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The Vulnerable Power of Worship A Study of a Power Approach to Contextualization in Christian Mission

Rydinger, Mats LU (2006) In Studia Missionalia Svecana
Abstract
This dissertation deals with the process of contextualizing the Christian discourse with a specific focus on worship and power negotiation. The study is based on literature, interviews and approximately six months of fieldwork in the U.S. in the years 1996,1998, and 2004. I focus on negotiation of power in the light of increasing Christian encounter with different cultural contexts and changing perceptions of mission. My point of departure comes form an understanding of missio Dei which implies the perception of mission as a vulnerable process. I thereby suggest an understanding of incarnation which gives priority to transformative processes in contextualization and which also acknowledges the limited and conditioned character of a... (More)
This dissertation deals with the process of contextualizing the Christian discourse with a specific focus on worship and power negotiation. The study is based on literature, interviews and approximately six months of fieldwork in the U.S. in the years 1996,1998, and 2004. I focus on negotiation of power in the light of increasing Christian encounter with different cultural contexts and changing perceptions of mission. My point of departure comes form an understanding of missio Dei which implies the perception of mission as a vulnerable process. I thereby suggest an understanding of incarnation which gives priority to transformative processes in contextualization and which also acknowledges the limited and conditioned character of a Christian discourse.



By referring primarily to Pierre Bourdieu's theories of power fields, it will be argued that the shaping of contextual theology is basically a way to challenge authority in the religious field. Understood as such, a process of contextualization is a way for agents in a religious field to negotiate their access to a shared value (God and Gospel), while focusing on contextual relevance as well as Christian identity. Although power negotiation might be seen as an integrated part of any process of contextualization, I here particularly explore how power is negotiated in contextualization in worship, and how this power negotiation challenges the understanding of authority and legitimacy in specific contexts. This is based on the understanding that worship, as a ritual, may be used as a strategy to negotiate power in the religious field. Focusing on the role of the worship leader, this understanding is even further exemplified and demonstrated.



In the second and third parts of my dissertation I present and analyze two different worship services. Relating to different contexts they illustrate how ministers negotiate power in an effort to contextualize worship. By mapping the relationships of power, I describe how the ministers engage in the process of contextualization, dealing with different strategies of power negotiation, navigating between contextual relevance and Christian identity. Conclusively I find that in a perspective of worship, contextualization appears as a display of power which contributes to the alteration of authority in specific religious contexts. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Küster, Volker, Theologische Universiteit Kampen
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Religious Studies and Theology, Ritual Strategies, Religious Field, Power negotiation, Mission, Contextualization, Missio Dei, Religion och teologi
in
Studia Missionalia Svecana
pages
357 pages
publisher
Studia Missionalia Svecana
defense location
Edebalksalen, Socialhögskolan, Bredgatan 26, Lund
defense date
2006-05-22 11:15:00
ISSN
1404-9503
ISBN
91-85424-96-X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
additional info
The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Missiology and Ecumenics (015017074)
id
44749ca0-d665-46d4-aba1-4e2676f21692 (old id 25891)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 16:01:18
date last changed
2019-05-24 08:15:29
@phdthesis{44749ca0-d665-46d4-aba1-4e2676f21692,
  abstract     = {This dissertation deals with the process of contextualizing the Christian discourse with a specific focus on worship and power negotiation. The study is based on literature, interviews and approximately six months of fieldwork in the U.S. in the years 1996,1998, and 2004. I focus on negotiation of power in the light of increasing Christian encounter with different cultural contexts and changing perceptions of mission. My point of departure comes form an understanding of missio Dei which implies the perception of mission as a vulnerable process. I thereby suggest an understanding of incarnation which gives priority to transformative processes in contextualization and which also acknowledges the limited and conditioned character of a Christian discourse.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
By referring primarily to Pierre Bourdieu's theories of power fields, it will be argued that the shaping of contextual theology is basically a way to challenge authority in the religious field. Understood as such, a process of contextualization is a way for agents in a religious field to negotiate their access to a shared value (God and Gospel), while focusing on contextual relevance as well as Christian identity. Although power negotiation might be seen as an integrated part of any process of contextualization, I here particularly explore how power is negotiated in contextualization in worship, and how this power negotiation challenges the understanding of authority and legitimacy in specific contexts. This is based on the understanding that worship, as a ritual, may be used as a strategy to negotiate power in the religious field. Focusing on the role of the worship leader, this understanding is even further exemplified and demonstrated.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the second and third parts of my dissertation I present and analyze two different worship services. Relating to different contexts they illustrate how ministers negotiate power in an effort to contextualize worship. By mapping the relationships of power, I describe how the ministers engage in the process of contextualization, dealing with different strategies of power negotiation, navigating between contextual relevance and Christian identity. Conclusively I find that in a perspective of worship, contextualization appears as a display of power which contributes to the alteration of authority in specific religious contexts.},
  author       = {Rydinger, Mats},
  isbn         = {91-85424-96-X},
  issn         = {1404-9503},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Studia Missionalia Svecana},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Studia Missionalia Svecana},
  title        = {The Vulnerable Power of Worship A Study of a Power Approach to Contextualization in Christian Mission},
  year         = {2006},
}