Spirit and the Spiritual: Ancestors, Deities and the Holy Spirit in Church, and Mission 26th-28th June 2024 ‧ Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT ‧ #YaleEdin2024 Proposals due 15th February 2024
Missions from the West brought Christianity into worlds with a wide array of cosmologies. Recipient cultures embraced Christian faith while negotiating differing perspectives of spiritual realities. The subsequent transition from missionary Christianity to indigenous faith produced a range of responses to the notion of ‘spiritual beings.’ Through mission, Christianity encountered traditional religions which venerated ancestors, revered spiritual beings, and navigated intricate relationships between deities in a world far more complex than the typical Western experience. From Korea to Brazil, Nigeria to Samoa, France to India – these multifaceted cosmologies continue to animate the Christian experience producing dynamic expressions of the faith. Movements of the Holy Spirit represent another dimension of Christianity. A wide range of pneumatic Christianities populate the long history of Christian expansion around the world.
Edited by Afe Adogame, Raimundo Barreto and Richard F. Young
There is sometimes an assumption that Christianity operates, grows and develops in a historical, social, cultural, political and religious silo or context. This is hardly the case. Christianity, past and present, has shaped all geographical, religious and cultural contexts in which it has found itself, but all these various contexts, cultures and religious traditions have in turn also had an impact on Christianity in manifold ways. An exploration of this reciprocal interaction is important for our global age. Christians once viewed the world in split-screen mode: there was Europe, the centre of the faith, and there was the rest of the world with large swaths of non-Christian lands that were ripe for the work of missionaries. However, over the last century an enormous growth in Christianity across the Global South and a drop in the proportion of Europeans and Americans who identify as Christian has upended that perspective. The centre of gravity has shifted from the Global North, serving notice that the future of the faith will look increasingly diverse and dynamic.
The study of World Christianity seeks to understand how Christian communities embody historical and cultural experiences locally and globally; as such, it fosters the study of both local and translocal ways of knowing and doing. Thus, World Christianity hardly exists in a historical and socio-cultural vacuum; it encounters, affects, and is in turn impacted by local, indigenous worldviews, religions and cultures. The complex historical and socio-cultural encounters of worldviews, religions and cultures at the root of Christian communities in a variety of contexts demand further understanding and analysis. The selected, peer-reviewed essays in this issue, originally presented at Princeton’s Third International Conference (2021), explore and reflect on such a diversity of local, indigenous expressions and experiences of Christianity, their encounter with other religious traditions, and the variety of ways they interact with one another critically and constructively across time and space. While based on case studies, they focus on ethnographic practices and new methodological directions. Common themes addressed include conversion, translation, identity, missions, materiality, migration, diaspora, intercultural theology and interreligious dialogue.