Journal Article

Favor Fishing and Punch-Bowl Christians: Ritual and Conversion in a Chinese Protestant Church

Andrew Abel

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 67, issue 2, pages 161-178
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/67.2.161
Favor Fishing and Punch-Bowl Christians: Ritual and Conversion in a Chinese Protestant Church

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This paper presents results from a four and one-half year participant observation study of conversion at a Chinese Protestant church. It was found that a variety of helping behaviors held important consequences for conversion. Church members were found to provide favors and gifts in ways that are unusual in Chinese society (e.g., anonymously, to perfect strangers, with no expectation of return, and to persons of lower status). These patterns of giving confound the traditional Chinese manner of building social networks and instead bind individuals to a larger society of Chinese Christians. These findings suggest that under certain conditions, examination of microsociological interaction rituals may complement other explanations of church growth.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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