Abstract: This article examines the visual mediation of evangelical short-term mission and the theologically inflected global imaginary that these forms engender. Recent decades have seen the resurgence of long-term mission and the emergence of short-term mission among US Christians. The latter, combining evangelization, service, and tourism, is a staple within evangelical youth culture. I argue that it is used by Christians to constitute themselves as global formations, while also offering theological frames for global Christianity. Central to this global theological imaginary are visual representations of mission encounters with ethnic, sectarian, and racial Others, which illustrate the global scope of mission and missionaries’ understandings of their own efforts to engage and overcome those differences. Through an analysis of the visual content of four short-term mission agencies’ websites, I examine the mediation of global Christianity in contemporary mission and its recruitment of global Christian subjects.
Publisher’s Description: Despite the ongoing global expansion of Christianity, there remains a lack of comprehensive scholarship on its development in Asia. This volume fills the gap by exploring the world of Asian Christianity and its manifold expressions, including worship, theology, spirituality, inter-religious relations, interventions in society, and mission. The contributors, from over twenty countries, deconstruct many of the widespread misconceptions and interpretations of Christianity in Asia. They analyze how the growth of Christian beliefs throughout the continent is linked with the socio-political and cultural processes of colonization, decolonization, modernization, democratization, identity construction of social groups, and various social movements. With a particular focus on inter-religious encounters and emerging theological and spiritual paradigms, the volume provides alternative frames for understanding the phenomenon of conversion and studies how the scriptures of other religious traditions are used in the practice of Christianity within Asia.
The Oxford Handbook of Christianity in Asia draws insightful conclusions on the historical, contemporary, and future trajectory of its subject by combining the contributions of scholars in a wide variety of disciplines, including theology, sociology, history, political science, and cultural studies. It will be an invaluable resource for understanding Christianity in a global context.
Table of Contents:
Part I: Mapping of Asian Christianity
1. Christianity in West Asia – H. Teule
2. South Asian Christianity in Context – Felix Wilfred
3. Christian Minorities on the Central Asian Silk Roads – Sebastien Peyrouse
4. On the Trail of Spices: Christianity in Southeast Asia – Georg Evers
5. Identity and Marginality – Christianity in East Asia – Edmond Tang
Part II: Cross Cultural Flows and Pan-Asian Movements of Asian Christianity
6. Asian Theological Trends – Michael Amaladoss
7. Scriptural Translations and Cross-textual Hermeneutics – Archie C. C. Lee
8. The Contributions of the Asian Ecumenical Movements to World Ecumenism – Aruna Gnanadason
9. Inter-Asia Mission and Global Missionary Movements from Asia – Sebastian Kim
10. Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements in Asia – Allan Anderson
11. Forms of Asian Indigenous Christianities – Paul Joshua
12. Gender, Sexuality, and Christian Feminist Movements – Sharon A. Bong
Part III: Asian Christianities and the Social-Cultural Processes
13. Modernity and Change of Values: Asian Christian Negotiations and Resistance – Angela Wai Ching Wong
14. Caveats to Christianization: Colonialism, Nationalism and Christian – Julius Bautista
15. Socio-Political developments in the Middle-East and Their Impact on Christian – Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid
16. Asian Christianity and Politics of Conversion – Rudi Heradia
17. Political Democratization and Asian Churches: The Case of Taiwan – Po Ho Huang
18. The Role of Christianity in Peace and Conflict in Asia – Liyanage Anthony Jude Lal Fernando
19. Christianity and the cause of Asian Women – Gemma Cruz
20. Education in Asia – Lun-Li
21. Christian Social Engagement in Asia – Felix Wilfred
Part IV: Asian Christianity in its Interaction with Asian Religious Traditions
22. Changing Paradigms of Asian Christian Attitude to Other Religions – Wesley Ariarajah
23. Jewish – Christian relationships in the West Asia – History, Major Issues, Challenges – David M. Neuhaus
24. Muslim Perceptions of Asian Christianity: A survey – Ataullah Siddiqui
25. The Multiverse of Hindu Engagement with Christianity – Ananta K. Giri
26. Christian Tradition in the Eyes of Asian Buddhists: The Case of Japan – Dennis Hirota
27. Encounter between Confucianism and Christianity – Jonatha Tan
28. Asian Christianity and Religious Conversion: Issues and Debates – Richard Fox Young
29. Asian Christian Art and Architecture – Gudrun Löwner
Part V: Some Future Trajectories of Asian Christianity
30. Christians in Asia Read Sacred Books of the East – George Gispert-Sauch
31. Multiple Religious Belonging or Complex Identity – An Asian Way – Bagus Laksana
32. Asian Christian Spirituality – Peter Phan C.
33. Asian Christian Forms of Worship and Music – Swee Hong
34. Revisiting Historiographies: New Directions – Daniel Pilario
35. Asian Christianity and Public Life -The Interplay – Felix Wilfred
36. Migration and New Cosmopolitanism in Asian Christianity – Mario Francisco
37. Western Christianity in the Light of Christianity in Asia: A Western Christian’s Reflection – Francis Clooney
Publisher’s Description: The growth of Christianity in the global South and the fall of colonialism in the middle of the twentieth century caused a crisis in Christian missions, as many southern Christians spoke out about indignities they had suffered and many northern Christians retreated from the global South. American Christians soon began looking for a fresh start, a path forward that was neither isolationist nor domineering. Out of this dream the ”sister church” model of mission was born. In this model, rather than Western churches sending representatives into the ”mission field,” they set up congregation-to-congregation partnerships with churches in the global South. In Sister Churches Janel Bakker draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews with participants in these partnerships to explore the sister church movement and in particular its effects on American churches. Because Christianity is numerically and in many ways spiritually stronger in the global South than it is in the global North—while the imbalance in material resources runs in the opposite direction—both northern and southern Christians stand to gain. Challenging prevailing notions of friction between northern and southern Christians, Bakker argues that sister church relationships are marked by interconnectivity and collaboration.
Excerpt: Recent anthropological studies on pneumatic churches oscillate between a fascination with the emphasis in these churches on the located (embodied) immanence of the Divine and the observation that pneumatic forms of Christianity have massively grown in popularity and turned into a religious movement of global proportions. the latter is most pronounced in work on the globalization of Pentecostalism (e.g. Anderson 2004; Cox 1996; Martin 2002; Meyer 2004; Robbins 2004), which not only foregrounds the role of modern mass communication and mass organization in creating (imagined) Pentecostal communities but also emphasizes the circulation of Pentecostal messages across continents, more particularly, the spatial diffusion of “ideas, media products, preachers, and believers” (Meyer 2010, 120).
However, astonishingly, neither Andre Drooger’s (2001) reminder that Pentecostalism’s expansion should be explained not solely with reference to external circumstances but also with regard to its internal religious characteristics nor the emergent interest by anthropologists in Christian pneumatology (cf. Maxwell 2012) has led to a detailed empirical assessment and thorough theoretical reflection of the ways in which the “global portability of pneumatic Christianities… depends… on the portability of the Holy Spirit and the spirits it battles, on their fluidity and capacity to circulate through flexible transnational church and immigrant networks” (Vasquez 2009, 280)…
Abstract: Contemporary forms of Pentecostalism, such as that of the Faith Movement, are often represented as inherently global, constituting a religion ‘made to travel’ and to missionize across the world. I argue that while much attention has been paid to proselytization as a catalyst in encouraging transnational activities among such Christians, more analysis is needed of how Pentecostalists represent each other in the construction of global imaginaries. The imagined and enacted networks that result assert connections between like-minded believers but also valorize the power of distance in the creation of landscapes of religious agency whose power is illustrated through such tropes as ‘number’, ‘mobility’, ‘presence’ and ‘conquest’. I juxtapose two Prosperity-oriented movements, that of the Swedish Word of Life and the Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God, to indicate further how Christians who appear to be conjoined via common forms of worship appear, from another perspective, to be inhabiting and moving across disjunct global landscapes and cartographies as they engage in very different forms of mobility.
Abstract: When antique wooden saints were offered for sale in a Hanoi shop window, they provoked uncomfortable responses from Catholic observers living outside Vietnam who could not imagine their co-religionists voluntarily selling statues that had once been blessed. To explore this question—how things considered too sacred for commerce came to be sold—we bring together two usually discrete domains of research on material culture: object biographies that trace their movement from local sites of production and use into global markets, and studies on material religion that address how embodied and sensate encounters with the material world are productive of religious experiences and understandings. The social life of things collides with material religion at the place where statues and other religious paraphernalia are first transacted into artifact, art, folk art, or native handicraft. The bridge between these two domains of inquiry is the recognition that object biographies are propelled in part by notions of object agency that assume particular protocols for interactions between people and things.
Publisher’s Description: Narrowing in from the broader context of the north Atlantic, through northern Europe, to Britain, northeast Scotland, and finally the fishing village of Gamrie, this anthropology of Protestantism examines millennialist faith and economic crisis. Through his ethnographic study of the fishermen and their religious beliefs, Webster speaks to larger debates about religious radicalism, materiality, economy, language, and the symbolic. These debates (occurring within the ostensibly secular context of contemporary Scotland) also call into question assumptions about the decline of religion in modern industrial societies. By chronicling how these individuals experience life as “enchanted,” this book explores the global processes of religious conversion, economic crisis, and political struggle.
Poloma, Margaret M. and Matthew T. Lee. 2013. Prophecy, Empowerment and Godly Love: The Spirit Factor in the Growth of Pentecostalism. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds, 277-296. Oxford: Oxford University Press.