Archive for the ‘Findings & Footnotes’ Category

Findings & Footnotes

Pneuma, the journal of Pentecostal studies, devotes a double issue (42) to the futures of charismatic and Pentecostal movements around the world. Although seen as a global religious movement of approximately 400 million adherents, the articles in this issue suggest that the churches in each region are facing particular issues in gaining or maintaining vitality and influence.

Findings & Footnotes

The state of the patriotic or “Three-Self” church movement in China is the subject of the current issue of ChinaSource Quarterly (September 2020). Patriotic churches, which can be of various denominations, are registered with China’s government but are not necessarily subservient to the Communist Party in terms of their teaching and practices, as was the case in earlier years, according to several articles.

Findings & Footnotes

By now, new research on the COVID crisis is making its way into journals and soon into books– just when the reading public and probably many journalists are suffering from “pandemic fatigue.” But for a comparative understanding of how churches in the global South have responded to the crisis, the current issue (26.3) of the journal Studies in World Christianity has brought together several fascinating articles on the subject.

Findings & Footnotes

Baylor University historian and prolific author Philip Jenkins’ latest book Fertility and Faith (Baylor University Press, $29.95) plots drastic changes ahead for religious institutions due to a “demographic revolution” of plummeting fertility rates often below replacement rates across much of the globe. Jenkins’ specialty of mining available data and other reports to tease out provocative analysis and forecasts is put to good use as he establishes the intimate connections between fertility trends with changes in religious belief and belonging– that have been too often been ignored by demographers (though there is now an emerging field of religious demography).

Findings & Footnotes

The current issue of the journal Approaching Religion (Summer) is devoted to the Laestadians in northern Finland, Norway and Sweden, known as the largest Christian revivalist movement in secularized Scandinavia. Laestadianism broke off from the Lutheran state churches in Scandinavia in the 19th century (though not in Norway) and is known for its pietistic and communal faith, with members often living apart from mainstream society (although increasingly active in conservative politics) and having large families.

Findings & Footnotes

The subtitle of the new book, The End of Empathy (Oxford University Press, $34.95), which asks “Why White Protestants Stopped Loving Their Neighbors,” is intended to provoke, but author John W. Compton has written a fairly nuanced historical study on the loss of Protestant social influence in America. Compton uses primary and secondary sources to document the continual weakening of American religious institutions that promoted concerns, leaving the field open to secular activism and “entrepreneurs of the religious right.”

Findings & Footnotes

Last month, we neglected to mention an important special issue of the journal International Affairs (March, 2020) devoted to the interaction between international relations and the discipline of religious studies. It is not as arcane as it sounds, with editor Katherine Brown writing in the introduction to the issue that “we cannot understand international affairs without understanding religion and also that we cannot understand religion without understanding international affairs.”

Findings & Footnotes

Despite common perceptions that China remains communist only in name, the recent book Rouge Vif: L’Idéal Communiste Chinois (Paris: Editions de l’Observatoire), by Alice Ekman (European Union Institute for Security Studies), contends that—despite reforms and opening taking place after 1978—communist ideology continues to be a key component of the Chinese approach, and even more so after Xi Jinping took control.

Findings & Footnotes

The April issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute features an interesting interchange between psychology, anthropology, and religion relating to how people experience the relationship between their minds and gods and spirits, using charismatic and Pentecostal congregations as its case studies.

Findings & Footnotes

As the journal Religion (January 2020) turns fifty, it has seized the opportunity to welcome several articles dealing with “futures.” The issue mixes prospective observations about the future of the study of religion and its various subfields along with more general views on the future shape of religion in the contemporary world.