Coleman, “Landscape, nation and globe: Theoretical nuances in the analysis of Asian Christianity”

Coleman, Simon. 2013. Landscape, nation and globe: Theoretical nuances in the analysis of Asian Christianity. Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14(2):241-245.

Abstract: This brief afterword comments on the papers from this special issue, arguing that each explores current complexities of interactions between national and transnational orientations, but also helps to nuance understandings of the global through the invocation of history. As a result, we not only observe the interplay between colonial and post-colonial regimes of religion and politics, but also gain an appreciation of transnational religious impulses that were in operation well before the last few decades of explicitly ‘global consciousness’. Christianisation has a significant history in the regions covered, but it cannot be understood through crude, unilinear models of development or progress.

Miles-Watson, “Pipe organs and satsang: Contemporary worship in Shimla’s colonial churches”

Miles-Watson, Jonathan. 2013. Pipe organs and satsang: Contemporary worship in Shimla’s colonial churches. Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14(2):204-222.

Abstract: This article explores two seemingly contrasting types of Christian worship (one led by the pipe organ and the other by satsang), which I repeatedly experienced (between 2006 and 2010) during my fieldwork in Shimla, North India. Although it is often assumed that the pipe organ speaks more to colonial worship and satsang to postcolonial worship, this article demonstrates that both of these styles of worship are actually postcolonial attempts to negotiate colonial history. This suggests a need to complicate contemporary external discussions of the inculturation of Christian worship in India. Furthermore, by focusing on the way that contemporary Christians work with missionary histories to create living landscapes of worship, this article demonstrates that Christian worship is central to the identity of many non-Christian residents and tourists, who are also central to the formation of Christian landscapes of worship. The article concludes by suggesting that these groups also need to be brought into debates about the nature of Christian worship in contemporary India.

Cruz (ed.), “Christianity and Culture in the City”

Cruz, Samuel (ed.).  2012.  Christianity and Culture in the City: A Postcolonial Approach.  Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.

Publisher’s Description: Christianity and Culture in the City: A Postcolonial Approach offers an introduction to the broad diversity of contemporary Christianities in a rich, complex, changing, and challenging city context. Cruz focuses upon a variety of changing communities with dynamic and striking cultural experiences, and the volume provides both scholarly and practical insights as to how Christianities in the city relate to and transform city institutions and communities that are undergoing dramatic shifts and invite opportunities for intentional study.

This book offers a provocative interdisciplinary examination to shed light upon the ways in which diverse city communities appropriate Christianity to better engage their economic, cultural, political, and religious environment. A post-colonial theoretical framework will help inform how Christianity serves to empower and reinvent fragmented, oppressed, and struggling city populations. The reader is offered various conceptual, theoretical, and pragmatic insights and knowledge for better interpreting, affirming, and engaging diverse Christianities in the city in a postcolonial era.

Braunlein, “We are 100% Catholic”

Braunlein, Peter J. 2012. “We are 100% Catholic“: Philippine Passion Rituals and Some Obstacles in the Study of Non-European Christianity. Journal of Religion in Europe 5(3):384-413.

Abstract: Philippine Catholicism is usually seen as a variant of a non-European Christianity, which was formerly introduced by Spanish missionaries and colonizers into the Philippine Archipelago. Philippine passion rituals, especially self-flagellation and rites of crucifixion, are commonly interpreted as bizarre phenomena of a pre-modern folk-religiosity or archaic survivals of `our’ past, or as a post-colonial mimicry of European religious history. The perspective on Philippine Christianity is always governed by European discourses, whether religious, scientific, or common sense. This paper is an attempt to question dichotomies such as `European’ and `non-European,’ `modern’ and `pre-modern,’ `authentic’ and `inauthentic,’ etc. In the study of religion such dichotomies, I argue, create problems of conceptualizing diversity within one religious tradition and behind such distinctions lurks the implicit self-perception of the West of being exemplary `modern.’ I use Philippine passion rituals as a hermeneutic challenge. Crucifixions are analyzed as media events and from the actor’s perspective, by historicizing the missionary encounter, and by scrutinizing concepts such as `syncretism’ and `identity.’ `Translation’ and the `histoire croisée’ approach are proposed as helpful analytical tools for the study of Christianity.