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2012 Seminars

Globalization and Worship: Soundings from the Worldwide Church
July 23 - August 3, 2012

Directed by:
Charles Farhadian, Westmont College

Sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship with funding by Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Seminar Summary

This seminar will provide an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to explore the intersection between globalization and worship worldwide. Moving past interpretations that present worshiping communities as disparate assemblies, we will seek to understand worship worldwide interconnected through the pathways laid out by the forces of globalization.

Seminar Description

Research into Christian worship is related to the way that scholars understand the nature of world Christianity. In the twentieth century, two major perspectives on the nature of the expansion of Christianity have gained popularity. The first, starting in the early twentieth century, celebrated world Christianity as a diverse religious tradition that spanned the globe. Like religious cartographers, Kenneth Scott Latourette and others traced the paths of Christianity from its place of origin to the “ends of the earth.” It was enough to note the immense diversity within the tradition. Starting in the late-twentieth century, a second group of scholars sought to highlight the independent nature of these Christian communities worldwide. Bible translation, increased literacy rates, nation making were the results of Christian mission. These scholars underscored the immense diversity within world Christianity, and often underplayed the crucial theological, cultural, and economic influence of powerful Christian churches, such as those in North America, on the worship practices in spatially remote regions.

This seminar contributes to an emerging paradigm that focuses specifically on the interconnections of worshiping communities worldwide. We want to move past the approach that privileges the exotic nature of distant worshiping communities by illuminating the kinds of liturgical flows and stagnations occurring worldwide, recognizing that those particular connections often either curtail or deepen meaningful worship. As such, our task will be to consider the sinews connecting worshiping communities worldwide.

This seminar invites scholars and reflective practitioners to engage some of the helpful theoretical perspectives on globalization as well as specific ethnographic data that can highlight the ways that the forces of globalization have impacted and shaped worship worldwide.

About the Director

Charles Farhadian is associate professor of world religions and Christian mission at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California. His interests and research focus on the relationship between religions and cultures, particularly Christianity in non-Western contexts. His fieldwork has been in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, where he has investigated such themes as worship, social history, and nation making. Farhadian is author of Christianity, Islam, and Nationalism in Indonesia (Routledge), editor of Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices (Eerdmans) and The Testimony Project: Papua (Deiyai, Papua). He is currently finishing Introducing World Christianity (Blackwell) and World Religions for Christians (Baker Academic), and, with Lewis Rambo, is co-editing Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (Oxford).

Application Information

Applicant Information, including who may apply and how to apply can be found here.

The application deadline was February 10, 2012. We are no longer accepting applications.


Seminars @ Calvin
Calvin College
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Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
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