Woods, “Converting houses into churches”

Woods, Orlando.  2013.  Converting houses into churches: the mobility, fission, and sacred networks of evangelical house churches in Sri Lanka.  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (advance online publication).

Abstract: In this paper I examine the processes and politics associated with the formation of evangelical house churches in Sri Lanka. In doing so, I show how the sacred space of the house church is constructed through the development of sacred networks, which emerge when a group of Christians assemble for prayer and worship. Sacred networks grant the house church an important degree of mobility, but they also encourage church fission. Whilst the house church enables evangelical groups to grow in hostile environments like that of Sri Lanka, it is often a superficial form of growth that is unsustainable in the long term. To conclude, I suggest that an understanding of sacred networks can help inject a sense of scalar dynamism into the study of contemporary religious movements.

Woods, “The Spatial Modalities of evangelical Christian growth in Sri Lanka”

Woods, Orlando.  2013.  The spatial modalities of evangelical Christian growth in Sri Lanka: evangelism, social ministry and the structural mosaic.  Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.  Early online publication.  p. 1-13.

Abstract: This paper incorporates a melange of ideas into a new understanding of evangelical Christian growth. Existing explanations of growth are well rehearsed within the social sciences, and draw clear distinctions between the characteristics of evangelical organisations and the structural contexts in which they operate. A number of theoretical and empirical assumptions render such explanations applicable in some countries, but not others. Drawing on empirical data from Sri Lanka, I argue that closer examination of the recursive relationship between organisation (agency) and context (structure) will lead to recognition of the fact that growth is a spatially defined process, with evangelical organisations being tied to localities in complex and multifarious ways. A heuristic device – the structural mosaic – is proposed and developed in order to account for the growth of evangelical Christian groups in hostile environments around the world.