The Mother Church: A Church Leader’s Guide to Birthing and Nurturing Thriving New Congregations

Christian Reformed Church
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In terms of outreach, he will work in alignment with the ministry vision and with the current and future strategies for connecting new people. Contact Email : davidhardy ruraltel. Job Description : : First Christian Church of Downs, Kansas, has been diligently searching for a new full-time minister since our minister retired in November of We are a long established, independent Christian Church.

We currently have 30 active members. We have adult and children Sunday School Classes. We enjoy being involved in our community in a variety of volunteer programs. Six missionaries benefit from our prayers and financial support. Four Elders provide spiritual leadership for our congregation. We are a body of Bible believing, Christ serving, compassionate Christians. Our congregation provides a nice four bedroom parsonage, all utilities paid, weekly wage, Health Insurance and two weeks of paid vacation.

If interested, please contact me at davidhardy ruraltel. Email : david glenviewchristian. The primary responsibility for this position will be to oversee the Worship ministry and church communications print, digital, etc. We currently have a great team of volunteers in place for the worship ministry.

We need a leader who will provide leadership, vision, direction, and training for this ministry. A full job description is available upon request. To find out more about our church please visit www. Please send resumes and any supporting materials to our Lead Pastor, David Mackie, at david glenviewchristian. The position will be considered open until it is filled. The primary responsibility for this position will be to oversee the Student ministry grades 6-college and Worship ministry of our church. We currently have a great team of volunteers in place for both ministries.

We need a leader who will provide leadership, vision, direction, and training for these ministries. Email : sethwtlawson yahoo. This person must have a passion for leading worship and using technology to expand the ministry of the church moving into the future.

Email : searchcommittee manorwoods. The key skills for this position are training church members to minister to children, coordinating volunteers, biblically sound teaching, and equipping parents to guide the spiritual development of their children. Email cover letter, resume and three references to searchcommittee manorwoods.

Job Description : We are seeking a Worship Minister who can lead our worship team to plan and implement engaging and impactful worship services. The ideal candidate will be able to plan a meaningful praise and worship experience and lead a contemporary band on a weekly basis with instruments and vocals , as well as fulfill some additional supplementary church leadership duties that would contribute to the overall care, discipleship, and oversight ofother ministry areas within the church based on experience, abilities, and gifts.

Email : william e5churchstaffing. Job Description : Southern Heights Christian Church is an established church of approximately that has experienced tremendous growth since the hiring of new Sr. Minister Jeff Hinson in This includes the coordination of all volunteer systems and processes. The person assuming this role will need to understand the development of systems and processes for volunteer coordination, community outreach and discipleship of young families. To perform the duties of this role adequately, it is necessary for candidates to show a history of creativity, strong work ethic, and a willingness to embrace a team ministry concept.

A college degree is preferred but not required for this position. SHCC is offering a very generous salary package that reflects their value of young families and this role within the church. To apply for this position please submit a cover letter and resume to william e5churchstaffing. We will not be able to respond to every application.

If you have not been contacted within two weeks of your submission, you have not been chosen to move forward in the search process. Email : kitmillerfcc gmail. This position will require a student intern to devote their skills to coordinate the music aspect of our worship service under the supervision of the Minister and Elders. Come grow with us in your relational and professional skills of ministry The intern would live with a host family.

Rich in history and a love for outdoors is what draws all different kinds of people to this area. Fort Benton is a small town but has a lot to offer as far as amenities. If that is not enough we are 40 minutes from Great Falls, a city of roughly 60, people. The church is located on Main St, just a block from downtown and the river.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime and I will do my best to answer any questions you might have about the internship, the church, the area, or about myself. Email : search capitolcity. Capitol City Christian Church , an independent Christian Church, with a 50 plus year history of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus in Lincoln, Nebraska is seeking a new Senior Minister who values the principles of the Restoration Movement in fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Candidates interested in this position are invited to send a resume for consideration. The Search Committee will review each resume and communicate with candidates through the various stages of the search process. A helpful packet of information about the church, community and the profile of the position will be sent to qualifying candidates upon the receipt of your resume. Capitol City Christian Church is a mission-minded body of believers with a rich tradition of both local and international ministries.

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Lincoln, Nebraska Metro of , is growing and has several universities and large corporations. If you have an interest in this position and would like more information please send your resume to Capitol City Christian Church, P. Box , Lincoln NE. You may also send your resume to our email address- search capitolcity. If you have other questions please feel free to contact Darrell Snyder Elder at We are thankful for your interest and will promptly review your resume and will advise you of further communications.

Email : lawjunk aol. Minster is the staff leader and only employee of which the elders have direct oversight. Accordingly, the Sr. First is a multigenerational boasting a strong core of members, vibrant ministries, and a singular mission to bring Jesus to a community in need, while emphasizing the need to Grow, Connect, Belong and Be who Christ has called us to be.

Email : tracy. We are a congregation of about 80 in a community of approximately 19, in the mountains of northern New Mexico. The candidate will work with our youth 6th thru 12th grade currently about We believe in the priesthood of all believers, encouraging both men and women to use their gifts to serve. This position is open to both men and women. Email : aeandrews55 gmail. Email : joemina gmail. Job Description : First Christian Church. We are in the process of hiring a new senior minister. We are looking for an individual with at least 10 years of experience in Christian ministry, capable of ministering to a multi-generational congregation.

Applicants should understand they will need to work as a team player with existing staff and with the board of elders. Function: The senior minister will be responsible to preach the Gospel and to minister to members of First Christian Church as well as people of the local area. Authority: He is directly accountable to the eldership of First Christian Church concerning matters of doctrine as well as ethical and moral conduct of himself and members of his family.

He will be the ministry leader and pastor of the congregation. Forward an application to:. First Christian church of Grove Oklahoma search committee will respond with requests for more information after the review of the initial application. All correspondence must be held in strict confidence by the applicant and the First Christian church search committee. This is so all parties are protected in this process. Email : fccsecretary windstream. This position will minister to children and youth and will focus on the spiritual growth and vision development of the total ministry of youth, birth — 18 years of age.

The candidate for this position will also be a strong leader, be a team player, and a creative thinker. The Youth Pastor will work with the current youth programs and be able to give constructive ideas for the growth of the church. The Youth Minister will, at times be asked to perform other ministry responsibilities based upon ongoing church needs. Email : jim hillsborochurch.

Job Description : The Hillsboro Church of Christ is seeking a full-time worship minister with a degree or experience in worship ministry. If interested, contact Jim Bush at Full job description available on request. Email : matt turnerchristianchurch. Job Description : Turner Christian Church in Turner OR is looking for a new full-time associate minister to oversee their ministry to youth and families, with a passion for hands-on teen ministry, serving families, and building bridges between generations within the church.

Email : aarona canbychristian. We are a diverse congregation generationally and socio-economically; we have members from all walks of life who have joined together for the sake of the gospel and to advance our mission and vision as a church. We are a church that is passionate about God's Word and His gospel as our only hope of transformation. We strive to be a church marked by prayer, service, genuine christian relationships, evangelism and mission.

We are looking for a music director who can catch this vision and help in leading our church in the area of worship. We are looking to hire a music director to oversee and lead our worship and music ministry. The position is part time; however, there is also opportunity for growth and expansion of oversight based upon the applicant's experience and skills in ministry.

Email : justin daytonchristian. Job Description: We are a smaller church looking to strategically hire a motivated individual to join us in our vision of reaching younger families. This is a hybrid position that we created so that we can hire someone full time. The important details are listed in the link below on our webpage. This position starts in August We also have some members that are able to provide housing. Email : marciseri gmail. Job Description: Part time position to grow and administrate our children's ministry.

Email : searchteam singinghills. To receive the expanded position information, or to contact the search team please email: searchteam singinghills. Email : tonycconline gmail. Send any resume to tonycconline gmail. This role can easily become full time based on growth and need. Email : office amitychurch. Job Description: Youth Pastor Part-time The Youth Pastor is the key leader for youth ministries at Amity Christian Church, providing pastoral leadership, Biblical teaching and discipleship for students and the youth ministry team of volunteers.

Email : baileyraymondt gmail. Description: The Senior Minister has primary responsibility for preaching and teaching the Word of God and to provide leadership, shepherding and vision to the Body in partnership with the Elders, Staff, Ministry Teams and Congregation. Start with 2 weeks vacation, also 6 paid holidays, 12 days of sick leave, and quarterly Sundays off with pay. Cottage Grove, located 20 miles south of Eugene in the Southern Willamette Valley, has two rivers, two lakes, waterfalls, and nature trails In this book, pastor and seasoned church leader Wayne Cordeiro speaks the truth in love, offering wisdom and insight to prepare leaders as they face the difficulties and hardships of planting and leading churches, while providing encouragement and inspiration for the journey.

God is pouring out the Holy Spirit and our wineskins must be changed to handle the new wine. How are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers going to rise up and work together? Where do small group meetings fit? Will the Church come together in unity? How does the anointing of God work and what is your role? This book puts into words what you have been sensing in your spirit. Small church buildings dotting the countryside are home to ministries that often struggle with limited attendance, no money, and little expectation that change can revitalize their future.

Churches have tried all kinds of ways to attract new and younger members — revised vision statements, hipper worship, contemporary music, livelier sermons, bigger and better auditoriums. Also, small churches provide space to nurture close relationships across age and lifestyle barriers, and they facilitate a higher level of commitment from laypeople. This domestication of what is actually a very bold paradigm shift makes missional nothing more than one more trick to see church growth. With a light hand and a pastoral spirit, Michael Frost points out how church practitioners are not quite there yet.

We all desire to experience a more abundant life in the midst of daily challenges. The Be Transformed materials are designed to address the root causes of the behavioral, relational, emotional and spiritual problems we experience. Be Transformed teaches the practical application of Biblical principles developed by Scope Ministries International. Spent Matches explores the possibility that a few small paradigm shifts within the church might make the difference between extinction and effectiveness.

It shows you step by step the essential elements that create environments for organic kingdom growth and multiplication. The need for talented, vigorous leaders in the church cannot be overemphasized.

The Most Common Factor in Declining Churches

Such times demand active service of men and women who are guided by and devoted to Jesus Christ. This short, punchy book explores various aspects of creativity and imagination and leads you toward a healthy, confident, more innovative life mindset. It celebrates the good news of your God-given capacity to create and helps you harness it to take charge of your life, navigate changing times, and ultimately, flourish and succeed. All local churches experience a predictable life cycle of growth and decline. But if a church is on a downward trend, how can it turn around?

Taking Your Church to the Next Level explains the impact of age and size on churches and outlines the improvements that must be made at each point for a church to remain fruitful and faithful to its mission. Some of us fear moments when we need to defend our theology. Some of us seek them out. But we are seldom ready the way Jesus seemed to be ready.

So how do we draw others to God in the midst of these ordinary conversations the way Jesus did? This handbook helps coach both experienced and new pastors to enter a new congregation effectively. Groundbreaking research based on a national database of over , churches shows that the overall United States population is growing faster than the church.

The director of the American Church Research Project, Dave Olson, has worked to analyze church attendance, showing that it is virtually unchanged from fifteen years ago while our population has grown by fifty-two million people. Veteran church consultant calls church leaders back to the hope that God can and does restore churches, equipping them with practical tools to bring about healthy growth. Breakout Churches… what does it take for your church to break out of mediocrity?

In search of answers, Thom Rainer and his research team conducted a landmark study on the church. Unfolding the findings of that study, Breakout Churches furnishes both principles and examples to show how you as a pastor or church leader can help your church break out of the status quo into unprecedented fruitfulness. Demystifies basic marketing principles for churches and evaluates biblical principles for outreach so ministries can uncover and fix roadblocks that keep them from reaching out.

Lead small groups through astounding growth with principles from the best-selling books How People Grow and Boundaries. No matter what need brings a group of people together—from marriage enrichment to divorce recovery, from grief recovery to spiritual formation—members are part of a small group because they want to grow. No matter what need brings a group of people together, from marriage enrichment to divorce recovery, from grief recovery to spiritual formation, members are part of a small group because they want to grow.

This book by psychologists Henry Cloud and John Townsend provides small-group leaders with valuable guidance and information on how they can help their groups to grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. Henry Cloud Author, Narrator , Dr. All mission is local—the people of God joining the work of God in a particular place. Using stories, interviews with pastors and a look at common preconceived notions of church planting in the West, this guide brings together resources of the missional church conversation with the creativity and energy of those who are experimenting with diverse planting activities and practices across the country.

Research shows that over time, most churches plateau and then eventually decline. Typically, they start strong and experience periods of growth, then stagnate and lose members. So how are new Christians hearing the Gospel today? How are they finding churches?

And what makes them stay at a church? The answers to these questions have the power to dramatically alter the way we do outreach. This book presents the case for loving the local church. It paints a picture of the local church in all its biblical and real life guts, gaffes, and glory in an effort to edify local congregations and entice the disaffected back to the fold.

Witchcraft is a bona fide demonic power released through various activities such as words, spells, amulets, charms, occult powers, chants, magic, drugs, potions, or directive prophecies. Witchcraft is a power that influences people and gives a place to demon activity. Is there only doom and gloom for the future of mainline Christianity? Or is it that the current sense of decline and malaise is only a mirage or the result of exaggerations by persons both within but also without these churches?

Is the church threatened or are we on the precipice of new opportunities? While there has been some helpful work on the state of the church, others have uncritically parroted claims about decline and linked these claims with notions that the decline is due to relentless theological liberalism.

Nearly all churches and ministries consider themselves dedicated to evangelism, and many explicitly include outreach in their mission statements. But few are actually bearing fruit. Kevin Harney diagnoses this problem and offers guidance for multiplying the outreach impact of churches. Organic Outreach for Churches provides direction for local congregations to weave evangelism into the fabric of the church.

Church Is a Team Sport shows proven ways to push believers, new and mature, toward growth as both Christians—and leaders. Through this powerful, thought-provoking volume, ministers both in the congregation and on staff will discover how to expand the church one soul at a time. Making disciples is the crux of the Church Is a Team Sport message. The Equipping Church Guidebook shows you how.

Refining and expanding groundbreaking material, this in-depth approach helps you identify, equip, and empower lay ministers who will profoundly influence your church and your community. Each chapter includes practical suggestions and resources for use in any church. Whether pastors or laypeople, readers will discover practical ideas that end up being as much about the Gospel and personal transformation as they are about serving the poor. Here they will see how the organizational structure of the church can be created or redesigned for mission in any context.

Friendship Community Church, led by Pastor Todd Stevens, has experienced tremendous growth through acts of kindness. Understanding generational differences is a key to effective ministry in a multigenerational church. This book offers students and practitioners cutting-edge research and biblical analysis of three generations—Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials—so churches can minister more effectively within and across generational lines.

The authors, one an expert on generational differences and the other a respected New Testament scholar, represent different generations and areas of expertise. Neighborhood Mapping by Dr. John Fuder is an engaging, practical tool available to assist workers in the field to better understand the communities they are involved with. For those who report having a Christian heritage, only a minority can articulate the basic elements of Christian doctrine or read the bible on a regular basis.

To an ever greater extent, Christianity no longer provides the basic moral foundation for Canadian values and practices. Canada appears to moving towards a much more religiously plural society. This is not without its problems however. Religious diversity in Canada has accelerated in the last twenty years due to globalization and immigration.

There were only a handful of members from the other main world religions. Other religions during this time such as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus only made up a negligible percentage of the population. With the opening up of immigration to non-Europeans in the s, this began to change. In the 21st century, religion in Canada has become increasingly diverse.

Including the various Protestant denominations Statistics Canada surveyed 80 different religious groups in Canada in Statistics Canada, Religious diversity does not only include the increased number of people who participate in non-Christian religions.

Background

During its first appearance, approximately four percent of the population in Canada identified as religiously unaffiliated. By , that number had increased nearly a quarter, rising to about 24 percent Pew Research Center, Canadians have had varying responses to religious diversity. On an individual level, while many accept religious beliefs other than their own, others do not. Individuals are either open to embracing these differences or intolerant of the varying viewpoints surrounding them. Wuthnow describes three types of individual response to religious diversity.

Firstly there are those who fully embrace the religious practices of others, to the point of creating hybrid beliefs and practices. Christians might practice yoga or Eastern meditation techniques, for example. Secondly, there are those who tolerate other religions or accept the value of other religious beliefs while maintaining religious distinctions intact.

This can manifest in the range of negative individual responses to Muslim women who wear a hijab or headscarf for example. On a societal level, there are three main types of social response to religious diversity: exclusion, assimilation and pluralism. Exclusion occurs when the majority population does not accept varying or non-traditional beliefs, and therefore believe that other religions should be denied entry into their society.

The exclusionary response tends to happen when a society that identifies with a previously homogeneous faith community is confronted with the spread of religious diversity. On the other hand, the Canadian policy towards Jews was exclusionary until relatively recently. Universities like McGill and the University of Toronto had quota systems that restricted the number of Jewish students until the s. Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the s were brutally turned away by Canadian officials. A step beyond exclusion is assimilation. An example of assimilation in Canada is the history of Aboriginal spiritual practices like the sun dance, spirit dance and sweat lodge ceremonies.

Between and midth century these practices were outlawed and suppressed by both the Canadian state and Church organizations. They were seen as counter to the project of assimilating First Nations people into Christian European society and a settled, agricultural way of life Waldram, Herring and Young, In and , first a pass system and then an outright ban on leaving reserves were imposed on Plains Indian people to prevent them from congregating for Sun Dances, where they sought to honour the Great Spirit and renew their communities.

The most accommodating response to religious diversity is pluralism. Pluralism is the idea that every religious practice is welcome in a society regardless of how divergent its beliefs or social norms are. This response leads to a society in which religious diversity is fully accepted Berry, Today pluralism is the official response to religious diversity in Canada and has been institutionalized through the establishment of Multicultural policy and the constitutional protections of religious freedoms.

However, some thorny issues remain when the values of different religious groups clash with each other or with the secular laws of the criminal code. The right to follow Sharia law for Muslims, the right to have several wives for Mormons, the right to carry ceremonial daggers to school for Sikhs, the right to refuse to marry homosexual couples for Christian Fundamentalists, are all issues that pit fundamental religious freedoms against a unified sovereign law that applies to all equally.

The acceptance of religious diversity in the pluralistic model is not without its problems. For example, one pluralistic strategy for managing the diversity of beliefs has been to regard religious practice as a purely private matter. In order to avoid privileging one religious belief system over another in the public sphere, e.

All religious faiths and practices are equal, included and accommodated as long as they remain private. In the guise of implementing pluralism, the attempt to secularize the public sphere artificially restricts it Connelly, Religious freedom and diversity keeps the religious life of Canadians interesting. The full acceptance of religious differences may take some time, however studies show that Canadians are moving in this direction. The evidence is that as people become more exposed to religious diversity and interact with people of other religions more frequently, they become more accepting of beliefs and practices that diverge from their own Dawson and Thiessen, While veiling continues to be practiced by Muslim women, and is more often associated with Islam than with other religious traditions, the practice of veiling has been integral to all three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Christian and Jewish women wear headscarves as a cultural practice or commitment to modesty or piety, particularly in religious sects and cultural traditions like the Amish or Hutterites for example. Today, we know the hijab to be worn as a headscarf covering the whole head and neck, while leaving the face uncovered. The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear and is worn accompanying the hijab. The burka is a one-piece loose fitting garment that covers the head, the face and entire body, leaving a mesh screen to see through.

There is a popular belief among Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Islam dictates veiling upon Muslim women. Furthermore, there is a parallel belief among both Muslims and non-Muslims that the prescription of veiling is stated clearly in the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam. As to the question of whether or not it is obligatory for women to wear hijab, the Koran states that women should cover their bosoms and wear long clothing, but does not specifically say that they need to cover their faces or hair Koran, But the best garment is the garment of righteousness.

The hijab as we know it today, is not mentioned specifically in the Koran. The prophet Mohammed was once asked by a woman if it was okay for women to go to prayers without their veils. Critics of the veiling tradition argue that women do not wear the veil by choice, but are forced to cover their heads and bodies.

Purdah is part of the Pushtunwali or customary law in which women are regarded as the property of men. It is significant that following the Iranian revolution in and the seizing of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban in , the new Islamist governments forced unveiled women to wear the hijab in Iran and the burqa in Afghanistan as one of the first policies enacted to signal the Islamization of cultural practices.

Muslim women who choose to wear coverings are seen as oppressed and without a voice. However, Muslim women choose to wear the hijab or other coverings for a variety of reasons. Many daughters of Muslim immigrants in the West contend that they choose to wear the veil as a symbol of devotion, piety, religious identity and self-expression. Zayzafoon, Through their interpretation of the Koran, they believe that God has instructed them to do so as a means of fulfilling His commandment for modesty, while others wear it as a fashion statement.

Furthermore, studies have shown that for some women, the hijab raises self-esteem and is used as form of autonomy. Some Muslim women do not perceive the hijab to be obligatory to their faith, while others wear the hijab as a means of visibly expressing their Muslim identity. Unfortunately this association has also occasionally resulted in the violent assaults of Muslim women wearing hijab. By making assumptions about the reasons women have for veiling, the freedom of these women to wear what they feel is appropriate and comfortable is taken away.

Most people view the hijab as cultural or religious, but for some, it carries political overtones. Muslim women who wear the hijab to communicate their political and social alliance with their birth country do so by challenging the prejudices of the Western world. Wearing hijab is also used as a tool to protest Western feminist movements which present hijab-wearing women as oppressed or silenced.

Although the principles of modesty are distinctly outlined in the Koran, some Muslim women perceive the wearing of the headscarf as a cultural interpretation of these scriptures, and choose to shift their focus internally to build a deeper spiritual relationship with God. While wearing hijab granted women in the past to engage outside the home without bringing attention to them, the headscarf in modern Western society has an adverse effect by attracting more attention to them which ultimately contradicts the hijabs original purpose.

Despite the assumptions of secularization theory and some of the early classical sociologists that religion is a static phenomenon associated with fixed or traditional beliefs and lifestyles, it is clear that the relationship of believers to their religions does change through time. We discussed the emergence of the New Religious Movements or cults above for example. Especially in the s and s, cults represented particularly intense forms of religious experimentation that spoke to widespread feelings of dissatisfaction with materialism, militarism and conventional religiosity.

They were essentially new religious social forms. Below we will examine the rise of fundamentalism as another new religious social form that responds to issues of globalization and social diversity. Sociologists note that the decline in conventional religious observance in Canada, Europe and elsewhere has not necessarily entailed a loss of religious or spiritual practices and beliefs per se Dawson and Thiessen, Secondly, the orientation to these beliefs and practices has also changed. New Age spirituality — the various forms and practices of spiritual inner-exploration that draw on non-Western traditions e.

Dawson has characterized this new religious sensibility in terms of six key characteristics:. At the same time, the basic questions of fate, suffering, illness, transformation and meaning have not been satisfactorily answered by science or other secular institutions, which creates a continued demand for religious or spiritual solutions. With the above stereotypes, it is easy to overlook the beliefs, rituals, and origins of Rastafarianism as a religion.

Through the popularization of reggae music and artists like Bob Marley, the style of Rastafarianism has globalized though many do not know there is more to the movement than the outward appearance of its members. Today, most followers of Rastafarianism are in Jamaica, although smaller populations can be found in several countries including Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Ethiopia and Israel. He said that a King would soon be crowned to liberate black people from the oppression caused by slavery. This was an event with more than just political significance. Many black Jamaicans regarded the coronation of Ras Tafari Makonnen as the inauguration of a new era of spiritual redemption for dispossessed Africans after centuries of colonization, cruelty, oppression and slavery.

With the fall of Babylon, Rastas believed there would be a reversal in slavery-based social hierarchy. Black people would then take their place as spiritual and political leaders the way God Jah intended them too. One of the central religious beliefs of Rastafarians is that the Christian Bible describes the history of the African race Waters, In the prophecy of Zion, Rastas strive to return to Zion to leave the oppressive, exploitative, materialistic western world of Babylon where they will attain a life of heaven on earth, a place of unity, peace, and freedom.

However, like many of the spiritual movements of late modernity, Rastafarianism does not emphasize doctrine, church attendance, or being a member of a congregation. There are several key sacraments or religious rituals that Rasta practice to achieve this direct experience. Groundation Day is celebrated on April 21st to remember the day that Haile Selassie 1 sacred Ethiopian emperor visited Jamaica. On this day Rastafarians chant, pray, feast, and create music as celebration. Achieving higher consciousness through ritual means enables participants in reasoning sessions to re-evaluate their positions, overcome the confines of their false sense of self or ego , and reach higher truths through consensus.

Smoking Cannabis Ganja also plays an important role in many Rastafarian rituals, although it is not mandatory. Cannabis use is considered sacred and is usually accompanied with biblical study and meditation. The custom of wearing dreadlocks — long, uncombed locks of hair — also has religious significance to Rastafarians Stanton, Ramsamy, Seybolt, and Elliot, Dreadlocks dreads have political significance as a protest against Babylon because they symbolize the natural, non-industrial lifestyle of the Rastas Fisher, Dreadlocks also have several spiritual meanings.

They conform to the style worn by traditional Ethiopian warriors and priests and thus represent the power of their African ancestors. From a sociological point of view, Rastafarianism has to be understood as a New Religious Movement broadly defined in the context of the social and racial conditions of Jamaica in the 20th century.

It is significant that it blends spiritual motifs of dread and redemption from the Christian bible with the anti-colonial, anti-racist politics of Third World activists like Marcus Garvey. The belief system therefore provides a religious inflection to the material circumstances black Jamaicans face due to the history of colonial oppression.

It is a claim to status as much as a path to spiritual transformation. Another extreme fundamentalist group, the Westboro Baptist Church, picket the funerals of fallen military personnel Hurdle, , of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings Linkins, , and even of the brutal greyhound bus stabbing in Winnipeg, Canada CBC News, The public demonstrations of the Ultra-Orthodox men and the Westboro Baptist Church provide a platform for these groups to disseminate their beliefs, mobilize supporters and recruit new followers.

However, the controversial protests also attack routine norms of civility — the right of 8 year old girls to walk to school unmolested by adult men; the solemnity of funeral rites and the mourning processes of the bereaved — and lead to communal disruption and resentment, as well as the alienation of these groups from broader society.

One of the key emblems of the contemporary rise of religious fundamentalism is that conflicts, whether they are playground disagreements or extensive political confrontations, tend to become irreconcilable when fundamental beliefs are at the core of said disputes. These types of issue are one of the defining features of the contemporary era. Unlike discussions relating to secular business or political interests, fundamentalist beliefs associated with religious ideology seem non-negotiable and therefore prone to violent conflict.

The rise of fundamentalism also poses problems for the sociology of religion. For many decades theorists such as Berger , Wilson ; and Bruce argued that the modernization of societies, the privatization of religion, and the global spread of religious and cultural pluralism meant that societies would continue to secularize and levels of religiosity would steadily decline. However, other theorists such as Hadden ; , Stark ; and Casanova ; have recently begun to reconsider the secularization thesis.

They argue that religious diversity and pluralism have sparked new interpretations of religion and new revivals of religiosity. In other words, these new sociological interpretations of religion propose that rather than withering away, fundamentalist groups will continue to thrive because they offer individuals answers to ultimate questions and give meaning to a complicated world.

Interestingly enough, in his later works, Berger abandoned his original theory of secularization. The Pew Research Center has recently presented some interesting findings that can also provide a general sense of what the future for religious fundamentalism may hold. While it is not clear from this research how many Muslims hold fundamentalist beliefs per se eg.

Wahhabi, Salifi, etc. How does the sociology of religion explain the rise of fundamentalist belief in an increasingly modern, global society then? The answer that sociologists have proposed is that fundamentalism and religious revivalism are modern. These pamphlets were not a return to pre-modern traditionalism however. They were an explicit response to modern forms of rationality, including the trend towards historical and scientific explanations of religious certainties. A response, because of their defensively orientated motivation to challenge the modernist movement; and a product, because of their use of modern techniques of mass communication and commercial promotion to transmit a particular set of beliefs in a clear and concise manner to a mass audience.

To expand the concept of fundamentalism beyond this specific usage in the context of 20th century Christian Protestantism poses some analytical problems. However its use in popular culture today has expanded far beyond this narrow reference. In this expanded usage, fundamentalism loosely refers to the return to a core set of indisputable and literal principles derived from ancient holy, or at least unchallengeable, texts.

However, even if we restrict the use of the term fundamentalism to a religious context, there are a number of problems of application. For example, the emphasis on the literalism of holy texts would not be able to distinguish between fundamentalist Islamic movements and mainstream Islam, because both regard the Koran to be the literal, and therefore indisputable word of God communicated to the prophet Mohamed by the Arch Angel Gabriel. On the other hand, the fundamentalist movements of Hinduism do not have a single, authoritative, holy text like the Bible or Koran to take as the literal word of God or Brahman.

In response to these problems, Ruthven proposes a family resemblance definition see Section In this respect, the common sociological feature that unites various religious fundamentalisms, is their very modern reinvention of traditions in response to the complexity of social change brought about by globalization and the diversification of human populations. Globalization and late modernity introduce an anxiety-laden, plurality of life choices including religious choices where none existed before.

If religious fundamentalist movements primarily serve and protect the interests and rights of men, why do women continue to support and practice these religions in larger numbers than men? This is a difficult question that has not been satisfactorily answered. Strict observance of the rules of ritual observance is choice women make to bring themselves closer to God. Control over female sexuality is a primary focus of all fundamentalist movements. For example, in Islamic fundamentalism, it is seen as shameful and dishonourable for women to expose their bodies.

Under the Pushtunwali customary law , Afghan women are regarded as the property of men and the practice of Purdah seclusion within the home and veiling when in public is required to protect the honour of the male lineage Moghadam, For example, in , the Indian parliament passed a bill that would disallow women to file for divorce.

There have also been many significant instances of violence against women physical and sexual perpetrated by men in order to maintain their social dominance and control Chhachhi, In Saudi Arabia, rape can only be proven in court if the perpetrator confesses or four witnesses provide testimony Doumato, One purpose of fundamentalist movements therefore is to advantage men and reinforce ideals of patriarchal power in a modern context in which women have successfully struggled to gain political, economic and legal powers historically denied them.

The role of women in Muslim or Hindu traditions is so different from that in Western religions and culture that characterizing it as inferior or subservient in Western terms risks distorting the actual experience or the nature of the role within the actual fabric of life in these traditions Moaddel, In order to properly study women in Fundamentalist movements, it is imperative to gather the perspectives and ideas of the women in the movements themselves in order to eradicate the Orientalist stigma and bias towards non-Western religions and cultures. After the Revolution in Iran, the law making veiling mandatory for all women emerged as one of the most important symbols of the new, collective Iranian national and religious identity.

It was a means of demonstrating resistance against Western values and served symbolically to mark a difference from the pre-revolutionary program of modernization that had been instituted by the deposed Shah. Many women demonstrated against this law and against other legal discrimination against women in the new post-revolutionary juridical system.

However, this dissent did not last long. As Patricia Higgins stresses, these demonstrations were not supported by the majority of Iranian women. The number of supporters of the demonstrations also decreased when Ayatollah Khomeini—the religious leader of Islamic revolution — mentioned his support of compulsory veiling for women. So it appears that the majority of Iranian women accepted the new rules or at least did not oppose them.

In the prerevolutionary regime of the Shah, there had been a state-lead attempt to change the juridical system and the public sphere to promote the rights of Iranian women in a manner similar to their western peers. Nevertheless, the majority of Iranian women, especially in the rural areas and margins of the cities, still wore their traditional and religious clothing.

Veiling was part of the traditional or customary dress of Iranian women. However, an equally important fact, which is always less stressed in the dominant narrative about the Iranian revolution is that this transformation of veiling from traditional custom to political symbol first occurred in s, when King Reza Pahlavi banned veiling for all women in the public sphere. To be clear, veiling was a custom or fashion in clothing for women, but not mandatory in law.

Nevertheless, 40 years before the revolution, King Reza Pahlavi made unveiling mandatory in law for all women in Iran. What were the main reasons beneath this radical change which was imposed on Iranian society by the King Reza government? Reza Pahlavi can be recognized as the founder of new modern state in Iran.

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To a certain extent he was successful, especially in building the main transportation and new economic and bureaucratic structure. In this vein, the veiling of women was recognized as one of the most important symbols of Iranian traditional culture which needed to be removed, even violently, if modernization was to succeed. But did the significance of veiling arise from its place in religious texts and the strict customs of traditional ways of life or did it arise only as the outcome of the modern reading of these religious and traditional rules?

It has been argued that fundamentalist movements represent a claim for recognition by beleaguered religious communities. However, in the case of the Hijab or veiling in contemporary Iran, the irony is that from the beginning it was not the religious scholars, traditional leaders or Olama who emphasized veiling as central to the distinction between traditional, religious Iranian culture and western culture. Rather, the equation of traditional Iranian religious society and veiling originated with secular intellectuals and politicians.

Reza Shah, the modern leader who identified these symbolic qualities of religious identity, could never be regarded as a religious fundamentalist. However, he was the first head of state to recognize and highlight veiling as an important symbol of the traditional religious way of life, albeit in a negative way. The second irony is that, apart from upper middle class urban women who embraced the active role of unveiled women in the public sphere, this process of cultural modernization and unveiling was not noticeably successful.

The majority of Iranian women were subject to traditional and religious restrictions whose authority rested with the family and religious leaders, not state laws Higgins, However, during the Iranian revolution, the political process of Islamization was not monolithically conservative or fundamentalist. At the moment of revolution the dominant Islamic discourse included accepting and internalizing some parts of modern and western identity, while criticizing other parts. It was argued that veiled woman should participate in society equally , even if motherhood should be their priority.

At this point in time, veiling was not seen so much as a return to traditional conservative gender roles, but as a means of neutralizing sexual differences in the public sphere. If they complied with wearing the veil, as noted above, most Iranian women already did wear veils voluntarily , women could leave their confinement within the patriarchal family and participate in public social activities, even without permission of their father or husband.

At this specific historical moment, the religious authorities treated women as free, independent individuals, whereas previously they had been under the strict authority of their families. Veiling, within the political narrative of the revolution, was seen as the feminine expression of the resurgence of pure Islam, a flag of the critique of western values by Iranian society. After the revolution consolidated into the Iranian Islamic state, this modern, leftist version of Islam was displaced by a more fundamentalist conservative narrative. Even so, at its inception the meaning of compulsory veiling, as a symbol of traditional religious values, was not the product of the traditional values of religious society itself but a product of the way religious society was represented by secular scholars and politicians.

Modern secularization was the process that established the symbolic significance of the veil for fundamentalism in Iran. One of the most internationally publicized and controversial instances of sati was that of Roop Kanwar on September 4, It occurred in the small town of Deorala in the state of Rajasthan. Roop Kanwar was a well-educated eighteen year old Rajput woman who had married twenty-four year old Mal Singh just eight months before.

Her husband died unexpectedly of gastroenteritis, although some speculate it was actually a suicide by poisoning Hawley, a. The next day, Roop Kanwar stepped onto the funeral pyre with her deceased husband, put his head in her hands as is the custom, and burned alive with his body. This illegal event was witnessed by a few hundred people but there were conflicting reports as to what had actually happened.

Pro-sati supporters said that Roop Kanwar had voluntarily decided to become sati and underwent the process with purpose and calm. Those who opposed sati argued that she had not acted of her own free will and was instead drugged into submission by her in-laws who had economic motives for her death. Some reported that she had tried to jump off the pyre, but was pushed back onto it Hawley, b. The practice of Sati offers another look at the complicated relationship between fundamentalism and women. Sati is a Hindu ritual in which a widow sacrifices herself by being burned alive on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband.

It is a religious funeral rite practiced or endorsed primarily by Hindu groups rooted in the aristocratic Rajput caste in the Rajasthan state of India. Sati is therefore not central to Hinduism, but is practiced by a portion of the population, both men and women, who can be seen as Hindu fundamentalists. While the Western and English understanding of the word sati is as the practice of widow burning, in the Hindi language it refers to the woman herself.

A woman who is sati is a good, virtuous woman who is devoted to her husband Hawley, a. The Rajput belief is that a woman who freely chooses to become sati is protecting her husband in his journey after death. The power of her self-sacrifice cancels out any bad karma that he may have accrued during his lifetime. She also provides blessings to all those who witness the event Hawley, b.

After her father humiliates Shiva by excluding him from a sacrifice, Sati kills herself in front of him as an act loyalty to her husband. Supporters see the modern version of sati as a manifestation of this same sacrificial power used by the goddess Sati Hawley, a. However, while sati is seen as a traditional practice, most of the early Hindu religious texts do not recognize sati at all, and it is only mentioned occasionally in later texts.

In a manner consistent with other forms of fundamentalism, certain verses have been cited as scriptural justification of the practice by supporters, but their interpretation and translation have been contested by scholars and there is no definitive, unambiguous endorsement of sati Yang, Although this Hindu practice has never been widespread, it happened with enough frequency to catch the attention and revulsion of the British in the nineteenth century while India was under British rule.

In British officials made the practice illegal and a punishable offence for anyone involved Yang, The practice has continued to occur very infrequently since then, but the worship and glorification of sati is still a major aspect of the religious belief system of some Rajput Hindus Harlan, The criminalization of sati has also become a rallying point for Hindu fundamentalists in their larger battle against the secular state. Its persecution is seen as an infringement by the state into the domain of religion causing the fight for sati to become a fight for religious freedom Hawley, a.

Twelve days after her death by immolation, a chunari celebration was held at the funeral site to honor and praise her sacrifice. Further gatherings and sati endorsement by both religious and political organizations continued in the months that followed and eclipsed smaller protests held by opponents of sati. The sati of Roop Kanwar triggered a number of larger social debates regarding the intertwining threads of religion, gender, and the state.

For them, the religious significance given to sati is nothing more than a guise to aid the oppression of women. Sati also became a battleground in the struggle between the religious freedom of Hindus and the secular Indian State. First is the reactionary nature of this Hindu movement against the perceived threat to traditional religious beliefs and values.

Demonstrations by sati supporters signified a resistance to the modernization, secularization, and liberalization of India, particularly in regards to the place of women.

By becoming sati, a woman is performing the ultimate act of devotion to her husband and is sacrificing herself for the betterment of her family and the wider community. Hawley, b. For most of history every aspect of life in society revolved around some form of religious practice.

Introduction to Religion

The burka is a one-piece loose fitting garment that covers the head, the face and entire body, leaving a mesh screen to see through. It is significant that it blends spiritual motifs of dread and redemption from the Christian bible with the anti-colonial, anti-racist politics of Third World activists like Marcus Garvey. The church was held to be the mediator between humankind and God. There was a small community programme with no spiritual content. At its height it had over followers around the world, many of whom sent over large sums of money. Patterson found a culturally relevant way to encourage reluctant pastors to name home group leaders:.

In many cultures, prior to contact with the Western world, religion was so ingrained into every part of life that there was no specific word for it. It was the means by which life was regulated and made purposeful. The modern shift towards secularization and the scientific worldview is a recent phenomenon.

Explanations for events of everyday life were no longer based on the notion of mysterious or supernatural powers. Everything, in principle, could be reduced to calculation. However, the transition from a world based on religion to one that gives the ultimate authority to scientific discovery has not been without its issues. Contemporary creationists reject Darwinian evolutionary theory because they believe everything came into being as a result of divine creation, as described by religious texts such as the Bible.

One historic example of such a conflict is that between the astronomer Copernicus and the Catholic Church Russel, When Copernicus proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system based on his empirical astronomic observations, i. This claim, originally made in , did not immediately attract the attention of the Church. However, almost a century later, in , when Galileo confirmed its validity based on evidence he had collected using a telescope, he was tried for heresy.

Because his model was in direct contradiction with Holy Scripture he was forced to denounce his support of heliocentric theory. He lived out the rest of his life under house arrest, although the ideas he championed were later proven to be scientifically correct. What is the underlying source of the conflict between science and religion and what are the implications?