Worship and Social Engagement in Urban Aboriginal-led Australian Pentecostal Congregations: (Re)imagining Identity in the Spirit provides an ethnographic account of three Australian Pentecostal congregations with Aboriginal senior leadership. Within this Pentecostalism, Dreaming realities and identities must be brought together with the Christian gospel. Yet current political and economic relationships with the Australian state complicate the possibilities of interactions between culture and Spirit. The result is a matrix or network of these churches stretching across Australia, with Black Australian Pentecostals resisting and accommodating the state through the construction of new and ancient identities. This work occurs most notably in context of the worship ritual, which functions through ritual interaction chains to energise the various social engagement programs these congregations sustain.
The growth paradigm assumes that economic growth is objectively good because it leads to increased prosperity and utility maximization. Christian ethics oppose this worldview because it rejects the idea that economic prosperity is objectively good. Instead, Christian ethics are theocentric, assuming that God and the relationship with the divine is objectively good. Material prosperity is seen to interfere with this relationship. Still, there are at least two views of the human-divine relationship that have implications for environmental ethics. The first and most popular view argues that the human-divine relationship is mediated by the human-in-community relationship. Alternatively, individualistic theism posits that the human-divine relationship is individually available without community-centeredness. This individualistic view has been criticized as leading to an insufficient ethic of environmental care, however, here we argue that a radical dualism consistent with the Christian Gospels can lead to an ethos of environmental benevolence.
The precise influence that religious outlooks have on environmental attitudes and behaviors is a matter of debate among scholars of religion and ecology. While some studies suggest that emergent ecofriendly interpretations of traditional religions offer a promising path for addressing the world’s ecological crisis, others advance more skeptical evaluations about institutional religions’ efficacy in advancing sustainability efforts. In this article I seek to shift the terms of this debate. Whether scholars suggest there is a correlation or insist there is not, these arguments envision environmentalism based on the model of the mainstream, white American environmental movement, assuming that religious environmentalism must entail explicit, concerted efforts to protect the earth. This assumption has led scholars to overlook embedded environmental expressions that are conveyed theologically rather than politically, especially among communities that do not identify with mainstream American environmentalism. By interrogating the assumption that religious environmentalism must involve concerted, political efforts, scholars of religion and ecology can better account for the ways religion influences environmental attitudes and behaviors among religious communities who are not affluent and white.
The purpose of this exploration is to probe the more sustainable type of thinking promoted by the oft-neglected French philosopher Michel Onfray in his latest work Cosmos. Attempting to resuscitate the long tradition of philosophical hedonism and materialism in Western civilization, Onfray proposes a different, sensual way of being in the world that he persuasively contends is paramount to the continued existence of the human race. As the philosopher himself candidly admits, Cosmos is a practical guide that could be used as a starting point for changing the way we think and live in the Anthropocene epoch.
The common practice of outsourcing manufacturing to countries in which factories’ production costs and environmental standards are far lower than in the West indicates an underlying issue: a refusal to take responsibility for the environment, in favor of economic profitability. In confronting this problem, I suggest the need to reflect on the idea of the ‘distinction between righteousness and profit’ that is emphasized in Confucianism. Through an analysis of primary texts, I explain how the Confucian emphasis on ecological harmony implies a need for economic development as well as individual wealth, as it views humans as part of nature with a need to thrive as moral beings. The Confucian view of the economy informs contemporary attitudes by offering a richer way of thinking about economic development.
I explore the intersection of environmental spirituality and environmental justice with special attention given to indigenous ecologies. Indigenous communities often employ the language of discrete “sacred sites” to protect portions of their lands from environmental harm. However, the concept of the sacred in Western traditions is typically accompanied by its binary opposite, the profane. Do protected sacred sites implicitly license harm to such “profane” sites as low-income sacrifice zones? Is environmental spirituality in tension with environmental justice? After explicating this problem, I resolve it by exploring indigenous notions of the sacred—notions that are not binary. Indigenous notions allow for treating some discrete lands as places of special power and healing while still maintaining that all lands are sacred and worthy of environmental protection. These are not hierarchical notions of the sacred but variegated ones (or what I call hózhó sacred weaves).