Publisher’s Description: The explosive growth of Pentecostalism has radically transformed Latin America’s religious landscape within the last half century or so. In a region where Catholicism reigned hegemonic for centuries, the expansion of Pentecostalism has now resulted in a situation of religious pluralism and competition, bearing much more resemblance to the United States than to the Iberian motherlands. Furthermore, the fierce competition from Pentecostal churches has inspired significant renewals of Latin American Catholicism, most notably the growth of a Catholic Charismatic movement. However, another and more recent source of religious pluralism and diversity in Latin America is an increasing pluralization and diversification of Pentecostalism itself and of the ways in which individual Pentecostals exercise their faith. By carefully exploring this diversification, the book at hand breaks new ground in the literature on Latin American Christianity. Particular attention is focused on new ways of being Pentecostal and on the consequences of recent transformations of Christianity for individuals, faith communities and societies.
More specifically, the chapters of the book look into certain transformations of Pentecostalism such as: theological renewals and new kinds of religious competition between Pentecostal churches; a growing political and civic engagement of Pentecostals; an observed de-institutionalization of Pentecostal religious life and the negotiation individual Pentecostal identities, composed of multiple intra- and extra-ecclesial points of identification; and the emergence of new generations of Pentecostals (children of Pentecostal parents), many of whom have higher levels of education and higher incomes than the previous generations within their churches. In addition, Catholic responses to Pentecostal competition are also addressed in several chapters of the book.
Publisher’s Description: For most of the last century, popular and scholarly common sense has equated American evangelicalism with across-the-board social, economic, and political conservatism. However, if a growing chorus of evangelical leaders, media pundits, and religious scholars is to be believed, the era of uncontested evangelical conservatism is on the brink of collapse-if it hasn’t collapsed already. Combining vivid ethnographic storytelling and incisive theoretical analysis, New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism introduces readers to the fascinating and unexplored terrain of neo-monastic evangelicalism. Often located in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, new monastic communities pursue religiously inspired visions of racial, social, and economic justice-alongside personal spiritual transformation-through diverse and creative expressions of radical community. In this account, Wes Markofski has immersed himself in the paradoxical world of evangelical neo-monasticism, focusing on the Urban Monastery-an influential neo-monastic community located in a gritty, racially diverse neighborhood in a major Midwestern American city. The resulting account of the way in which this movement reflects and is contributing to the transformation of American evangelicalism challenges entrenched stereotypes and calls attention to the dynamic diversity of religious and political points of view which vie for supremacy in the American evangelical subculture. New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism is the first sociological analysis of new monastic evangelicalism and the first major work to theorize the growing theological and political diversity within twenty-first-century American evangelicalism.
Publisher’s Description: Within little more than ten years in the early nineteenth century, inhabitants of Tahiti, Hawaii and fifteen other closely related societies destroyed or desecrated all of their temples and most of their god-images. In the aftermath of the explosive event, which Sissons terms the Polynesian Iconoclasm, hundreds of architecturally innovative churches – one the size of two football fields – were constructed. At the same time, Christian leaders introduced oppressive laws and courts, which the youth resisted through seasonal displays of revelry and tattooing. Seeking an answer to why this event occurred in the way that it did, this book introduces and demonstrates an alternative “practice history” that draws on the work of Marshall Sahlins and employs Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, improvisation and practical logic.
Abstract: The authors provide a summary of three key developments that have brought change to the field of religious organizations in Finland: the emergence of new Lutheran communities (the St Thomas Mass, the so-called Nokia Revival and the fundamentalist Luther Foundation Finland); Ashtanga yoga as a form of spirituality; and the spread of migrant religious communities. The article sets these developments in the context of late modern communal belonging and discusses how religious communities have been transforming over the last two to three decades in Finland.
Publisher’s Description: Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks great changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been the sudden and massive growth of a new religion, as in Africa and Asia. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. New challenges from modernity, especially in the form of Protestantism and Marxism, ultimately brought forth new life. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years, and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.
Abstract: Based on data from the Danish part of the European Values Study 1981–2008, this article explores the validity of the claim for a spiritual revolution as proposed by Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead. The article suggests an operationalisation of spirituality. The results of the analyses are that religious values—Christian faith as well as spirituality—tend to be stable over an individual’s life course. This suggests that, if there is a spiritual revolution, it must be the product of cohort replacement. If a spiritual revolution is taking place, Christian faith would be expected to decline in younger cohorts while spirituality would increase, but an analysis of cohort support for Christian faith and spirituality from 1981 to 2008 shows that both were constant across cohorts. Thus Danish data contain no indication that a spiritual revolution is taking place or will take place. Finally, we show that, contrary to theoretical expectations, spirituality and Christian faith are strongly correlated. A closer analysis reveals an indirect and more complicated support for parts of the theory since the two variables are explained by different factors and it shows that Christian faith, but not spirituality, is correlated with morality.
Publisher’s Description: The last three decades have witnessed a rapid proliferation of African Christian communities, particularly in Europe and North American diaspora, thus resulting in the remapping of old religious landscapes. This migratory trend and development bring to the fore the crucial role, functions and import of religious symbolic systems in new geo-cultural contexts. The trans-national linkages between African-led churches in the countries of origin (Africa) and the “host” societies are assuming increasing importance for African immigrants. The links and networks that are established and maintained between these contexts are of immense religious, cultural, economic, political and social importance. This suggests how African Christianities can be understood within processes of religious transnationalism and African modernity.
Based on extensive religious ethnography undertaken by the author among African Christian communities in Europe, the USA and Africa in the last 17 years, this book maps and describes the incipience and consolidation of new brands of African Christianities in diaspora. The book demonstrates how African Christianities are negotiating and assimilating notions of the global while maintaining their local identities.
Excerpt: “Marcia Pally’s incisive essay on “the new evangelicals” highlights a relatively small but growing population of white evangelicals who appear to be embracing broader, less conservative visions of the common good, and public policy views (at least partially) more in line with Democratic politics than their recent forebears. While her descriptions presumably are not limited to those who necessarily call themselves “new evangelicals,” she does invoke the work and ideas of public evangelicals who clearly self-identify as such. This points to an interesting observation worth considering here: to assume the mantle of newness is to make an ideological statement as well as a historical claim.
Newness is a fascinating, and very loaded concept. It expresses ideas of innovation and progress, as well as rupture and substitution. Whether presented in the form of prophetic revelations, revolutionary ideologies, or consumer branding, “the New” is always wrapped in a combination of promise and threat – it promises to improve upon the old, while threatening to eclipse and even replace it. Newness inspires hope as well as fear, with a provocative power that sometimes borders on the messianic.”
Excerpt: ‘Marcia Pally’s post tracks the important fact that contemporary American evangelical social and political engagement is fragmenting. She rightly observes that such fragmenting is not historically novel, and is a self-consciously critical response to the power of the Religious Right.
To read of “robust polyphony” among evangelicals was especially welcome to me, as I addressed this phenomenon in a recent ethnography, Emerging Evangelicals (NYU Press, 2011). As a cultural anthropologist, I explored the identities fashioned, practices performed, histories claimed, institutions created, and critiques waged among evangelicals influenced by the Emerging Church movement. Pally’s astute analysis returned me to a question I stopped short of fully developing: does fragmentation equal change?
While it is clear that evangelicalism is diversifying, it is unclear what this amounts to. We see voting blocs split, financial donations broaden, volunteer labor disperse, and moral-political agendas expand. But, do these fragmentations signal tectonic, hard-wired, all-bets-are-off cultural change? Or, is it more superficial (which is not to say unimportant or not deeply felt) social change? Do electoral politics and other shifting forms of activism amount to fundamental change, or merely changing patterns of action?’
Abstract: The social sciences contribute in important ways to our understanding of current Christian realities, especially ‘newer’ or ‘emerging’ Christianities. Recent research by social scientists on contemporary Christian groups – in historical anthropology and more recently in the anthropology of Christianity – has yielded important insights into modes of Christian agency and identity. Those interested in the spread of Christianity today – including missiologists – should familiarize themselves with such anthropological and sociological research. For their part, those engaged in social-scientific research on newer Christianities should attend more closely to Christianity in its historical and communal dimensions by developing an historical sociology.