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Jacob Joseph's book, "The Christ who Embraces: An Orthodox Theology of Margins in India," explores the intersection of Orthodox Christian mission and caste dynamics among St. Thomas/Syrian/Orthodox Christians in India. It defines a liturgical touch or embrace in the context of 'untouchability,' where people identify as equal, without discrimination, reflecting the inseparable unity of Christ's transcendental (divine) and immanent (human) nature.
This series is as of 2019 continued as the Journal of Religion and Demography

The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

Abstract

Prayer camps are Pentecostal healing centres established across various parts of Ghana. Prayer camps in Ghana have become notable centres offering mainly spiritual help to people with mental health conditions. Arguably, prayer camps serve as a breakpoint or watershed between traditional healing shrines and the ‘gardens’ operated by Spiritual churches, popularly known as Sunsum sorè, in Ghana. Analysing data collected from fieldwork between 2019 and 2021, this article shows that the healing rituals for the mentally ill at prayer camps in Ghana share similarities with traditional healing shrine practices. The article argues that while such practices reveal the appropriation of traditional healing approaches at prayer camps, they also bring the tension and contestation inherent to the concept of appropriation into perspective.

In: Exchange
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Abstract

This article applies selected aspects of Depesh Chakrabarty’s concept of “Provincializing Europe” to the discourse of world Christianity studies. It argues that colonial-era mission scholars constructed a grand narrative of a united Christian Europe to justify European missions to the rest of the world. Contemporary postcolonial efforts to de-center Europe now contrast a vitiated European Christianity with a vibrant nonwestern Christianity that is required to re-evangelize Europe. Paradoxically, the trope of a formerly Christian Europe merges with a caricature of its numerical failure to make European Christianity the permanent foil for world Christianity studies. The article urges that European Christianity be studied in its diverse contexts, that the distinction between migrant and missionary be queried, and that European Christianity be considered essential to world Christianity studies.

In: Exchange
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Abstract

After several decades of relative silence in the Netherlands on the topic of church and racism, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the public debate on reparations for colonial enslavement have brought the issue back on the agenda of church and theology. Fuelled by the Programme to Combat Racism (PCR), previous ecumenical discussions on this topic in the 1970s provide a good starting point for reflection today.

This paper first provides some basic background on the PCR and then describes three theological positions in relation to reconciliation that shaped the discussions around racism. Based on these historical insights, the article summarizes the experiences and insights of the PCR in three major points, and discusses their relevance for today’s conversation on church, diaconia, and racism. The paper argues that commitment, the transfer of power, and the value of discomfort provide important theological and practical insights for today’s debate.

In: Exchange
In: Exchange

Abstract

The war in Ukraine has generated a debate both within the orthodox church and on an inter-Christian level regarding the religious legitimation of military conflicts. The inability of inter-Orthodox and ecumenical bodies to formulate a common stance in the face of war has raised questions about the current methodology employed by ecumenical assemblies. Some have suggested exhausting the instruments of dialogue, while others have proposed expelling churches with a pro-war profile from ecumenical organisations. This article aims to demonstrate how this problem also arises from the politicisation of ecumenical assemblies, which detracts them from the ecclesiological principle that should guide Christian witness.

In: Exchange
In: Exchange