Lacking time ? Looking for a speedy teaching about Japanese History ?
There it is ! This excellent Youtube video will do the trick. Bill Wurtz surveys the Land of the Rising Sun's entire past during a colorful, funny 9-minute lecture. Budhism, Samuraïs, diplomatic history, rice culture, World wars I and II, Hiroshima bomb, post-war Economic miracle are all covered. Hopes some day French History may be covered with such speed and intelligence!
The 300.000 Evangelicals in Japan are not mentioned, though. For those who want to know about this sub-chapter of Japanese religious History, click here (link).
Here is the video:
Edited by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency), the quarterly journal Afrique Contemporaine makes available the analyses and opinions of researchers and specialists on the evolution of the African continent with a view towards sustainable development.
It has been an honour for me to lead a special issue, with my colleague Dr Cedric Mayrargue, about NEW CHRISTIANITIES in Africa (mostly Evangelicals).
This edition (n°252) has been released in July 2015, whith a rich content (related to Congo, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia etc.).
"The French government has confirmed the death of Camille Lepage, a 26-year -old photojournalist working in the Central African Republic. The country is wracked with political instability, resulting in widespread violence, internal displacement and sectarian tension. Her body was found by French peacekeeping troops on May 13, 2014." (click here to read more)
Camille Lepage was not only a very talented and bold young photojournalist (published by Time Magazine, The New York Times etc). She was also powerfully advocating for left-behind countries and people, especially South Sudan where she found home in JUBA for 2 years.
This is a book to remember. In Je suis encore vivante (transl, "Still Alive"), Mrs Naomi Baki, a young mother and refugee from South Sudan, shares a unique story of survival, from deep South Sudan to France, crossing Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Turkey and Greece, where she stayed for almost 10 years. This is a heart-wrenching story of redemption, from bondage (forced conversion into Islam), to freedom and full refugee status (10 years card residency) granted by France.
For historians, woman's right advocate, social activists, and every reader keen to learn a "bigger-than-life" story of Hope in the midst of persecution and misery, this amazing book (link) is a must-have.
Just edited by the French respected publisher Le Cerf (2013), with the much valuable help of Marie Taurand and Sophie Porteil, this book is not yet translated in English. But it will come!
For being lucky enough to know the author, Mrs Baki, let's say she is also a wonderful and convincing speaker, particularly fluent in English (her mother tongue along with Gbaya, her tribal language).
In a few days, a symposium on Pentecostalism and Transnationalism will be held at the University of Western Sydney. Far from old Europe and France? Not so far actually.
Annalisa Butticci's documentary on African Pentecostals is focused on Italy. And Mark Hutchinson's paper (University of Western Sydney) appears very stimulating to explain Pentecostal narratives in France and Europe. His point is that "internal stories of pentecostals are a source for understanding the movement as a form of ‘techne’ for dealing with rapidly changing contexts, in particular those associated with globalisation". Full program here (PDF).
As a colleague of both in the French GSRL team, I very proudly recommand Vincent Goossaert and David A. Palmer The Religious Question in Modern China (University of Chicago Press, 2011), a groundbreaking book which obtained the 2013 AAS CIAC Levenson Book Prize!
The Religious Question in Modern China, co-authored by Vincent Goossaert and David Palmer, is a tour de force account of Chinese religiosity over the past century and across mainland China, the "new Chinese states" of Taiwan and Singapore, and diaspora communities in Southeast Asia and further afield.
It digests and makes legible a huge body of research (including their own major monographs) to a general China readership that often ignores or stereotypes religion in and from China. For those who study Evangelicals, lots of up-to-date material and analysis will also be found there. A must-read!
Thanks to Cristina Rocha & Manuel A. Vásquez, a new book on the Diaspora of Brazilian Religions (Brill, 2013) sheds a much-need light on these new trends.
The French like big concepts, with a capital letter, and ONE definition, once for all. Modernity, Liberty, Equality, Republic... Inherited from an Imperial past, a Republican model filled with messianism and a Catholic culture (centralized and absolute), this mindset is still around, but it is less and less prevailing.
Excellent news! Which does not mean we favor a relativist approach, far from that. But a healthy and ballanced thinkink requires that concepts and frameworks should always be put into perspective and into context. One of the scholars who has helped to reach a more nuanced and dewesternized view on Modernity is Schmuel Eisenstadt, who edited in 2002 a very important book on multiple modernities.
Good news: this globalized and dewesternized view on current world changes is reassessed in a new collective research just released by Ashgate. Its title: Multiple modernities and postsecular societies. (click here to continue)
Many different streams have built up the French left-wing tradition, including a growing trend in favour of multiculturalism, and a lasting pro-palestinian stance.
No wonder if according to polls, about 9 out of 10 French muslims voted for François Hollande (former leader of the Socialist Party) at the last presidential elections (2012).
However, it would be a mistake to conclude that the current French authorities play "soft on radical islam" and jihadists.
All the contrary! (click here to continue)
As I attended the first day of "Pentecostals, politics of space and power", the Padova international Conference organized by Professor Enzo Pace and Annalisa Butticci, let's highlight one inspiring concept emphasized by Annalisa Butticci : contemporary teaching and science are facing a "visual turn".
Less texts, more images. Social sciences have to adapt!
It makes all the more relevant "Na God", the picture exhibit realized by gifted photographer Andrew Esiebo (pictured left).
However, this italian pentecostal landscape is rapidely changing through African first-generation immigrants, mainly from Ghana and Nigeria. More and more new African Pentecostal Charismatic Churches are now spreading in cities like Milano, Pavova or Rome.
This is one of the reasons why scholars Enzo Pace and Annalisa Butticci have successfully conducted a 4 years research project on African Pentecostal churches in Italy. The coming Padova Conference (7-9 June, 2012) aims to share the results of this project, as well as boosting comparisons and further studies.
This is one of the many questions the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life helps to answer, due to a huge world survey on contemporary Christianity.
This comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. To know more, click here.
The death of Steve Jobs (1955-2011), founder of the Apple Brand and digital genius, has everything to fascinate observers of contemporary religion.
If you are blessed enough to read French, please click here to check out my French-speaking blognote. It you read English only (nobody's perfect), please read Andy Crouch's excellent analysis of Steve Jobs as a secular prophet (Wall Street Journal).
In my 2008 book devoted to the study of megachurches, I had noticed that branding strategies could interfere with religious motives, especially in some big megachurches.
This Lausanne Conference, held from the 13th to the 15th of October, 2011, will put some fresh light on this questions. The title of the Conference is : "Religions as Brands – The Marketizalisation of Religion and Spirituality". It will include some remarkable speakers as Steve Bruce, Laurence Iannacocone, Philippe Simmonot and Roger Finke.
In France, everybody knows her for sure, as she served as an able and hard-working Finance minister for 3 years. But the world still needs to get more familiar with the new head International Monetary Fund (IMF), where she replaces…. Another French politician, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, currently facing criminal charges in New York.
Even France, often self-described as "the hotbed of Human Rights" (French Revolution, blablabla), is currently facing the growth of extreme right wing party (with Marine le Pen, credited with 20% of vote intentions!).
Often described as a threat, migrants' rights are more and more at risk.
How do Civil societies react ? Including churches ?
Watching the French media, one of the many things that puzzles me during the current Arabic revolutions (from Tunisia to Egypt) is that in spite of the French decline, French language is still used by many (even by some in Lybia).
Why? Many strong historical reasons explain that. But there are also some more pragmatic reasons. I just found a quite well-documented article (published online in 2008) which explains pretty well why French language might remain "the most useful Second Language for English speakers".
I criticized the fact that our president thought it would be useless to broadcast a French TV satellite channel in English. I stand in my positions. However, there is another side of the debate.