They warn about the current "separatism bill" and the threat of an increased State control over churches and religions.
For them, freedom is at stake.
They warn about the current "separatism bill" and the threat of an increased State control over churches and religions.
For them, freedom is at stake.
If the growing English-speaking litterature that has arisen in the recend decades aims at "materializing" or more precisely "re-materializing" the study of religious facts, in France, the dynamism of this approach has been remarkable through numerous publications over the past five years.
To know more, click here (link).
France's particular brand of secularism, known as "laïcité", is considered a backbone of the French Republic. And yet this separation of church and state is a touchy subject and often misunderstood. Its backers say it's the glue that lets the French live together in harmony despite their differences, but critics say it's anti-religious and increasingly used to stigmatise Muslims. So what exactly is "laïcité" and is it compatible with a modern multicultural society? Florence Villeminot and Genie Godula take a closer look in this episode of French Connections Plus.
The first one is historical and chronological. It explains the four steps of French Baptist implantation, from 1800s to 1950s.
The second one is a thematic presentation, using both sociology and history, in order to highlight the social distinctives of Baptist churches (and individuals) in French society.
These two slideshows are in French. They may require some effort to be read and understood but the effort is worth it!
The first slideshow can be seen here : Link to historical slides
The second slideshow can be seen here : Link to thematic slides
This is the first work devoted to the history of the Reformed Church of France, from its rebirth in the 20th century on the ashes of the Concordant Church to the union between the Reformed and Lutherans in 2013.
This Reformed Church embodies a particular presence in the world, carried by a strong identity.
A must-read book édited by a prestigious publishing house, which hopefully may be translated in English, at least partially ! Congrats to the authors.
This scholarly book is the published version of a PhD dissertation submitted by Dr Samir Boulos in 2013 at the University of Zurich.
It is a well-researched attempt at understanding the interactions of three European Evangelical missions (two of them British, and one German) active in Egypt in colonial, late colonial and post colonial contexts, from a cultural studies perspective. Here are these missionary institutions :the German Sudan Pioneer-Mission, the English Mission College in Cairo (dependent on the Church of England), and the (British) Egypt General Mission.
These institutions were committed to diverse forms of missionary actions. The main aspects were education through schools, and health, both through hospitals and family health advice intended for mothers. The full book's review from Philippe Bourmaud is available here (Social Sciences and Missions, link).
Will the current French government remember its first word, "Freedom"?
As it is heading toward a new law targeting "separatism", concerns rise.
Evangelical Protestants are approximately 665 million in the world at the beginning of the year 2021, according to this annual global statistical overview I am glad to share with you.
This release also gives the opportunity to highlight some of recent published research. Books have been slightly less numerous in 2020 ("Covid19 effect" was felt on the the last semester).
The data in PDF are available here (link) and they are presented in video below via Youtube.
This one is in french but I'd love some day to do one in english. To be followed....
Baptist beginnings trace back to 1820, with several Believer's baptisms in Nomain (North of France). One year after (1821), the first French Baptist congregation started in Aix, a very small village near Nomain.
Due to the current pandemia, French Baptists could not really mark this 200th Anniversary properly. However, this French Baptist bicentenary remains a significant step towards a more diverse French religious landscape.
As I did study this particular French Baptist history for my Ph.D (defended in Sorbonne EPHE in 1998), I've decided to review (and improve) an old Powerpoint presentation which explains the four steps of French Baptist implantation, from 1800s to 1950s.
Although this presentation is in french, the many pictures and sources may be of some interest to English-speaking lovers of Protestant History.
Debates do NER is a Brazilian biannual journal, created in 1997 on the initiative of the Center for the Study of Religion (NER), of the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).
Debates do NER is currently one of the most important vehicles for disseminating research related to the Social Sciences of Religion in Mercosur. Thanks to my Brazilian colleagues Marcelo Camurça and Emerson Giumbelli, whom I warmly thank, I had the opportunity to publish in 2020 a comparative historical study on Evangelicalism, USA vs Brazil.
Created 10 years ago after merging previous French Evangelical networks, this body represents at least 60% of the One Million French Evangelicals. It just celebrated its 10th Anniversary last tuesday.
From all France, more than 500 connected and registered. The French Interior Minister, Mr Gerald Darmanin, whished a "happy birthday" to all, through a taped video message.
Notoriously very close to the French Presbyterian identity, rooted in the Huguenot past, Réforme has regularly struggled to widen its horizon.
Widen, enlarge, why ?
Why ? Because a weekly without new readers has no much future.
Réforme's main concern is the medium age of its readers: close to the retirement age-limit.
How to attract the new generations, which are impacted by Evangelicalism, but also Ecumenism and Secularism?
Nathalie Leenhardt, the former Réforme's director, did a great job maintaining Réforme's quality offer over the last years, which have been so challenging.
The new suitable gauge for worship services (read blognote of last week) was unveiled yesterday (wednesday 2th of Dec, 2020) by the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. Based upon simple common sense, the new measures take into account the size of religious worship places.
This gauge was settled after consultation with the various French religious representatives, in order to put settle things in a fair and right way.
Among French religious circles, many are currently debating about the way Jean Castex (French Prime Minister) and his government are dealing with Covid-19 restrictions. According to President Emmanuel Macron's last announcements, France will begin to ease its strict coronavirus restrictions this weekend, allowing "non-essential shops" to reopen.
French Supermarkets are already widely open, with no resctriction except respecting the mandatory safety precautions. French TGV and trains are also packed with people who share up to 4-5 hours together in a confined environment.
50 years ago, French Evangelicals were still shy sideliners. Today, as they reach 1 million of believers, it is not the case anymore. They have somehow become "mainline", not within French global socieyty, but at least within French protestantism.
An example among many is the open way French world champion Olivier Giroud (who already scored 44 goals for the French football national team) speaks about his Evangelical faith in many mainstream media.
This new visibility of French Evangelicals explains also why they do not hesitate to engage in public debate when they feel wrongly accused. A recent example can be found with Pastor Samuel Peterschmitt, leader of one of the 6 megachurches of continental France (the "Porte Ouverte Chrétienne" in Mulhouse, East of France).
Last february, his church became the scapegoat of Covid19 propagation. Many diffamatory comments lead this church, and his pastor, to be targeted.
Pastor Samuel Peterschmitt did not hide. After having received substantial backing from various circles (including the mainstream weekly Paris Match), Samuel Peterschmitt replied on solid ground, deconstructing the diffamatory accusations through a book which has just been released. Written with a mainstream journalist (from the weekly Marianne), the title is "La déferlante" (the flood), ed. Première Partie, 2020.
Billy Graham, "America's pastor", is a global figure. The example of France is revealing. Although France can't claim more than 3% of protestants (including 1 million of Evangelicals), Billy Graham has strongly impacted the country.
This is why the French National TV Network "France 2" has devoted a very detailed documentary to Billy Graham. The first part has been released last sunday and can still be viewed for free here :
French museum are full of pieces inherited from Colonization.
Good news: President Macron (France) and President Rajoelina (Madagascar) have agreed that a very precious royal item, belonging to the House of the last queen, Ranavalona III, would be given back to Madagascar today.
Crown surmounting the royal canopy of Queen Ranavalona III (raised as protestant), on display at the Musée de l’Armée de Paris, is due to return to Antananarivo on November 5, 2020 for a simple loan before being definitively returned to Madagascar after the adoption of a law of exception by the French Parliament.
Having visited the Madagascar royal palace, I could not applaud more to this process of returning to Madagascar this cultural property, a symbol of Malagasy history.
In the last three decades, African Pentecostalism has emerged as one the most visible and profound aspects of religious change on the continent, and is a social force that straddles cultural, economic, and political spheres. Its conventional and selective literal interpretations of the Bible with respect to gender and sexualities are increasingly perceived as exhibiting a strong influence on many aspects of social and public institutions and their moral orientations.
This collection published inGenders, Sexualities, and Spiritualities in African Pentecostalism, Palgrave, 2020, features articles which examine sexualities and genders in African Pentecostalism using interdisciplinary methodological and theoretical approaches grounded within traditional African thought systems, with the goal of enabling a broader understanding of Pentecostalism and sexualities in Africa.
As usual in English-speaking synthesis, French-speaking Africa is rarely mentioned, except a chapter devoted to Congo.
Thanks to Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis (Ed.), this impressive 2020 book sheds new light on the complex relationships between religion and (neo)nationalism.
The contributions to this volume analyse the complex relations between religious traditions, groups and ideas on the one hand, and (neo-)nationalism on the other. They do so on a conceptual level as well as with regard to concrete contexts and countries. They shed light on these relations from historical, sociological, theological and ethical perspectives, and contribute to the discourse on neo-nationalism, populism and public theology. While the first part of the book situates religion and (neo-)nationalism in a globalised world, the second puts the concepts of neo-nationalism, populism, religion in context. The third part presents different case studies (particularly from European countries), and the final part concludes with ethical and political perspectives.
Please notice that this book includes a significant contribution from Philippe Portier (EPHE, former GSRL director),
Philippe Portier, "Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France" (p.255 - 272).
Sunday schools were first set up in the 18th century in Protestant England to provide education to working children. Since then, the movement spread worldwide. Some very insightful researches have been conducted.
For England, let's mention Stephen Orchard, John H. Y. Briggs, The Sunday School Movement : Studies in the Growth and Decline of Sunday Schools, Londres, Paternoster, 2007.
For the United-States, see (among others) Bergler, Thomas E. The Juvenilization of American Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2012.
The French Protestant landscape has been also impacted early on by the Sunday school movement. Thanks to (picture), who conducted several researches on Education and Protestantism, a very complete synthesis is available: Anne Ruolt, L’École du Dimanche en France au XIXe siècle, pour croître en sagesse et en grâce, collection religion – sciences humaines, Paris, l’Harmattan, 2012.
This book would largely deserve a translation. Dr Anne Ruolt, who recently defended successfully her habilitation thesis to supervise research, is currently part of the GSRL research team (Paris, France).
In USA, what we use to define as "Black theology" has emphasized the role of Christian faith in addressing racism and other forms of oppression, arguing that Jesus urged his disciples to seek the freedom of all peoples.
Meanwhile, the so-called "Black church", even when focused on social concerns, has often emphasized personal piety rather than social protest. With the rising influence of white Evangelicalism, biblical fundamentalism, and the prosperity gospel, the divide has become even more pronounced.
In The Divided Mind of the Black Church (2020), Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helps us to understand the current debates within Black Protestants (mostly Evangelicals) in USA.
While it is not deniable that US white Evangelicals remain Trump's strongest religious ally (with an approval rate around 75%), let's not forget that a strong majority of US White Catholics do support Donald Trump too.
According to the last research released by the Pew Forum on the 15 of sept, 2020, 59% of US White Catholics plan to vote for Trump at the 2020 US presidential elections.
This strong White Catholic support for Trump would probably be even stronger if Joe Biden, Trump's Democrat opponent, was not himself a Catholic.
This reminds us that the battle Biden / Trump is certainly not a Catholic / Protestant battle.
The drawing line has to be placed elsewhere (the "value voter" parameter, and the Christian nationalism parameter).
Mark Galli, highly respected figure of US evangelicalism, converts to Catholicism (link).
Until January 2020, Mark Galli edited the world's largest evangelical monthly, Christianity Today (with a circulation of 120,000 copies). Presbyterian, then Anglican, he eventually joined the Catholic Church in Rome.
As Europe wrangles over questions of national identity, nativism and immigration, Olivier Roy interrogates the place of Christianity, foundation of Western identity. Do secularism and Islam really pose threats to the continent's 'Christian values'? What will be the fate of Christianity in Europe?
Whatever we may think of Olivier Roy's sometimes hasardeous prognosis on the so-called decline of radical islam, his books are always stimulating and this good one, translated by Cynthia Schoch, is no exception.
This unprecedented work (1152p) has just been published in French (Bayard, 2019).
It brings together nearly 80 sociologists, ethnologists, anthropologists and historians.
It aims to provide a better understanding of the religious groups present in France and their recent development.
In a new approach, it offers a series of chapters each presenting in detail a religious group.
These religious "minorities" (including Catholicism) are grouped together by large denominational groups, which makes it possible to grasp the internal diversity of each of these.
Directed by Anne-Laure Zwilling, this remarkable synthesis should definitely be translated in English!
Professor David W. Bebbington (University of Stirling, Scotland, UK) is widely known as one of the World's best experts on Evangelicalism. It was a priviledge to see him visiting France for two brilliant lectures given in Paris (IBN on the 16th of Feb, Rue de Lille Baptist Church on the 17th of Feb). There is more to read in my French-speaking blog (link).
This album (link) opens a few windows on this landmark visit.
As a particlarly remarkable historian, but also as a person, David W. Bebbington is a towering and inspirational figure to many scholars devoted to the study of Evangelical History, including myself.
I've started to interact and meet with David W. Bebbington since 2000 (Wake Forest University, USA). David W. Bebbington's visit to France in 2018 gave me the occasion to go back to some of these older memories (see the first 8 pics of the album). Link