In this volume, we bring together research on African derived Religions in Latin America and African American Religions in the USA. Theoretically, the concepts of hybridity and syncretism are discussed, in the introduction as well as in the papers included. The papers featured deal with Brazilian Umbanda, Cuban Santería, US African Black Hebrew Israelites, the Five Percenter movement (an offspring of the Nation of Islam), and one single person, Robert T. Browne, an activist in the Black Nationalist movement. In the religions covered – that are an outcome of the historical circumstances of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – elements taken from West and Central African traditions, European Christianity, and Kardecian Spiritism blend to new forms of religious movements. This being the “fundamental” transformation of religion addressed here, some essays in the volume also look at the further transformation of those traditions in a “glocalized” world.
The Dutch neo-Calvinist mission (Zending) on Sumba in Indonesia, an area known for its Marapu ancestor religion, started in 1902. The independent Sumbanese church (Gereja Kristen Sumba, GKS) was established at the 1947 Synod. One century later, by 2002, two out of three inhabitants were Christian. The research question is whether the rise of a vital GKS was facilitated by education and ‘antithetical’ notions of freedom offered by neo-Calvinist Zending. The answer is that the Zending empowered Sumbanese Christians to decide for themselves whether to preserve traditional customs (adat), so they could build the GKS from the bottom up. This answer is based on archival material – including the unexplored archive of Rev. P.J. Lambooij – and on a dozen semi-structured interviews with Sumbanese spokespersons in 2006, 2016 and 2019. Macro-level explanations – capitalism, modernity, or colonialism – hardly appear to account for the transformation to Sumbanese Christianity.
In 2019, the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia launched the book Moderasi Beragama (“Religious Moderation”) with a supplement in the form of question and answer, followed in 2020 by Peta Jalan Penguatan Moderasi Beragama (“Road Map for Strengthening Religious Moderation”), with Road Map (in English) as the main title. The Ministry of Religious Affairs aimed to establish an official governmental directive for expressing religious convictions and aspirations, both internally and in public. The directive is intended to neutralize religious radicalism through awareness of the religiously plural context of Indonesia, and the fact that all religions of Indonesia have accepted Pancasila as the state ideology. The purpose of this study is to discuss and evaluate the concept of religious moderation proposed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The examination will be conducted through a dialogue involving two public Christian responses to Moderasi Beragama.
Young people in late adolescence or emerging adulthood may re-examine their childhood Christian faith. Christian commitments in a pluralistic context can come to be regarded as one possible set of commitments among many options. Articulating clear claims about Christianity will be part of an approach to the faith nurture of young people. Yet Christian faith is also, fundamentally, an act of hope in Christ. A practice of hope, specifically among those beginning to question Christian commitments, can be the activity of lament. The Christian practice of lament addresses God amid the sorrows and confusions of this world. Christian lament is offered to God in the hope that he might respond. Ministering persons may participate in lament with young people, bringing to bear their own sense of Christian hope, and inviting young people to choose this hope as well.