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Pentecostal Social Thought and Action, la Misión Iglesia Pentecostal, and Military Authoritarianism in Chile, 1973-1990

  • Florez II, Joseph
Publication Date
Nov 07, 2017
Apollo - University of Cambridge Repository
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This study contemplates the limitations of traditional conceptions of Latin American Pentecostalism to account for and understand the phenomenon as it developed in the lives of individuals during charged moments like the Chilean dictatorship where meanings and significance – religious and otherwise – were challenged, disrupted, and altered. Its goal is to explore how Pentecostals lived with and against the changing religious expressions and practices that were available to them under authoritarian rule. I argue that Pentecostal religion and practice were infused with new meaning and reimagined through shifting conceptions of community, society, and faith that flowed into and nourished one another. The boundaries of Pentecostal identity and belief were ultimately less rigid and more porous than the traditional historiography suggests, as people sought to find meaning in the face of mounting oppression and insecurity. In doing so, normative definitions of terms like Pentecostal, religion, religiosity, and religious practice as they have been used as categorical frameworks for historical study are also reconsidered. This investigation examines how transformations in religious thought and practice developed and how they found meaning within the everyday experiences of the church’s members as they confronted the harrowing events that engulfed Chile between 1973 and 1990. Key to this work is the concept of ‘lived religion’. The term, often used to collapse the distinction between the personal religious experiences and the prescribed religion of institutions, is used here to approach religion within the realm of la vida cotidiana (everyday life). Based on church documents and oral histories collected from members of the Misión Iglesia Pentecostal (Pentecostal Mission Church – MIP), I use a broad historical framework to map the embodied and discursive space between leaders and lay followers, the points of contact, disjuncture, and resonance across the ideas, experiences, and sensations of their shared lives during the dictatorship.

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