Anna Saurama and Titus Hjelm
In 2006, a Metal Mass—a regular Lutheran mass with accompanying metal music—was celebrated in Helsinki and created a controversy on several online forums. On the one hand, the focus was the appropriateness of metal music in the context of a Christian mass. On the other hand, the issue at stake was the appropriateness of Christianity in the context of metal music and culture. In this article, we concentrate on how the controversy over the boundaries of ‘good’ religion is constructed in discourse about the appropriateness of metal music in the context of a national church and its services. We argue that the controversy over the Metal Mass is a case of broader negotiation between the function and performance of religious actors in contemporary Finland, yet when it happens within a secularized context, the temporarily full pews turn out to be an anomaly rather than a sign of revival.
This article explores the ideals and practices of moderate secularism characteristic of Danish schools’ approach to Muslim pupils, Islam, and religion in general. It argues that while these reflect the Danish ‘culture of secularity’ (Wohlrab-Sahr & Burchardt 2012), differences in ‘secularities-in-practice’ between schools necessitate a look at the interactional level and institutional context. Drawing on Norbert Elias’ figurational sociology, the article shows how an increase in Muslim pupils changes the webs of interdependencies in the social figuration of teachers, children, and parents in Danish schools and how the schools attempt to maintain institutional practices, civilised interaction, and a Danish identity.
The Romanian Ministry of Religious Denominations passed Decision nr. 26208 in 1938, severely curtailing the activity of a number of religious associations. The most numerous of these were the Baptists. They maintained close ties with ethnic minority co-religionists within Romania and collaborated with religious organizations abroad, especially the Baptist World Alliance (bwa). The latter resulted in conflict with Romanian government and ecclesiastical authorities. The actions of the bwa in opposition to the Decision reveal the extent to which transnational organizations influenced the development of policies concerning religion during the crucial years leading into World War ii. Using previously unused archival material, the article draws out the role of domestic religious minorities in the struggle between the Church, the State, minority groups, and foreign powers and provides a fascinating convergence of national, transnational, and ecumenical attempts at changing the religious space in Europe.