Excerpt: During the last 30 years, the Evangelical relationship with the State of Israel has drawn much academic and popular attention, particularly from historical, theological, and political perspectives. This dissertation engages with this literature but also complements it with an ethnographic account of the discursive practices of Evangelical Zionists through which, it is suggested, much of the religious significance of the contemporary state is being produced. The study is based on ethnographic fieldwork among Evangelical volunteer workers in Jerusalem, focusing on their stories about themselves, the land, and the biblical text.
Abstract: The Charismatic/Pentecostal (C/P) movement has emerged mainly due to its capacity to mobilize new believers towards strong participation in their emergent groups amidst a fragmented post-war city. In this chapter, I examine how volunteering of C/P believers is rooted in the benefits and religious culture of emergent C/P communities. After analysing the particular religious and sociopolitical culture of volunteering, I attempt to draw a conclusion as to whether C/P volunteering in Beirut contributes to social solidarity. The common sociopolitical analysis contends that religious volunteering in Lebanon is divisive. Religious volunteering is mainly carried out through religious welfare organizations (RWO). While I agree with the common overall political analysis, I also attempt to show that the effect of religious volunteering on social solidarity is not static, but hinges mainly on the religious culture within which the volunteering is embedded, the larger sociopolitical context, and the concrete setting and encounter of volunteers. By considering both the larger sociopolitical structure and the C/P culture as influencing the volunteering practices, I attempt to overcome the insider–outsider, agency–structure dichotomy, which often undergirds social analysis. The article contributes to a fuller understanding of how religiously motivated volunteering works in post-war societies with weak state institutions.