Abstract: Although dance is a common religious expression, its place in the Christian tradition has been contested. In modern Protestant Norway, dance has mostly been considered irrelevant to church life or even sinful. In recent decades, however, dance has become increasingly common in Norwegian churches. The present analysis of empirical data on dance in Christian settings in contemporary Norway is based on participant observation and interviews. While younger dancers (born after 1990) consider it natural to dance in church, and are usually welcome to do so, older participants have met significant resistance. When dancing, dancers find personal meaning (wellbeing, processing emotions and life events), social meaning (communication, belonging), and religious meaning (contact with God, prayer, growth). Dance emerges as a part of lived religion that clearly highlights how bodies matter, and how spiritualities are gendered, in this contribution to understanding the embodied dimensions of religion.
Werth, Paul (2011) “Lived Orthodoxy and Confessional Diversity
The Last Decade on Religion in Modern Russia” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 12(4):849-65
Article Excerpt: “A decade ago in these pages, Gregory Freeze critiqued the historiography of religion since the fall of the USSR, remarking that it had “done little to illuminate the meaning of Orthodoxy in modern Russian society and culture.” Ten years on the situation looks rather different—in more ways than one. The meaning of Orthodoxy in a range of contexts has become a central preoccupation for historians of both the modern period and earlier eras. Indeed, in this essay I propose that a deep engagement with “lived Orthodoxy”—a concern for that religion as an adaptive cultural system and the variety of ways in which it was internalized and practiced—represents one of the principal accomplishments of the last decade.2 Nowhere has this development been more significant than in work on Orthodoxy in the rapidly changing conditions of late imperial Russia, which serves as the central focus of this essay. Indeed, the relationship between Orthodox piety and “modernity” has accordingly emerged as another central vector of the last decade’s scholarship. At the same time, it has become clear that Russia’s [End Page 849] religious history can no longer be contained under the heading “Russian Orthodoxy,” as was the case in Freeze’s essay. The scope of investigation has expanded substantially to include the other religions of Russian history—principally, but not only, Islam. These major themes—lived Orthodoxy, modernity, and multiconfessionalism—represent the three most significant trends in the scholarship of the last decade.”