to deal with rage in grief for this formerly headhunting group by pro- ducing hesitations and disagreements over the moral and social propriety of alternative ritual forms. When the consequences of social change are taken seriously, the extent to which ritual forms organize and shape the experience of mourning needs to be reconsidered.

Farhadian, “Introducing World Christianity”

Farhadian, Charles E.  (2012) Introducing World Christianity. Madden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Publisher’s Description: This interdisciplinary introduction offers students a truly global overview of the worldwide spread and impact of Christianity. It is enriched throughout by detailed historic and ethnographic material, showing how broad themes within Christianity have been adopted and adapted by Christian denominations within each major region of the world.

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the spread and impact of world Christianity
  • Contains studies from every major region of the world, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, the North Atlantic, and Oceania
  • Brings together an international team of contributors from history, sociology, and anthropology, as well as religious studies
  • Examines the significant social, cultural, and political transformations in contemporary societies brought about through the influence of Christianity
  • Takes a non-theological approach, focusing instead on the impact of and response to Christianity
  • Discusses Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox forms of the faith
  • Features useful maps and illustrations
  • Combines broader discussions with detailed regional analysis, creating an invaluable introduction to world Christianity

This is an engaging multidisciplinary introduction to the worldwide spread and impact of Christianity. Bringing together chapters from leading scholars in history, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies, this book examines the major transformations in contemporary societies brought about through the influence of Christianity.

Each chapter shows how the broad themes within Christianity have been adopted and adapted by Christian denominations within each major region of the world. In this way, the book paints a global picture of the impact of Christianity, enriched by detailed historic and ethnographic material for each particular region. Throughout, the chapters examine Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox forms of Christianity. The combination of broader perspectives and deep analysis of particular regions, illuminating the social, cultural, political, and religious features of changes brought about by Christianity, makes this book essential reading for students of world Christianity.