Migrant Pentecostal spirituality in South Africa and the dynamics of everyday life in the context of social diversity
(University of Stellenbosch)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses on the capacity of Zimbabwean migrant churches in South Africa to reach into and shape migrant congregants’ daily lives through ideologies, doctrines and practices outside the church.
Paper long abstract:
Studies of migrant churches in South Africa have focused more on churches themselves than the daily lives of church members beyond the social surveillance and immediate influence of the church. Using Forward in Faith Ministries International (FIFMI) as my focal point, a Pentecostal church found in more than 100 countries globally, this paper focuses on the capacity of Zimbabwean migrant churches in South Africa to reach into and shape migrant congregants' daily lives through ideologies, doctrines and practices. I wish to find out how a church that has very specific social and theological structures, practices, ideologies regarding socialisation inculcate these values among its members in everyday situations where they are confronted with economic challenges and high levels of social diversity. What potential contradictions in beliefs and ideological definitions of belonging are created by the congregants as they negotiate their identity as members of FIFMI and as people who are part of a broader social, political and economic environment beyond the church setting? Is it possible that the congregants may find ways to be superficial and convivial with non-congregants in order to get along with them? I use qualitative data to argue that while they hear the message of the church about the polluting world, in real life, the members arrange their lives and make pragmatic decisions by themselves. Through this experience outside the church, they arrive at a kind of ethics of conviviality as a way to carve out social relations with people who are not members of the church.
Urbanity, Religiosity and Inter-Religiosity in Contemporary Africa