Bwana Yesu Asifiwe: Examining the Intersection of Worship and Culture in Rural Tanzania

Date

2024

Authors

Reed, Abigail

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

This paper explores the interaction of the Christian faith with human culture by presenting a case study from a congregation in rural Tanzania. The conversation is grounded in larger discussions around language and culture, music-making, translatability, and what it means to be the Church in the world. This thesis pulls ideas from various fields, including ethnomusicology, church music, linguistics, World Christianity, theology, and history, specifically referencing thinkers such as Turino, Rommen, Whorf, and Sanneh. Bridging concepts from these different realms constructs an ideological foundation for the observation of worship at True Gospel Church, a Pentecostal-leaning congregation in Igoda Village, Tanzania. The case study is analyzed using the Nairobi Statement as a framework, examining the influences of transcultural, contextual, counter-cultural, and cross-cultural elements in local Christian worship. Ultimately, this paper explores the complex ways that the Divine manifests in, interacts with, and transforms human culture. It celebrates the resulting exhibition of unique expressions of embodied worship around the world, to the glory of God.

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Keywords

Ethnomusicology., Church music., Linguistics., Theology., World Christianity.

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