Womanist Ways and Pentecostalism: The Work of Recovery and Critique

in Pneuma
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Abstract

This essay questions the notion that a womanist identity and Pentecostal faith are mutually exclusive. Using major tenets of womanist theology, I argue for an honest recovery of all the personal and political influences on classical Pentecostalism as a way to move forward to a more egalitarian faith. Seeking to redress the lack of scholarship about women of color in early Pentecostalism, the essay raises questions that, I hope, will spur more research and interest in a womanist Pentecostal theology.

Pneuma

The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies

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References

2

Harold Dean Trulear, “Reshaping Black Pastoral Theology: The Vision of Bishop Ida B. Robinson,” Journal of Religious Thought 46 (1989): 17-31.

3

See Estrelda Alexander, The Women of Azusa Street (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2005), for one of the few book-length discussions of women and the foundations of Pentecostal faith in America.

5

Allan Anderson, “The Dubious Legacy of Charles Parham: Racism and Cultural Insensitivities among Pentecostals,” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 27, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 51-64.

9

May Ling Tan-Chow, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), 85.

10

See Estrelda Alexander, Limited Liberty: The Legacy of Four Pentecostal Women Pioneers (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2008). Alexander cites Charles Barfoot and Gerald Sheppard’s work on the decline of women in Pentecostal leadership after World War I, when Pentecostalism largely shifted to a denominational structure.

11

Cheryl Sanders, “History of Women in the Pentecostal Movement,” Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 2 (1996): 2, accessible at http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyber2.html.

12

Brigid Sackey, New Directions in Gender and Religion: The Changing Status of Women in African Independent Churches (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007).

13

Lesley Gill, “Like a Veil to Cover Them: Women and the Pentecostal Movement in La Paz,” American Ethnologist 17, no. 4 (1990): 718.

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