How I Loved Myself through Charismatic Worship by Andreea Nica

Andreea Nica, pentecostalismBreaking up with your first love can be an excruciating process; especially when it happens to be completely entangled with your being. God was my first love and he stayed for a long while. We had many exhilarating times together, particularly within the branch of Christianity I was raised in: Pentecostalism. I fell in love with God when I uttered his divine language at 13 years of age.

Currently, I’m writing my memoir and narrative nonfiction, Freeligious ™, for which I explore the scientific explanations of my charismatic experiences in the church, which inevitably led to a closer attachment to God. In the Pentecostal church, we were encouraged to connect with God through supernatural phenomena.

Examples include: speaking in tongues (glossolalia), healings, trances (drunk in the holy spirit), visions (hallucinations), prophetic messages (delusions), rebuking evil spirits (paranoia), and many more god-friendly activities. While some of my church peers and most outsiders found the charismatic ordeal to be phantasmical and plain ol’ crazy, I became enchanted by the initiation. The initiation process was quite simple really. As believers in Christ, we must receive the baptism of the holy spirit which usually took the form of speaking in tongues, clinically known as glossolalia. Continue reading “How I Loved Myself through Charismatic Worship by Andreea Nica”

Liberations of Immigrant Women in Western Religious Conversion by Andreea Nica

Andreea Nica, pentecostalismThe prolonged debate around feminist subjectivity and religious participation continues to evoke much compelling discussion in academia, political arenas, and public space. There have been a number of academic studies around the intersection of gender, religion, and migration, specifically on how gender and immigration assimilation is constructed and managed within western religious systems.

I am currently researching the trajectories of immigrant assimilation and conversion, and how gender relations and religious identities are managed within these processes to further develop my proposal for doctoral study. I find this area of research fascinating as it’s so diverse and pertinent to the progression of gender equity amongst religious participants. Continue reading “Liberations of Immigrant Women in Western Religious Conversion by Andreea Nica”

The ‘Other’ as Target Market in Pentecostal Brand Evangelism by Andreea Nica

Andreea Nica, pentecostalismIn my last post, Leaving Behind My First Love, I mentioned I would examine the historical significance of Pentecostalism and how it relates to the marketization of the church and patriarchal standards. I realize this is a complex topic that involves many theoretical frameworks and conceptualizations, so I do welcome your thoughts. In this post, I will be highlighting trends regarding the marketization of Pentecostalism, brand evangelism as a marketing strategy, and how concepts of neo-liberalism intersect with the Pentecostal faith.

Pentecostalism stems from Evangelical Protestantism incorporating spiritual elements such as speaking in tongues (glossolalia), charismatic leadership, religious healings, and ecstatic praise and worship. Modern Pentecostalism dates back to 1906 at the Azusa Street Revival. However, the First Day of Pentecost can be found in the Book of Acts when Jesus’ disciples gathered in a room and began to speak in different languages. Continue reading “The ‘Other’ as Target Market in Pentecostal Brand Evangelism by Andreea Nica”

Leaving Behind My First Love by Andreea Nica

Andreea Nica, pentecostalismDuring these realizations, the words of Sue Monk Kidd permeated my mind, “The truth may set you free, but first it will shatter the safe, sweet way you live.”

When most people inquire who my first love was, I’m reluctant to give an honest answer. At times, I just uttered the first boy’s name that would come to mind. As I matured and developed into a confident young adult, I decided to provide a more honest answer. “My first love was God. Jesus. You know, the Trinity.” I would receive puzzled looks, quizzical faces, and frazzled exits. Given the multitude of embarrassing responses, I began to rephrase my answer in a way that prompted them to further question my response. “I fell in love with God as I grew up in a charismatic, Pentecostal religious community. During my college years I left Pentecostalism, my family unit, and the community.” Responses were drastically different with this answer. Many people desired to know more about my transition and how I found the inner strength to embark on an alternative path. I quickly realized I didn’t have all the answers. Although my B.A. in Psychology aided me in understanding aspects of the psychological implications of my departure from the religious institution and a family that identified as Pentecostal, there was still much to uncover. Continue reading “Leaving Behind My First Love by Andreea Nica”

Modesty Codes in Pentecostalism and Mormonism by Amanda Pumphrey

“You look like a lesbian.” “Why do you want to look like a man?” “Hey, boy head!” These were just some of the responses I got from friends and family when I decided to cut off my hair. The gendered connotations that come with how one decides to wear one’s hair are an overarching signifier of the dominant culture’s obsession with normative appearances. Many religious institutions and congregations uphold normative understandings of appearance and dress. Growing up in a conservative town in rural South Georgia and being raised within a Pentecostal tradition came with many challenges regarding gender, sexuality, and dress.

In an earlier post on FAR, I described my experiences with my church and my community regarding sexuality in “Sexual Ethics and Southern Belles.” In this post, I want to further explore those thoughts to discuss modesty codes within my own Pentecostal denomination, The Church of God, and within the LDS Church. Both Mormonism and The Church of God promote modesty codes that are ultimately harmful to girls and women.  Continue reading “Modesty Codes in Pentecostalism and Mormonism by Amanda Pumphrey”

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