Marti, “‘I was a Muslim, but now I am a Christian'”

Marti, Gerardo.  2016. “I Was a Muslim, But Now I Am a Christian”: Preaching, Legitimation, and Identity Management in a Southern Evangelical Church.  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract: Established in 2005, “Life” is a suburban, nondenominational, evangelical church in Charlotte, North Carolina, with an almost entirely white membership, yet the lead pastor is an immigrant from the Middle East. As an ex-Muslim ethnic Pakistani who was born and raised in Kuwait, Pastor Sameer Khalid does not “fit” into southern culture, and he did not convert to Christianity until he was enrolled in college in the United States. Ethnographic data from 14 months of fieldwork reveal how Pastor Sameer uses weekly sermons to negotiate racialized stigmas, emphasize his common religious identity with the congregation, and make his immigrant background a distinctive religious resource for the church. More specifically, while all pastors require legitimation of their charismatic authority, this research focuses on the dynamics of performance through preaching within the Sunday morning services of this congregation, a performance that negotiates this lead pastor’s ethnic and religious identities and accentuates his strategic use of institutionalized evangelical narratives to subvert Islamophobic threats and buttress legitimation of his pastoral identity.

McGovern, Mike (2012) “Turning the Clock Back or Breaking with the Past?: Charismatic Temporality and Elite Politics in Côte d’Ivoire and the United States”

McGovern, Mike. 2012. Turning the Clock Back or Breaking with the Past?: Charismatic Temporality and Elite Politics in Côte d’Ivoire and the United States. Cultural Anthropology. 27(2):239-260.

Abstract

The article explores the forms of punctuated time that characterize evangelical discourse in both Côte d’Ivoire and the United States. It compares forms of punctuated time that not only form the basis of End Times theology in both places, but have also served as the basis of important lobbying networks. Though evangelical politics in each place has different roots, both are linked by populist anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric. Most importantly, I argue, the shared structure of eschataological temporality shapes the elective affinities that brought together such strange bedfellows as Pat Robertson and Laurent Gbagbo.