About Abortion: Ten Things a New Generation of Christians by James V. Heidinger III

By James V. Heidinger III

In January 2013, the US marked the 40th anniversary of the sweeping Roe v. Wade best courtroom selection. due to the fact that call, greater than fifty five million abortions were played within the usa. As a part of the In All issues Charity sequence, approximately Abortion can help this new release to appreciate the all-encompassing adjustments to our tradition caused via Roe v. Wade.

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One way of dealing with their absence is, of course, to challenge the necessity and desirability of delineating an anthropology of Christianity, as Hann has done (2007: 406). Another is to wade in anyway, as I shall shortly do, in the hope of introducing further complexity and subtlety into what remain ethnographically, theoretically, and methodologically significant questions. My aim here is not to tip the analytical seesaw in one or the other direction but to strike a balance between antiessentialism and cultural analysis (Scott 2005: 101), between dealing with the socioeconomic and political circumstances of rural Bidayuhs’ lives on the one hand and taking seriously the doctrinal, moral, and cultural influence of Christianity on the other.

In this sense, I suggest, Robbins moves toward aligning anthropological analysis with native exegesis, by situating what his Christian informants say and do within a theoretical framework adequately equipped to deal with them. Here, it is significant that he uses his ethnographic material—millenarian Christianity in Papua New Guinea—as a corrective to what he sees as anthropology’s longstanding analytical failure to address the nature of religious change. Put simply, his message is that we should start taking discontinuity seriously because our Christian informants do.

If the 18 T H E C H R I S T I A N I T Y O F C U LT U R E Christians with whom we work are talking constantly about discontinuity and rupture, who are we to tell them that they are wrong? Yet, juxtaposed against the ethnographic situation I have just described, the limits of this focus should become apparent. As I mentioned earlier, Christians in Kampung Benuk largely concur that conversion has entailed breaking away from the past and adat gawai. Yet, that sense of discontinuity is simultaneously tempered— and in many cases, overridden—by a strong and pervasive sense of continuity with the old ways and their practitioners.

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