Posts Tagged ‘Volume 36 No. 2’

Crises and reinvention mark religion in 2020

RW’s previous annual reviews of religion often left the editors stymied over whether the developments that we spotted could really be traced to the year in question. For better and worse, that dilemma doesn’t apply to 2020. Almost from the beginning of this momentous year, we entered a vortex of crises and events that will likely shape contemporary religion for several years to come.

Korean American Christians, churches undergoing ethnic revival?

The ways that Korean churches have become Americanized and experienced divisions between
the immigrant and more assimilated second generations are giving way to a more conflicted
relationship between these churches and American culture, according to research presented at the
recent virtual meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

Pagans adopt apocalyptic tone in Trump era and beyond

American Pagans have increasingly been adopting an apocalyptic worldview and spirituality, especially during the Trump era, according to Sabina Magliocco of the University of British Columbia. Presenting a paper at the early December virtual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, attended by RW, Magliocco said that the apocalyptic narratives taken up by Pagan leaders and writers place Paganism closer to other new religious movements in the U.S.


While it is true that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is showing steady
membership losses, a study parsing these figures by ethnicity reveals patterns of growth
beyond the majority white members.
The study, conducted by the denomination’s International
Mission Board, found that while the overall SBC membership decreased slightly by -0.1 percent
from 1990 to 2018, ethnic minority groups and congregations increased by more than one
million members.

Pentecostalism in Chile going mainstream and diversifying

From a stigmatized religion of marginal sectors in Chilean society (where it first appeared in the early 20th century), Pentecostalism is getting redefined as a more legitimate religion by a new generation of Pentecostals, writes Martin Lindhardt (University of Southern Denmark) in Religion (October).

Uncertain future for Russian Orthodox Church

Close ties to the current political regime and centralization of the church leadership under
Patriarch Kirill are likely to lead to a serious loss of influence for the Russian Orthodox Church
(ROC) in the long term, writes Oleg Kurzakov, a Russian journalist, teacher and former priest
from 2012 to 2017, in Religion und Gesellschaft in Ost und West(December). While the
religious freedom of the 1990s changed the situation for the church, it also allowed a variety of
religious groups to compete for Russian souls.

Banned new religious movement reappears in China

The new religious movement, Zhonggong, which was banned in China and supposedly extinguished four years ago, has made a comeback in the country to the consternation of government officials, according to the newsletter Bitter Winter (December 25). The movement was started in the 1980s by Zhang Hongbao and was based on Qigong healing and martial arts.

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.