Macdonald, “Always Been Christian”

Fraser Macdonald. 2014.. ‘Always been Christian’: Mythic Conflation among the Oksapmin of Papua New Guinea, Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, DOI: 10.1080/00664677.2014.886997. Early Online Publication.

Abstract:  Across the world and throughout history, people have negotiated religious and social change by marshalling the mythological resources at their disposal. In cases of conversion to Christianity, this dynamic has often taken the form of constructing an isomorphism between traditional mythical narratives and those learned from the Bible, a manifestation of the process I here call ‘mythic conflation’. In this article I explore how the Oksapmin of the West Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, have conflated aspects of Bible stories with two of their traditional narratives in an attempt to overcome cosmological contradiction. From the etic perspective, this has partially collapsed difference in the construction of syncretic religious forms. From the emic perspective, by constructing for themselves an ancestral precedent of this kind, the Oksapmin support a claim of having revealed the mystery of Christianity’s local origin.

Naidu and Nzuza, “When God Beckons: Stories of the ‘Call’ in a Pentecostal Church”

Nzuza, Maheshvari and Nokwanda Nzuza. 2013. “When God Beckons: Stories of the ‘Call’ in a Pentecostal Church.” Journal of Social Science 36(2): 153-163. 

Abstract: The biblical narratives are inspired texts to the Pentecostals, as they are to many other Christians. Most Pentecostals accept that these biblical narratives offer the guiding templates through which a religious worldview is constructed. This paper is informed by how ‘narratives’ are positioned within Pentecostalism, and similarly adopts ‘narrative’ as a methodological heuristic mechanism. To this end the narratives of a small group of individuals are used as a heuristic device to understand the ‘call’ to ministry, as received and understood by them as they go on to assume pastoral duties within the Church that they belong to. It is felt that such calls to ministry offer a rare window into a decidedly understudied phenomenon within black ministry.