The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity

The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity

The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity

The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity

Synopsis

This book is about conservative Protestant Christians and their spread around the globe. It focuses on "Health and Wealth" Christians. A ministry in Scandinavia is shown to be closely linked to evangelicals in other parts of the world, particularly the United States. The book provides the first extended account by an anthropologist of a Health and Wealth ministry. It makes a major contribution to an understanding of the material lives of these Christians: their art, architecture and uses of electronic technologies such as television, videos and the Internet.

Excerpt

I vividly remember my Wrst encounter with a charismatic church. It occurred during my final year of studying for an anthropology degree. During a particularly boring undergraduate lecture, a fellow student slipped me a note enquiring if I believed in God. When I scrawled a noncommittal reply, she asked if I wanted to accompany her to a local church that Sunday. I agreed (in a spirit, I told myself, of intellectual inquiry), and a few days later found myself sitting not in the Victorian Gothic pile that I had envisioned but in a school hall on the edge of the city. the 'altar' of the church consisted of a microphone and the 'organ' was a battered and outof-tune piano. I arrived at the hall intending to sit at the back, but was soon spotted as a newcomer by an usher and placed towards the front row of seats so that I would be directly facing the microphone. the sermon was preached by a visiting Welshman who had come to give a 'revival' talk, and, although I admired the force and eloquence of his oration (and was surprised by its humour), I recall being even more struck by his keen control of the choreography and tone of the service. At one point, we were singing a hymn in a lackadaisical manner, following the stumbling efforts of the congregation's pianist. Half-way through the hymn, the visiting preacher pushed the pianist aside from his stool, took over the playing and transformed the hymn into a boogie-woogie version of itself. the hall erupted on cue.

No doubt my student friend had intended me to convert to the faith, but something rather different happened. the day after the service, I walked past a hot-dog stall near the city market-place and glanced at the person standing behind the counter. His face looked vaguely familiar. Then I recalled that he was the young man I had . . .

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