Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Former evangelicals find trauma and media spotlight

Ex-evangelicals are becoming a recognizable and influential social movement with its own political and psychological critique of evangelicalism. “After Trump was elected, many young evangelicals began to leave their churches altogether,” writes Stephanie Russell-Kraft in The New Republic (March 23).

Violence against Asians drives new Korean church activism

Recent acts of racial violence, particularly the allegedly anti-Asian killing spree in Atlanta, have led the largely evangelical and quietistic Korean churches to become politically involved, reports Politico (March 27). Up until recently, Korean churches were strongly against bringing politics and political protests into the church.

Younger ethnic evangelicals consider pulling up stakes from white-led churches?

Segments of second-and third-generation Asian and Latino evangelicals are exiting their white and multiethnic megachurches and returning to their respective ethnic congregations, reports Christianity Today magazine (March).

German Catholics ratchet up liberal reforms—raising specter of schism?

The Catholic church in Germany is drawing scrutiny and criticism from the Vatican for its liberal reform agenda, particularly over the issue of blessing same-sex unions. Catholicism in Germany and in other German-speaking lands, such as Austria, has long been a bastion of progressive church reform initiatives, but church leaders’ latest pronouncements have made observers wonder if a schism might be developing in the church.

Brazil’s soft power draws on conservative religious arsenal

Brazil has increasingly used religion in wielding its “soft power” in much of the world, most recently in a conservative Christian direction under populist President Jair Bolonaro, according. to political scientists Guilherme Casarões and Amy Erica Smith. As part of a series of lectures on the use of religious soft power sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World. Affairs at Georgetown University, Casarões and Smith spoke at a late-February Zoom webinar,  attended by RW.

Prosperity gospel morphs into a practical-minded prosperity ethic in the Philippines

There is a new “prosperity ethic” emerging in the Philippines, stressing upward mobility and practical skills in attaining wealth, that is eclipsing the older prosperity gospel among charismatics and Pentecostals, write Erron Medina and Jayeel Cornelio in Pneuma (43:1). The prosperity gospel, stressing “health and wealth” based on tithing and faith, has been widespread in charismatic and Pentecostal churches worldwide.

Religious movements and the limits of uniformity: the case of Tablighi Jamaat

An organized religious movement under a central authority, with strict and specific instructions for the daily lives of its members, Tablighi Jamaat’s (TJ) apparent homogeneity actually hides a level of internal diversity, writes Aminah Mohammad-Arif (Center for South Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS, Paris) in the Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions (January–March).

New wave of repression of clerics reflects China’s blueprint for eradicating Tibetan Buddhism

A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet documents how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has recently focused on harshly repressing clerics as the key to repressing Tibetans as a people. Writing in the newsletter Bitter Winter (March 25), Marco Respinti cites the report, Party Above Buddhism: China’s Surveillance and Control of Tibetan Monasteries and Nunneries, as confirming that the aim of the Communist Party is “replacing religion and cultural identity in the hearts and minds of Tibetans—harassing their bodies and spirits when it fails.”

American congregations gaining a new audience amidst the digital divide

Congregations’ adoption of new offering and giving platforms during the pandemic shows how religious institutions are reaching wider followings but also experiencing greater inequality in the digital age, reports Arielle Pardes in Wired magazine (February 10). While at the start of 2020 about half of American churches used digital tithing services, Covid-19 greatly accelerated the trend, with one-third of churches that weren’t using a digital tithing platform having signed up for one just a few months into the pandemic.

Racial issues generating new evangelical debate—or a lack of one?

New ideas about race and racism are dividing American evangelicals, adding to conflicts over evangelical support for former President Donald Trump, according to an article in First Things magazine (February). The controversy over how extensive racism is in the church and in society has become new artillery in the culture wars, particularly in relation to what is called critical race theory.