"I've finally felt I'm a real man!": Missionary Trips of the Russian Baptists
(University of Helsinki)
Paper short abstract:
My paper focuses on the missionary trips of Russian Baptists. These trips are a predominantly male enterprise, and women only participate with auxiliary roles. I will demonstrate how this regulation originates in the complementarian theology and how these trips construct masculinity and brotherhood.
Paper long abstract:
My paper is an analysis of the missionary trips of various kinds, length, and function by the Russian Baptist ministers. Generally aimed towards proclaiming the Gospel, these trips may be guest visits to distant congregations, evangelizing of the indigenous population, street preaching campaigns, and promotion of the rehabilitation ministries. These trips are conducted predominantly by men due to the dogmatic conviction that preaching and evangelizing is a male prerogative (the common reference is 1 Timothy 2:12). Women rarely take part, and when they do they perform auxiliary or female-assigned (in a patriarchal household) functions or are focused on working with women and children. Consequently, groups of males sharing the sense of Christian brotherhood and the same dogmatic convictions construct a specific manifestation of masculinity. I will disclose this manifestation through the prism of complementarian theology and provide comparative analysis of the "false" worldly and "true" Christian masculinities experienced by the same converted men at different times in their lives. Complementarian theology is a mainstream Evangelical approach to gender and family issues. Contrapositioned to the two extremes, commonly labeled as "egalitarian" and "patriarchal," complementarianism is defined as a belief that men and women are equal in value and different in role, and the leadership of men in church and family is established by God. I will demonstrate how missionary activities of the Russian Baptist men serve as a fulfillment of their masculine role to serve God by serving people.
Travelling religion, religious travel. Gender challenges in theory and ethnography [Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality Network]