Abstract: Inspired by Norget, Napolitano, and Mayblin’s suggestion that anthropologists attend more closely to the mechanisms of Catholicism’s worldwide spread, this article juxtaposes two organizations—the Holy Childhood Association and Unbound—to explore “paganism,” conversion, and its legacy among U.S. laypeople. In the process, it makes two major points. The first concerns the recourse to “culture” as a rhetorical and ideational hinge connecting the singularity of Christian universalism and new valuations of local multiplicity. The second focuses on the U.S. Catholic relationship to institutional structures of missionary work, which they both associate with positive attributes of a vibrant society, while also being much more critical than their Protestant counterparts of their own Church’s role abroad. It ends by noting how Unbound and its supporters contend with ongoing inequalities by cultivating an imagined global parity where Catholic people choose to send their “gifts” to each other.
Abstract: For Ethiopian Jews and (formerly Jewish) Pentecostals in Israel, coffee (buna) is more than just a stimulant, a cultural symbol, or even a social lubricant. It is a material medium for disputes about the limitations of moral agency, the experience of kin relations that have been broken or restructured, and the eruption of dangerous—but also healing—potencies in the social world. Buna consumption has become a focal point for at least three different forms of moral compulsion (physical addiction; zar, or spirit, affliction; and kinship obligations) that are experienced as isomorphic with “culture” and from which freedom is sought. The decision to drink or to refrain from drinking buna has therefore emerged as a fulcrum of moral experience around which different Ethiopian groups in Israel negotiate the limits of “culture” and the quest for an elusive moral freedom.
Publisher’s Description: The Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity: Themes and Developments in Culture, Politics, and Society maps the transformations, as well as the continuities, of the largest of the major religions – engaging with the critical global issues which relate to the faith in a fast changing world. International experts in the area offer contributions focusing on global movements; regional trends and developments; Christianity, the state, politics and polity; and Christianity and social diversity. Collectively the contributors provide a comprehensive treatment of health of the religion as Christianity enters its third millennium in existence and details the challenges and dilemmas facing its various expressions, both old and new. The volume is a companion to the Handbook of Contemporary Global Christianity: Movements, Institutions, and Allegiance.
Abstract: There are two dominant perceptions on the relationship between Christianity and rural society and culture in China. One is more concerned about the authenticity of Christianity from the church’s perspective, while the other talks about ‘cultural security’ from the view of the local tradition of China. These seemingly contradictory views are in fact based on the same historical model known as impact response. It is a welldeveloped model in that it could explain the “mission church” (church in China), while it seems less or less likely to help us grasp the nature and reality of the “local church” (China’s Church). Hence, this article deals with the following questions, taking Huanan church (South China Church, or SCC) as a case study. Is it plausible for us to consider this kind of local church and its believers as a sort of Christian faith tradition de facto? In light of the assumption, how do we understand the diversified symbolic representations and even inventions? Furthermore, how do we understand the continuity and discontinuity of tradition, if we consider the faith tradition as a cultural tradition?
Publisher’s Description: For years, evangelicalism has figured prominently in the American cultural and political landscape, seen everywhere from the election of openly devout President George W. Bush to the wild popularity of Christian self-help books and end-times thrillers like the Left Behind series and prompting sociologist Alan Wolfe to write, in 2003, ”We are all evangelicals now.” In fact, Wolfe responded not at the emergence or height of the phenomenon, but near its conclusion. Evangelical Christianity became central to American culture over several decades, beginning as early as the 1970s, but by 2008, that historical moment was ending.
Steven P. Miller offers an in-depth exploration of the place and meaning of evangelical Christianity in the United States between 1970 and 2008, America’s born-again years, when evangelical Christianity entered the American mainstream in ways both obviously and subtly influential. The Age of evangelicalism began in the 1970s, propelled by the rapid ascendance of an avowedly born-again president, Jimmy Carter, and the equally rapid emergence of the Christian Right. It climaxed three decades later with the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, who synthesized Carter’s Jesus talk and the Christian Right’s cultural activism. During this period, the influence of evangelical Christianity extended well beyond its churches. Evangelicalism-broad enough to include both Hal Lindsey’s best-selling 1970 prophecy guide, The Late, Great Planet Earth and, thirty years later, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner’s emergence as a gay icon-meant that it influenced even its many detractors and bemused bystanders, who resided in an increasingly secular nation.
During the Age of Evangelicalism, Miller demonstrates, born-again Christianity was far from a subculture. It provided a language, medium, and foil by which millions of Americans came to terms with the end of the ”American Century.”
Daswani, Girish (202) “Global Pentecostal Networks and the problem of Culture: The Church of Pentecost in Ghana and Abroad.” in Michael Wilinson, ed, Global Pentecostal Movements: Migration, Mission, and Public Religion. Leiden: Brill. Pp 71-92
First Paragraph: Many have written on how Pentecostalism travels the globe and how it has become a force to be reckoned with in our contemporary world. For example, Pentecostalism possesses what Thomas Csordas (2007) callas a “transposable message” of salvation, and “portable practices” that included prayer, speaking in tongues and prophecy – homogenizing forms that travel across space and time through processes of missionization, migration, mobility, and mediation. Joel Robbins (2004, 117) discussed how Pentecostalism successfully adapted itself to the range of cultures in which it is introduced through a processes of replication and indigenizing difference. He calls these two descriptions of global Pentecostalism, global homogenization adn indigenizing difference, contradictory assertions that are useful in explaining its success (119). Similarly, according to Simon Coleman (2010, 800), Pentecostalism in its global form constitutes what he calls “part cultures, presenting worldviews meant for export that are holistic in one sense but, as we have seen, also in tension with the values of any given host society.” While Pentecostalism can be described as both global in its reach and local in its application, adapting to the tensions between its own values and those of its host societies and cultures, I seek to revisit how we may understand the “global” in the globalization of Pentecostalism through one church’s expanding networks and the simultaneous tensions and limits that arise from its engagement with “culture.”
Coleman, Simon. 2012. Christianities in Oceania: Historical Genealogies and Anthropological Insularities. Archives de sciences sociales des religions. 157(1): 13-28.
Abstract: I explore the themes contained in this special issue by asking how papers prompt us to ask: What difference does Christianity make—to “culture”, to relations with the state or nation, to the self? This question must be inflected by the realization that Christianity has a long-standing history in Oceania, and has become part of the religio-political landscape that contemporary believers inhabit and sometimes react against. Posing the question also involves an examination of how papers juxtapose versions of history (broader processes of reproduction and transformation over time) with religiously-motivated historiographies (how Christians themselves understand and construct the present in relation to the past). I use these reflections to argue for the usefulness of exploring distinctions and resonances among three orientations towards culture discernible in the papers as a whole: those of being “of”, “against” and “for” culture.
Abstract : This paper is an ethnographic and historical exploration of Aboriginal Pentecostalism, which permeated quickly into the Aboriginal community in rural New South Wales in Australia during the early twentieth century. Today the Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in this region renounce Aboriginal ‘culture’. This, however, does not mean they reject Aboriginality. By examining Malcolm Calley’s ethnography on the mid-twentieth century Pentecostal movement in this region and drawing upon my own fieldwork data, I show the way in which this group of Aboriginal Christians of mixed descent in a ‘settled’ part of Australia have maintained Aboriginality and reinforced attachment to the community through faith in the Christian God, whilst, paradoxically, developing strong anti-culture and anti-tradition discourses. This paper advocates shifting the study of social change from a dichotomised model that opposes invading moral orders against resisting traditional cultures, to one that examines the processual manifestations of the historical development of vernacular realities.