A New Kind of Pentecostalism

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E-mail address: annelin. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. In this article, I question regional context as primary context in anthropological analyses. In this article, I thus trace the practices and articulations of my interlocutors as part of a wider Pentecostal universe. I have changed names and to a certain degree neighbourhood details in my presentation of all the healers in this article.

She told me how the group had gathered at the outskirts of the airport just before the scheduled arrival of a plane from Brisbane carrying Reverend Moon of the Korean Unification Church.

Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity | schotinsurdiscpan.ml

In a prayer meeting a couple of days previously, there had been much talk and speculation about the arrival of this man, who many were sure had dubious motives and represented values that were not truly Christian. Several in the group confirmed that his intentions were not pure and that his alliance with business interests around Port Vila would surely damage the nation. The aim of this article is twofold. These borders are erected to protect. The core of the definition of Pentecostalism is the immediate experience of the Holy Spirit Robbins b ; Yong A central question is: how do we, as anthropologists, study this kind of religious movement?

Do we need to understand this form of Christianity as a global phenomenon before we seek to understand how it operates in a local context? To clarify this point: usually regional context is primary in anthropology. This is also the case in studies of Pentecostalism. This can imply both a historical and a cultural dimension; one often looks for historical and cultural continuities when understanding Christianity in general and Pentecostal movements in particular, perhaps more so in Melanesia Eriksen ; ; Mosko than elsewhere.

In Melanesia, for instance, new religious movements are often compared to early cargo cults or to other ritual cults formerly known in the area myself included: see Eriksen But I will claim that it is also related to the question: what is context? As Dilley has pointed out, the mantra of placing a phenomenon in context has been foundational for anthropological analysis since Malinowski. As he emphasizes, however, rarely do we ask what this context means. What is the context for the selection of context, for instance?

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We seem to privilege the idea of a specific, geographical frame, or at least when a specific geographical frame is selected, this rarely needs an explanation. One might claim this is foundational for anthropology as a discipline, because of its methodology of fieldwork. To do fieldwork, one needs to go some where. It is exactly this place we can experience, and this often becomes the contextual frame for any analysis, whether of Pentecostalism or anything else.

However, this is only partially true. We usually go to study some thing. Thus, the context is also one of in the case of Pentecostalism a global religion.


Going to Melanesia to study Pentecostalism challenges our hermeneutical habits and the relationship between the site of fieldwork and the object of study, as one does not usually go to Melanesia to study Pentecostalism see also Heywood What if we cannot take the higher level of the global for granted?

It allows us to overcome geographical distance. Instead of seeing the relation between what is going on in Nigeria or the United States and Fiji or Vanuatu for our understanding of Pentecostalism, we can see it as the same field. It happens in a place , but the geographical location Melanesia, Africa, etc.

It is a place with specific people and specific everyday lives. Ellen and her prayer group referred to in the opening vignette are, through their prayers, creating a safe zone around their city. This city is not, as they see it, significant as a Melanesian capital.

What does this mean for Morrison's politics?

Rather it is significant as a Christian place. They are creating a place. We need to overcome a paradox negating and confirming place. It is not a reference to a geographical location, although of course the island of Pentecost is a very real place just north of Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila. Here, I can see the world as fully Pentecostal, as my interlocutors do. In this world, it is not only the believers who can see and feel the Spirit.

The Cult Of Pentecostals

I think this approach is methodologically and analytically useful in order to be able to study this elusive religious movement. I see this religious movement as rhizomic in its character: it grows outside of established church hierarchies and takes a number of different local forms. Furthermore, protection from evil, in the form of demons and witches, is vital. Protective borders are therefore important, and spiritual warfare often aims to establish absolute borders between good and evil.

However, this is not an argument to totally abandon analyses that emphasize regional variation.

Rather, it is an effort at arguing that one should not only do this. Others have also made parallel analytical moves: for instance, Meyer's study of mediation ; , Daswani's work on ethics, and Bialecki's recent call for a Latourian turn in the anthropology of Christianity With the aid of Luhrmann's ethnography of Vineyard Pentecostals in the United States and their specific methodology of making God audible, Bialecki opens a new approach to the ethnography of God.



This approach in effect bridges the gap between anthropological analysis and the perspective of charismatic Christians; it opens a way in , so to speak, for anthropology in religious worlds. All of these approaches aim for a better analytical and methodological access to the religious field. They see what others cannot, such as the hidden and dangerous mobility of evil spirits. These sites are thus intentionally mentioned. It is in the backyards where women listen to popular Christian radio talks broadcast from the New Apostolic church as they do their cooking or laundry.

It is in the market house where women, while they are waiting for customers to buy their garden produce, gossip about the latest story of miraculous healing and which church seems to have the most efficient healers. Or it is in the local grocery store where there is a chair in the back room for customers to be healed after paying for their shopping. Everywhere, to a smaller or greater degree, people relate to the Holy Spirit.

Rather, the whole city has a Holy Spirit context. Whether one is a convert or not is insignificant. One needs to relate to the presence of the Spirit everywhere, and its effects. I have my own power. In many ways he defines himself as the opposite of what the Holy Spirit is and does. What does the Holy Spirit tell us, as analysts, about the key dynamics of this sociality? In order to answer this question, I will focus on the healers, who are more articulate than others about what the Holy Spirit is and how it works.

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I have done fieldwork in Vanuatu, on the north central island of Ambrym, and in the capital Port Vila for several periods since on different projects to do with politics, Christian movements, and gender, and for six months in and in July and August I followed the work of five healers in Fresh Wota.

The healers were all women who had received their healing power through God. Finding the healers was not hard. I heard about Mary from one of my Ambrym friends whose brother had been healed by her a couple of months earlier. As I entered Mary's yard, a young woman was hanging laundry to dry in the sun.

This tiny room was next to the main house, which was not more than a shed with a corrugated iron roof. There were two extensions to the shed: the prayer room and a small store facing the main street. The house was separated from the street by a large hedge.

You could hear the noise from people and cars passing by, but all you could see of them through the barred window of the store were glimpses via an opening in the hedge. Mary arrived.

A New Kind of Pentecostalism A New Kind of Pentecostalism
A New Kind of Pentecostalism A New Kind of Pentecostalism
A New Kind of Pentecostalism A New Kind of Pentecostalism
A New Kind of Pentecostalism A New Kind of Pentecostalism
A New Kind of Pentecostalism A New Kind of Pentecostalism

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