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  • Spirituality and Health in Brazil: A Survey Snapshot of Research Groups

    Mary Rute Gomes Esperandio (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    Articles on “Spirituality and Health” have multiplied considerably in Brazil in the last decade. More recently, however, research groups created specifically to investigate this topic have emerged. This study aims to provide an overview of the field by means of a survey in the Directory of Research Groups in Brazil. Thirty-three groups were initially identified, of which 16 were selected for analysis and placed into two categories: “established” groups and lines of research, and “in-process” groups and lines of research. The survey made it possible to identify postgraduate programs that develop studies on this theme, the main researchers, and the potentials and challenges of this research field in Brazil. The results also indicate that “Spirituality and Health” is a fundamentally interdisciplinary field of research that is expanding and has gained greater legitimacy in the scientific community in the last four years. The main challenges to and potentials for advancement of knowledge are the need for theoretical and methodological development to support research, educational improvement in spiritual care, development of a critical and conscious reflection on the political implications of the field (especially due to the religious diversity in the Brazilian cultural context), and the role of spirituality/religiosity in public health promotion policies.
  • Congregational Discernment and LGBTQ+ Inclusion: Process Lessons from 21 Congregations

    Helen Harris; Gaynor I. Yancey; Kimberly Dawson; Jess Gregory (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    The question of LGBTQ+ inclusion in churches is rapidly becoming an open conversation in congregations and denominations seeking answers in policy and practice. As society is engaging the question of LGBTQ+ rights in the courts, denominations are addressing LGBTQ+ inclusion, and as increasing numbers of LGBTQ+ Christians come out in their faith communities, church members and their churches, with their religious structures, are called on to take positions, often in the absence of agreement. In background research and 97 interviews with leaders and members of 21 congregations in three denominations, a research team discovered processes, models for conversation, and resources to address the risks of division and changes in membership and finances. In the following article, the authors include findings and resources from congregations, process models, and suggestions and possibilities for families of faith considering how to move forward in addressing one of the more pressing and divisive issues in the church.
  • Living with Time: Spirituality and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival

    Mathilde van Dijk (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    At first sight, Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 <i>Arrival</i> seems to provide a fairly standard science fiction narrative about the landing of aliens on earth and the panic that ensues, featuring aggressive soldiers, a suspicious CIA man, brilliant scientists and rioting populaces. The film could be read as propaganda for the humanities as it is a linguist rather than a natural scientist who saves the world. The second narrative is more important, as acknowledged by the director: the main character Dr. Louise Banks’s mourning for her deceased daughter, Hannah. In contact with the aliens, she learns how to cope with this disastrous event, by acquiring a different perspective on how life proceeds and how time works. This is also where the film, subtly, tells a deeply spiritual narrative, in which Louise acquires tender competence to deal with what life brings, including Hannah’s death.
  • The Trajectory of Revival: Wenshu Monastery 1978–2006

    Tianyu Lei (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    This study traces the trajectory of the Wenshu Monastery’s revival during the reform era of China. In this special but duplicable case, we generalize three key strategies employed by the Wenshu Monastery to enhance its reputation and status—the binomial system, centralized organizational structure, and officialization—in an attempt to rethink the patterns of development of local religious institutions in modern China.
  • ‘Uncovering the Self’: Religious Doubts, Spirituality and Unveiling in Egypt

    Karin van Nieuwkerk (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    Since the 1980s, discourse on religious piety has taken many different forms, from mosque lessons by lay preachers—such as `Amr Khalid—to religious TV programmes and leisure activities. Within this widespread religious culture and cultivation of forms of visible piety, wearing the veil became an almost uncontested norm for women. As Saba Mahmood demonstrated, the veil became a crucial way to express and cultivate a ‘pious self’. Yet especially since the 2011 revolution and its aftermath, many young Egyptians started to question political, religious and patriarchal authorities. Amongst others, this took on open or hidden forms of non-believing, as well as a search for new forms of spirituality. Based on fieldwork and interviews, this contribution looks into the motives and experiences of women who decided to cast off the veil. In view of the hegemonic piety discourse, this is a huge issue, which is met by fierce reactions and accusations of immorality and non-belief. Whereas for some women this decision is an expression of religious doubt or a turn to a non-religious worldview, for others it is a way to contest the current piety discourse in a search for a more personal and spiritual connection with God. While the relationship with religion among my interlocutors might differ, they share a common attempt to uncover their ‘authentic selves’. By unveiling, they express their wish to define their own space and ideas regarding religion, gender and their bodies.

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